COVID-19 made a lot of big changes, and I have also been changed….for the better.

Last year I proclaimed 2020 would be the year I’d try new things. The minute I said it out loud the Universe delivered, and continues to over and over again.

I didn’t expect a pandemic, but I did expect that I would be forced out of my comfort zone. The amount of times I’ve been challenged in a good way this year has surprised me.

I said I would wear a crop top. I have one!

I said I would do something that scares me every month, and that’s definitely happened!

Take for instance this past week. We packed up and drove 12 hours to the remote Northern Ontario bush country to spend time with our friends who we have been bubbling with during COVID-19.

Hornpayne is where our friend Johnny is from. His wife, my good friend Natasha, and their kids go every year to spend some of the summer by the quiet lake. It’s a place that Johnny talks about with passion, and it was great to see it from his perspective.

It’s in the middle of the thick bush, or Hearst Forest, surrounded by trees and lakes. It’s a dream for anyone who is outdoorsy. I mean, it was a dream for my outdoorsy men as Cooper and Tobin were in Heaven.

I, on the other hand, am a different kind of outdoorsy: a beach, running on a manicured trail and cell service wherever I go. Yeah, that’s outdoorsy to me.

We lost cell service 8 hours into the drive. When we arrived, I was eaten alive by five different species of bugs. FIVE DIFFERENT TYPES!

Mosquitoes chased me. Deer flies and horse flies bit me. Black flies buried themselves in my hair.  Sand Flies! What?!

That sounds like it would be my nightmare, but guess what? It wasn’t (well, the bugs were my nightmare).

I grew on this trip.

I learned about a simpler way of life. I learned the art of deep relaxation. The kind that you feel right in your soul.

I watched my son get excited for every new discovery. Every fish he caught. I had deep conversations with my friend, Natasha that made me see her in a new light. It gave me a deeper appreciation for the friend and mom she is.

When my phone wasn’t within reach, I found I could see people differently. What a gift! (Also, let’s be real, I don’t want to be without cell service, but I can make an effort to not be on my phone as often.)

I didn’t run. I didn’t count calories. I just went with the flow and did things intuitively, and I didn’t gain any weight.

Learning how to be a better stand up paddle boarder was the focus on this trip, and I taught Rocket to be a SUP dog. He rocks at it BTW.

I watched as Johnny cooked amazing meals on the grill and was inspired to do the same.

The best cup of coffee comes from a percolator that you put on the burner and it takes 20 minutes to make, but it is so damn worth it. It honestly was the best coffee I’ve ever had.

That was a good lesson: good things take time. Stop being in a rush all the time.

I chopped wood.

I saw a bald eagle, a bear, a moose, a fox!

This is all in one trip. A trip that forced me to unplug and reflect. To rest.

The reason why I look at this trip as a highlight of the year is because we are now six months away from a new year. Sure, 2020 was, and is, a tough year, but we can still come out of this stronger.

The next six months can be defined by the struggles, or it can be defined by the growth.

I choose growth.

No one wanted to go through this tough year but think of the things you’ve done or accomplished because of it!

I turned 40.

I run 5 km without stopping.

I mountain bike.

I increased my weights.

I bought a freaking crop top!

I am a stand-up paddle boarder.

We are still in business despite all the odds.

We are healthy, despite all the odds.

Sure, we can’t do the trips we wanted, or do the things we’ve always been able to do, but how wonderful is it that we can do things we’ve never been able to do before.

If it wasn’t for this virus and this trip, I wouldn’t be who I am today.

And I like who I am.

XO

Apryl

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