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  • Kait Henslee

2020: The Year I Hit the Reset Button on my Life




At the start of 2020, I thought it would be the year to connect. I planned to have more people over for dinner, host playdates, help more expats coming over, and have more date nights with my husband. Yet, COVID19 had different plans for me. Instead, I hit the reset button on my life.


2020 has certainly not been an easy year. It has been the year we stayed at home, saw social change, and felt much division. However, I’m always reminded of a Bible study from priest Kellie Wilson where she said, “through discomfort comes growth.” This couldn’t be more true for me personally. 2020 has been the year I looked long and hard at my life and hit the reset button on my mind, body, and spirit for the better.


Mind

In April, I decided to apply to Purdue’s graduate school. I have always said that I wanted to get my Masters, and I thought 2020 is the year, since I’ve got nothing but time. I’m so glad that I did. I am addicted now to the sense of accomplishment I feel and have yearned for. I also feel so fulfilled now that I am tapping back into my creativity that I haven’t seen since I left the classroom and stopped teaching.


I also started going to therapy in 2020. No I’m not mentally ill nor do you need to worry about me- I just needed a place to work through my problems and manage my ever present COVID anxiety in order to be a happier, healthier mother and wife. Through therapy, I’ve found great tools on how to manage my anxiety, deal with conflict, and properly handle stress.


In 2020, I made myself more aware of racial injustice. I never thought of myself as racist and always thought of myself as a fighter for equality. However, 2020 has made me more aware of my white privilege, as the daily injustices people of color go through on a daily basis.


Body

2020 has been the year that I started to love myself and appreciate my body. In January I joined a running group of five ladies that are a mix of American and French. No matter the temperature, we met at 6:10 and ran 5-6 miles (8-10km). It was something I looked forward to and didn’t mind getting out of bed for. I learned from getting back into a routine of working out that I feel amazing when I work out: I think more clearly, I feel less anxious, and I sleep better. In the past, I always waited for the time to be right to workout, but 2020 has helped me realize there’s never going to be a perfect time. You have to make the time. I now get up early, five days a week, to exercise because it makes me a happier, healthier, person, mom, and wife.


Soul

During Lockdown, I started to be more present with my family and brought back some traditions from my childhood. For example, pizza and movie night. As a child every Friday my mother made homemade pizza, and as a family we watched movies (remember those days of Blockbuster lol). It’s some of my favorite memories, and the perfect way to end the week. During lockdown, I brought back this tradition within my own family. It has been so much fun sitting down as a family and laughing together.


I also started making memories with my son. We planted flowers in our window boxes, baked cookies, and fed the ducks in the park instead of constantly running around worrying about things that didn’t matter or comparing myself to others.


My family and I started to get out in nature more after lockdown. We decided to try to hike as many Puys (French work for vocanos) before we move back to America. Lockdown made me realise how often I took getting out into the great outdoors for granted. There's just something about walking under the sun and breathing fresh air that's good for the soul. So most pretty weekends, you'll find us hiking a Puy or two.


I’ve also periodically deleted social media from my phone and stopped reading the news. Social media is a blessing and a curse. It can bring me joy sometimes, but it can also get in the way of what matters in my life by mindlessly scrolling. Because of this, I frequently delete it for a day or two as a way to reset my mind, priorities, and as my friend says protect my heart.



2021

I hope 2021 is the year to create. Through grad school I’ve rediscovered the amazing feeling I get from creating and tapping into my creativity. I hope again to do this not only with grad school, but in other forms like photography, writing, etc. I haven’t written in a long time here because I was afraid of what people would think of me. However, 2020 has taught me to love myself and to not worry what others think.


I frequently wonder if Covid19 and 2020 will be like 9/11 where we will never be the same. No, I won’t have to go through extra security at the airport, but I probably will always think twice before hugging someone or touching a door handle. And our family pictures on trips might still include masks instead of smiles. Nevertheless, I look forward to the days of gathering with my family and dancing the night away at a fun wedding. It’s been a crazy year, but I’ve tried to make the most of it.



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