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I sat with my feelings and I realized: The knee-jerk reaction I’m having to this girl is a direct result of my training. I have been conditioned to mistrust and dislike strong, confident, happy girls and women. We all have. Studies prove that the more powerful, successful, and happy a man becomes, the more people trust and like him. But the more powerful and happy a woman becomes, the less people like and trust her.

Finding Clarity in 2020

balboa-island-bay

I grew up and continue to live in Southern California and love the ocean.  When I became a mom, each summer I took my kids to my mom’s coastal community and taught them to do the same.  That particular bay has given us endless hours of joy and I still smile every time I see it.  No kidding.  When I am in town, I smile every time I look out the window.

This year something remarkable happened.  The bay became crystal clear.  I can stand on the surrounding boardwalk and see the bottom.  I can go to the end of a dock and see even deeper to the ocean floor.  I can see the eel grass, the schools of minnows, the stingrays and the scatterings of shells.  I’m no marine biologist, but it is a safe assumption that this is a COVID-related occurrence.  Less industry, fewer cars, less runoff, less leaky rental boat traffic have set the stage for a remarkable comeback for a bay I never realized was not existing at its full potential.

2020 brought much frustration and sadness, but it also became clear that, just like the bay, many aspects of my life weren’t living to full potential.  My personal murky waters caught a break and became clear.  I can name a few…

I now value the activity and smell of a home-cooked meal as much as the convenience of takeout.

My home is more meaningful beyond the closet, shower and a place to sleep at night.  The business of life was an endless cycle of coming and going.  Now my home is a nest.

The first morning sound I give my attention to is a bird.

Not the morning news.

We can make-do with what we have.

Every ingredient has a substitution.  Scarcity breeds creativity.

Rest is not a treat.

2020 sent me to bed early.  For the first time in my life, I regularly get the 9 hours sleep my body needs.

My telephone catch-ups with friends are main events, not sideshows.

I can’t say I’ll never again multitask while on the phone but I enjoy our conversations much more when I don’t.

2021 looks like it will bring relief, stability and something close to what I remember as normal.  I hope so.  As I joyfully face the much anticipated waves of relief, I intend to keep the waters of my personal bays crystal clear. 

by Carrie Mapes

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