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  • Writer's pictureDenise Cassidy Wood

6 things that saved my sanity in 2020

Yeah, I think we all can agree that 2020 has been a series of emotional roller coaster rides. For those of you who have been reading my newsletters and following my social media, you might think that I just breezed my way through this year unscathed. I have always felt it was important to remain positive and keep my pains, fears and insecurities to myself (for the most part anyway). However, despite the impressions that I gave you over the past several months (which actually felt like years), I have certainly had my fair share of emotional breakdowns (big and small).

In addition to worrying about a virus that we originally knew very little about, I worried about my kids and all the plans they had for the summer of 2020 (they all had something really exciting and special planned that wouldn't be re-scheduled). I worried about my husband's job (would they decide they didn't need him anymore?). I worried about my parents (would they get sick? Would they be able to fight it if they did?). I worried about my very small business (who in the world would buy art in a time like this? How would I sell without my shows? Would my customers forget about me if I am not standing in my booth waiting for them?). I worried about my families emotional health (isolation is a challenge for anyone, but our youth thrive on personal connections. How do we ask them to reduce screen time when it is now their ONLY way to connect? How do we help them manage anxiety and depression when we are struggling to manage our own?). I worried about the division of our country and the hate that spewed from both sides during this highly stressful election year (Are we no longer allowed to have differing opinions? Do our political affiliations now define and divide us as people? Will my friends re-evaluate our life long friendships if our views are different?).

And, on top of all of that, I lost my sweet cat, Pebbles. She was only three. She was MY baby. We came home to find her without the use of her hind legs. There was nothing we could do. The vet determined that it was caused from a blood clot due to an undiagnosed heart problem. I blamed myself. Did I miss something? Was I too focused on everything else and didn't notice that she was sick? This was the icing on my cake of 2020 breakdowns.

Now that I've told you a bit of what nearly broke me this year, I would like to share a few things that actually saved me in 2020.

1. Everyone in my family has been and is currently healthy! My step kids came home from college on Monday, so we had a much needed family dinner together. It was a very special treat for us all!

2. My kids were able to find some sort of normalcy. My daughter went back to school for in person learning (until recently). She was able to train and compete with her cross country team and start her sophomore year with her teachers and classmates (yes, things were a bit different, but she was in school and not in front of her computer all day). My step kids were able to head back to their apartments on campus (one at MSU and one in Utah) and despite the virtual learning, were able to be in a college like setting instead of their childhood bedrooms. For young adults, this is a very important part of establishing independance.

3. You didn't forget about me! You purchased artwork for your homes. You still wanted custom art work. You came to my driveway art fairs. You shopped at the stores and galleries that carry my work. You ordered online. You shared my events and sales with your friends. You reminded me that my work is still relevant, and wanted, and needed. You filled my emotional bucket! Thank you!!

4. My DCW Inspired brand expanded it's locations (11 Michigan locations!!). Wholesalers placed re-orders. My stores need their shelves re-stocked regularly. People are spreading joy through my products!

5. I found my way back to nature. I took lots of walks through our neighborhood golf course and some of Michigan's gorgeous parks. I enjoyed many evening bike rides....Northville has a lot of trails that take you through our adjacent neighborhoods. And, although our annual anniversary trip was not able to take place, Aaron and I took a mini trip to Arizona recently where I got to rock climb, hike and check off another bucket list item: Hot Air Balloon Ride!

6. We welcomed Spaghetti to our family (and Noodles is just as delighted as we are). We are again a three cat household. Dasher (11), Noodles (1.5) and Spaghetti (5 months). Funny thing... these are the names that their foster families gave them. The names were fitting, so we kept them. I still miss Pebbles with all my heart, but Spaghetti has been a great addition and Noodles is happy to have a kitten to "mother" and play with.

Spaghetti and Noodles....two cats in a cave! Dasher prefers to lounge solo and does not appreciate any tomfoolery in is presence.

In closing, I would like to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving full of good health and lots of love. I am grateful for you continued support!

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