As I sit here drinking my hot chocolate and Malibu rum - yes, you read that right, I can't help but think of all the things I am grateful for. It actually sparked the 'Ah-hah' moment to come on here and write a blog since I haven't done one in a while.
It's hard to believe it is almost the end of another year and let's sit back for a moment and reflect on 2020 because W-O-A-H! Like, WOOOOAAAAH! What a year!
I remember sitting here months back when things started going a little sideways here on Vancouer Island. I actually believed this would all be done and over with within a few weeks, maybe months and that things would go back to normal before we knew it. As we sat in our hot tub day after day, week after week, it dawned on me that it was now months into this Pandemic. By the looks of things, I think we may even just cross over into that one year mark. Remember when everyone would ring bells or honk their horns at 7:00pm to show their respect for the Essential Workers? That got me every single time. We live downtown Nanaimo and you could hear the church bells go off every night at that time and I remember getting choked up a few times thinking of my family in Italy and wondering what they were going through at that exact moment. What a wild ride we were/are all on. Ladies and gentleman, fasten your seatbelts and get out the boxed wine or whisky of your choice.
When things got real serious, as a Small Business owner, I was terrified. Closing down shops? People losing their jobs? How was I going to sell anything? How was I going to pay my mortgage? Ahhhhh!!!!!!
My cousin called me one day and was telling me about the masks she was making and I could hear panic in her voice. I said, "What do you need me to do? How can I help?" Her response was, "You need to make and sell masks. It'll help you out financially and people need them!"
Me? Make masks? Uhmmmm. Say what?
I didn't want to - at all - but I felt like I had to. There really wasn't any other option so I donated masks to those who couldn't afford to buy them and then charged for the others in hopes that they would bring in enough income to pay for our bills. Once again, terrifying. I think I crapped my pants a few times that week not knowing where our income was going to come from. I had zero clue what was going to happen to my business given the circumstances of Covid.
I was pivoting. Hard. My business ran with systems in place and then all of a sudden those systems weren't applicable to the cards I was being dealt so I went from drift to drive. I was driving like I was in a highspeed chase with my eyes closed. During it all, I didn't spend too much time thinking about the word gratitude because all I could think about was getting those damn masks out as the orders came in. I HAD to get them done as soon as possible because God forbid someone didn't have a mask during the PANDEMIC!
As the days and weeks went on with the mask factory, I was beyond grateful that this little business was able to stay 'open' during one of the craziest times in my life which leads me into the next few months.
One of the most beautiful things I've seen come out of this is that it seems like more people are appreciating the smaller makers out there in the world. When bigger companies couldn't keep up with the supply and demand of making masks, people had no where else to go but to platforms like Etsy or local shops where local makers were providing for their communities. I believe that is when it started the ripple effect to support your local maker and this my friends is something to be grateful for.
In 2019 I had roughly 250 online sales. Since Covid I have had nearly 1,500 online sales, loads of new Stockists in Canada and the US and an unbelievable amount of support out there. How could I not sit in gratitude in 2020? Sure, there are lots of things I wish were different about this year but one thing I wouldn't change is the family, friends and strangers who have helped me along the way. I was able to run my business during one of the most challenging times in my life and if it weren't for you, I wouldn't have been able to do that. So, from the bottom of my heart, I truly thank you and so do the backyard hens because we were able to feed them super yummy treats all this time.
The whole reason behind sitting down tonight and sharing my thoughts with you all is to focus on the good in life even when times are tough because let's get real, times can be very tough, Pandemic or not. If we sit back and focus on the good rather than the bad, it makes life a whole heck of a lot easier.
We can sit here and name off all the things we can't do during Covid or we can look at all the beautiful things in life that we CAN do. On a side note: I'm super pissed I can't travel. Let's just get that out of the way.
BUT here are some things I grateful for:
1. My health
2. Our Home
3. Fresh Air
4. The Ocean
5. The Forest
6. Ah, heck - Nature!
7. My friends and family
8. All of you who have supported me along the way
9. My amazing 'staff' aka my friends who work their butts off to help me grow my business
10. My backyard chickens: Gabby, Cluck Cluck and Forest
13. Neighbourhood walks to look at all the Christmas lights
14. My neighbours cat who lives here part time. Yup. You bet your butt I'm grateful for Manu
15. My beautiful stepdaughter
16. Jay and all his support in all that I do. He really is my best friend
17. The space I share with my fellow Infertile Women. I am thankful for you all in my life
18. Friendships old and new
19. FOOD - SO MUCH YUMMY FOOD!
20. My life. I'm grateful for my 33 years on this planet and I'm grateful every single day I wake up and open my eyes.
I know that if you dig deep enough you too can list off some things that bring you joy even in hard times. Happiness is a choice and sure, life isn't always sunshine and rainbows but if you see everything in a positive light, you may find more reasons to be happy and that is much better than the alternative.
In closing, I ask this of you. I ask that when you finish reading this blog you name 3 things you are grateful for. They can be as simple as "I'm thankful I have teeth." Because let's get serious, it wouldn't be very fun being toothless and trying to eat corn on the cob. See what I'm getting at? It's really quite simple, you just have to make the time.
I wish you all nothing but love and happiness this holiday season and an even brighter 2021 because I'm not sure it can get much darker, can it?
(Insert huge eye roll there)
With loads of love and gratitude,