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Hello 2021, We've Been Waiting

Updated: Mar 31

*This post includes updates and reflections about our personal lives, about the land/little forest and about our business lives over at our branding studio - Studio Vogl*

So yeah, 2020. We all know all the things that happened so I'm not going to go there. It was stressful, heartbreaking, dark. But there was also lots of light and we learned so much. We learned how resilient we actually are, how much we value our family and friends, how to be more self sufficient, what our true priorities are, and we learned so much from our kids. We also learned how much we need each other, and that we need to take care of each other. All of us.

Let's dive right in and recap 2020 from our perspective, and look ahead to 2021.

The Land

We have a big land update post in draft form. But our plans are changing so quickly we aren't ready to hit publish on that just yet. At the tail end of this winter, when these changes are more solidified, we'll drop it right here. All good things.

A mini update regarding the tent: we decided to leave it up for the winter - reinforcing the interior frame with wood planks and our wonderful bro in law trekking up to brush it off every now and then. Our next trip up is this month, so we'll check on how it's holding up then. Fingers crossed! Until the big update post, here are some pictures from the summer and fall (click the arrow on the right to move forward in the slidshow):

Business and Family

Pivot. And again. And again. Pivot. PIVOT!

"Pivot, verb: turn on or as if on a pivot. Spin."

We've been pivoting so much in our business and personal lives this year (along with our clients). I'm sure most people reading this can relate in some way. Distance learning, preschool cancellation, Andy going from working elsewhere every day to working from home every day, helping clients adapt to new mandates and orders and complete business model changes.

"Pivot, noun: the central point, pin, or shaft on which a mechanism turns or oscillates."

When we look at the noun definition of "pivot", it's easy to see that a strong core is important. It's that central point that you can adapt and adjust around, that supports the constant change and keeps everything right side up and where it needs to be. It's what is at the core of our business, of our family life that maintains the balance when everything is spinning. Having a strong and unmoving personal and business foundation / core helps us weather the change and unpredictability of the world spinning around us.

That core is never made up of products or activities or platforms or profits. It's made up of our values, our mission and how we draw from those in times of chaos or uncertainty.

This year over at Studio Vogl, we're doubling down our mission of helping world changing businesses grow and thrive. We're leaning harder into our values/guiding principles. 2019 was all about finding our place. In 2020 we found our footing in that place and settled in. 2021 will be about growing and amplifying in that space.

In the last 12 months, we've welcomed three new clients and could not be happier to work with all of them alongside our existing clients.

Business footnote: I created a small line of paint by number kits that sold out in a couple of months. It was so fun and I really want to replenish the shop, but we've realized that a bigger space is required to hold onto any type of inventory. So this project will be put on hold until we move into a larger home - hopefully summer or fall 2021.

Apocalyptic Nightmares and Mental Health

Most of us haven't seen people this violently divided before. A global pandemic has claimed the life of 1.84 million people worldwide. There have been lockdowns, curfews, killings, riots, historic wildfires, businesses closing left and right, grocery stores with bare shelves. Tensions are high. It's been anxiety-inducing/amplifying.

We're insulated. We're privileged. We're safe and together and healthy with a roof over our heads and more, but this stuff has put us on EDGE this year, or infuriated us, or broken our hearts, or all of the above.

For me, this stress has partially manifested in the form of intense dreams about nuclear meltdowns and falling elevators and tsunamis and lots and lots of violence. There's a new nightmare pretty much every week, most always apocalyptic or terrifying/filled with death and they fuel anxiety...but are probably also the byproduct of anxiety.

Which brings me to my next yearly wrap up topic:


Yikes. It's been a doozy of a year for anyone that already struggled with mental health issues. A DOOZY. I've lived with depression and anxiety most of my adult life. I'd say 97% of the time, over the last decade, it's been "controlled" - ie my depression and/or anxiety is definitely still there and I am aware of it, but it isn't preventing me from taking care of the things I need to in my life (me, family, work, house). The other 5% of the time, it's not controlled. This year, it's been more like 75/25. 25% of the time, I've had high anxiety, high blood pressure, on edge. Or I am down and have a hard time taking care of the things I need to (most often the things that fall by the wayside are taking care of myself and the house). Fatigue has been at an all time high at points this last year. I recognize all of this and also recognize it's been an unprecedented year, for a lot of people. Talking about it helps. I've stopped with the news alerts, I'm getting more sleep and I try to get outside every day. These things also help, but it's still there. That's OK.

Things that help me reduce anxiety and depression:

  • Not drinking alcohol regularly and not at all during times of intense anxiety (this was way easier than I thought it would be and has had more of an impact than anticipated)

  • Writing

  • Good playlists

  • Time outdoors - hiking, camping, canoeing, swimming, snowshoeing

  • Deep breathing exercises

  • Reducing caffeine intake (switched afternoon coffee to tea)

  • Eating well / eating colors

  • Putting my phone away

  • More sleep (but not too much if I'm depressed)

I'm sure many people reading this can relate. We're in this together and you are not alone. Consider seeking professional help. Therapists helped me through postpartum depression / anxiety. Talking to someone can make a big difference.

Looking Ahead

12/31/20 felt like the end of more than just a year. The end of a way of thinking and/or of doing things? The end of an era? I guess that would mean that 2021 is the beginning of something. With our priorities more clear now than ever, we are ready to move forward into the new.

If we can change our priorities, achieve balance and understanding in our roles as human beings in a complex world, the coming era can well be that of a richer civilization, not its end. This is the challenge of our new frontier.

- Sigurd F. Olson, The Challenge of the New Frontier - 1972

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