Taking Stock - January 1, 2021


We made it to 2021, which for many of us was the singularly biggest goal over the last couple of months of 2020, also known as this generation's "annus horribilis". I'm glad to be here, and glad you are here. January is the biggest month of the year for making changes and promises to ourselves that we, and those around us, know that we won't be able to keep even past the end of this month.


What are your goals for this new year? What are you hoping to discover?

Perhaps to answer those questions, we should take stock of what we learned in 2020. For all the words being used to describe the year just past, "enlightening", "educational", and "thought-provoking" may not have hit your top ten list. I know that I had many other descriptives in my mind. Frustrating, concerning, and even overwhelming at times.

Most, if not all of us, found ourselves in a sea of bewildering new circumstances, where waves were dark and rocked us heavily. We searched for our life preservers, fastened them onto children and clung to our spouses, partners, friends, work colleagues, and sanity. Governments around the world, almost without exception, imposed health restrictions that over time, were dictates applied haphazardly, discriminatorily, and hypocritically. Many of us lost our employment or businesses. I count myself in that category, my employer having permanently closed its Canadian operations over the summer. Sadly, some of us lost, or know of others who lost, loved ones this year through circumstances aggravated by the covid virus.


The virus affected some families directly and many others indirectly through the fear it generated. At time of writing, I am aware of at least three acquaintances who have friends or relatives who were very sick with covid over the past few months. My prayers to those still recovering and condolences to those bereaved.


We noticed that politicians and bureaucrats from many countries issued conflicting advice. Even as we remained convinced of the virus’s existence, a cynicism arguably larger and more contagious than the virus causing it, has gained a strong foothold in our societies and in our consciousness. For me, 2020 was the year when I became apolitical from a traditional political party perspective. I am much more interested in values, integrity, and a humility to serve, and throughout 2020 most of our world leaders and those striving to join them, were abject disappointments in those categories. Every politician I heard or read, almost without exception - and I follow literally dozens throughout North America and Europe - used this stressful period in the most partisan ways possible. Who can be trusted with facts anymore, or to do what’s right for the people?


That’s the dark side of 2020, and it was a big dark side. We lurched out of 2020 a few hours ago, many with the belief that with the door firmly shut, this brand new year would end the nightmare and return us to normalcy. Personally, I think we will be facing covid-fallout for some considerable time to come.


However, there was a happier, brighter side to this past year. For me, the first lockdown provided an opportunity to become much more personally active on the farm than I had been for several years. Chris and I got to spend much more time together, which was also lovely as we fortunately work and play well together. The lockdown also provided a strong reason for Chris and I to re-organize our home office and finally be able to use the space for its intended purpose.


I was involved in calving operations this year, wrangled a calf for our veterinarian to treat a painful mouth abscess, and got to bottle feed Homer, a very small angus heifer we rescued shortly after birth from an icy April puddle and whose mother rejected her when we brought dry, warm Homer back to her a few hours later.

From that day for the next five months, I committed to three bottle feedings a day, walking from the farmhouse to whichever pasture she was in, generally between 12,000 to 17,000 steps a day. It was a great work-out and Homer thrived to become our largest 2020 calf. However, I was very happy to see Homer weaned this past fall!


In rediscovering a dormant sewing hobby, I found a lovely seamstress and pattern designer based in London, U.K. with a thriving vlog and online and bricks and mortar store in London. If you are looking for some beautiful patterns and fabrics, look for Lisa Comfort at www.sewoverit.co.uk and check out her YouTube videos and pictures on Pinterest and Instagram. I produced a few pretty skirts, dresses and tops and may now have a wee addiction to beautiful fabrics, based on the stash I have collected over the last few months!



We also welcomed a new puppy in August, Jasper, who has a vibrant personality as large as he is, currently six months old and 80 lbs! Jasper has kept our household lively!


What were the silver linings for you? What did you learn about yourself? For those of you who are job searching in less than ideal circumstances, what are you doing to optimize your candidacy?


What are your goals for 2021? Are you determined to make this the year that you embrace healthier habits? Will you pursue that long ago dream to be something, do something else? What changes will you need to make to achieve your goals?


Making changes can be daunting, but if you do nothing for your dreams now, in twelve months you will still have those dreams but not the time gifted to you in the form of this year. Make a decision this year to move yourself forward toward a personal goal. As a recent social media meme currently making its rounds explains,


"Marriage is hard.

Divorce is hard.

Choose your hard.


Obesity is hard.

Being fit is hard.

Choose your hard.


Being in debt is hard.

Being financially disciplined is hard.

Choose your hard.


Communication is hard.

Not communicating is hard.

Choose your hard.


Life will never be easy.

It will always be hard.

But we can choose our hard.

Choose wisely"


My own job search has yielded a few first interviews and a couple of second interviews, and through that process over the last several months, I have concluded from a professional perspective, that a consulting niche is a better fit for me at this time.


I will also be marketing and promoting my soap studio and its products much more intentionally than over the past year and am committing to this blog at least twice each month. I am looking forward to connecting with you regularly and getting to know you better!


Perhaps most exciting, I am settling down to structure and write the first of at least four novels that have been rattling around in my head. It is this endeavor for which I am most thrilled to finally be able to satisfy my muse, and I look forward to sharing that work with you over the coming months. I am grateful to have an understanding husband who fully supports this part of my journey.


Continue to be well. Happy New Year!



Shelley



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