3 Not-So-Serious Lessons I Learned in 2022

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lessons 2022After having lived through the pandemic-centric years of 2020 and 2021, the year 2022 felt like a breath of fresh air. Things were (mostly) back to normal! Gone were the days of maskne breakouts, toilet paper shortages, and holidays celebrated via Zoom. Hurrah!

My end-of-year reflections during the pandemic were focused on gratitude: I was thankful my family and I had avoided serious illness as well as financial hardship. My lessons learned in 2020 were heavy and somber, but appropriate given that year and its challenges.

For me, 2022 was all about returning to normalcy and enjoying life. Of course, I was grateful for our good health and stability, but a year with less focus on COVID-19 allowed me to be thankful for lessons of a more lighthearted nature.

3 Not-So-Serious Lessons I Learned This Past Year:

1. Prioritize Fun.

This one goes hand-in-hand with my overall life motto: Carpe Diem. Seize the day. What’s the point of life if you’re not having fun?

“Prioritizing Fun” is not a new lesson to me, but one that I keep revisiting each year . . . and each year it remains the most important priority to my family, without fail. In 2022 we did a lot of Carpe Diem-ing, mostly in the form of travel and to make up for our lack of seeing new things during quarantine.

Lessons 2022 : Have FunMy husband and I celebrated our belated 10th wedding anniversary with a road trip through the Florida Keys. We did the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky over summer break and a ridiculously affordable cruise to the Bahamas with good friends. Travel is the height of fun for us. There’s nothing better than going on an adventure with the ones you love the most.

Find the thing that brings you and your family joy and do that in 2023, as much as you possibly can. Life’s too short; make it as enjoyable as it can be.

What brings you the most joy? Do that thing.

2. Take Shortcuts. Work Those Mom Hacks.

I used to be more rigid about doing things a certain way or choosing cost-effectiveness over all else. My Type A brain figured shortcuts or “Mom Hacks” were cheating and my thrifty brain couldn’t justify spending more money for added convenience. This past year I’ve seen the light.

The best shortcut: School Tool Box. I’m sure some of you are aware of this service. Instead of schlepping around Walmart and Target in search of notebooks, pencils, and highlighters in the heat of early August, you can simply order your child a box of school supplies that will be waiting for them on the first day of school. Ta-da! It may cost a bit more than the stores, but time is money and this is money very well spent.

Other shortcuts I’ve taken recently include purchasing pre-made meals, grocery delivery through Instacart, and delegating tasks to my children that I’d typically do. The kids may not vacuum as thoroughly as I’d like, and the pre-made meals may cost more than if I bought and cooked the ingredients, but the time and effort saved are worth it.

You’re worth it, Mama. Save some time and spend it on you.

3. Laugh at Yourself and Invite Others to Join In.

For some reason, I cannot keep my mouth shut after I’ve done something royally stupid. Instead of quietly keeping a snafu to myself, I must broadcast my idiocy in order to process the event and move on in life. Let me give you an example . . .

In early 2022, I went to Goodwill in search of dressy shoes for the Mom Prom. I knew I’d only be wearing them for a few hours so I didn’t want to pay much. After trying on a bunch of heels and deciding on a pair that would work, I went to put my sneakers back on. But my sneakers were nowhere to be found.

Here’s the kicker: these sneakers were on their maiden voyage. It was the first time I had worn them outside my house after purchasing them online for $150. I’m thrifty but I know enough to spend good money on good athletic footwear.

Either my sneakers got up and walked themselves out the door or someone took them. I checked with the cashiers to see if anyone had purchased brand-new Brooks running shoes by mistake. Nope. I ran around the store in maniacal tears, looking in people’s carts for my shoes. Nope. I asked to see the store’s security tape. Nope.

The lesson within this lesson is to keep a good eye on your shoes when you’re trying on other shoes. Who knew?!

The main lesson is to laugh at yourself and invite others to join in, as a way to forgive yourself. I had to find humor in my situation because otherwise, the embarrassment would’ve crushed me. I told my husband, my kids, my mom, and all my friends. I confessed my blunder, had a good laugh, and now it’s a happy, ridiculous memory.

How do you process embarrassment? Try my method. It’s more fun than crying.

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Jenna is a Maine native who moved to Charleston in 2006, moved away for a while, then moved back again in 2018. She just couldn’t stay away from this city that feels like home! She’d choose palm trees over pine trees any day of the week. Jenna and her husband of 12 years have two rambunctious sons, ages 10 & 6, and live in Mount Pleasant. A social worker and registered nurse by trade, she is passionate about maternal mental health and is currently a postpartum doula specializing in perinatal mood disorders (www.jennadoula.com). Jenna loves to read, kayak, paint in watercolor, and travel with her family. Visit her personal blog on all things motherhood at www.snarkmom.com.

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