The year 2020 has felt, a lot of the time, like a monotonous stream of same. Which is bizarre, given that this year has also given us a global pandemic and been the most out of the ordinary time that most of us have ever known! But our lives have been so shaved down by lockdowns and social restrictions that our days are stripped to the bone with no variety. Work, home and social life have all been within the same 4 walls. No special occasions like parties and weddings to pepper the calendar, no holidays (for some), not even those after work drinks on a Friday in the pub that we don't want to go to but somehow get dragged along.
Back in March I came back from San Francisco and went straight into isolation, where I remained for months and months, just me and my cat Ginger Rogers. I was working from home and only going out for solo exercise and to buy food. I saw no one and did nothing. It was during this time that I developed a personal philosophy that brought me back into the present and gave me excitement again.
There was nothing happening and everyone as frozen in time. I didn't know what I could plan or look forward to as the future we were all so certain of had been taken away and replaced by something more akin to an apocalypse movie. I was desperately sad that I was trapped apart indefinitely from my boyfriend in the USA. Every day was the same, in the same place, it felt like Groundhog Day. I'd get up and pick which room to work in that day, kitchen or living room. I'd attempt to stop myself eating lunch at 11am to give myself something to do. I'd go for a walk in one of 2 places each day, sometimes changing the route slightly to give some variety. At first it was a novelty as we were all living in this strange new normal, but very quickly it began to drag.
The change began on Easter Day. I was going to be alone (and in my family, Easter is always a big deal that we celebrate together) and rather than sit in my pyjamas eating chocolate I decided to make it an event. I intentionally made an occasion out of it. I researched recipes. I bought a special bottle of wine. I laid the table beautifully. I lit candles. I planned what to wear. I woke up that morning excited and had the best day I'd had in ages. And after all that joy I didn't want to let it go.
I am a planner, I always have been (that's why I did so well working in events). I love planning and being able to look forward to things and getting that sense of achievement when I tick it off my list. I began to chat away on my Instagram and talked about what I was going to do with my day, sharing recipes I was going to try and life anecdotes. I slowly started making all the things I normally do into little events. I made my morning smoothie and put it in a martini glass as it felt fun and fancy and more of an occasion and I laughed as I drank it as I felt so extra. I decided to plant some seeds in my garden and then looked forward to doing it for days. I didn't just make dinner, I'd light a candle, put some music on, lay the table beautifully and style the food like a fancy restaurant. I'd intentionally plan 'watchalongs' with friends where we would chomp through a takeaway and a new Netflix show at the same time whilst chatting about it on Whatsapp.
It wasn't just that I was elevating every day things, it was that my attitude towards them had shifted. I was doing everything with intention. Hatching little plans and saying to myself and my instagram followers 'I am going to cook SUCH a delicious dinner and it's going to taste so good and look beautiful and I'm going to enjoy it so much' or 'On my walk today the river is going to look so pretty and I can't wait to see it and I am going to just sit and enjoy it for 10 minutes'.
And with it all came a feeling of being 100% present whether I shared it with others or not. It was addictive, I just felt so excited all the time as I was always either looking forward to something or doing something. And those 'things' were all so achingly simple because we were in the middle of a global pandemic and I was literally trapped in my house. Before Covid we might even have called them mundane. Going to bed and thinking 'tomorrow, I am going to wear my pink jumper and shoes AND jewellery!' and getting excited. I mean...who would have thought it.
So now, every day is an event for me. I make little plans, write them in the calendar and look forward to them. The things I get the most excited about are food, drink and style so using these core passions (and others that pop up) I find something to single out each day. Whether it's choosing a recipe to cook one evening (like this delicious and fast pasta dish), and elevating it by pairing a wine (here's a post on pasta pairing) or deciding to dress up for a Zoom meeting. Or treating myself by getting and wearing some really nice loungewear that makes me feel better about sitting in the house all day.
Or wearing shoes. Never underestimate the power of wearing shoes. 2020 has taught me this.
PS I'm wearing my new Banana Republic coat which is perfect for the California winter as it is super lightweight - so keeps you warm in the shade but won't boil you to death when the sun comes out! With my fave Spanx faux leather biker leggings that I love and some very, very old ankle boots that cost me nothing and have lasted for years! A tan leather ankle boot will always come in handy and live a long life in anyone's wardrobe. I've had to replace the insole but they are still going so why trade them in? I also got this Whistle mini backpack on ebay, which is where I often find things I didn't manage to snag first time they were in store for various reasons. For tips on how to get your own bargains, read my blog post on how to buy pre loved on ebay here.
Go back to your day, and do it intentionally. Make it an event.