The Long and Bumpy Road of 2020

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2020 has been a long and bumpy road, but every challenge faced and conquered revealed who I am. I had a million reasons to throw in the towel, but I didn’t’, as I managed significant stress this past year, including divorce, two moves, a car accident that left my car totaled, job loss, and getting my hair cut off while sleeping, my hormones messed with as well as my food. And all the while, I kept my eye on the prize; I developed and amended goals as my situation changed throughout the pandemic, never knew what the day will bring. Thriving in ambiguity has become my new normal. I don’t live my life in fear or worry what’s next but I do believe in myself and without a doubt have a bright future ahead!Here are my top lessons learned in 2020.

I learned that how I manage my health impacts my mental health. I find it much easier to make good decisions when I am clear-headed, and while I couldn’t control my circumstances, I had 100% control of my reaction. I abstain from alcohol during times of stress and do my best to eat clean and exercise daily. I have logged 3,070 swim, bike, and run miles in 2020 alone. Through consistency and discipline, I have lost 10lbs alone since the start of COVID, slashed my cholesterol by 40% without a single pill, and have a blood pressure of 106/60, weighing in at 139lbs at 5'10"…at 43 years old, through proper diet and exercise. I proudly donated an entire wardrobe to a women’s domestic violence shelter.

I learned to drive results in less than ideal circumstances; I didn’t allow my unaligned hip to get in the way of running a sub 24 minute 5K this past September, in addition to running 1,324++ miles just this past year. I didn’t let my out of alignment bike stop me from riding 1,701+ miles in 2020. Just yesterday, I swam 1.2 miles before heading over to the chiropractor to learn my shoulder was misaligned somehow, which explained my slower swim pace during the workout. While I thought about cutting my swim short because of my shoulder, I didn’t, just adjusted my pace and added extra breaks as needed. Despite my mishaps, I have managed to swim 51+ miles in 2020. 100% self-reliant.

I learned to problem solve in unusual ways by thinking outside the box. A million and one solutions for bad hair!! Through the process, I stopped caring about what people think.

I invested in myself; I hired a resume writer, and as I shared my experience, I got over imposter syndrome when I listed out accomplishment after accomplishment. In the future, I will document all of my work during annual reviews, even if my future boss doesn’t treat reviews or my career growth seriously.

Through the certification process for open water scuba diving, I learned to stay calm and focused on the task at hand while under pressure to continuously removing my scuba mask and putting it back on underwater without panicking and bolting to the surface. I was rewarded with two back to back 60 feet dives into the Atlantic Ocean and got to see a nurse shark!

As I am training for my First Half Ironman, I invested in an Indoor Cycle as well as my outdoor bike. While I have no idea what the future holds, my health is everything and I will always invest in it. I can’t live my life in fear or worry about what if.

I upped my professional skillsets with several new certifications in Marketing and now actively studying for my PMI-PBA.

I enhanced my leadership skills by collaborating in new and unusual ways with LinkedIn connections and our community.

I taught myself web design using GoDaddy, and did some freelance work through Upwork, exploiting my ability to write for a diverse audience.

I don’t believe blood is thicker than water; I will always be careful who I take advice from and who I surround myself with. I want positive people in my life who find ways to GSD without excuses.

I live my life as I choose. I am not seeking approval from anyone, and I subscribe to the quality, not the quantity of people, in my life.

I learned to speak my mind, even if an unpopular opinion.

I learned to never stay in a personal or professional situation that doesn’t work for me; a relationship built on lies will go nowhere fast.

I learned to be grateful for the little things, like my dog and a good run!

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