When I began Life’s Patina 10 years ago, I started a tradition of penning either a Christmas or a New Year’s letter such as the below that I would share with all of you on the blog or in our email blasts that went hand in hand with the business. We had only a handful of readers in our early years but as this little business grew so did our reach and many of you signed up to receive our communications. We thank you whole heartedly for this and I have taken inspiration and solace in the free therapy sessions that I often receive when I pen my thoughts! Many times, those thoughts would arrive in the middle of the night. I would scramble to find a light source so I could scribble them down before they became a distant memory that I would not be able to retrieve once I fully awoke the next morning.
This year, as I sat down a few times after an isolated “COVID Christmas” and a similarly celebrated New Years to put my thoughts together, they were hard to reach. I cannot put my finger on it but they were a bit scattered, a bit weary, a bit disjointed, a bit dark, a bit uncertain and a whole lot of heavy. “Where do I go with this?” I said to myself. How do I write an inspirational message greeting the new year given recent circumstances and who the heck would want to read it? Do any of you feel like you just ran a marathon only to have the finish line judge tell you you really didn’t cross it and you have to go back and run it again? So you run it again, only to have the same thing happen? I kind of feel that way on a day to day basis.
I took to reading a litany of my past blog posts to help me proceed. Wow, am I wordy! Again, giving thanks to any of you who have read my missives, I plowed on. These writing exercises have truly helped me get through some darker and challenging times and helped me process the changing ebbs and flows and stages of life. As I read my past written words, there was one common thread that tied together all of my deeper posts on challenges and uncertainty – resiliency.
I have heard this word bandied about so very often, so upon looking it up I really liked the following definition of resilient:
- Showing courage and strength through all of life’s ups and downs
- Rising up after every fall
We are well into this first month of the new year that has started out in a typical fashion with toasting those we rang it in with. Many of us though, yet again, toasted a computer or phone screen instead of the real live humans that we love. We greeted the new year with good intentions, with resolutions, with hope and with large wishes for a better and brighter year than the one we had just left. Those wishes were sent out with trepidation and with a new-found cloak of distrust in wishful thinking for better days ahead. Let’s face it, we have been pummeled by living amidst a worldwide pandemic. (This is a not a political statement but one of fact…a worldwide pandemic.) There is much fall out on all fronts from the events of the last nearly two years now. The years have been emotionally charged and it would be hard to refute that we have not felt the worse for our experiences navigating our way through this landscape of uncertainty and challenges.
When you look back in history and in societies, major life-altering events such as those that occurred in 2020 and 2021 have spurred greater change and advancements. Yes, there have been periods of even greater darkness immediately afterwards but light eventually prevails. Change happens and the life-altering experiences move the civilizations towards that light. Why? For the most part, humans are resilient. People get back up after they are knocked down. I am not saying that it is easy, but I am saying that the possibility of getting back up is greater than one would think.
“Resilience is the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events. Being resilient does not mean that people don’t experience stress, emotional upheaval, and suffering. Resilient people tap into their strengths and support systems to overcome challenges and work through problems.” Katie Hurley, LCSW
When I look back on our last ten years since I started Life’s Patina they are full of side stepping, flipping backwards and knock-down moments, some that I have written about on the blog and others that I have chosen not to share. I am sure that many of you reading this can relate, for ALL of us have knock-down moments. The degrees of these moments vary; some will change your life forever, some are caused by illnesses or diagnoses that you could never have imagined, some will cause you to never see a loved one again, some will have been under your control and some will not have been. These moments will cause you to sidestep, swerve, backflip, readjust your sails or knock you over all together. These last two years have seriously caused us to do all of the above. When combined with the regular challenges of life…wow…how do we move forward?
While I do not have all the answers I would like to share with you what has helped me navigate the tumultuous waters of life, personally and professionally. They are not earth shattering. You have likely heard many of them before, but all of them have contributed slivers of light in dark days and maybe partaking in one of two of them will help you navigate this new year amongst the challenges it presents.
- Show up for each and every day knowing that YOU can do hard things. Show up in your pajamas, with puffy eyes, with heartache, if you must. You can do hard things and you will.
- Count ALL of the blessings in your life. This is a big one! They might be hard to realize on some days but they are there. Give back…especially if your blessings are many.
- When knocked down, get back up.
- Notice the beauty that surrounds you even if all you can see is something extremely simple. Romanticize the little moments; the way a brilliantly-colored fall leaf might look against the green grass, the beauty of the sky or the sound of falling snow and the hush that it creates. Help others see that beauty as well. Life is made up of the little moments and the joy you find in them.
- Listen to others and their stories. We all have one and we all need to be heard.
- If disappointed in how things turned out, get back up.
- Connect with others. Reach out to someone who you know might need it. Send something to let them know you are thinking of them and the challenges they might be going through or to acknowledge pain that they might be experiencing if you cannot meet in person. Try to envision walking in their shoes.
- Realize that being right is not always important, but being kind is. Kindness and respect can change the world.
- Dream. Then set goals, get down to work and persevere. Nothing works if you don’t.
- Get back up.
- Don’t forget where you came from. Both the good and the bad. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree even if we thought we didn’t want to be an apple.
- Realize that even if you might crave perfection, nothing is ever perfect. It is in imperfection and authenticity that we shine. The only person that you have to impress is yourself, so don’t take yourself too seriously.
- Live with ideals, character, interest, hobbies and passion for them. They bring that much more joy, meaning and purpose to life.
- Forgive and love, love and forgive.
- Get back up.
Nothing earth shattering, but I believe that these ideals have truly helped me live my life to the fullest despite challenges I’ve faced in raising a big family, encountering family illnesses and diagnoses, finding my true calling and running my small but mighty business.
Like many others, I am weary after these past two years and so is my team. But, as always, we will get back up. We will counteract that weariness by immersing ourselves in bringing you the beauty of life in many forms, for beauty restores us. The patina of life and objects restores us. Finding joy in the every day, no matter the challenges, restores us. Over the next few months:
~ We will continue to persevere with opening the Life’s Patina Mercantile and Cafe this Spring, despite a slew of setbacks. We believe intrinsically in this project that we set out on three years ago. As the project nears its end, we will be documenting this labor of love renovation by bringing you how tos, sharing color selections, furniture revitilizations and repurposing and design ideas that we have utilized to bring this beauty back to life.
~ We will continue to bring as much beauty and inspiration into your lives as we possibly can by creating even more of an experiential visit to the barn when you join us this spring. We will not be chasing trends but rather chasing what we feel is the right combination of well-loved objects mixed with new in artistic ways to create vignettes and rooms that make you feel something.
~ We will be launching an inspirational blog series this year which will highlight ALL of the beautiful women who have inspired me on my own journey and demonstrated grit and resilience.
~ We will be sharing the blessing that we call Willowbrook Farm with you a little bit more this year with some exciting new workshops and events.
Whether you have been following us on social media and reading our blog for 10 years or one week, we want to thank you endlessly for coming along with us on this beautiful journey. We wish you much resilience in 2022 and encourage you to remember to always get back up – we will be doing the same.