It has certainly been a difficult year for all, but looking back at 2020, we want to highlight some of the small, but meaningful new experiences that have brought us light during such a dark time.
- Watercolor painting – I picked it up over the summer and now find myself using it as a creative outlet that brings me a lot of happiness. It’s also a good reminder that I don’t have to be good at something to enjoy it.
- Piano – I haven’t played piano since I was young, but I was stuck at my parents’ house for most of this year with a good amount of time on my hands, so one day I just sat down at the piano and started to learn it again.
- Places I Stopped on the Way Home: A Memoir of Chaos and Grace by Meg Fee – This book is really great if you’re in a certain headspace to read it, and 2020 certainly provided that space.
- Wax Seals – I’ve discovered the ridiculous and fun world of wax seals. With face-to-face communication kept at a minimum this year, my friends and I resorted to regular mail for a fun change of pace. It allowed me to get crafty and creative, and it’s always fun to receive a decorated handwritten letter in the mail.
- Japanese – I’ve always wanted to learn the language, due to my love of Japanese art and culture, and this year presented the perfect opportunity since I had so much extra time during quarantine. It helped keep me on track and focused during such a difficult year. I look forward to continuing my study in 2021.
- Cooking – While I did not catch onto the bread-making trend this year, I tried lots of new recipes from some of my favorite cookbooks. I would definitely recommend Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty and Plenty More for some great Mediterranean vegetarian dishes, and Ina Garten’s Foolproof and Cook Like a Pro for zesty cocktails and tasty French-American recipes. They definitely make meals at home feel special.
- Italian – One of my majors at Wellesley was Italian Studies, but after I graduated, it proved difficult for me to find time and opportunities to practice my Italian conversation. This year, I was able to arrange weekly video chats with a tutor, and listen to podcasts and TV shows in the target language. I’m proud of my progress and found that this was a great diversion from a challenging year. Looking forward to continuing!
- Nail polish/nail art – It may sound silly to some since I’m not going anywhere or seeing anyone, but I love painting my nails. I love changing out the colors and finishes and experimenting with different combinations. It’s a small thing that lets me be a little creative and makes me happy.
- My new headset – I needed a new headset with a better microphone for all my work calls. I fell aesthetically in love with one that was pink with cat ears where the ear cups and cat ears light up with programmable RGB lights. It was the remote work improvement I was looking for and the lights and cat ears make me really happy. It is so fun to see the reflection in the window at night of the lights going in response to my music! It makes me feel like I’m having a party, even though I’m just working by myself.
- Video games – I don’t have much free time these days, but when I do, video games are always a really fun way for me to relax. In particular, I have mostly been playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons. It’s very peaceful to spend time on your own idyllic island that you can make with it what you will, populated with cute and funny villagers.
- Lounge dress – I just started wearing a new lounge dress that is so soft and warm. I feel like I’m wearing a plush yet lightweight blanket, and I almost feel like a soft, cuddly stuffed animal. If you haven’t already gotten yourself something soft and comfortable to wear, I highly recommend it.
- Traveling (only when safely): As someone who used to hang around museums weekly during graduate school, it was an absolute delight being able to not only travel to New York City, but to also be able to go to the Met and the Met Cloisters for the first time for the latter! While the grand plans I had for my 2020 museum going did not come to fruition, I was so grateful to be able to go and see interesting art and architecture in person this year.
- Animal Crossing: Similar to Catherine and many other gamers, I found myself immersing myself in Animal Crossing New Horizons. I have always found myself drawn to life-simulation games and being able to build a new world from the ground up felt empowering.
- Photography: This has been a hobby of mine for awhile but is always an excellent excuse to mask up and get out of the house.
Everyone at The Female Gaze would like to wish you all a happy and healthy new year. If you tried any new hobbies or had any positive new experiences this year, let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear about them!