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Every end of year we make an assessment of our lives and plans for the following year. Those plans that we often put aside as time goes by and we are swallowed by the routine. The curious thing is that we usually imagine time as if it is infinite and we are always postponing important changes or small habits that would certainly make our lives better.

This year we were surprised by a worldwide pandemic where we adapt to a completely new routine. Virtual work, online schooling, intense family life (or for those who live alone, infinite moments of loneliness), social restrictions, uncertainties and a lot of fear of death.

As plural beings, we react differently to different things and there is no right way. Everyone reacts to the same experience in a unique way. I confess that when I realized that the pandemic was serious, I made a change of plans, trying to mitigate the risks of contracting the virus and, if I contracted, of being more physically prepared to get out unscathed. Thank God it worked! My husband, myself and our 2 sons tested positive for COVID19 in July and managed to go through it in a smooth way.

It was not an easy year, but I am satisfied with my results! Of course, I would love to have put myself back in the job market, to have met some dear friends around the world, to have explored new places, to connect with new people and to be at this very moment in Brazil, with my family, but I can only be thankful. For being alive and in good physical and mental health, for knowing that my family is also well, for having everything I need to be happy and for making a point of being happy.

Sometimes during this pandemic I remembered my childhood. I am the eldest daughter of a family with 4 children and in addition to my parents, my maternal grandmother that has always lived with us. A few years later, my late godfather, due to problems with alcohol also became part of our family. That means, the house was always full.

We populated the small apartment where we lived in a way that we had the feeling that everyone was at the same time in the same room. If privacy was wanted you would have to find a spot somewhere else! My family looked like those typical Italian families, where everyone was talking loudly and at the same time. For people less familiar to the family I probably didn’t look like a usual friendly conversation. The dirty linen was washed on the spot and minutes later it looked like nothing had happened.

We were happy. We lived with the basics. No excesses. And so I learned how to appreciate the simple things. My grandmother's bean soup was the best food in the universe (even today I wouldn't trade it for any dish in any Michelin star restaurant), the bread made by my younger sister and my godfather (to save family's money) was so good that it could be sold in the best boulangeries in Paris, the lemon tea in the late afternoon that my grandmother made gave me the comfort I needed to end the day and a card game was excellent option for the moments that the time decided to stop. On weekends there weren’t better plans than going to the beach. Happiness guaranteed!

If you are not happy with what you have,

you will never be with what you don't have.

With all these references, it's really hard to be away from people! The discipline of having a routine (which I love!) has always helped me and at times like these it makes all the difference! This year I was able to get back to a workout routine, improve my diet, invest more time with my kids (who could be soon moving out), be even closer to my husband, upgrade my cooking skills (they say at home that I'm doing very well!), take a Project Management course, read several books, create the #naw - no apologies women platform, connect with wonderful women and be present. In fact, that last one was quite an achievement! Being present requires priority, focus, discipline and training. And unfortunately it is not a lifetime achievement.

Taking into account that life is from me, not for me, I am fully aware that the responsibility to make my life interesting is 100% mine and that my focus should be on what I can control, regardless of what is happening around me, even during a world-wide pandemic, with many deaths, separations, pain, anguish, fear and uncertainty.

In the last week, people very close to my family passed away. Some of them related to COVID and others not. And it hurts and scares me! The scenario of uncertainty only makes us even more fragile. But we can't throw in the towel. We have to move towards what we believe and desire, and enjoy this wonderful gift that is life!

I wish you a new year full of health, movement, life, healing, encounters, presence, experiences, achievements, healthy habits, happiness and lots of love!


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