Reflecting Back on 2020 and Where I'm At Now

Last Update: December 18, 2020

Happy Friday y'all!

And thank god that it is. I cannot believe that we are 7 days from Christmas and only 14 days until 2021. This is my favorite part of the year. Where we're all starting to wind down, reminiscing and holding onto memories from throughout the year. I love the feeling of cozying up and taking things a little slower. Turning the heat on more often while also wrapping myself up in a blanket. Spending time with the people I love the most by getting out to have a few drinks and play cards or making hot chocolate to then drive around and checkout all the colorful decorations.

But this year has been a whole lot of different.

I'm still wrapped up in blankets in the warmth of the heat. I'm still trying to bring all the coziness into the home that I can. I'm still spending time with friends, it's just over scheduled Facetime dates. I'm absolutely still making hot chocolate and am planning to drive around to look at lights and decorations this weekend. But instead of reflecting on all the amazing things that happened this year, I've found myself feeling a little more blue and reminiscing on all the things I missed out on.

I'm sure many of us feel that way right now.

I had plans with work for donation events in March. I remember when it got canceled I strongly believed it would be rescheduled at least 2 weeks later. What a joke. I was living in Iowa earlier this year and also had plans in April to visit family in Arkansas. That was pushed back a few weeks, thinking things would die down, but yet again, the pandemic was not ending any time soon. My partner and I had considered moving to Chicago, but before we knew it their numbers were sky-rocketing and that just didn't seem like the best choice anymore. Around this time we also stopped building a plan to travel to Japan in the fall. The end of May came and we realized things weren't changing so we safely traveled to visit our family in Arkansas because we just needed to get the heck-out-of-dodge. We got there and felt the warmth of the sun on our skin and the familiarity of being back to our roots and at that point, we decided this was where we were going to move. End of July I quit my job, end of August we moved 9.5 hours away. Two weeks into our new place and we were needing to move again for foundation issues that weren't being addressed and by mid-September we finally found an apartment we loved that was bigger and better than the first, but all of this in a city that was quarantining and we didn't know much about. But we had each other, we made it through and we had friends and family an hour to 2.5 hours in either direction of us. We were going to be okay, but from everything that happened this year, and many experiences I've left unnamed, it was about time for a much-needed mental breakdown.

It was at this point in our new apartment that I knew I wanted a change. I didn't want to go back into an office job. Especially not in an unfamiliar city. If you know me personally you know I've never really wanted a 9 to 5. I could be successful in an office setting, and was, but it's not where my passion lies. I'm passionate about writing, cooking, music and traveling. As we were getting settled into our new place and I was online looking for remote job opportunities, I came across a blog that was discussing an online platform to work from home called Wealthy Affiliate.

And this is how I ended up with my website.

I was a little skeptical at first. A community with millions of users that's been around for 15 years offering training, courses, webinars and 24/hr support to help you build a successful online business. It just sounded like any other quick-cash system that pops up on Facebook ads. But the blog I was reading just seemed more...genuine. I didn't even do research, I just created an account. You see, I started a blog in 2015 and before that, in school, my writing classes were my favorite part of the 5 years I spent at university. I gave up on that blog when I started working but would often find myself reading my old posts to reminisce on how much I loved writing those few articiles. So, to come across someone as passionate about writing as me and for them to make it seem so seamless just by being a part of this community, looked like the perfect opportunity for something new.

A change.

So I created my account and shortly after, I received a message from a coach that was there to answer any questions and help guide me along the way. I started my training, decided to give the Premium options a try to complete my training and before I knew it, I had created a website that I was proud of and was excited to share it with the online world.

I didn't know much about affiliate marketing, but in my previous workplace, I juggled a little bit of the marketing duties and it ended up being one of my favorite parts about the job. Luckily for me, the training at WA is thorough and extremely helpful so it wasn't long before I caught on, got the hang of it and was excelling. Not only did this make me feel good personally, but I had a partner encouraging me along the way and the support system inside of Wealthy Affiliate is insane. There's help around every corner and I receive weekly emails from my coach.

Fast forwarding 3 months later.

What I love the most about being a part of the WA community, is that it 100% is not a quick-cash opportunity. The training and support is there to help educate you on building a website from the bottom, up. I didn't want my website to just pop up one day and be successful to only die back down after a few months. I wanted to take my time, put my hard work into it and take pride in it along the way. I'm coming up on my 3 month mark next week and I'm starting to gain organic traffic, I'm receiving more comments and feedback from my website, I've got lots of support from friends and family on my social media platforms and I'm starting to rank in Google. If you search my domain I'm even ranked on page 1 and I also have even made a small profit! That's more than I could ask for in my little baby website that is still in the beginner stages.

Good things come to those who wait.

And while I'm not just necessarily sitting here waiting. I'm taking my time in the training, making sure I truly take in and learn from it and making sure I reach out for help when needed (which is not something that comes to me very easily). I have one course left and I am excited to see what the next 3 months bring and to see how far I've come when I reach the 6-month point.

So let's take a minute to reflect again.

Yes, this year has been full of it's disappointments and challenges, but that's not all that defines 2020 and it's not how I'll remember 2020. I'm not discrediting my experiences, because I went through what I went through. I watched people lose jobs, homes, loved ones. I've lost a loved one and a childhood pet. But our experiences do not define us, they are just a part of us. And the experiences that happened this year do not define 2020, they were just a part of it.

This year I grew, and for that, I am thankful. There is no growth without change and remember, I needed a change.

I've learned to let my walls down a little more. I've learned to love a little harder. I've learned to not always expect the same amount of love in return. I've learned to let go of the things I cannot control. I've learned about FFT's thanks to Brene Brown and I swear I've listened to that episode of her podcast at least 5 times. I've learned and accepted that it's okay to be afraid, but to not let the fear take over because fear is something we're taught and I have the power to change my perspective on things. I came out to my friends and family and my god, it was terrifying and freeing at the same time. I'm starting to allow myself to not be so perfect because I'm so tired of trying to be perfect for everyone. And it's exhausting. I'm starting to live in the moment instead of planning for every moment that seems so out of reach. I've learned more of my triggers and how to reason through them instead of reacting by lashing out. I've learned to give more hugs and say I love you more often. I've learned that my beliefs can change and evolve and be more inclusive than what I was brought up believing in churches. I've learned that I've missed living where there're more trees, I missed the connection to nature I grew up knowing. I've learned to let my bad memories thaw out so that I'm not letting depression and anxiety block out pieces of my life. I've learned that I have a lot of questions about my past, about myself and about where I see my future and in 2021, I hope I have the courage to ask them.

So even though it's easier to say 2020 sucked, I'm standing up to say 2020 brought me change and in that, growth. I welcome it into my memories for exactly what it was and I embrace it. It's flaws and grace, it's heartache and happiness.

I hope that you too can look back and embrace the pain, the moments that didn't turn out how you expected them too, the differences we had between each other, the fear that swept through the world and take it all as an experience of growth.

Take a moment in the next 14 days and list off the things that made you a better person this year, the times that made you smile, and please, take a moment to say I love you to every person that needs to hear it.

I wish you all the happiest of holidays and a welcoming new year!

Until next time,


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JeffreyBrown Premium
Great reflections, Haley! I'm glad that you have persevered through all of this!

halesjales Premium
Thank you Jeffrey!

Happy Holidays!
JeffreyBrown Premium
You're very welcome, Haley!