2020 Retrospective: Wins, Woes, and Lessons Learned

Wait, in my 2019 retrospective, I asked the universe for change and adventure in 2020?! I don’t know about the adventure part, but the universe totally delivered on the change part. For me and the entire world.

Before COVID shut everything down, I regularly took substitute teaching jobs and accepted paid writing jobs. I hoped to go back to full-time work in March 2020, but then I had to transform into a homeschool momma when in-person school shutdown and hastily shifted to virtual. Thankfully, virtual school this Fall has been far more structured and my kids are mostly self-sufficient. I’m still accepting freelance writing work, but I’ve also started my search for a content marketing/tech-marketing gig.

In this post, I’ll cover some of this year’s highs and lessons learned.  First, let’s cover some metrics:

Category202020192018
Books Read24 9
Blog Posts Published25457
Conferences Attended44 1
Community Events63 3

Next, we’ll review some of my wins, lessons learned, and woes.

Wins

Ya know, I have multiple wins that could list: successfully growing peppers and tomatoes; presenting my first session at CTO Advisor’s Virtual Conference, or embracing my creative side. But, honestly, I feel proudest about being on a path to a healthier me.

As I write this post, I’ve lost 45 pounds. I have 100+ more pounds to lose but I’m making progress. This lifestyle feels completely sustainable. The best part, though, is I’ve shed this bullshit narrative that I’m sentenced to a lifetime of fatness and that any lifestyle change or diet is bound to fail. I owe it to myself to not continue spending my one life limited by my size. In 2021, I’m so f*cking excited about the prospect of trying CrossFit (when safe) and riding a bike for the first-time in 25+years.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CJdyFT-pmh_/?igshid=14owx4aaq8knp

I didn’t start out this COVID shut-in on a quest to get healthy. In fact, I gained about 20 pounds between March and September. It was this disappointment and a drunken Zoom call with a friend that spurred me to embark on a Whole30 round for the first time. Prior to Whole30, I didn’t believe that I could give up bread, dairy, or sugar. I thought Whole30 would be one of the hardest things I ever did. Bullshit, it was nowhere close to being as difficult as I feared.

Eating healthy isn’t hard when you prep food, read labels and prioritize your health and the food you eat. Since then I log both food and calories and try to stay in a calorie deficit. In the past, I’ve vilified food like bread and refined carbs. This time around, I’ve made peace with the idea that I can still have these foods. I don’t need to eat them every day, though.

Woes

  • I’m going to forgo my woes this year. The truth is that I’ve been incredibly blessed that 2020 hasn’t been more of a shitshow for me and my family. We’re mostly unscathed… which is more than a lot of people can say.

Lessons Learned

  • Self-care isn’t selfish. This lesson has been a long time coming, but I think I’m finally getting it. Eating healthy is a key part of my self-care. To embark on this journey to get healthy, I need to prioritize myself. I feel like an asshole even typing this, and of course, I’m going to justify this. I often prepare my food and let my husband take care of feeding himself and the kids. A pound of turkey cooked up can feed me for 4 meals, or it can be one meal for the family. I’d love to cook healthy meals for a family of 4 every night, but I’m not ready yet. I’m okay with that.
  • Embrace the present. The truth is most of us have all we need to be happy right now. It starts with embracing what is, practicing gratitude, and ultimately shifting our perspectives.
  • I am enough. F*ck shame and f*ck those narratives of unworthiness. I am light, and so are you!

Year in Photos

Tree bark and decaying flowers captured my heart this year. Maybe I’ve turned full weirdo, but that the outdoors served as an escape from the banality of indoor life.

Becky Elliott

After dropping out of a liberal arts college that focused on reading and discussing the “Great Books”, Becky Elliott found her way to a career in IT. For 20+ years, she has held a number of roles in Dev and Ops, and the area in between the two. In working for organizations in which poor security practices can cost lives, she’s an ardent believer in integrating security through the entire design process. Becky holds a number of industry certifications including the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).

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