Well, 2020 was a wild ride!! Anyone else feel like it was the worst emotional roller coaster they've ever been on? Like, please stop the ride!! I'd like to get off now!!
And here we are in 2021. A fresh start!! Ha!! As if it was that easy and someone had a reset button. I think it's probably safe to say that 2020 brought changes and challenges that nobody ever expected they'd be faced with in life. What do you do with a year like that!? And where do you go from a year like that!?
In December of 2019, I wrote a blog post about my thoughts and reflections from that year and my hopes and concerns about the new year ahead. I had HUGE plans for 2020. I mean it was TWENTY frickin TWENTY!! Entering a new decade!! How cool is that!? 2020 was the first year since, I don't remember when, that I actually took the time in January to schedule and plan out almost my entire year. In the past, it was hard for me to even think a week in advance, so I decided this year would be different. I was ON IT!! There were SO MANY HUGE GOALS that I was going to attack like a fierce jungle cat hunting its prey. This was MY YEAR!! And I was SO READY for it!! Things started REALLY GREAT!! I was making lists and making progress...
Then... As we all know... Someone set fire to the (metaphorical) dumpster, and everything went into chaos and confusion. All the HUGE goals got flushed down the toilet and each day was like, "Is this really happening, or am I in a REALLY weird dream!? PLEASE say it's a dream and I can go back to the awesomeness that this year was supposed to be!!" Sadly, it wasn't a dream and we all had to find a way to navigate this "new normal." I felt like I pivoted my life and business SO MANY times and so frequently that I got dizzy. There was no time to rest or really process what was happening. It was like the rug I was standing on got pulled from underneath me and under that rug happened to be a body of water that I immediately plunged into like the dunk tank game at a carnival. Except there was no bottom to stand on so I had to keep moving to keep my head above water... Like I said before... Weird dream... Oh wait, I said it wasn't a dream... Anyone else feel that way?
It was a rough one... My heart goes out to all of you. My guess is that if you're reading this, chances are you had a rough year too. We all experienced challenges, struggles, and plans getting completely derailed. Maybe more or less than some, but not fair to compare. Any hard time sucks and I wish we didn't have to experience hard things, but that's not how life works. Hard things have the ability to show us so much about ourselves and what we're capable of. Looking back, it might feel like 2020 was all a total mess and everything was the worst, but if you look closer and truly reflect, you might be surprised by how you've grown, what you've learned, and what blessings got you through. Because we made it through. Yes, YOU did it!! I mean it's not like things are all better and back to REAL normal, not this crummy "new normal", but we're doing it... We found out how resourceful and creative we can be when truly put under pressure. You ARE resilient!! There's a word that has a new meaning for me. I never thought too much of it before, but I definitely feel like my resilience was tested last year and I have a newfound respect and love for the word... Maybe that will be my word of the year... I never picked one this year. Last year it was "clarity" and I didn't feel like I found much of that. I feel like there was more confusion than clarity, but I'll keep my hope up that I'll eventually find some... And when the journey for that still feels hard, I'll remind myself that I'm "resilient" and keep going. I hope you'll remind yourself of that too because we might need more of it to continue through this new year too.
Now as we're reflecting, I'd like to share with you some of my favorite moments, memories, and lessons learned that got me through this year. These are the highlights that I will choose to always let shine brighter than the dark patches. That's why I think this reflection time is so important. This wasn't easy to put together. It took time and effort. I'm not much of a writer (as you can probably see from how incredibly skimpy the Regenerous Designs blog is), but I found this helpful for me and I was hoping some of you might find it helpful too.
In January last year, to help me find some clarity and a good start to the year, I did the "Elegant Excellence Goals Journal" by Hilary Rushford. It was helpful and a lot of work, but there were a couple things that really stood out and I went back to again this year... One was what she called the "2019 Snapshot." It wasn't until after doing this exercise that I realized how much I truly accomplished in 2019 and what my stress/emotions/work load really looked like. I saw a terrible pattern (that I'm sure I probably was doing for years before too) and that was one thing I really wanted to change in 2020. Realizing that was why I tried so hard to plan ahead so I wouldn't find myself stressed, panicked, and struggling to work super hard to get things done in the short timeframe I realized I needed to. I wanted to break that cycle.
I didn't end up getting the Goals Journal again this year because I didn't feel like I needed to do ALL of the exercises again, so I just made my own "2020 Snapshot" worksheet to fill out, but called it the "Past Year Review." If you're interested in trying it, I attached it to this blog for you as a FREE DOWNLOAD!! I found it really helped to go through my past year's calendar, social media, and even photos on my phone when filling it out. Take the time to really reflect how you felt each month and give yourself credit and grace for what you've been through. I found it helpful to look for any patterns and things I wanted to try to change and improve for the new year. 2020 was obviously a weird year so it might be a hard one to start this with, but it's definitely worth trying out. I never used to do much reflecting at the end of a year, but now that I have, I can see how powerful it can be to help make positive changes. I wish I started this many years ago. It probably would've helped me to avoid making the same mistakes and sticking with bad habits for too long. So check it out and I'd LOVE to hear what you think of it!! I'll have more downloads and helpful resources in other blog posts coming soon too so keep a lookout.
>> Click the button at the TOP of this blog to Download the Past Year Review Worksheet <<
My favorite moments, memories, and lessons learned in 2020
Trip to Arizona at the beginning of the year to visit family, friends, and branch out the business.
Did a brave thing, out of my comfort zone, and walked into the Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts gift shop (my all-time favorite gift shop in AZ) to show them my work and see if they'd be interested in carrying it in their shop. I was SO nervous, but it went really well and they decided it would be perfect for the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Arts, in the building next door. They started carrying some special custom pieces I made just for their shop in March 2020.
Back to Arkansas...
As you know 2020 became the year of the Face Mask. I referred to the beginning of this change as The Mask Madness. This really took off in April and that became the busiest most stressful time of the year. I definitely learned A LOT from this experience about working/managing a team and how to do a large quantity production run. There wasn't much time to prepare. It was more of a, dive in head 1st and swim for your life, kind of situation. Once I decided to make masks (on a Friday), I did research, pulled fabrics that I thought would work, tested several design samples, made prototypes, took photos, got everything on the website, and hired people (by Monday). Adding a new item to the collection usually takes SO MUCH longer than that, but we didn't have the luxury of time.
Up to that point I only ever had small quantity orders for products so this was a HUGE learning experience that happened REALLY fast. I truly appreciated everyone's support as we navigated through this new phase and your patience as we worked hard to rush so fast getting everything made and delivered.
I'm SO Thankful for this QuaranTEAM, these ladies helped make it possible. They totally kick butt, were a blessing, such great workers, and a pleasure to be around in such a stressful time. I will never forget this crazy little adventure we shared.
This year I had 2 amazing interns from the University of Arkansas. They were an added blessing and truly gave me a reason to get out of bed and make the most of each day we worked together. With this year being like it was, there were definitely days that I wanted to hide and not do anything, but I wanted them to have a good experience so they gave me the motivation to get things done. I'm SO incredibly thankful for their help and hard work this year!! I know they will both go off and achieve great things.
This year I was also honored with the opportunity to be a mentor for new students going through the Factory45 sustainable fashion program. This is a series of online courses that help sustainable fashion brands grow their businesses. I went through this program in 2016 and loved it!! I learned so much and made a lot of great connections. So I was thrilled to be asked to come back and help. It was such a joy to be able to connect with and help the next group of students. I can't wait to see where they go from here!!
If you're interested in starting or growing your own sustainable fashion brand, check out Factory45!! I definitely recommend it!!
Because of my connections with that program, my business was also mentioned in this book (on page 28) about sustainable fashion. This was such an honor and a very cool surprise!!
Check out Project 333 if you're interested in minimalist style and simplifying your life. It has lots of great tips!!
When the quarantine 1st started and everything was so uncertain, I was feeling overwhelmed so I decided I needed some art therapy. Creating wearable art with a story brought me joy and encouragement to keep going through that challenging time. As I personally grew through the year, I brought that to my work and fused it into the finished pieces. My hope is that the feelings of love and encouragement will flow to each person these pieces end up with and you’ll feel that every time you wear them. Sometimes all you need is to put on a fun piece of clothing, accessory, or just some bright lipstick to give you the boost you need to take on the day. I called this the "Positive Perspective" collection. Each piece is one-of-a-kind with it's own name and story. It's currently on display for purchase at The Art Collective Gallery in Rogers, AR. If you're interested, reach out for an appointment to visit the gallery.
I was also grateful to be asked to collaborate on some special items for Beautiful Lives Boutique's Noel Holiday Market. If you're not familiar with BLB, they're a non-profit thrift boutique where each purchase helps to bring beauty and hope to the lives of women and children in crisis in our own community and around the world. I absolutely LOVE their mission and try to support them whenever I can, so I was thrilled to be a part of this holiday shop!!
I'm still so incredibly thankful to have my products available in the Crystal Bridges Museum Gift Shop. This past June I got the amazing surprise that they featured some of my work in their Blog. I appreciate their support for artist in the local community so very much. Follow this link if you'd like to check out their blog post and see what other gorgeous products they offer in store.
2020 also brought some relationships closer and helped us connect even when far apart.
LOVE my family and friends so much!!
With all that gratitude and happy memories shared, I have to be honest, this post started when I was feeling pretty low. I've been mentally struggling since year's end. That's why I've kinda taken a break from social media. I just haven't know what to share or how to tell you what I'm going through... If you follow me there you probably saw my post about moving everything from the office space back into the house. This was the biggest shift that last year brought. I still haven't fully wrapped my head around what this means for Regenerous. I was sharing the office building with my husband and his business, @theputtskee. Sadly, his business ended at the end of the year and I honestly can’t afford a space on my own. So back into the house it all went. It’s a tight squeeze and new adjustment. We haven't fully organized or got things set up yet. It's all just crammed in and I feel like I don't know where anything is, which is stressing me out. But more than that is the feeling of, "I don't know what I'm supposed to do now." that's really been weighing on me. It's been hard for me to find the motivation to organize because I don't know what I'm doing it for... What will I do when it's all done? What do I work on then? More true honesty is that I feel like I've lost my purpose. As I type that it sounds so dramatic, but it's the truth. I just feel like I have NO idea what I'm supposed to do with this business and if I'm even meant to keep putting effort into something that isn't really going anywhere. I just feel like I have no idea what I'm doing with anything.
Looking back at my 2019 end of year post made me realize I had a lot of the same feelings back then too, but then I made a plan for the new year. 2020 was kinda supposed to be my last chance to make big changes and momentum for the business. I told myself it was my last try and if I couldn't do it, this would probably be the end, but then everything got off track. Is it fair to say that was my last try when all my plans got destroyed by things totally out of my control or was that the HUGE sign I needed to finally convince me to throw in the towel? I've been praying a lot about it lately, but, as I write this, I still feel like I don't have any answers. I'm trying to trust in God's plan for my life and be open to whatever path I'm meant to take. It has all just made my heart so heavy. Change is so hard especially huge changes and this is a HUGE decision so I'm not taking it lightly.
I don't know what to focus on or how to even find what I should focus on right now. I'm trying not to be sulky and dramatic about it, I'm trying to be realistic with myself. I just don't know what to do when it feels like I'm stuck in a row boat without the paddle, drifting along not knowing what direction to go or how to move. I guess I'm partly afraid to make the wrong decisions because I've already put so much time into this and tried lots of things that haven't worked so well. I don't want to waste anymore time. It's overwhelming, but I always find a way so I know I'll figure it out... Just another part of the journey and I wanted to share that with you since most of the time you don't truly get to see what goes on behind the scenes of the business.
As they say, "Hindsight is 20/20" and as I wrap up this incredibly long post, I realized that 2020 was so much better than I gave it credit for. This year was definitely filled with A LOT of negativity if you keep up with the mass media, and have a tender heart, it can quickly crush your spirit and drain all hope. I guess I've been allowing myself to give into the chatter. It's just SO easy to focus on the hard dark places because once we start going down that rabbit hole, sliding further and further is easier than climbing back out. It doesn't have to be that way though!! Why would you want to give more credit and attention to the bad stuff than it already took from you?
This started as a sad recap of what I thought was a crummy year, but after doing all this work I realized it wasn't actually as much of a dumpster fire as I thought. Maybe more on a global scale, but not as much personally. It was definitely hard, there was A LOT of internal struggling, but there was still SO MUCH good and SO MANY blessings that came from it too. Sometimes we need to go through the hard stuff to truly appreciate the good stuff when we have it. So maybe reflecting is something we all should take time to do. Was your 2020 truly the worst or are you just thinking it was because that's the main narrative going around? It's easy to fall for that trap and want to be part of the mass group story. It happens to us all, but that's why we need these reminders. I think writing this was a HUGE reminder for myself. So I encourage you to see the truth for yourself. Don't take someone else's word for it and for goodness sakes, DON'T let someone else write your narrative. YOU control your narrative and how you perceive your life!! Perception is reality. Are you perceiving all the positive or negative? When you look back, what do you want it to say? This doesn't mean ignoring the negative or hiding from it. That would mean you're living in total denial and a recipe for a complete meltdown after it builds up too much to handle. This is about sitting with it when it comes, processing it, and making the decision to learn from it, let it go, and not let it have power over you. Sometimes the best change we can make is a change of perspective. I still have no idea what direction I'll be heading or what plans to make yet this year, but I trust God and know that if I keep focus on him, I'll be heading somewhere good. So I'm ending this as a thank you to 2020 for all I've learned, how it helped me grow, and looking forward to the challenges this new year will bring. I know it won't be easy, but I know that I'm resilient so I will continue to carry on... And so will you!! Here's to not letting the crap hold us back!! YOU GOT THIS!!
If you read through all this, you're amazing!! Thank you for your time and letting me share a piece of myself with you. I truly appreciate it. I'd love to hear your thoughts and be able to cheer for you too. Did anything in particular resonate with you? What was one main thing you learned from your journey the past year? What was one accomplishment you're most proud of? What is something you didn't like from the past year that you will change this year to make it better? What is one big goal you're going to achieve in the new year? Please leave me a comment below and/or message me on Instagram @regenerousdesigns. We're in this together.
With so much love and gratitude,