My birthday fell only one week into quarantine. My friends, family and fiance all felt sorry for me that was how it was timed. They had champagne, facial kits and cake delivered to me and a promise to celebrate “as soon as this was over”. Little did any of us know that lots of their birthdays would be affected. My fiance and I also felt like there was no way that our wedding plans for a November wedding in New Zealand, would be affected. Now we are weeks past cancelling those plans and working on new ones. I work in retail as a merchandise buyer and was furloughed, for weeks, due to the global stop on brick and mortar shopping and product development. I haven’t commuted, I haven’t been out to multiple dinners and brunches and to Pilates each week. I have thrown pity parties for my wedding changes, I have consoled friends who have had to do the same. I have also felt lots of guilt for feelings as there are so many harder things happening to so many people. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve felt a lot. 2020 has not been at all what I had planned for, but I feel like I owe it a thank you. Thank you for forcing me to slow down, get off the ‘hamster wheel’, and evaluate what is important in life. My heart breaks and goes out to anyone who has lost a loved one due to covid, but feels thankful for the heightened sense of importance of spending time with loved ones and for the time that quarantine has provided us together. I feel angry that we live in a world where not all are treated equally, but thankful for the time I have had this year to dedicate to learning and understanding systemic racism and how I can do better. I have felt sick over continued reports of child sexual assault and human trafficking, but thankful that I have had the time to spread awareness and fund-raise. I have felt non-essential in that I am not someone who was able to do my job or working on the front lines, but thankful for the much deeper respect I have gained and for the heightened public appreciation of our essential workers. I have felt silly and guilty for how worked up I got over my very minor in comparison life changes, but thankful for the greater perspective I have gained that these things are not worth the anxiety I would have normally allowed to consume me. Most of all I have felt extremely thankful for the derailing of what 2020 would have been because I have learned that change is okay. I have learned a lot more about myself and what is important to me. I have learned that I missed writing and sharing recipes and life with all of you. If it wasn’t for the forced down-time this year I am honestly not sure I would have re-booted my blog, but I am so happy I am back here. Please remember, WASH YOUR HANDS, TAKE CARE OF OTHERS, CONTINUE TO LEARN AND GROW, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY PRIORITIZE SELF-CARE.