Wednesday, January 27, 2021

The year 2020 started with much fanfare, optimism, and lots of sequins, fringe, and feathers! Reminiscent of the roaring 1920s.


January and February weren't as roaring as we thought it would be. Did we ever think March was going to arrive? And then it did. And it dragged on too, but in a very different way! Perhaps time crawling early in the year was a warning for us to savor every moment we could.

Last year was a challenging year for all of us. Unfathomable for some of us to relate to how hard it was for others. In many ways, we saw tragedies: illness, death, job losses, divorce, and abuse. Even introverts felt the loneliness of isolation. However, just as new growth emerges from the ashes of a forest fire, so does serendipity comes out of adversity.

I found serendipity in the form of creativity. With the help of a book called The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron, and a world with fewer distractions, I discovered creativity that I had long forgotten I had. I was inspired to begin writing Sips of Serendipity to uplift others. I know I wasn't the only one who experienced a similar journey. Many others took a plunge into the world of creativity. New blogs, podcasts, and art were all created in the last several months.

For example, Kiley Doll had created the Entrepreneur's Hangout not long before the pandemic started. It is an event where entrepreneurs and community members can collaborate, learn, and network. She always knew she would start a podcast but didn't see it in her near future until she couldn't have her in-person events. By accelerating her podcast plans, she has been able to increase her audience and bring together creators from all around the world, right from downtown Culpeper.

In one of her podcasts, she interviews Nema Semnani, Precision Sales Consulting. Nema had just opened his new in-person training facility in March, one week before the shutdown. He was able to shift to a full virtual model within one week. He, too, found serendipity in a larger audience when he went online sooner than he originally planned.

Businesses struggled, and some shuttered their doors for good. However, the ones who adapted and found new ways to do business were able to stay. By offering curbside delivery, people could still get their favorite products. Some went online, like Pepperberries, growing their clientele outside their community. Laws changed so restaurants could add alcoholic beverages to their carryout menus. Customers showed their love and did what they could to help support their favorite places.

Families found serendipity in a few different ways. As parents worked from home, they found more time with their children—no more time lost with long commutes. Many took advantage of learning to cook healthier meals leading to weight loss and healthier habits. The first few months of the pandemic allowed couples to find time to spend together, causing a baby boom starting in December.

As we reflected on the difficulties of 2020, we found examples of positivity in Facebook posts. Jessica Cranfield shared her experience of serendipity in 2020: "While this quarantine has brought many positives (uninterrupted family time) my biggest positive was being able to reconnect with a family member who quarantined with us for 2 months." Others had noted being forced to slow down helped them appreciate what was most important to them.

We are a few weeks into our new year; it has not been an easy start. We have a way to go before we can go back to normal as we knew it in January 2020. Yet, positivity and serendipity continue to be present. Let's remember the positive things that happened last year. Hold them in our hearts. When we are feeling low, examine our day, week, or month. Reflect on what positive thing happened. Relive that moment, even if for just a minute. Hold onto the emotion felt as we go through difficult times. And always be ready to experience outcomes that are happy or beneficial in some way!

Would you, or someone you know, like to be featured in a future Sips of Serendipity? I would love to hear your story! Please email me at SipsOfSerendipity@gmail.com.

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