Thursday, January 14, 2021 / by Jenny Carroll
However, while suffering with everyone else, many have also experienced unprecedented silver linings in their lives that will be cherished as lifelong memories. We were given permission to slow down in our overscheduled, overly distracted days because what else were you going to do? You weren’t going anywhere. Families that would have been separated by normal circumstances were brought back together in ways we may never see again. College kids returned home as universities closed. Young adults moved back in with their parents to create safe quaran-teams with their loved ones. Parents of school-age children were able to connect with their progeny with uninterrupted chunks of time, for better or worse, in ways simply unavailable in the before-times.
This is not to downplay the hardships felt by so many who have suffered greatly this last year. We have grieved the loss of loved ones and seen our communities crack under the strain of closures and an inability to see eye to eye on many issues. But, we have also seen hope rise to lift us up from the quagmire. Some of our Stanberries had the best real estate year of their careers thanks to record low-interest rates and the public desire to have some personal space. Residential inventory across Central Texas remains at historic lows and we see no end to that in sight. We all need a place to live. That’s why Realtors were deemed essential in 2020.
When asked, “what were your highs and lows of the last 9 months?” our agents had stories certain to be similar to yours. “Hard to say what the worst was...prob living in fear the first months, being stuck in the home for months, and going to the grocery store in fear. Best is choosing to live to the fullest, slowing down, family time, selling real estate and kids going back to school, vacations, work from anywhere is acceptable, and joining Stanberry!” said Lauren Paine in our Dripping Springs office.
Our Stanberry staff all moved remote for the first few weeks of the shut down with only minimal interaction in office spaces. Our Bastrop receptionist, Jami Carroll, said, “For me, the worst was socially distancing from my baby granddaughter for 6 weeks last Spring! Also, I’d add the Netflix “Tiger King” series to the Worst list: I found it unwatchable because of the animal cruelty. Oh, and can we add that horror-inducing brain swab that they call a Covid test? I had no idea it was going to enter my frontal lobe, making me a) jump & therefore have to be jabbed 4 times, and b) cry like a baby with tears rolling down my cheeks. Overall, an embarrassing situation. For the Best of, I’d say discovering “Schitt’s Creek,” again on Netflix, which has become my all-time favorite sitcom. Personally, I’d have to include joining the Stanberry Realtors family as the best thing to come out of 2020!”
Ashley Cooper in our Westlake office felt the same about "Tiger King" and put that on her worst list for the year. What a disturbingly wacky show! "The worst parts for me were losing Magnolia Café West, "Tiger King", and leaving Stanberry. The best parts were coming back to Stanberry, finally perfecting our old-fashion recipe with a local bourbon from Treaty Oak, and extra cuddles with my kids," she wrote. We can all relate to wanting more of that good sweet time with our loved ones while mourning the loss of many of our favorite local haunts. Mother's Café, Dart Bowl, Threadgill's, Vulcan Video, I Luv Video, and many more shuttered in 2020.
Sounds familiar, right? The Central Texas we know and love changed overnight and, as Jenny Carroll in Marketing said, “I think the thing I miss most, besides hugging my parents and simply being able to interact with the world normally, is the loss of our live music scene. My favorite thing to do is go listen to the incredibly varied and talented bands, singer-songwriters, and performers we have here. I miss dancing and the din of the crowd. I miss festivals and taking my young daughter to see musical and creative events. But, I've loved dance parties in the living room with my family. Sharing that experience online with hundreds of other people was a totally new experience and I loved it!”
One of those talented performers, long-time Stanberry Don Harvey of A is Red, received recognition for releasing one of the top-5 live records of 2020 by The Statesman for his beautifully recorded “No Place to Fall: Live at the Townsend.” It’s a wonderfully rich ethereal album from one of Austin’s own local stars. Don’s other highlight? “... I can say unequivocally that my favorite movie of 2020 was SOUL. If you’ve not seen it, it is a MUST SEE. My fave Pixar flick of all time.” We agree, Don!
We all discovered new shows, new passions, and new ways to distract ourselves this year. Some made sourdough or rediscovered those old cookbooks, some got creative with mask making and crafts, some entertained themselves with social media challenges, had living room dance parties, and some made their way through the entire Netflix catalog. Whatever your thing was, from embracing working from home to swearing off pants with actual waistbands forever, you made it to here and now. We all survived so now we work on making this new year better than the last.
To that end, what were your highlights of the last year? A thing we all learned a little bit more about this year was gratitude. What in your life are you grateful for more today than in February or March of last year? How will you pursue your gratitude in the year to come? In a country divided, finding those things that bring us joy and sharing them with our fellow humans is a more important endeavor than ever before. Finding those pursuits that can stitch back together the fabric of our society will be the most important task for all of us in the weeks and months ahead. How will you affect positive growth in your community? In your family? Within yourself? You get to decide. It’s your 2021.