There may be affiliate links in this post which means I may receive “thank you money” at no additional cost to you. Please know that I only recommend products that I use and love. Thank you for your support!
Most bloggers and creators do a version of a “year in review” to say goodbye to one year and make plans for another.
They are really great to read. You get inspiration and examples from other people for things to either celebrate yourself or put on your plans for the next year.
But I’ve found them incredibly hard to write. Which is probably why I haven’t really done one. Except this one – which is still not the typical format.
I was inspired by Joanna Hennon’s post highlighting all the things she did and experienced in 2020 and decided to create one of my own. This feels more me and gives me a way to look back at the year and really think about what happened, what I was able to accomplish, and give me some good information to carry into 2021.
So without further ado…here are the things I did and learned in 2020:
- Signed up to do the Fear Experiment again. Think of it as an adult recital where you learn either Broadway dances, improv or storytelling, and do a big performance at the end. I signed up for Broadway (because I’m a dancer dangit, albeit an awkward one) and learned choreography to 4 Broadway songs. Our final performance was postponed due to COVID but save the date for September 2021!
- Rediscovered that working on jigsaw puzzles and coloring are both great self-care activities. Contributed to the Magic Puzzle Kickstarter campaign and excited to work on that soon.
- Speaking of self-care activities, I read 34 books – my goal was 36. See my Goodreads year in review here.
- Tried Yin Yoga using Down Dog’s Yoga app. I tried to make this more of a daily habit. But right now, it’s an “I need to stretch out and release some tension” habit.
- Published the 200th issue of #jesspicks (!!) and shared some lessons I’ve learned along the way from doing a weekly newsletter for the past 4 years.
- Talked about side hustles and how they are good for your career with Martin McGovern.
- Took my twists out and started wearing my natural hair. This started mostly with ball caps (#becausequarantine) but now it’s more of a ponytail poof situation with headwraps which works.
- Tripped in the house and managed to break my ankle in two places. I needed to have surgery and had to struggle with my mobility for a few months. A lot of firsts there. First broken bone, first surgery. First bad reaction to anesthesia. But on the mend and super grateful for my mobility.
- Went off again and on again with morning pages. I did longhand for a spell and then did typing on 750words.com for a spell. I think longhand actually works a lot better in terms of just getting all the mind gunk out. But typing is more efficient. Something to think about for 2021.
- Celebrated the 9th anniversary of my blog and my 39th birthday.
- Tried 3 meal kits from Hello Fresh and that was a fun experience. #1 learning? I love to zest. Can I just do that all day? Zester in Chief has a nice ring to it!
- Started bullet journaling in a super simple way that works for me. Most bullet journaling tutorials are all about the design and stuff which is sooo not me. This article helped. Sidenote: I may not know what my zone of genius is, but I know it’s not design.
- Participated in an incredible mastermind experience, called Lighthouse Squad, with amazing humans. We laughed together, cried together, celebrated, supported, and bonded.
- Taught two I Can’t: Side Hustle workshops with my gurl Saya Hillman and helped over 40 people get started with their business which was amazing.
- Became an #IAmRemarkable facilitator for Google and ran my first sold-out workshop!
- Talked with Tara McMullin about being a newsletter curator. We talked about how it got started, my workflow and process for getting it done every week, and how it’s helped build my confidence as a writer.
- Participated in Elizabeth Goddard’s Christmas Goody Bag and included my 10-day challenge on getting started with affiliate marketing. Over 400 people signed up!
- Met my initial goal of reaching 500 subscribers for my #jesspicks newsletter and my 750 stretch goal. Next stop: 1K. Want to join? Sign up here.
- Put together a few tiny LEGO projects like this one and embraced my inner builder.
- Wrote a post about how dancing on stage changed my life.
- Guested (is that a word?) on a podcast with my gurl Taylor and we talked about my best tips for side hustlers, why it does not have to become a full-time hustle, and what I’ve learned. It was a great time!
- Received Book of the Month as a 1-year anniversary gift from &yet and I’m a huge fan. It is nice to read physical books sometimes and get away from screens. And their curated picks are so good.
- Watched One Tree Hill for probably the 10th time. All the nostalgia. All the music. Who knew I’d fall in love with a show about basketball?
- Discovered CBD water and ordered a few cases. So good. If you want to give it a try, get a discount with my link.
- Realized I needed some help dealing with caregiving and my mental health. So I signed up for Talkspace. It has been really helpful in giving me space to just vent or talk or share what’s going on in a no-judgment way. If you are interested in online therapy options, you may find this post helpful. Will also be looking into some caregiver specific resources soon.
- With being home all the time and getting ready for the winter, I bought a light therapy lamp to help with the winter blues. I try to sit in front of it for about 30 minutes every day. It does wonders for my mood.
- Mimosas in a can. ‘Nuff said.
- Instagram ads really got me this year. So much so that I bought these shoes. They are quite comfy and support my newly healed ankle very well.
- Saw so many rainbows – whenever I needed a reminder that everything would be OK, I saw one. Even sometimes in places other than the sky.
- Hamilton. I saw the Chicago version but the original cast version on Disney+ was completely life-changing. Immigrants get the job done.
- Morgan Harper Nichols. Seriously I love everything she puts out.
- Adopted the mantra: Tomorrow is another day.
- Discovered Teleparty (formerly Netflix Party) and had virtual watch parties of shows and movies with friends. It’s the 2020 way to hang?
- Used Make Me a Cocktail to discover a new drink: apple juice + whiskey. aka “Barbed Wire”.
- Created a 7-10 minute lightning talk with Mel McSherry’s Speaking bundle. This has been on my list for YEARS. And then delivered it to a group of women and it was awesome!
- Updated my website with a fresh coat of paint. So fresh, so clean vibes. The site feels fun, approachable, and helpful. Shout out to Little Theme Shop for the theme and the help getting it set up.
- Earned a tiny bit of money as part of Medium’s Partner program. You earn money from your writing. That was pretty awesome.
- Started offering ads in my #jesspicks newsletter and PEOPLE BOUGHT THEM.
- Featured as part of the #illustriousvoices project on Instagram and listed in the directory.
- Signed up and started the Playing Big Facilitator Training. As part of an exercise, I met my inner mentor, a version of me 20 years in the future. And that was such a powerful experience.
- Sang and hummed and thought about this song. A LOT. Also found a great dance routine for it.
- Took an Instagram stories class with Saya. If you want to check out some of the things I learned how to do, check out my “I Can: Story” highlight on my profile page. I even danced! On the internet. I like the idea of using stories more just in general as I feel like they give me the chance to be my weird, quirky self.
- Had way too sugary milkshakes with my bestie on Galentine’s Day.
- Wrote a post about COVID and the feelings and opportunities it presented.
- Wrote a side hustle tip every day in April on my Instagram. Check out #30DaysofSideHustle.
- As part of Pam Slim’s Tiny Marketing Action class, I created a Spotify playlist for my peeps. Feel free to listen and follow.
- Realized that breaks are necessary and required. So sometimes I take a 5-minute break and cry it out if I need to or take a shot of tequila. Or a 17-minute nap. Just like our computers need to be shut down and rebooted often (instead of simply “sleep mode”), we need that too.
- Featured in Josh Spector’s list of newsletters for creators.
- Attended a self-care retreat hosted by Kandice Cole. She reminded us that self-care is not only needed when we are feeling bad or run down. We can practice self-care even when we are feeling good. And I forget that sometimes.
- 567 Broadway. Dance fitness to Broadway songs?? Yes, please. Already learned a routine to “Good Morning Baltimore” from Hairspray. Next up, “Bend & Snap”. Any guesses where that is from?
- Won a lifetime membership to Newsletter Crew – a community for newsletter creators. Thank you universe.
- I finally saw an allergist and realized that I am not, in fact, allergic to nuts as I suspected. There is something that causes this weird itching reaction every once in a while but we still don’t know the culprit. In the meantime, we are managing it with allergy meds. Two Allegra a day keeps the doctor away?
- #jesspicks was listed as an essential newsletter for makers and creative entrepreneurs. Thank you Wolf Craft!
- Led a teaching session in our mastermind group about my newsletter, how it started, my process, and things I pay attention to. And then turned that into a mini product with Loom videos. You can grab it for free.
- Survived the pandemic, the election, my injury, and ALL THE THINGS.
I am incredibly grateful and blessed to be walking into 2021 on both feet.