Each year on the anniversary of the launch of this website, I like to take a look back.
November 1, 2011, was my 28th birthday. It was also the night that I was handed a piece of paper with the log-in for this website. In the past 9 years, the brainchild of my husband and a few friends has become my full-time job.
I think that I was able to turn this hobby into a job thanks to a combination of hard work and luck. This year, I feel especially lucky. I still have a job and an income. In 2008, during the last recession, I lost my job and was living off of unemployment. The ability to make money during this time, while caring for a baby, is something that I do not take for granted.
When I look back and read the post I shared on November 1, 2019, and compare it with what the past year has been like… there are some major differences.
The past year wasn’t what I expected. It wasn’t what anyone expected. Covid has completed altered our lives. For me, I was basically living the quarantine life for months before covid changed everything since my morning sickness was so severe that I barely left the couch for months. I was finally starting to feel better at the start of March and was seeing friends again… when suddenly socially distancing became necessary – and still is.
We miss traveling. We miss seeing our friends and family. I miss the sense of freedom that I felt before coronavirus became part of my vocabulary.
While most people will probably look back and declare 2020 to be the worst, I will see it as being the best. 2020 gave me Gwen, the little love of my life. She’s the best thing ever. I didn’t think that I would love having a baby – I was more excited about having a walking talking child – but I love it. Every day I wake up excited to hang out with her.
Now that Gwen has entered the picture, my priorities have changed. I realize that pouring time and energy into this website fulfilled me during a time I was facing personal struggles. I am so proud of the work that I have done here, but at the same time, my life is full and happy in a whole new way. I don’t have the same drive to work on this site, my priority is spending time with my baby. Knowing that she will be my only child means that I want to savor every single moment. The Kittchen isn’t going anywhere, it just gets less of my time now.
I’ve learned so much in the past year. I appreciate time with friends and family more than ever. I feel so fortunate that we were able to travel to Maine (via a sleeper car on Amtrak) and that my family has met Gwen. My heart aches for Charles, whose family is spread out in Singapore, Spain, and England. We have no clue when we will be able to see them again.
Covid and recent social injustices have brought so many struggles to the world and my community. There have been times when it has been completely overwhelming, and times when Instagram followers lashed out at me for staying too much, not enough, or what they felt was the wrong thing. I have focused on channeling my time, energy, and money into helping people in the ways that I can.
For me, that has meant supporting local businesses. Buying bread from the French bakery down the street, ordering take out at least once a week to help restaurants, purchasing local products at the market down the street, using my social media platforms to promote small businesses, having a book registry at a local independently owned bookshop for my virtual baby shower, and planning to shop small for Christmas gifts. The most impactful thing that I have been doing is regularly donating breastmilk to a milk bank that supplies local NICUs. I can’t solve all the problems in the world – no one can – instead I focus on what I am able to do to show kindness and help others.
Usually, this annual post is more of a highlight reel, but this feels more honest and appropriate. The past year has quite literally been both the best of times and worst of times for me. Yet, I am able to find things that I am grateful for each day. Covid has stolen some of the joy from our lives, but it has replaced it will an appreciation for sitting 6 feet away from a friend at a park on a beautiful day, an eagerness to answer the phone whenever someone calls, and immense gratitude for my readers and brand partners who keep me employed.
Here’s to 9 years and to a brighter future!
Tanja / The red phone box trav
Sunday 1st of November 2020
happy 9! enjoy time withy your baby girl