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Ashley's 2020 Recap

"What in the 2020 just happened?!?!" AMIRIGHT?!?! Goodness gracious this year has been a doozy. Surely I can’t be the only one that still feels like I just got tossed around in a major wave and ate a little reef and sand on the way up to the surface, gasping for fresh air to fill my lungs.

This year has been a rollercoaster, for lack of a better metaphor. Even as I begin writing this post, my head is filled with beautiful moments that I’m immensely thankful for, as well as moments that nearly bring me to tears. I suppose every year is filled with highs and lows, if we are able to stop long enough to reflect and note our emotional process; however, these highs were really high and the lows, pretty dark. It is easy to get wrapped up in the overwhelm of it all but my hope is that like us here at OCN, you’re able to find moments of gratitude and reflection for hope in the future and all that it holds.

Beginning 2020, I was full of energy and ready to tackle so many projects. The entire OCN family went on our annual desert adventure for the New Year and we had an amazing time exploring and rockhounding! We took our ocean animal-loving baby girl to spend some quality time with a dolphin and it was such a wonderful experience for all of us! The first quarter of the year was full of adventures and treasured time spent with friends and family.

In March, when things started to shut down, we turned inward and worked hard getting our house ready to sell and preparing for our move across country. We enjoyed those first few months of quarantine, working hard and spending some much-needed time at home together. Projects filled our every day and we put our house on the market a month sooner than we planned. Quarantine was not difficult on us at first because the three of us REALLY enjoy being home all the time. I was having fun homeschooling Em and I felt like the change of pace was refreshing for all of us. Em learned to ride her bike, lost her first teeth, I worked through many recipes I’d wanted to try and we spent every afternoon in our backyard together.

But then, the realization that we were selling our house and going through the military retirement process during a pandemic set in and there were a few months of very difficult decisions and negotiations since nearly everything was closed down and we still had things that needed to get done. Much like everyone else, constantly assessing the value of things in our lives was an everyday reality. We are eternally grateful that when things started shutting down, we quarantined with Mysha + her husband so we at least had constant company and we were able to celebrate holidays and birthdays within our little OCN family before moving!

In late July, we packed up our remaining items and began our roadtrip across the country! We have settled into our new home and simplified country living. As soon as we moved in, we began home renovation projects and that has been a good distraction with everything closing down again. We spend a lot of time outdoors on our acreage and have been working hard to make it our own. We’ve had several visitor from California because here, you can get outdoors all day and never see another human. My husband and I have started bow hunting and spend many evenings outside shooting at targets or as a family snuggled up around our new fireplace. Looking around off my back porch rocking chair, I am thankful every day that in spite of a pandemic, we were able to get some of our goals for 2020 complete and we are now settled into this remote retirement acreage and lifestyle.

2020 has no doubt been a notably rough year and certainly not what we all expected out of a new decade. This year has been difficult. In 2020 I lost someone I love + admired. The world lost an amazing Vietnam War Vet, my larger-than-life Uncle Homer. This year I moved across the country and our time in military service came to an end. I had to leave my 3 best friends and the adjustment in lifestyle and location hasn't always been roses. My amazing hero husband, retired and we set our sights on a new adventure together. This is the first year we've spent nearly every single day together and for most this may seem the norm but for our little military family, it was an extra special benefit of 2020.

Like in all things in life, I strive to look at the positives. I am thankful that most of my family + friends stayed healthy this year. I am thankful that many we know continued to work or serve in the military as “essential” employees. I am thankful that my husband’s retirement has given our family an everyday fairytale of getting to wake up beside one another. These are all things I certainly don’t take lightly and I hope we are all continuing to make efforts to serve those around us, whether it’s wearing a mask, staying distant from those we love, serving as an “essential” worker…I am praying for you and for your safety and comfort this holiday season. I hope that whatever 2020 has brought into or out of your life, here at OCN, you find peace and encouragement; a temporary escape, not to be insensitive, but as a reminder that there is ALWAYS something to learn, create and love in life.

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