Well what a year 2020 was! I’m sure it is one for the history books. Last year was by far my most challenging. Honestly, I look back on it and think “what a clusterf@*k of a year that was!”.
This time last year I could never have imagined anything that happened in the last 12 months. COVID-19 was barely on the radar, we were slogging through open homes in Auckland, I was trying to work part time out of our spare room which was full of boxes from my old studio and storage. I hadn’t even begun to experiment with the inks, colours and mark making that would inspire my first ever collection of artworks.
I feel last year was tough for so many people that it feels a bit like we are shrugging it all off or not talking about it so much because we are also aware that others have had it tough, and that many around the world are in much worse situations than we are right now in New Zealand.
But I do think mental health is very important, and your pain and struggles are important even if there is a lot going on elsewhere. I think it is super important to talk about those struggles too.
I was so tapped out by the end of last year. Every holiday we had planned was cancelled due to COVID-19 except for one long weekend. I was so desperately in need of a holiday.
I checked out from work for a month and I’m not going to lie, it was so good for my soul. I am not someone who can continuously create. I need to stop to recharge, reset, clear my head. We adventured to lakes, rivers, beaches and the bush. Arlo loved it, there was lots of family around to give us a bit of a break from parenting. It was exactly what the doctor ordered.
I have quite a high-achieving, driven personality and can definitely overwork myself - something I am trying to work on in 2021. One of my Christmas presents was this great Smile Tile by artist Samuel Leighton-Dore which I now have in my bathroom as a daily reminder to myself.
I also read this great article from TED about the 7 types of rest every person needs. It talks about how sleep and rest are not the same thing, if you aren’t resting properly then all the sleep in the world won’t help you.
“We go through life thinking we’ve rested because we have gotten enough sleep — but in reality we are missing out on the other types of rest we desperately need. The result is a culture of high-achieving, high-producing, chronically tired and chronically burned-out individuals. We’re suffering from a rest deficit because we don’t understand the true power of rest.”
I have also been turning to gratitude wherever I can. I am incredibly grateful I was able to paint and create and produce my collection which was the silver lining of COVID-19 last year. I feel very grateful to live in New Zealand where we are basically living a normal life and have been able to make the most of a beautiful summer after a year of so many cancelled plans and holidays. I know it’s not like that for so many people at the moment. I am also super grateful to have finished off the year with a 6 page feature in Haven Magazine which you can read more about here.
I can’t even imagine what this year will bring. I have things I would like to achieve, but if last year taught me anything it’s that you can only plan so much because everything can change in an instant. I remain grateful for the freedom and flexibility that has allowed me to adapt over the last year, even though I have resisted the ups and downs at times because I don’t really like the feeling of not being in control.
It doesn't look like we will be going anywhere soon, I doubt very much that NZ’s borders will open this year, I feel we are in this pandemic for the long haul. Hello 2021, what a bizarre time to be alive!