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2020 was like a bad breakup ... Bring on 2021!!

As we finally said goodbye to one of the strangest, craziness & downright, just weird years, I, and so many others are SO looking forward to what 2021 will bring.

I'm taking this moment to be pretty open with how 2020 was to me. I'm not following any of the "usual" blogging guidelines since this is probably going to get pretty personal, raw & quite honest. It's not a post about selling our services or giving advice, it's about giving you a peek into how I basically managed almost an entire year without doing what I love ....

Yep, you read that correctly, I haven't worked any type of event since February 2020 & our first event isn't until May 2021 {fingers crossed!}, so by then, it will actually be over a year! If you know me at all, having all this downtime is completely out of character for me since I'm not one to sit idle for very long. I'm a social person, I love to be around people, meet new people & travel to see new places, so with all this "free" time on my hands, I had to get very creative in keeping myself busy.

It's been very difficult for everyone, that I won't deny, but what I think some people don't understand is how devastating this year has been for the events industry. 12 million event industry workers have been out of work & still are. We have been completely shut down & have been fighting for some government assistance just to keep us afloat; where even with that, some still don't make it. I am very fortunate & grateful to say that with the government assistance I have applied for & received, the business is doing just fine & will not be going anywhere! :)

I wanted to take you back to March when I remember everything shutting down, I had to call one of our clients to tell them, for the 3rd time, that we had to reschedule their wedding. The ever changing guidelines were stressful enough to watch & keep up with; one minute we could have 25 people indoors, then the next minute it was 10 people & both keeping 6' apart. So, for them since they already had their marriage license {it was 2 weeks before their wedding} & they were expecting a baby girl in July, we'd still get them married! So, the priest, the couple & myself all headed to the church to get them married .... safely, 6' apart, outside on the grounds! I told them they were going to get married on that day, no matter what. We just got creative with it! We moved their full ceremony & reception to late October thinking everything would be back in the swing of things.

April & May arrived with the regulations still changing on a daily basis in all New England states. I had to keep up with all of them since we had weddings in MA, NH & ME this season & each state had different restrictions. I continued to have those serious conversations with each of our couples about what we were going to do & how they felt about it overall. We moved the spring & early summer weddings to the fall & we waited for a little while longer to make the decision about the fall weddings. We wanted more time to see where we'd be with the state regulations. The only exception with one of our summer weddings we had in Maine, we had to move that one to 2021 immediately because Maine had put actual months on their reopening plan; which our clients wedding wouldn't fit within the guidelines.

June rolls around and the restrictions haven't lifted very much where large gatherings & events are concerned, I began the conversations again about moving our fall weddings to 2021 ... which we did ended up doing. I was holding out until at least August for the one that was happening at the end of October {the one rescheduled from March} because, well, it would be the 4th time we would reschedule it. I just wanted to wait as long as I could to have that conversation again. Early July rolls around, Governor Baker announces indoor weddings would only be at 50% capacity of the venue space .... and I remember that exact moment when I thought "there goes my entire season now". It was like waiting for the other shoe to drop & then if finally did. The emotional roller coaster began again. But, first, I had to make that call again to my clients & tell them we had to reschedule their wedding, yet again.

My main goal through all the rescheduling our couples weddings to new dates, I wanted to make sure their entire vendor team moved with them because, hey, they/we put together an amazing vendor team that would give them a day they won't ever forget. I, damn well, wanted to make sure it stayed that way! I happy to say that every single one of our wedding vendor teams stayed intact!

I'm very grateful that even though all my couples were upset that we had to move the wedding, they also understood that they wouldn't have the wedding they've been envisioning surrounded by their friends & families. We all wanted everyone to stay safe. When their wedding date came, it was definitely a hard day for them & me, I sent them all text messages telling them I was thinking of them, but I also thought "I should be working today" instead of working in my garden or whatever else I did, so emotional roller coaster continued.

Once my couples were all take care of, now, I had to take the time to process all the emotions & feels of my entire wedding season disappearing & that my business could be potentially in jeopardy. This is my livelihood, this pays my salary, bills & expenses. I don't "work" another job that would bring financial security. Never mind, what the heck am I going to do with all this free time & nowhere to go!

Those early days before we knew we'd be able to qualify for any government assistance were hard because usually self-employed people don't qualify for unemployment benefits, so that was lingering in my mind & adding to the emotional roller coaster. Thankfully that changed & we were able too. Any little bit helped.

Yep, there were many days when I completely broke down because I honestly didn't know if we'd be able to survive with no money coming in or with no hope of events even being able to happen. It's heart-wrenching & the heartache I felt was as if a part of myself was gone. The light within was dimmed. When you see everything you've built, all the blood, sweat & tears you poured into what you love possibly disappearing right before your eyes and there's not a damn thing you can do about it because quite frankly, this is completely out of your control. It's utterly devastating.

They always say being a business owner isn't for the faint of heart, it definitely isn't by any stretch of the imagination .... being a business owner during a pandemic, THAT is a whole other level of stress!!

I'm typically a positive person and will always look for the silver lining in anything, I won't lie, there were days when I truly couldn't find it. It was hard for me that I couldn't even be there for my fellow vendor friends because there was no light at the end of the tunnel for us, it was just downright hard. I had to be selfish, think about me & my mindset, so I stayed in my own little bubble to allow myself to take the time to care for myself, my home & my business. I couldn't show up for anyone else.

Boy, did I have to dive deep within myself during these times. There was a lot of reflection happening & I had to keep myself occupied in any way I could. I had to find MY new normal, I'm still finding it. I didn't stay in any self-pity, negative thought process for too long, I had to feel it then move on from it. I spent a lot of time outdoors; in my backyard reading, gardening, walking/hiking, at the beach or hanging by my neighbor's pool. I literally had the best tan ever because I needed to be outside instead of being in the house & I also realized this was probably the first summer I've had completely off since I was in high school! I was very fortunate that one of my best friends was within my little bubble since we've literally been together at least every other day since this all started. It helped both of us since she's feeling this along side me as she is also a fellow event planner. I am grateful that I had her through all of this in more ways than one!

Our couples were good, I periodically checked on them, there was nothing on the planning front we could do because everything was already done & ready for their weddings, so I focused on what I could do. I finally realized that I should take full advantage of what all the years of hard work I had put into the business would do, so I let it take care of me. I built a solid foundation & reputation that I knew I would survive this. It will look a little different for sure, but it's made me stronger. I'm not ashamed for taking the government assistance that is being provided to small businesses, I've taken every opportunity I could in order to survive. It will pay off. I'm in a better financial position than most & that I'm grateful for. Realizing this, it gave me the validation that in the beginning when I structured my business to be profitable & stable, I knew I'd done it in a way that we'd survive.

As the days turned into weeks & the weeks turned into months, I literally don't know what day it is most of the time, but I knew I had to continue to learn new things; both personally & professionally. I also knew I had to pivot in some way, but I needed to pivot in a way that was authentic to me & the business model I created. I didn't want to just create a service that I would "just" get me through this time, I wanted to create something that would continue on. It's been something I've been working on for quite some time & this downtime has allowed me the time to really focus on it & hone my skills.

As with every step I've taken in my life & career, my main goal is to always want to help people in any way I can. As the end of 2020 approached & after a lot of reflection, I felt it was time to "come out" of the spiritual closet and shared with my friends, family, clients & vendor friends that I have the gifts of clairvoyance {receiving messages with words, symbols, colors, numbers or images} & clairsentience {receives messages through feelings or emotions}.

It was certainly a scary moment as you never know how something like that will be received. I couldn't keep it to myself any longer because I felt it would be a disservice to those that could & will benefit from what I do for them. It humbled me to happy tears how wonderfully it was received & how much excitement there was around this new venture.

The Violet Circle was born. It will help people in a different way. We're all in a state of loss right now, but now, I can help give you answers & some guidance. It's still new & I'm still finding my way with it, but I'm really excited about it & how I can connect & help more people. I can't wait to see where it takes me.

Another major thing I did during this crazy time, I had the opportunity to take a trip with 2 of my best friends to Jamaica {yep, we travelled out of the country & we all never felt safer & normal than we did down there!}. While down there, I decided to get open water scuba diving certified with one of my best friends ... that's us in the picture at I believe 35' underwater!

Talk about a whole other level of letting go & trust. I'm not going to lie, there were times when I felt as if I was having a panic attack; which I've never experienced before, but I'm pretty sure what I was feeling is what one would be like! I overcame it as it was an experience I wanted to do. It was freeing, nerve-wracking, exciting & all out scary all rolled up into one .... but I loved every minute of it & can't wait until I have the opportunity to dive again. The world underneath is so fascinating, serene & just so beautiful. It's also an amazing memory that I will always share/have with my best friend. I'm so happy that I did it!

I'm excited for 2021 and what it will bring, no matter what that may be. I will take it head-on, with a glass of wine in my hand & be ready for whatever it may throw at me. BRING IT ON!


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