Dear 2020: Thank You for Showing Me Anything is Possible
Normally I do a “Year in Review” post at the end of each year…but let’s be honest: 2020 was a cluster, and I don’t know that it deserves the traditional end-of-year review. But now that we’ve hit February, and I’ve gotten time to catch my breath from this past year, I’ve been reflecting on what an insane, yet incredible time it really was.
Don’t get me wrong — 2020 was the absolute WORST! Millions of people have lost their lives to this deadly virus. Millions of people are still unemployed and struggling financially. I also fear that we have yet to really see the fallout on the wedding and photography industry that this pandemic has caused. But looking back on the scariest year of my life, I am grateful for so many things I learned along the way.
During the first half of 2020, I was constantly worried about money. I had no income coming in [[because, ya know….the event industry was shut down]] and we were living off of Zach’s income alone. This was something we had planned for, but never really expected it would happen. We did pretty well, but just because the world stops doesn’t mean the bills did, and that was terrifying.
Not only that, but in April, we were hit with over $3,000 in medical bills from my second miscarriage within 8 months. It was a devastating blow, not just financially but emotionally as well. It was a financial hit that we will pay off just two months before our sweet rainbow baby is born this May.
Getting Financial Assistance
Unemployment benefits for the self-employed were no help for a while either. While everyone started getting their benefits in March, we didn’t start receiving ours until May at the earliest. The only option for small business owners was to take out loans that would eventually have to be paid back. That’s a huge risk considering the state of our economy at the time. After several months of tears and frustration, I was finally able to get some assistance.
Still, it was a stressful time.
Then Things Began To Open Back Up…
Then things slowly began to open back up. Weddings and photo sessions started happening again, and just like that, the fall was booming! I’m talking about the best fall season this business has ever seen, and my income last year didn’t take quite the beating we expected it to. I was able to get off of unemployment in early September [[which was the BEST feeling]] and get back to work.
In fall of 2020, I worked harder than I ever have before. I became determined to never find myself in the same, horrible situation I was in last March. Still in penny-pinching mode, we came up with a plan to build up my business accounts as much as possible. Now, as we are finally settling into the new year that is 2021, I can proudly say my business has never been in a better place. For that, I am truly grateful.
It’s amazing what determination mixed with a little bit of fear can do for your business. If 2020 has taught me anything, it’s that anything is possible.
Lessons Learned in 2020
I’ll never forget how much I cried having to apply for unemployment last year. Despite the fact that literally MILLIONS of people were in the same boat as me, I still felt ashamed for needing assistance. I felt like a complete failure, and I knew I couldn’t walk away from this experience without having learned something. 2020 was the worst year of my life, but it opened my eyes and showed me that the way I was running my business’ finances was simply not enough. I needed to change.
I Wanted to Give Up
There were SO many days when I wanted to give up on my business. If I hadn’t been self-employed, it would’ve been so much easier to get assistance when I needed it. There were countless days where I didn’t do anything because the weight of everything was too much…this was especially true after our loss in April. Losing a pregnancy on top of not getting to see family and friends was one of the hardest things I’ve had to go through, but I got through it. I pushed myself in ways I never thought I could.
Before 2020, I was terrified of having kids. I constantly worried about how it would impact my ability to work and my ability to run my business, but now, I think that everything is going to be just fine. We find a way to make things happen, and now I have an incredible amount of determination. If we can navigate our way through a horrific pandemic, we can surely handle having kids while working from home.
So thank you, 2020. Thank you for teaching me that anything is possible. I will be forever grateful for the lessons I learned over the year. But it’s time to put you in the rearview mirror and never look back!