So, I was asked to describe 2020 in one word. If you don’t know, this is a current Facebook trend circulating in several groups and personal posts. Scroll down your Facebook news feed and you will see a post or two with this (or similar) proposition: Describe 2020 in one word.
But can you describe the entire year, 366 days in one word? Especially when we are talking about 2020. While the year was nothing short of unusual if I label it as “unusual” or “strange” or “surreal” it will not tell a whole story – a story of confusion, stagnation, re-evaluation, resilience, strength, resourcefulness, coping, caring, adjusting, experimenting and finding unexpected gifts…. So instead of labeling 2020 in one word, I decided to describe it in several and explain them in detail. Besides, looking back at the year is like writing your partial autobiography. So, here are my brief memoirs for 2020:
Marshmallow Experiment on a Global scale
The Stanford marshmallow experiment was a 1972 study on delayed gratification conducted by Stanford University psychology professor Walter Mischel. In this study, 5-year-old-s were offered a choice between one small but immediate reward (one marshmallow), or two small rewards if they waited for a few minutes (two marshmallows).
To me, 2020 was a lot like that famous Sandford Marshmallow test where the entire population of the planet was involuntarily enrolled in the experiment. The question was: Do you want to get together with your family for the holidays now and possibly expose yourself and others to Covid-19, or you will stay strong, use technology and think about many more holidays together in the future.
We had many plans for 2020 including plans to go to Russia to visit my Dad and sister and tour a bit through Europe while there. While our domestic and international travel plans for 2020 fell through, we are making new ones for 2021 and watching Rick Steve’s Europe for inspiration.
Word #1 – Patience.
Space Ship Crew
In the 2016 movie Passengers, characters played by Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt found themselves accidentally awakening from the medically programmed sleep during the 100-year trip to the new “Earth”. While everyone else on the space ship, thousands of passengers, were soundly asleep in their non-defective sleep capsules, these two were able to overcome their initial displeasure with the situation, put aside their differences, and build a wonderful and meaningful life together. Just two of them in the space ship.
2020 put many of us in a similar to the spaceship situation with the crew members of our immediate family on board to test and straighten our relationships. Since my daughter Yana moved out in March to stay with her boyfriend, there are only three of us in the house including a cat.
2020 showed that nothing makes (or breaks) relationships like spending 24/7 in isolation and self-quarantine with no escape. Over the past several months we’ve learned to put aside our differences, cooperate, negotiate, compromise, and bring the best out of each other.
One of our teamwork accomplishments was the organic garden. It was a lot of work but we (and our friends and neighbors) enjoyed greens and vegetables from the garden until the late Fall. We also had an incredible harvest of raspberries and pears.
Word #2 – Teamwork.
Home Alone – 2020
When I was little, one of my favorite books was “Alice: the girl from Earth”, a book about an adventurous girl from the future. Alice was frequently using a videophone, apparently, a common handheld device that people of the 21ts century would use to video chat with others. Back then we had a black and white TV and a landline rotary dial phone so to me, this video chatting device was pure science fiction. Luckily, the technology made huge progress in the last 40 years and because of that, this year’s “stay at home” order did not mean solitary confinement. We can “play” with others all day long. Just not in person. Meetings, classes, webinars, conferences, courses, parties, celebration calls – thank Zoom, Google, Facebook, and other video and audio-conferencing platforms for helping us to stay connected.
My husband (aka Dr. Klein) began seeing patients for psychotherapy sessions and family counseling online in March 2020. He is happy to keep helping his patients using technology and enjoys all the features of his virtual medical office. His inner Geek was awakening when he began working on his electronic patient forms.
Word #3 -Technology
A magic wand is a very useful tool. You can wave it, say a few magical words, and voila – anything you wish will appear in front of your eyes.
In case you don’t own a magic wand, but have access to the Internet – you are all set. Pretty much anything you wish (within a reason) can be yours in a matter of days.
Thanks to USPS, UPS, FedEx, Amazon, Walmart, Target, Whole Food, and other companies for the door-to-door deliveries. I’ve never enjoyed and appreciated them as much as I did in 2020.
There is something magical in the way the orders and deliveries work. Ask and it is given. Every single time without a failure. Unless there is a shortage or an item is out of stock, of course.
Word #4 – Convenience.
While we were fortunate to be able to work (mostly) from home, the determination of the frontline workers is admired and appreciated beyond words. If not for the efforts of the medical professionals, police, firemen, grocery store workers, teaches, transportation workers, delivery personnel, nursing home workers, and many others, we won’t be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Many thanks to all heroes out there!
Every time I do Loving Kindness meditation, I send my love and gratitude to all these wonderful people.
Word #5 – Courage
This year’s Christmas presents represented the year and were different from what you could expect to usually find under the Christmas tree. For example, who would think about giving you a gift-wrapped box of luxury toilet paper last year? Toilet paper was a big hit this year as there was a shortage of it in the spring, so scoring a few rolls of toilet paper was a big win.
Toilet paper and hand soap topped the (shopping) list of the most requested items, and things that were important before Covid-19 became less important for a simple reason: they had no use in a new reality. What do you need to stay at home in addition to food and household and personal care items? Comfortable clothes, a pair of sunglasses and good walking (preferably waterproof) shoes. And if you are presenting on Zoom? A nice top will be sufficient.
I packed my business suits and office shoes in crates and move them up to the attic. Maybe someday I will retrieve them again.
I also packed quite a few pieces of old clothes and footwear and brought them to the donation boxes. I have a long way to go but I am determined to keep decluttering.
Word #6 – Re-evaluation
The face mask was another new commodity of 2020. I found two gifts wrapped silk face masks under the tree this year. A thoughtful friend mailed them for Christmas. So far, I have collected quite a few face masks. Hopefully, in a few months, they will become obsolete. But for now, wearing a face mask is still a way to show that we care for one another.
Word #7 – Caring
In January 2020 I joined SOMBA. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I liked Sigrun’s 12 masterclasses that I purchased previously and I wanted/needed to learn more about online business. No disappointments here. I participated in two Kickstarts and as a result, created two 4-week courses. The first one was a trial course but my second course became a foundation of my book Forever Young, Forever Beautiful that I am writing now.
I’ve learned a great deal about online business and self-development, and most importantly I met many brilliant SOMBA women (and a couple of great men), including my wonderful buddy, Life, and Career Strategist Gabriela Calin, a fabulous social media manager Sally-Jay Norbury, an amazing interior designer Nuria Munozand a super-cool internationally renowned yoga and meditation teacher Katalin Galbovy – just to name a few. All ladies are located in Europe but time zones can be easily managed.
I am planning to continue with SOMBA in 2021 as there is much more for me to learn from Sigrun, her team, and other inspiring SOMBAs.
Word #8 – SOMBA
Health is the New Wealth
Health became very important this year.
With more free time and a more flexible schedule, focusing on your health and wellbeing was a no-brainer. With health clubs and yoga studios being closed due to pandemic, regular walks became an integral part of my daily routine and 10,000s-steps a day became a daily norm. A marketer who came up with a 10,000-step idea was a genius. 10,000 steps are a hard prize to make all these steps you have to walk for at least 90 minutes a day, and this takes an effort.
Sleeping for at least 8 hours, staying in the Zen zone, meditating, and incorporating yoga practices and regular 5-minute activity breaks during the day became another priority.
Not so long ago, there was a period in my life, when I did not feel that well. A high-stress job can affect even a very healthy person (as I considered myself for most of my life). However, in 2016 I started developing pains and for a couple of years, nothing I tried helped. And I tried quite a few things, from conventional medicine to new age remedies. It’s only in 2019, when I left my job and started working for myself, I began seeing improvements.
2020 gave me a much-needed break from the direct stress and helped to recover and restore my energy and physical, mental, and emotional strength.
Word #9 – Wellbeing
It was impossible to stay away from politics, because everything, all aspects of life were politicized – from pandemic to BLM to elections to Biden winning the presidency to vaccines to travel bans and face masks. Focusing on the White House turmoil and pandemic, we almost missed the exciting news about UFOs. The news was reported by military pilots from different countries stating the increased number of flying sources in the skies.
Luckily, my husband keeps up with the UFO updates. He hopes that aliens will be contacting us soon. But this probably will be a good theme for the next year.
Word #10 – Curiosity
Business not as Usual
My company, Rejuvenation Station was closed for several months this year due to the state restrictions for medical spa operations during the pandemic. We carefully re-opened at the end of June (according to the state reopening plan) and started treating patients at Blush Spa, but considering the circumstances and the unpredictability of the situation, there was no push for injectable business development. However, it was incredible to learn that not only we did not lose a single patient – we were able to gain a few new patients referred to us by our existing patients – thanks to our terrific Master-Injector Justine Davis, RN, and her outstanding skills and talents.
Word #11 – Resilience
15 minutes a Day Keep Wrinkles Away
At a certain phase of our life, we start paying closer attention to our face – and for a good reason. The face is the only part of our body that we cannot hide. It expresses our emotions and foremost feelings. Often, we are getting judged based on facial appearance. In our 20s we didn’t have to spend a lot of time and money taking care of the face. It is naturally perfect. However, with each new candle on the birthday cake, many of us start spending more time and resources taking care of our appearance.
While the face and neck exercises are a relatively new approach to anti-aging, it shows tremendous potential. These specially designed exercises and massages give you the ability to achieve a non-surgical facelift without a high investment, discomfort, side effects, and inconvenience. Daily face and neck exercises allow us to gradually restore facial muscles and remove unwanted lines and wrinkles. Consistency is key.
I began developing the face and neck restorative system in 2012 and started teaching Phace Gym Live in September 2019. I had one student.
In 2020 I taught two classes (9:30 am and 1 pm EST) and had almost 70 students in total from 10 different countries. In January 2021 – by popular demand – I am opening one more class (7 pm EST). Real people are getting real results by doing Phace Gym exercises just 15 minutes a day.
My goal is to have at least 24 classes a day and thousands of students, who are interested in self-care and self-rejuvenation. And of course, looking younger myself without medical intervention is a great personal bonus.
Word #12 – Progress