So…2020… Who isn’t ready to say arriverderci to 2020? It was/is hard. But with any challenging time, we learn, we grow, we persevere.
New year’s resolutions allow us to reflect upon self-improvement, annually. This year however, we’re looking at the silver linings of a very difficult year. We resolve to each remember and celebrate the silver linings of this incredibly strange, demanding, surreal 2020 that’s about to end.
Eleonora’s silver linings of 2020
Remember my new year’s resolutions for the grand year that 2020 promised to be? Let’s review them together:
1. Learning a new skill: driving with a stick shift – Well, that didn’t happen. Quarantine made sure I did not drive my car. It was parked for so long that mold actually grew on the upholstering!
2. Resolve to travel to the Italian island of Sardinia – Travel? What is that word? Hopefully that will happen soon.
3. Learning a new language: Russian – I am in my fourth month of Russian language school. I can form basic sentences, I’ve grasped rudiments of grammar and I’ve been told my pronunciation is impressive. That said, I have a looong journey ahead of me. I love this old Russian saying, “They say Russian will be the language we speak in heaven… because it will take an eternity to learn!”
So I consider resolution number 3 on my list to definitely be a silver lining. Lockdown gave me the time and space to carve out 20 minutes every day to practice русский язык.
Another silver lining of 2020 was the new member of our tiny family: Theo. We adopted our 2-month old puppy on the eve of lockdown. He was a firecracker from the start. His affection, loyalty and comic relief gave us a reason to smile during the fear, the loss and the unknowns of quarantine. My son and I realize that although we rescued him, he saved us.
The third silver lining of 2020 was definitely finding incredible strength and resourcefulness in creating a new business overnight because of Covid. Our #whatscooking online classes gave us a reason to get out of bed in the morning. It got our minds off the 100% cancellations that wiped out our entire work for the year. It brought a little income. It made us feel fortunate. It got us outside of our comfort zone. The new Casa Mia 2.0 brought people together at a time of distancing. The smiles on faces as a pasta dough came together, the joy with every cheese-pull and every delicious cin cin shared together… Priceless.
Gina’s silver linings of 2020
Wasn’t it yesterday that I was talking to Eleonora and Carolyn about my non-resolutions for 2020? I’m not one for new year’s resolutions but rather short and long term goals, always tackled in groups of three, as three represents harmony.
We were off to a blazing start in January. We took part in a panel at the New York Times Travel show. And then the first lockdown happened. We turned our business from in-person tours to online cooking and wine experiences overnight mostly thanks to my biggest cheerleader Francesco. He urged us to start cooking. Silver linings are Francesco, Eleonora and Carolyn who are always optimistic, flexible and supportive. Grazie 1000. Keep being beacons of light.
As for my non-resolutions for 2020, let’s take a peek:
Besides reducing the number of material items in my life, decluttering and striving toward minimalism, in no particular order, I resolve to:
1. Purposely create more moments with family, friends and loved ones in Francesco and my home in Rome and during my travels to the U.S. and beyond. My favorite memories in life involve sitting, sharing and eating around any table with others, traveling to new and old familiar places and just “being”. Stop making excuses. There will never be the right time, enough money, nor a big enough home. There will never be a more perfect time than today.
2. Continue connecting with my Sicilian and Campania roots by leading a five-day extravaganza of food, wine, cooking and leadership/coaching in my beloved Sicily and teaching a group cooking lesson featuring my grandmother’s and mother-in-law’s recipes from Campania.
3. Explore the three regions of Italy that I have yet to set foot in: Valle d’Aosta, Friuli Venezia Giulia and Molise.
Despite not hitting #1 out of the park, COVID allowed me to create more moments in my home in Rome with Francesco and our Irish soft coated wheaten terrier puppy Chloe. She arrived in May and is my most cherished silver lining. She makes me laugh and cry nearly every day. She forces me to be present and enjoy everyday. She is pure joy, sunshine and light. I am grateful for her love, terrier tude and for her modo di essere. #gratitude #gratitude #gratitude
On to #2, I was unable to lead in person cooking lessons this year. Silver lining: Casa Mia launched online cooking and wine experiences. Sharing travels around Italy through cooking lessons and wine tastings has been super duper rewarding. Seeing familiar faces for our monthly wine and cheese appointment and for many cooking lessons is heartwarming. Thank you to all the lovely people who I’ve come to know in 2020. You are the silver lining.
#3 was impossible. The silver lining: Time to pause, breathe, be present and be grateful for the number of road trips and adventures that I’ve been fortunate enough to take. They are enough to last a lifetime. In the end for me, it’s not about ticking places off a list, it’s about the people and the puppies (see silver linings #1 and #2). ––Gina
Carolyn’s silver linings of 2020
I have always been of fan of silver…not gold. Don’t get me wrong, I am not going to turn away gold, but sliver, for some 2nd place, has always been my metallic fave. Why? Why not strive for gold, the best of the best? The elite alloy? Silver linings. That’s why. I’ve never heard of gold linings. Gold plated…yes. The “Gilded Age,” where everything was made to look better on the outside by putting gold paint on it…for aesthetics…bah. However, silver linings…well that has its own playbook. There in lies the grit, the true nature of the beast, the pearl of the oyster. 2020 has to be looked at in this sense. It must be. There are silver linings. I promise.
Looking back…my 2020 resolutions in review…
1. Register for Italian language lessons – L’ho fatto! Honestly, I had the time. So I took 2 months worth of lessons. Ho bisogno di piu. However, I am more in love with the language than before. It has driven me to speak more, learn more, understand more of the world, in Italian. Ok, so maybe that means I am simply talking to myself in Italian (aloud) while driving. But I am moving in the right direction. 2020 has only further ignited my love for Italy, what it represents to me, and my future.
2. Sign up for Global Entry – this did not happen. In fact, I even allowed my passport to expire. However, patience is a virtue. These words floated out of my mother’s mouth too many times to count growing up. Undoubtedly, 2020 was the year to lean on, or develop, our patience. Patience, this year, has indeed been a great virtue. An important lesson to relearn going forward. Thus I have not become angry or disappointed at myself for not checking this task off of my TO DO list. It will get done. Patience. Thank you 2020.
3. Take an Asian inspired cooking class – NOPE – didn’t happen. But will.
2020 was hard. Yet is was a very clear reminder to me we can only control what we can control. As an individual, I have the power to treat people with great respect and love; I have the power to forgive and to grow from my experiences; I have the power to find perspective and peace. The forced pause of 2020 is full of silver linings, many of which I will only realize as 2021 unfolds, #hindsight2020.
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Could you find silver linings in the year 2020? Leave them in the comments below!