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One Year In…Is Anyone The Same??

I’ve been kinda off for the past couple of weeks for what I thought was for no reason…or maybe something silly like the rain or daylight savings. Actually, it’s objectively been a really good couple of weeks. Better than most this past year. I’ve been walking every morning, got great feedback from Emily on my living room design (see! I promise I’m making progress:)), saw the EHD gals (masked) for the first time since last March to raid Emily’s prop garage for priceless decor pieces, AND accidentally got TWO BOTTLES of wine when I really ordered two glasses from Postmates. All pretty awesome wins. But when I’ve woken up the past two Mondays, they’ve felt like Thursdays. Each week started out feeling like a mountain I might not be able to successfully climb. It wasn’t until this actual past Thursday when my friend said, “Jess, your body is probably just remembering the fear and anxiety of last year during this time”. At that moment I thought, “DUH! That makes so much sense. How could I have not picked up on that?” I mean, you can’t turn on the TV or open your phone without being reminded that we’ve made it to the one-year mark. But I also haven’t been the only one. My friends, coworkers, family members… a bunch of them have also felt off recently. Coincidence? I think not.

So we thought we’d jump on the “one year” bandwagon and each talk about our experience (the EHD gals and some of our wonderful contributors). Now, when I say “talk about our year,” I mean what we learned, how we grew and some of the happy silver linings that came about. 2020 was undoubtedly a horrible freaking year and our hearts are with all of you who went and are going through far worse than what we have. But with all the trauma, loss, and, extreme stress we’ve collectively gone through, we wanted to create a space to shine a light on the positives. And look simply surviving is PLENTY enough of a “positive”, but with some hope on the horizon, talking about the ways we lifted ourselves up seems like a nice thing to celebrate. I’ll let Em start us off…

Emily

It’s hard to talk about this year in any sort of simple form because it was full of all of the feelings. It’s been a year – and it feels like it’s been both the longest one of our lives as well as a totally lost year – like I keep forgetting what grade my kids are in (we are still homeschooling). I’ve changed enormously and fundamentally and I know I’m not alone. So to try to boil down the impact of this year for me feels almost premature, but I know that I got off the hamster wheel and I really don’t want back on (while being endlessly grateful for what the hamster wheel helped me achieve). 

1. I woke up in so many ways. I became more of a conscious minimalist. I created so much waste before and now I don’t. My job, me personally – I just wasn’t cognizant, didn’t have time to think about it or maybe I just chose to ignore it. I loved “stuff” and “options” – that’s part of being a stylist. But when shopping felt scary at the beginning (and ordering online put delivery people in danger and felt selfish) my thoughtfulness about waste grew and I woke up. We were reusing Saran Wrap and washing aluminum foil. It helps that very little gets delivered up here as we don’t have USPS, so I realized how much less I need to be content. For whatever reason I have zero desire to rearrange my furniture and accessories here, happy with how it is which is an absolute first for me. Maybe it’s because for the first 9 months there were no photoshoots so I didn’t need to change things up. Maybe it’s because no one was coming over to impress. Maybe it’s because it felt unimportant in the scheme of things. Maybe it’s because I am feeling content spending so much time with my family and therefore satisfied with how things are without needing them to be different or “better”? I don’t know. I also recognize that this house is very beautiful and doesn’t need anything, but in the past that didn’t stop me. Now going forward I won’t be perfect, but I can solidly say I won’t go back. 
2. So many lessons learned this year that gave me the opportunity to be a better person (and have hopefully an influence on others). Being an influencer in 2020 was extremely challenging and stressful, and frankly it’s never something I’ve liked being in the first place (I love being a design blogger, but not necessarily an “influencer”). There were huge, extremely important things to learn and say about racial and social injustice, grief, and the election and it was very messy, full of lots of mistakes – all public. I heard somewhere recently (likely a self-help podcast) that “the obstacles are part of the journey”. It’s actually really exciting and freeing, like a way to give yourself grace and kindness instead of regret and shame. Now when I try and fail, or make a mistake I can recognize the lesson I needed to learn almost immediately instead and shaming myself. 
3. I keep joking that I don’t know how I’m going to turn out – my life was so different before Covid, I feel like I was a different person than I am now. It’s like I’m in the middle of the “coming of age” movie and I’m just waiting, so curious how I’ll be after we move to Portland and the world opens up. I’ve become a MASSIVE homebody (often going weeks without getting in the car) and I’m seriously wondering if I was always just an introvert that could extrovert really well (Bowser said this to me once, after I had an exhaustion meltdown and asked everyone to leave the house during a shoot). I used to love living in a city, now I don’t. I used to love any excuse to party and socialize, now I don’t (but can still be easily swayed). I used to spend the weekend busying myself with projects – obsessed with productivity, experiences, and social engagements – now we cook, clean, hang with the kids doing nothing, often in nature, and I read novels – like a lot of novels. I’m so much more protective with my time and my social and work boundaries are so much higher. I don’t know how long it would have taken me to learn this lesson, surely I would have kept running on adrenaline for decades, faster and faster on the hamster wheel if it weren’t for quarantine shutting it down. And I too, finally had time and energy to start therapy instead of just endlessly talking to my friends about the same problems, for years. It was time to do something about it. I’ve become so close to Brian and the kids, and I’m just so grateful for my team of people who care so much about this blog (and you all – thank you for reading and sticking with us). 

Jess

two different years, two different famous homes, two different jess’s

I go back and forth with letting myself take in the trauma of this past year and finding as many silver linings as possible. I’ve talked a couple of times about the hard parts about being living alone during a pandemic but haven’t touched on the really positive parts. First off, I finally started therapy last summer. I’m almost militant about finding the good in any situation and try to always focus on gratitude. Very “everything happens as it should” kinda philosophy. It’s how I was raised and it can’t be stopped. But holy shit is it almost impossible to find hope in the midst of a global pandemic (especially in the beginning). So “this thing” that made me “me” felt stripped away and I didn’t know where to turn. I was an anxious wreck that was having all of my suppressed emotions from my ENTIRE LIFE coming at me all at once. Nearing 10 years without my mom, physical insecurities, imposter syndrome, extreme fear of prematurely losing my other parent, etc. were all things I couldn’t ignore anymore with my trademark “positive attitude”. I could perk up for work but then was a shell of a human and not reaching out to friends because I didn’t want to add to the burdens that they were going through. So while I hate that it took a pandemic to get me into therapy I am forever grateful. On a lighter note, I MOVED! I know you all (or at least most of you) know that but it has also been pretty transformative. Having actual space and wonderful new neighbors that (safely) talk to each other is something I didn’t know I needed. Also, my relationship with my brother got stronger which actually is the best thing to come out of this pandemic. Lastly, I made some positive lifestyle changes. I’ve talked about how I am FINALLY taking care of my skin and the emotional benefits of that but I also went almost fully plant-based with my dad back in July. It’s actually been such a fun journey to be on with him and really helped me to feel like I was in control of what I was putting in my body in a way I hadn’t before. FYI this is not me saying everyone should do it. Eat however works best for you! So am I all better? Ha. NO! But I am stronger, I think we all are. 2019 Jess was good but 2021 Jess is more firmly rooted, better about creating personal boundaries, and much kinder to herself.

Albie

The past year has taught me that anything is possible, and being able to pivot is tantamount to having a superpower. None of what I expected from 2020 — good and bad — came to pass. While being sequestered to my home wasn’t the most jarring experience, coupled with the civil unrest, the year took an emotional toll on me. Personally, however, I was able to come out on the other side, more protective of my peace, prompting us to take a huge leap to purchase our first home…something we actually hadn’t planned on doing till this year. 

Caitlin

An unexpected bright spot: after spending a full year apart – the longest we’ve ever gone without seeing each other –  I got to head home and spend 4 months with my mom, and it was the most time we’ve spent together since before I left for college over a decade ago. I flew out in November and we were a little nervous, seeing as we had both been living alone for 8 straight months and we’d both be stuck in the same space ALL THE TIME, but it never got old. I wore my robe 24/7, drank a lot of wine, cuddled with her dog, ate a ton of salmon with udon noodles, watched Antiques Roadshow, giggled a bunch, fell asleep on the sofa too many nights, and had the best time. If we had still been working in the office, I kind of have the feeling that “hey, I’m gonna go work from a sectional in Delaware for 1/3rd of the year, bye” wouldn’t have really gone over well, so I’m just really, really, lucky to have that flexibility now. It felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I’m really grateful for it, especially after hearing that so many folks are still away from their family. Like, sure, I miss my friends and bars and waking up at 3 AM for skating, but those felt like a welcome trade for the chance to spend so much uninterrupted time with my mom. (P.S. I know Brenda will be reading this while she’s 1. laying in bed and catching up on news or 2. eating her morning rice krispies, so…hi, mom!!! I miss you a lot already!!!)

Rashida

We had just come back from celebrating my husband’s grandmother’s 100th birthday in Atlanta, GA (The dogs came too!). We had no idea that it would be the last time we would see his mom or family for over a year! That trip was a much needed break from my crazy emotional 2019. Some people know this, some may not, but I’ve been dealing with infertility for 4 years now. And social distancing gave me the space and time I needed to finally start to process my emotions and strengthen myself as I navigate so many baby announcements. I started biblical counseling again, which has taught me how to lament. Something I never thought to do. I found myself talking with family and friends daily, that I didn’t usually talk often with. I started memorizing scripture which has helped me get rid of anxious thoughts. It was and is a time for rebuilding; myself, my faith in God, and with others that I lost touch with. I’m grateful that God kept my loved ones safe during this year of sorrow the world experienced. I know that many are not able to say that. But my hope is that we all find God’s peace in the midst of these trying times.

Ryann

I remember at the beginning of quarantine I wrote about feeling happier and less anxious than I had in a really long time. Oddly enough, in the pre-pandemic picture, I was on vacation in Hawaii for my cousin’s wedding which was so amazing yet I was secretly battling crippling anxiety and shame. About a month into quarantine, not knowing how long lockdown would last and how devastating the pandemic would be, I felt grateful for a break from, well, the world. There is this culture, especially here in America, that says we need to be constantly moving, that we need to be productive, and above all, we should be stressed all.the.time. We value stress and “success” more than happiness so I felt like this shared experience of a global pandemic forced many to slow down A LOT and think about what really matters. As months went by I had plenty of ups and downs and several bad days and weeks BUT as I look back on this year, I am so lucky to say there were a lot of positives among the chaos and turmoil. First, I got engaged in August and I am honestly still riding on that high to get me through tough times. Having a loving, supportive, and kind partner during all of this is the biggest gift. I also made some positive strides when it comes to my mental health in that I am finally on medication that works for me and I am starting to let go of the shame surrounding taking medication (A HUGE step for me). And finally, my brother and sister-in-law had a BEAUTIFUL perfect baby girl who I am so in love with and can’t wait to squeeze in person. All of these things coupled with my health and the health of my loved ones are all I need and I think I did some serious growing in 2020 that may not have happened under other circumstances. Cheers to that and a (hopefully) brighter future for all of us. xx

Malcolm

In the “before” photo (which was taken right as the pandemic hit the US) is of me sitting in my old, empty condo. I was taking a leap of faith by selling that place and moving to Arlington, and my anxiety was at its peak. In the “after” photo (taken exactly a year later), my anxiety is largely at bay, and I’m visibly proud of myself for taking that leap of faith. You can even see the tension in my body fade between these two pictures. It’s pretty remarkable.

These are the three things that really shifted for me this past year:

  • Trusting my gut: I’ve always had deeply visceral reactions to just about everything, but for some reason, I never allowed myself to trust that feeling. Over the last year, I was challenged in SO MANY WAYS to trust it, and it has only given me power and positive momentum.
  • Seeking help: Before this last year, I thought that seeking help was a sign of weakness or failure. With all of the curveballs that 2020 threw at us, I quickly adjusted and learned that help is a pretty vital way to maintain a high degree of level-mindedness and self-care.
  • Trusting people the first time: I’m a very understanding person. I NEVER want that to change, but it has certainly led me to my fair share of pain, heartbreak, and confusion. Over the last year, I’ve learned how to balance my propensity for being an understanding person with a deep belief that if someone shows me their true colors (and those colors don’t compliment mine), I need to see them for who they are and keep it pushing. This is pretty aligned with my first lesson!

Mallory

I’m not gonna sugar coat it, the pandemic has been a REAL struggle for a gal in her early 20s at times. Like I wanna go OUT and SEE the world and MEET people but I CAN’T. That’s been the hardest part about it all. But simultaneously sooo many amazing things have come out of this pandemic it’s ridiculous. I am so thankful to be happy and healthy and especially to still have a job that I love doing so much every single day (it’s a real privilege). Working from home is a dream case scenario for me and while I realize not everyone has had this experience (AND THAT’S TOTALLY OKAY), this pandemic has transformed my fitness life. I used to hardly workout…I would try to go at least 2 times a week after I got off work, but working out consistently at 6 or 7 pm just didn’t happen for me. With our new work-from-home life, I’ve been taking lunch breaks to do a quick 30-minute boxing, strength training, or cardio workout and it has completely transformed my life. I need sunny, natural light to be motivated to workout and I also love being able to do it from my home!! I’ve seen insane physical and mental changes in my life since the pandemic (and I’ve worked incredibly hard for it) and it’s something I may never have had if it wasn’t for being locked inside. THAT is the number one thing I’ve been so fortunate to have during this year. I’ve also been full steam ahead on designing my apartment which has been A BLAST. Getting to talk to THE Emily Henderson about my first ever apartment design has been one of the most amazing things to happen in my lifetime. LASTLY, I’ve felt this incredible bond grow with my family and with Chase (and his family too!). Since those are the only people we’ve seen for a year, our bonds have grown so strong together and I feel so so fortunate. It’s made me realize what’s really important in life: health and deepening connections with those closest to you. Okay, actually one more thing…so this is the real “lastly:” I AM A CHEF NOW. Alert the media. Cooking has become such a relaxing thing for me (usually my boyfriend Chase cooks like every meal and I sous chef) but now I really really cook and I love it. I don’t love Covid of course, but I love a lot of things that have come from this. THE GRATITUDE IS STRONG HERE GUYS.

So like I said, none of us are the same and I think that’s a pretty beautiful thing. Now, we’d love to hear from you. How did you grow? Do you feel different? Any fun new skills?

But again, we don’t want to make light of the extreme loss that so many have experienced. We just want to have a place to both grieve and celebrate.

As always, love you and very much mean it.

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5 months ago

Maybe my favorite post in a while, and there have been some good ones. I love hearing how everyone has grown, what they’ve learned, and how they’ve taken care of themselves. It’s so interesting that during this time where we cannot see one another, our compassion and care for each other and for ourselves has expanded dramatically. I don’t wish a pandemic on anyone, but I do think the world was in need of a little reset. I just hope we don’t all rush back to bad habits (talking about myself here, not you guys!). I want to continue to protect my time, take care of my self and spend more time with my family even when there are a million other options again.

Amanda
5 months ago

Love this post! Thanks Emily and Team!

Karen
5 months ago

I’m currently back in a pandemic-induced “dip-down” phase, and it’s a little extra rough as I see the world around me start to pick back up and get its groove on, when I’m not able to get going yet. For me this pandemic has been a real “up and down” experience – from my “let’s trade food with neighbors and plant a garden and DIY re-design bedrooms yaaaaayyyyy!!!!” to not wanting to do a darn thing (and that being NBD b/c there ain’t a darn thing to do). There have been month-long stretches of motivated and active and having robust “to do” lists phases, followed by sluggish and white-noise stepped-back I-got-nothin’ phases. (And for me, I’m in general a go-getter person with an active calendar.) I also recently realized a big reason this pandemic has been so rough for me and my family (and I think others can relate to this) is that for a year now I’ve been just hoping and trying and STRESSING for “safe and OK, nothing super bad is happening; our kids are ok, we have our jobs and house, no one’s hurt” – i.e., the bare minimum, the (stuck at) “ground level” of life. Most… Read more »

Kerri
5 months ago
Reply to  Karen

Karen – this is so well-put. The “ground level” of life is so true. My husband and I talk all the time about how there’s just nothing to look forward to. It’s feeling like a neverending Groundhog Day sometimes.

Kelly
5 months ago
Reply to  Karen

Yes. Just yes.

Heather Amsden
5 months ago

Such a great post everyone. Love to every one of you and thank you for your openness today but also the joy you bring to my life every day. EHD rocks!

Vera
5 months ago

Thanks for sharing everyone!! This was really uplifting and relatable. ❤️

Molly
5 months ago

This was such a great read! Thank you team EHD for sharing these parts of yourselves. And Rashida – I’ve been there and it is TOUGH. I understand the depths of how challenging it is and how strong you have to be to keep moving forward. So glad you are touching into love and peace during this difficult time.

Jane
5 months ago

Great post! Ryann thanks for sharing your story of shame around taking medication. In case you haven’t already binged them all, I recommend checking out the Podcast Unshaming. I am obsessed!

Admin
5 months ago
Reply to  Jane

oh I will check it out! thank you for the rec xx

Sara
5 months ago

What a lovely post. Thank you all for sharing and asking. This has been the toughest year of my life. For many reasons: we live in the middle of center city Philadelphia in less than 700 sq ft and went into lockdown with a 4 month old, 2 year old and 5 year old. My husband is in the military and we’ve been on edge waiting for his next assignment and whether or not we’d have to move. We’ve been in lockdown so long that we went through two of those cycles. Yikes. The stress of the civil unrest this past summer with constant sirens helicopters and the oppressive heat were so so much. Very necessary, but man my nervous system was and is jacked. I have uncovered huge cracks in my emotional mental and physical health. Being a FT stay at home mom is basically the worst for me. And handling zoom school with our very much losing it now 6 year old is impossible. And yet. My marriage is stronger than ever. I rely on god so much more. Our kids are growing and healthy and safe. I have the unshakable fortitude to seek the help I need,… Read more »

Cheryl
5 months ago
Reply to  Sara

Agree with you on mom life being almost unbearable. And the bone crunching tension of waiting for our fair share of tragedy which hasn’t come..yet. That’s the real nerve jangler. I sent my daughter back to school last Monday and now I worry about waking up in the morning with a case of Covid right as things were getting better.

But there’s a mental health issue here as well as the physical. My daughter developed classic anxiety issues at home to the point where she was so insecure and fearful she wouldn’t use the bathroom alone. I hoped school would eventually help her to recover her sense of independence and self and never expected an overnight change, yet she changed completely after returning to school. She still sees a therapist (she’s 8) although the therapist agreed she’s 95% better.

There were so many repercussions to this year, a web we probably won’t be able to truly untangle for years. There was good but man, the bad was intense. I also feel grateful that the suspension of time gave us the ability to focus on racial issues that have been consistently glossed over in this country.

Sara
5 months ago
Reply to  Cheryl

Cheryl, I so so hear you on always being on the edge of feeling like another something horrific will happen next. Yes.

I am so relieved for you that your daughter’s anxiety is improving. Thank god. It has been awful to watch as our kids are asked again and again and again to absorb all of the changes that have been foisted on them. Sometimes my son just screams at the top of his lungs, “I can’t do this anymore!” And I just let him have that release and then I often say, yeah, Buddy, me neither.

Caity
5 months ago

Loved reading how you all have changed and grown during this time, and made so many positive changes in your lives. I hope that many others out there have also done the same! For my family this year was a gift because our daughter has chronic lung damage from spending 6 months on oxygen in the NICU (she was born at 24 weeks). We were trying to be careful before the pandemic, but my husband still had to go to work. Because of Covid we have been able to fully quarantine during the most vulnerable years of Eleanor’s life. She turned 2 on March 1, and while we still don’t know what would happen if she got Covid, we are just so grateful to have made it to the 2 year mark (danger of death from pneumonia or other respiratory illnesses decreases after age 2 for these kids). I took up horseback riding again after a hiatus of 4 years, and I was able to compete in my first ever eventing competition! We were also able to save a lot of money and make very much needed renovations and repairs to our home. This year also taught me that I… Read more »

Rusty
5 months ago
Reply to  Caity

Sending you love and strength, Caity. x

Evelin
5 months ago

A shout out to Ryann – you have so beautiful natural hands!

Admin
5 months ago
Reply to  Evelin

this is so nice to hear because I used to hate my hands until my fiancé told me he thinks they are beautiful so thank you for reaffirming that he’s not just saying that because he loves me! lol

Kathryn
5 months ago

Guys, this is all so good, thank you for sharing. It’s very much a season to grieve and celebrate.

@Rashida…. I see your SEED probiotic out of focus in the foreground and I am right there with you! It changes you on the inside, for real, and is so worth it. Add it to a Sunday link-up if you have not already, that stuff is magic.

Sarah T
5 months ago
Reply to  Kathryn

Thanks for this rec, Kathryn. After reading some reviews, am going to try it!

Liz
5 months ago

I have so much to say about this but no time. Could anyone tell me where Emily’s sweater is from? I am working from home while caring for a baby and could use a sweatshirt like that!

Roberta Davis
5 months ago

Jess, I went whole food plant-based, too! Took a break when COVID hit and got back to it about 7 weeks ago. Lost 10 lbs so far and my insulin resistance/diabetes is starting to move toward the rear view mirror. What a weird, hard year! I think most about my grandkids and how they will be affected by it for the rest of their lives. As far as terrible things go, I think this is not at all the worst that could have happened to all of us.

Rusty
5 months ago

You. Guys! A monumental post! Boom!💥 Where I live, in Perth, Western Australia, we’ve only had one (yes, 1) community case of Covid in the last year (security guard – caught from a quarantined person). All other cases since last April, have been returned citizens in compulsory hotel, guarded, quarantine. We eradicated it through hard, fast, lockdown, community compliance and great governance. I’m beyond words to express my gratitude for this. I’m also lost for words to express the enormous, shattering suffering that so many countries have gone through due to poor governance, lack of compliance and nit locking down. Gut wrenching! (I have 4 family members in the US that have had Covid and one who may not make it, yet 🙏). The vulnerability that each of you has shared your experiences, is so commendable. It touches your readers across the world and beyond, because we’re likely to discuss your sharing with those in our lives and open conversations about the last year with our near and dear. Thank you. ❤ Some things really broke through for me…. Emily: “the obstacles are part of the journey” You’ve grown, right before our eyes, in so very many ways! It’s amazing… Read more »

Irene
5 months ago
Reply to  Rusty

Rusty, I enjoy your “sayings” so much.

It’s starting to feel like my former favorite of yours, “There is no Planet B” is becoming obsolete now that there’s such intense interest in Mars. (of course, I’d rather keep living on a beautiful, environmentally healthy Earth, but it looks like my distant descendants *might* have a Planet B).

Now you’ve come up with “Even if you win the rat race, that still makes you a rat!” Marvelous — thank you for that saying.

Rusty
5 months ago
Reply to  Irene

There is no planet B 🌏 got me slammed so badly by, I’m still bruised.
It’s vitally important and always, always true.

Mars? Really? Who are we kidding!?!😹

5 months ago
Reply to  Rusty

Oof that rat race comment got to me. I’ve long had a different view of what a successful life means to me, but it can be SO hard to marry my need for space and time and peace with a career in corporate America. It always comes off as “oh, Arlyn just doesn’t want to work.” Except it’s not that at all. I really love working. I love creating. I love adding something to the conversation (you know that, of course). The pandemic has moved me closer to knowing what I want out of life, and let me tell you…I don’t want to be that rat. 🙂

Caitlin
5 months ago
Reply to  Arlyn

Arlyn, I relate to this SO much. You and Rusty put this into words so well. Iwork hard but I also have a deep appreciate for life. I’ve learned that in most situations, the job will not love you back, so I need to do what’s best for me! Our capitalist society struggles with this idea!

Admin
5 months ago
Reply to  Arlyn

Yes yes yes!!

Rusty
5 months ago
Reply to  Arlyn

Sooooo true, Arlyn.
The pandemic has ‘woken’ up huge numbers of people, yet so many have ‘slept’ through the whole thing.

Caitlin
5 months ago
Reply to  Rusty

❤️🥰
9 weeks Rusty!! Can we have a giant virtual celebration for you then?!

Rusty
5 months ago
Reply to  Caitlin

Hahaha 😹
Sure! It’s still incredibly tough, but I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel … almost.
It’s surreal. And exhausting.
xx

Megan
5 months ago

Emily – I love that you’re embracing less waste, but don’t resuse Saran Wrap! Ditch it all together and get Stasher Bags and beeswax wraps. No waste and prettier too.

Mary
5 months ago

Focusing solely on the positives, my kids (now 4.5 and 20 months) have spent the last year together, all day everyday. That may not seem like much, but my husband and I both work full time and under normal circumstances they would have been in daycare in separate rooms. I know they would still have a great bond, but this feels like it’s creating a really strong foundation for the rest of their lives and it makes my heart so happy to watch them together. My husband and I have been together since we were in college (a little over 18 years now) and in the last year of very little outside interaction, we still really enjoy each other’s company! We are confident we’ll be fine when the kids leave the nest! We tackled some home improvements, the biggest being adding a flagstone patio extension to our backyard setup completely by ourselves and the pride we feel in how that came out and getting to enjoy it has been such a boost. Working mostly from home has allowed me to play with my kids more, and get those pre-nap snuggles everyday. And last, I’ve really used the last year to… Read more »

Kaiulani
5 months ago

What a great read. Thanks for sharing.

Jillian
5 months ago

This gives me all the feels. I appreciate each and every one of you sharing with us. It has been a wild, wild ride. The pandemic coincided with the immediate aftermath of my divorce… which turned out to be a blessing. I was so down a grief hole I had no clue how to climb out, and could see everyone else carrying on, moving through life- until everyone’s world came to a halt. I was grateful for the chance to not feel guilty for curling up in a ball, being unproductive, lost, etc. It allowed me the space and privacy to heal over many months. I didn’t trust at the time that I could pull myself out of the abyss, but I did, and I am SO proud of myself. It’s what I hold most dear about my life now- my own resiliency. Pandemic life is still extremely tough, but I am grateful for the space lockdown gave me to heal.
Thank you all for sharing- you are each inspiring!

ally
5 months ago

I really appreciate how open, honest, real, humorous, and vulnerable you have all been throughout the year about your pandemic experiences and how things have been for you. It’s been a balm. I’ve loved your stories and am rooting for all of you and invested in how things continue to go. Thank you.

(And I know this is not the point of this post at all, but if Emily feels like linking to the jeans and sneakers in that first photo, I’d love to know sources.)

Coleen
5 months ago

EHD team, Thanks for such a positive post. Sometimes it takes the rainstorm (or hailstorm as we had in Boise, Idaho this morning) to bring the rainbows (double this am). You pour your hearts and souls into these posts and sometimes get feedback that is brutally honest in return without any mercy. Today’s post was all about emerging from a pretty crazy world with the boldness and beauty of a flower peeking out of a crack in the concrete reaching for the sun. And so glad that other commenters gave you Grace and shared their positive stories too. We appreciate it all. P.S. love how Rusty called out each person with a compliment. You have the best fans. Also didn’t post yesterday, in fact don’t post ever but Emily, I am thrilled to see your progression in designing your forever home. Dining rooms away from the kitchen are common in areas I have lived in before and also not as bad as one thinks…you will have all the friends and family to help bring food in there and hopefully bus their spots too. Your reasoning is obviously sound since you have been there, know where the best views are, the… Read more »

5 months ago

I love you all so much. Thank you for sharing this. It’s clear this past year has shaken us all up to our core, and I really don’t think that’s a bad thing at all. Of course, I wish we didn’t have to learn these lessons at the expense of lost lives, lost livelihoods, lost…everything. But I guess that’s what makes life so beautiful, right? Even the darkest, nastiest, saddest bits have slivers of hope and change and magic. 🙂

Admin
5 months ago
Reply to  Arlyn

We love you Arlyn!

Rusty
5 months ago
Reply to  Arlyn

Beautifully said. x

5 months ago

Thank you for normalizing doing therapy and taking medication for mental health.

Suzanne
5 months ago

Beautiful post! Thank you to each of you for your courage in sharing this piece of yourself with us. Thank you for normalizing therapy and medication, as needed. Thank you for showing the silver linings even in the midst of acknowledging the suffering. Rashida, I wish you all the love and support you need to get through your infertility struggles. I hope for a positive outcome, whatever that may look like. xoxo

alexa
5 months ago

Thought provoking post, all! I guess that one of the primary struggles for me is that I do feel the same – it’s just that the world has changed around me. While I’ve tried to take this time to improve myself or my environment, I have experienced extreme lulls in motivation that’s keeping me down. For example, I’ve started learning German! But then I think – when will I ever get to go to Germany now? – and cycle into melancholy. I’ll work on some DIY home improvements only to ask – when will anyone get to see this? I now loath my house because it feels like a prison.

If I’ve changed at all during the pandemic, it’s that I’m so much more honest with strangers on the internet now… don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. Haha.

mzwong
5 months ago

I’ve started to experience anxiety at the thought of going “back to normal”. I like being at home, I like having this distance from people if I want it, I like not going to the store everyday, I like not driving around all the time transporting my kids from place to place, errand to errand. I like not looking for parking near work and worrying about getting a ticket every day. I like having us all at home all the time. As a natural pleaser, having the pandemic say no for me has been a relief. I would like to keep things the same, except be able to go to restaurants and movies. Anyone with me?

Admin
5 months ago
Reply to  mzwong

I am so with you!

Stacia
5 months ago
Reply to  mzwong

Yes. Yes. Yes!

Sara
5 months ago
Reply to  mzwong

Huge YES to the pandemic giving me an automatic no. I too like all of the things you said abs want to keep this pace just add in school for my little people. You know what I really want to stay too? Having the pace of my siblings and their kids stay slower. They’re lives were moving so fast with so many activities it was hard to see them or be fit in. I really like less.

DeniseGK
5 months ago
Reply to  mzwong

I don’t know if you would want to do this, so take it or leave it, ok? – but you can learn how to say No for yourself without it overwhelming you after you say it. It takes doing – that is, lots of practicing – but not a lot of time because the reward is usually so immediate that it really helps people to shrug off whatever worry or guilt usually comes after they say No. I learned it without the aid of a recent pandemic helping the people in my life realize that doing less could be ok. And that bit about the relief? That comes from the cost of saying No either being high or being perceived as high by you – that can change too, we can become stronger mentally and emotionally so that the high cost doesn’t seem so high anymore and we don’t even feel the relief sometimes because we get used to the new normal of saying No (and so do the people we say No to). It’s fine if you won’t or can’t try this now (or ever), but I just want you to know that the option is out there. And… Read more »

MKP
5 months ago

What a beautiful post. Thank you all so much for all that you shared. Your blog is such a gift – from design to personal growth to parenting to a higher level of awareness. I appreciate you all so much. What a year it has been. My kids were both in school today for the first time in one year and one week (to the day). I think I’ve been alone in my house abt 5 times this past year, and boy have I missed it! It’s so crazy how much the quarantine has been feast or famine. Those living alone are dying for companionship and those not living alone are dying for some solitude. 2020 will of course always be the year of Covid and quarantine, but for me the racial injustice we have witnessed will always be what stands out most abt this year. It is the first thing I think of when I think 2020. It has been painful and terrifying to see so many innocent lives lost (mostly black lives but here in Atl 6 Asian women were just murdered 2 days ago). As a white person, I am grateful that the truth of white supremacy… Read more »

Sara
5 months ago
Reply to  MKP

Yes, MKP, yes. The year of waking up in many many ways.

J.
5 months ago

THANK YOU ALL for this beautiful, heartfelt, authentic post. I saw a bit of myself and my experience this year in almost every one of your stories. One thing I will also say is what a gift this blog and each of you has been throughout the past year!!! In all of the many ups and downs from the terrifying beginning days to the is-this-EVERRRR-going-to-END days to the light at the end of the tunnel ones now, reading this blog every single day while I eat lunch is such a comforting routine and stalwart in my days. I think I’ve been reading daily for probably ~9-10 years now, but this past year in particular made me extraordinarily grateful for how hard each of you worked to publish entertaining, honest, thoughtful, gorgeous, intriguing content every single day WHILE all of this was going on. An immense thank you to you all!!! I feel so lucky to get to be here every day xxxxx

Christie
5 months ago
Reply to  J.

I agree 100%! EHD content has been so thoughtful and uplifting. Thank you!!

Christie
5 months ago

We relocated to our beach house over a year ago, and feel so lucky to have this place and this privilege. My health in the past 5 years has been quite bad, so having the opportunity to be in fresh air, have home cooked meals all the time, and walk daily in 3 of the 4 seasons has really helped. Not there yet, but making progress. The other bonus has been that I’ve taken up crafting and art/painting in a way that I haven’t since high school. It brings me so much relaxation and joy, that I’m so happy to be discovering it again, plus new crafting techniques. Right now I’m learning to watercolor paint! The results don’t even matter, it’s the process that is so fun! My husband has taken up aero gardening (growing herbs in water with grow lights), and is really loving it too. And in the summer time did container gardening. As we don’t travel any more and used to a lot, a bonus has been regained TIME! Hope everyone is coping in the way that is best for them. Having lost a grandparent at the very start of the pandemic, and not being able to… Read more »

Stephanie
5 months ago

These were all beautiful, but man oh man, did Malcom’s hit home for me. His words inspired me to also start trusting my gut more (I also get visceral reactions to almost everything–it can be overwhelming sometimes!) and to still keep my heart open to people but to send them along (with love) if it’s an unhealthy dynamic for me.

Thank you to you all for sharing!!

Sasha
5 months ago

Hate to burst this bubble of positivity, but the privileged position of most contributors of this blog is definitely on display here. Have any of you lost someone you care about in the past year? I am genuinely wondering. I have been unable to see my parents in the past year due to travel restrictions. My mom has been diagnosed with cancer and other health problems in the past year, and my two year old has not been able to see her grandparents for half of her life. Because they are living outside US, my parents are nowhere near getting vaccinated, while I am seeing everyone I know (who is working from home) get vaccinated here, resume travel, social gatherings, etc.

Cece
5 months ago
Reply to  Sasha

I think the point of this post wasn’t to suggest these people aren’t in a position of privilege, but to acknowledge that and find positivity in the fact they’re safe and well and learning about themselves? I’m sorry you’re having such a tough time, I feel for you. My in-laws are in the US, we’re in the UK, we haven’t seen them since January 2020 and my children are growing up with facetime grandparents. It’s hard, and that’s without such scary health conditions to deal with.

Sasha
5 months ago

Hate to burst this bubble of positivity, but the privileged position of most contributors of this blog is definitely on display here. Have any of you lost someone you care about in the past year?

Melissa Sawyer
5 months ago

Emily. Please stay in your hometown. They must need some open plan kitchens.

Melissa Sawyer
5 months ago

Oregon

Frances
5 months ago

So grateful to hear everyone’s candid journeys. On a related topic, can anyone ID Mallory’s little swing arm lamp? Thanks!

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