Episode #45: Covid Pivots

Hi hi hi. This week, we’re talking about big pandemic-related life changes! After Elsie shared her big moving news, we heard from so many of you who have experienced BIG life changes. Many are very sad, some are inspiring, most of them are VERY surprising. It’s all over the map! We’re exciting to share your stories today. What a time to be alive, right??

You can stream the episode here on the blog or on iTunesSpotifyGoogle PlayTuneInPocket Casts, and Stitcher. You can find the podcast posts archive here.

Show notes:
-In this episode, we share a LOT of different stories. We’d love to hear about your unique story here in the comments. COVID has affected our lives in so, so many ways and as a result we have a collective endless well of REALLY interesting stories.

-We mention Episode #41: Emma’s quarantine novel and Episode #42: Oops, I’m moving again.

-Sorry about the dogs barking. Emma’s elderly dog has separation anxiety from her. Poor little buddy. 🙂

-Emma mentions @MiddleClassFancy

-Elsie mentions @Ramit (per usual)

-Follow Shoe Makes New (congratulations Emma for starting your new blog—it’s beautiful!!!)

-Send us your stories, questions or episode requests anytime at podcast AT abeautifulmess DOT com (we are also accepting ghost stories, haha).

We love you! Emma + Elsie

Miss an episode? Get caught up!

Episode 45 Transcript

Elsie: You’re listening to the A Beautiful Mess podcast. I recently shared our big pandemic related pivot. And your e-mails and stories have been pouring in ever since then. In this episode, we’re talking about how COVID has changed our perspectives and shifted our priorities. We’re also sharing listener stories that have a full spectrum of what this time has meant for our lives. It’s happy. It’s devastating. It’s inspiring. It’s kind of everything in between. So here we go. Is this a wine and popcorn episode or is this more of a tissue box episode?

Emma: Yeah, I was like, I want to read these before we record because I was afraid it might be a tissue box. And I’m trying really hard to never ugly cry on this podcast, although I have a feeling it’ll happen one day because I am a real, real crier.

Elsie: We’ve never had a super tearful episode.

Emma: Yeah, not yet. We’ll see.

Elsie: OK, so by the way, we decided to keep the stories somewhat anonymous, on a first name basis only. And the reason why is honestly just because I had like 50 emails to go through and I had a hard time keeping track of who said what. So we’re just gonna keep everyone a little bit anonymous just to be on the safe side.

Emma: Yeah. So we don’t get a name wrong. And then someone’s husband listens because we know husbands listen. No, just kidding, I don’t think they do. (laughs)

Elsie: Our husbands listened to like three episodes and then they were like, we’re done with this. (laughs).

Emma: Sometimes I like do a little trick to Trey I’ll like say something like different than how I said it on the podcast. I’m just like seeing and usually I can tell when he…

Elsie: Did he pass or fail?

Emma: “No, I don’t know.” Yeah. He passes…I’d give him like 60 to 70 percent of the time he passes.

Elsie: Oh wow.

Emma: So yeah, he listens but…

Elsie: That’s way better than Jeremy. He doesn’t listen to it at all. He doesn’t pretend to. Actually, he does listen to it a tiny, tiny bit because he has to add in the music.

Emma: Yeah I was going to say I feel like he like has to. Also, I feel like both our husbands hear all of the first drafts of podcasts and all of the after drafts, whatever that’s called. But we’re like telling them about it. Anyway, okay, so maybe you should tell folks a little bit why we wanted to do this episode or like how we came up with the idea for it. Generally.

Elsie: Yes. So over the last few months I’ve been going through my own COVID related life change. So I shared that about two months ago, I started talking to my husband about should we just move? We could have, you know, a better situation for the fall and the holidays and the new year. In case, you know, because we might be further in lockdown, we might be homeschooling. There’s just a lot of unknowns right now. And it just made sense to kind of get our family in the best possible situation for those unknowns. And for us, it was avoiding a big construction project, but it kind of also made me aware of all the different things that are happening to different people. So I wrote a couple Instagram stories about it and I got hundreds of DM’s and then lots of emails as well. So we’re going to read some of the emails. But first, I am going to share kind of this giant list of different things that happened to people. These are all real things that happened to our listeners that they DM’d me.

Emma: So these are just little snippets. Not a full story, right?

Elsie: Yeah, because a lot of the DMs I received were were kind of snippets. OK. So a lot of things about marriages. Deciding to end a marriage is a big one. And it makes sense because you’re quarantining, you know, and you’re sort of like trapped in a house with someone like it might make you rethink some things or. I don’t know. I mean, it makes sense.

Emma: I think it could make things that we’re already there too, bubble up to the surface.

Elsie: Right.

Emma: Because you have a lot more time or a lot less space to process them in, if that makes any sense. So, I don’t know this person’s specific journey, but yeah, I could see that something already being kind of broken, bubbling up. Yeah, I could understand that.

Elsie: It makes sense. And obviously, like I’m a divorced person, I sometimes think the healthiest thing you can do in your life is end a marriage. So I’m not even saying it’s a sad one for some people. It’s a very hopeful decision to make. Also, we had a listener who decided not to end a marriage, so they were halfway through their divorce and then the quarantine brought them closer together and made them realize that they felt it was worth another shot.

Emma: Oh wow. That’s amazing.

Elsie: Yes.`And there are a lot of stories about job losses and also career changes. So a very high number of people have either lost their job or been furloughed. Like, obviously, the whole restaurant industry and many other industries.

Emma: Right.

Elsie: Or they decided when they started working from home, that the job that they were doing…like a lot of people decided maybe this is a time for me to spend some time working on my dream business that I’ve kind of had in the back of my mind for years. So that is very inspiring, I think. And we’ve talked about in episode was it, 41? That Emma wrote a novel. She’s one of the very, very hopeful quarantine stories. And yeah, I pretty much just cried and tried to get my kids to only eat a certain number of applesauces per day. (laughs) So it’s all good. Wherever you are in the spectrum, someone like I, I feel like we’ve kind of, I don’t know. It’s just it’s a very easy time to be empathetic and realize that you’re life or your experience is not the experience. I received a significant amount of stories from people who have decided to move completely across the country. And this is my favorite kind of story just because it’s so…I always like asked for more details. And it’s just so interesting how people make this happen. But most of the time it has something to do with realizing when, you know, once you’re staying at home, I had this experience because we live in Tennessee. Our family lives in Missouri. And when you’re staying in your home and you’re not really able to go anywhere and appreciate your big cool city, it does kind of make you feel like, well, I’d rather just live close to my mom. So.

Emma: Right.

Elsie: I get that a couple people, out of necessity and practicality, moved in with their partner for the first time because it was kind of like you either quarantine together or you quarantine apart, like you kind of have to choose. So they took the leap…

Emma: Oh, yes.

Elsie: …based on that. A couple people leaving super successful careers, starting their dream business. OK, deciding, this one is big. This is kind of what I said before about living with your mom, deciding to move to a less expensive area so that you can afford a larger, nicer home. So I think that makes sense when you’re thinking of cities like L.A. and New York and even Nashville is I mean, the property prices are pretty high for, you know, how big a city it is. It’s kind of shocking. It makes sense that if you’re not able to go to a restaurant or a bar or all these, like, entertainment things that brought you to the city in the first place and you’re like, well, I’m going to stay home. I might as well live in a home that’s bigger and has more things that bring me joy every day.

Emma: Right. And some businesses have already kind of said, we’ve had some here in my town that if…they used to have an office and everyone went to the office and they’ve already kind of said, hey, we’re not going to do that. People can choose to work from home for forever because we’ve seen now and I’m not saying every business is doing that, but I think some kind of saw through this that it could actually work. So…

Elsie: Definitely. That makes a lot of sense. Yeah. I do wonder if in the future less businesses will worry so much about having an office or a headquarters, because once you’ve seen your business running sometimes pretty seamlessly and everyone’s working from home, it kind of makes sense that that’s a major expense that isn’t really necessary. And I know some people enjoy working at home more and never want it to end. And some people don’t enjoy it as much. And I guess that is why coworking spaces exist. But I love it so much. So I. I would never want to work in an office.

Emma: Yeah, me neither. Me neither.

Elsie: OK. This is an inspiring one. We had a listener who for the first time in her life, decided to quit drinking alcohol during the quarantine. Yeah. So she did a big life change, a big step. And she’s so happy with her decision, which is so cool.

Emma: I love that.

Elsie: Yeah. I do think that it’s a time in history and in life where if you’ve been putting off something or you have something that you really want to do or, you know, you need to do, it does kind of feel like, OK, well, if I’m not going to do it now, when am I ever going to.

Emma: Yeah, I think too, like, just whenever we get kind of like, shaken out of our everyday life, and this is obviously a big moment of that, that for me anyway, and I think a lot of people feel the same way. It kind of opens you up to trying new things anyway or things that you’ve been wanting to do. But you didn’t know if you could because I guess you kind of see yourself doing this already hard thing. And so it’s like, well, might as well try this. You know, starting a new business or quitting alcohol or whatever it is that you maybe had already kind of been thinking about, but you didn’t quite have that jolt that made you take the leap, I guess.

Elsie: Yes, I mean, there’s nothing wrong with just surviving and just kind of making it through. I think that’s mostly where I’ve been. But I love hearing the stories of people who channeled it in some kind of a positive, productive way that helped their lives.

Emma: Yep.

Elsie: Yeah, it’s very inspiring. OK. We had a listener who faced their biggest fear, not by choice, and had a miscarriage alone in the hospital. And that, yeah, it was a very, very heartbreaking story. But I think she definitely feels proud of herself for making it through. And I think that’s one thing…

Emma: She should.

Elsie: Yeah. That’s one thing we can all feel after this is all over is, proud.

Emma: Yep. Yeah, I think that too. On that note, I for me and I, I feel like I’ve kind of heard this in a couple of the snippets you’ve already read and some of the stories we’re gonna read. I think a lot of people feel a bit of anxiety about sharing anything happy or anything that they consider medium sad or, you know, anything that they’re going through, because we know there’s these other stories out there happening, someone going through a miscarriage by themselves in a hospital. And it just puts, you know, any small thing that I’m going through feels like nothing compared to that. So then I don’t want to share my hard thing because I feel like, oh, well, that’s not the hardest thing. And I just think there’s a lot of, you know, anxiety around that, pain around that. And so I don’t know. I love seeing people kind of just love on each other in real life and on the Internet. And at the moment, we can’t do it as much in real life. So we’re left with different ways of communicating. And I love seeing that when people are just kind of letting everyone feel what they’re feeling. And you don’t have to make it a comparison game and you don’t have to make it a you know, oh, I recognize that I’m still so lucky, but also, this is hard. Like, it’s we’re all going through our hard thing.

Elsie: It’s hard not to be an over-apologizer right now. I agree.

Emma: Yeah.

Elsie: After episode 42 or I talked about moving the most DMs that I got were. “Why are you apologizing? Why are you so scared of what people think. Why do you care?” And honestly it is because of this stuff. I know that people have lost their jobs and are able to pay rent this month. And I just feel like anything you share right now that’s happy news, feels very insensitive, and that’s just true. So, yeah, I do appreciate it when people choose to sort of be gracious and understanding during this time because. Yeah, like I recognized, my experience is not the experience. And when you read some of these stories. Yeah. It makes that feel very real. But yeah, it is…it’s just a weird year.

Emma: Yeah, it is. And it’s hard not to feel like you’re being, like you said, insensitive if you’re sharing really anything and. Yeah. I just think I know I feel a lot of worry around that. And normally I really appreciate when people are like, don’t apologize, just be who you are. And I appreciate the sentiment. But I do feel like this year in particular, I just don’t…oh, my dogs are just so crazy.

Elsie: Yeah unfortunately…

Emma: Our dogs, they’re crazy.

Elsie: We’ve stopped and started like four times right now for the dog. So I think we’re just going to let the dogs bark and then…it’s fine.

Emma: I know it sounds like I’m torturing them, but I’m not. Oh I guess I’m torturing them by not being in the same space as them.

Elsie: Do you want to start that little part again, because that part was really special.

Emma: I don’t really remember what I was saying. I was just trying to say basically it’s hard to talk to a large group when you know some people are going through such pain and some people are going through such triumph. And it’s very difficult to talk to that big group. And so I think we should all just try to have grace. I’m trying to do that. I appreciate when I see others doing that. And I also think it’s OK to just feel like a little overly sensitive to others right now, I think…normally, I don’t want to apologize too much for my life, but this particular year I’m like, you know what? I just think people are going through such trauma this year and I don’t know when someone is. And so I want to be as careful as I can to love them in whatever news I’m sharing or whatever little stupid Instagram post I’m sharing or, whatever, you know.

Elsie: Yeah.

Emma: So anyway…

Elsie: I agree.

Emma: …we love you. That’s all I’m trying to say is I love you if you’re having a great year. I love you. If you’re having a terrible year. I love you. And I’m sorry if whatever message I put out there might make you feel differently, because the truth is, I love you.

Elsie: Aw, Emma. Hell, yes! I love that.

Emma: My dogs agree. (laughs)

Elsie: Okay. Should we go back to the list?

Emma: Yeah. Sorry sorry. Tangent.

Elsie: Alright. No, no, don’t. I’m glad we had that tangent because I feel exactly the same way. Alright. So we had one listener who had six different family members get COVID around the same time. Yes.

Emma: Oh my God.

Elsie: And the happy ending is that in her family, all six of the people recovered. Which is amazing. But she said it was incredibly scary and traumatic. And then she…the happy thing she did in her life, is she decided to foster fifteen puppies at the same time. (laughs)

Emma: Oh, my gosh. (laughs).

Elsie: So she had a big season. I’m proud.

Emma: Wow. Yeah.

Elsie: Yes! And then the. OK, let’s talk about weddings getting canceled and rescheduled because this is a big 2020 theme. I had a couple of friends who rescheduled their weddings and actually our brother was planning that he was gonna get married this summer and…no longer. Now he’s thinking 2021. So anyway, the wedding’s getting canceled, especially those who, you know, had plans like this elaborate giant wedding and a big honeymoon. It’s. Yeah. Obviously, it’s easy to feel really sorry for anyone who that happened to you. In our area where we live, now I’m moving on to graduations, there’s like — all of the high schoolers have signs in the yard.

Emma: Yes.

Elsie: So it says their name to kind of celebrate them. Is that is like that everywhere?

Emma: Yes. When I walk around my neighborhood here, I know now exactly where all the seniors live because the little signs in the yard. That’s like Mason, 2020. Or you know, whatever their name is.

Elsie: That’s so cute.

Emma: Yeah, it is. I always also feel like. Oh, man. I remember what I was a senior and we had so many little events. You have your prom and you have your ceremony and all of that’s different for them.

Elsie: It’s a big year.

Emma: And yeah, I know that’s kind of minor compared to other things, but man, what a tough like, what a strange, strange one to be living through. So.

Elsie: Some people have lost things, you know, like your prom, that you’ll never get back, even though I know it’s just a prom. Like it’s special. It’s a part of life.

Emma: It is.

Elsie: So now let’s talk about people having babies. So our ad manager is named Claire. She’s amazing. We love her.

Emma: Claire!

Elsie: We’ve worked together a long time. She’s just one of the people on our team who you don’t really see on the blog because she’s not a writer. So anyway, she had her first child. And was it June or May?

Emma: Very end of May.

Elsie: Yeah. So she had her first child, and she had to, as a result of COVID, not have her mom at the hospital with her, which is a very, very, you know, sad…

Emma: Yeah. I don’t know if it was worse for her or her mom. Either way…

Elsie: I’m sure it was worse for her mom.

Emma: And for a little while, she wasn’t even sure if her husband would be able to be in the room. But then he was able to.

Elsie: That’s true, actually, Collin…Collin’s brother also had a baby during this time and she had a midwife. So she didn’t have — she was not able to have her husband. So Collin’s brother didn’t get to be there when his new baby was born. Yeah. Like some I mean, the things people have been through this year. It’s. Yeah, it’s unimaginable.

Emma: Well, and also everyone who’s had a baby this year. There’s a you know, as anyone who’s had a baby knows, there are lots of appointments leading up to the delivery day. And so you either have to go into a hospital or wherever your doctor is or however you’re doing it. There’s still kind of a lot of that. And it’s a difficult time to, I don’t know. Do doctors appointments? Absolutely.

Elsie: One of my fears every time that there is a spike is just needing like what if we need to go to the hospital for an unrelated issue? I’m so afraid, you know, just to not be able not for our whole family to be able to stay together, you know, because they won’t allow that right now. So, yeah, that’s definitely a nightmare. Being separated from your kids or your husband or. Yeah, but a lot of people have done it. And I’m proud of everyone. Many of my friends have had babies this past season and it’s been incredible to watch. So, relationships on hold. So this is a big one. So people, a lot of people dating, especially long-distance dating, haven’t been able to see each other because especially if you have to fly to see each other. Most of us haven’t flown and aren’t planning to right now. And yeah, that’s a huge one. That’s, I’m sure, so incredibly hard to navigate when the…I always feel like in life, the hardest things for me are when you don’t know the timeline, you know?

Emma: Me too.

Elsie: Like if you know something is going to happen by this time, it’s like, okay, great. I can plan and do all these other things in the meantime. But when you have no idea, no control. And that’s definitely true with COVID and when the vaccine will be available and all that. So. Blah!

Emma: Yeah. Yeah. If you’re kind of like in that part of your relationship where you’re definitely together but you’re also not for sure getting engaged, then I could see it being like, if you hear it on the news, the vaccine won’t be ready for two or three years. You’re like, well, do we just put our relationship on pause for two or three years? Is that where we’re at? Do we break up?

Elsie: I think that’s what’s crazy.

Emma: Do we get engaged? Like, that’s just a difficult…do we even talk about it?

Elsie: It puts people into a…

Emma: It’s a hard time to talk about hard things because there’s so much stress or in other areas of our life. So, yeah, that’s a really tricky cause. I’m the same way as you Elsie. I have to, I really prefer to know the timeline, which obviously life doesn’t always let us know its timeline, but I really prefer to know when things are going to happen because then I can prepare myself. And if I’m feeling stressed about, oh, this isn’t happening yet, then I know it’s going to happen, though, in two years. So this year is just not the year, you know, or whatever. But if you’re like, I don’t know when it’s going to happen, then it’s just a very painful, difficult, anxious time.

Elsie: Absolutely. OK. The next one is extremely personal to me. So a lot of people, I don’t know if this is commonly known or not, actually. So if you are adopting right now, especially from China, because you probably all know that we’ve adopted two kids from China. So that’s kind of the program that we’re most familiar with. The program has been completely on hold for all of 2020, and there is really no update on when people are going to be able to travel again. So there are many people who are matched with a child at the end of twenty nineteen who, some even weeks away from flying to China, whose trip was canceled, who’ve been waiting this whole entire year with a nursery full of toys and books and just not knowing. But, you know, when you’ve..I think it’s the thing that’s so difficult with adoption is once you’ve seen the little picture, then…Our trip to get Goldie was delayed by a couple months, which is not a big deal. But it felt like…it feels like every month you’re missing things. So to me, a whole year is something I have extreme compassion for. And if you happen to come in contact with anyone who’s had one of these adoptions on hold situations, just give them whatever equivalent you can of a giant hug because they need it. And the thing that’s also so strange for us is that we got matched early with Goldie. We got matched or much earlier than we should have. And really, like we think about it every day. I probably think about it three times everyday that we should have been one of these families who is waiting an extra year. That was the timeline that we were really on. And I feel so lucky that she’s magically home with us and we’re spending this crazy year together instead of apart. But anyway, if you’re listening and you have an adoption on hold, I’m so proud of you and it’s gonna be so worth it. The last thing on this little shortlist I have is someone said that they decided to leave their job after they watched how their employer handled COVID, which I think is such a relatable thing because obviously it’s been a difficult time for everyone. But I think some people have shown a lot of generosity in this time, you know, and a lot of flexibility. And I definitely think that it’s employers, especially if you have a chance to, you know, be generous and flexible with your employees. I think it’s our time to shine. So I feel very passionate about that.

Emma: Yeah, I do. Yeah. It’s such a tough one because, you know, I think a lot about being a good employer. You know, I take that really, really seriously because I think it’s such a privilege to get to work with such great people. And I know, like, you know, we have multiple businesses. But I also kind of I understand small businesses that might be struggling and can’t afford, like literally can’t afford to be generous. And I feel like that’s something too, I — there’s just so many different. And then there’s some that can’t afford and they’re just not doing it. And that’s, ya know, that’s its own thing.

Elsie: No it’s for sure, both. I mean, you only, you know, which category you’re in. But yeah. Seeing people do generous and difficult things for other people is a beautiful part of 2020. And one of the things that I’ll take from it that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

Emma: Yeah. And I hope to be a small part of it in my own small way.

Elsie: Absolutely.

Emma: As best I can. Yeah.

Elsie: Well, do you want to read one of the full stories that we have?

Emma: Yes.

Elsie: OK. These are really special stories. I wish we could have read all of them. But as I said before, I had some organizational problems and putting together this outline is the whole thing. It’s like three different pieces of paper with little scraps and post-its, so.

Emma: And this is exactly why we are not journalists. (laughs) So…

Elsie: Oh, my goodness, yeah.

Emma: Yeah. Nope. Not qualified, at all. OK. Anyway, let’s read a few people’s stories here. So this gal is named Jessica. Again, we’re doing first names only. Alright. Jessica says, My husband and I bought our first home two years ago. We knew it was a starter home and we would move again in about five years. During quarantine, my husband decided he was tired of putting our heart and soul and our money into a home that we didn’t want to stay in long term. We went from driving around just to get the kids out of the house to driving around to look at various locations, to contacting our realtor and then to actually looking at homes. We found our dream home on the first day of looking at houses and we put our house on the market the same night at 6 p.m. We had multiple offers and it sold for more than asking price in less than 24 hours. It was wild. WILD was in all caps. We officially closed on both homes last week. I also have gone almost three months without going to Target. So let’s all have a moment of silence for that.

Elsie: Yes, I love the big ones mixed with the little ones because I feel that way, too. It’s hard for me to tell, the defining moments of my life from not going to Target for a few months…(laughs)

Emma: Well. And all the means that are like, I don’t know if you follow the Middle Class Fancy, do you follow that Instagram account?

Elsie: I’ve seen a lot of reposting.

Emma: Well, it’s a lot of jokes about people loving T.J. Maxx, and I’m like, that’s me. Every time the meme comes up, sometimes Trey even sends them to me. And I haven’t been to T.J. Maxx since, like February. And it’s, you know, doesn’t matter at all. But it’s one thing in my life. So anyway, that’s…

Elsie: Jessica! We’re so happy for you. I love that story.

Emma: I love that they were starting to look. They were like, ah, we’ll see. We’re just going to, like, put our foot, our putto toe in the water. And then before you know it, they’re like buying a house. Selling a house. Twenty four hours.

Elsie: Yes.

Emma: And it sounds like their market’s really hot, which a lot of them are right now because I think a lot of people are in the same boat. They’re really reevaluating their living situation. So, yeah, that’s amazing.

Elsie: Yeah, I love this story because I definitely relate with it, with our whole situation. And after that, after Episode 42, I got so many stories from people who basically changed their mind about a house and moved really quickly. So I did feel very seen. And yeah, it was it’s fun. I love it when people send stories. OK. Let’s go to Madison.

Emma: Madison says, I had quite a few quarantine life changes. Number one, I was furloughed from my job. Number two, my fiancee and I eloped because he needed health insurance. And number three, we canceled our big wedding and are using the money to buy our first house instead.

Elsie: (gasps)

Emma: Yeah. And she goes on she says the shift in work and time helped us re-prioritize what matters. We also got lucky and the government programs really changed our life for the better. The stimulus check and the six hundred dollar bonus from the federal government while on unemployment got us ahead on our bills for the first time and we’re able to use our money for our first home. And I think they’re still looking for their first home, she says. In parentheses, it feels uncomfortable to be experiencing financial security for the first time because of this, when so many people are experiencing hardship. We’re happy to be spending our money on what we want and also having the money to give to anti-racism, nonprofit organizations and time to volunteer in our community.

Elsie: That’s beautiful.

Emma: So yeah, that’s a lot of things, Madison.

Elsie: Actually. Something on Ramit’s, you guys know I love Ramit, something that he said about COVID changes in one of his newsletters is that saving is way up and that makes sense for 2020 because we’re all realizing things that we wish we would have done before and are doing them now.

Emma: Yep.

Elsie: If we can. So yeah, I love Madison’s story and honestly. Ok, so I’m not anti-wedding because Emma and I both had medium big weddings and they were beautiful and fun. And we watch our wedding video once a year on our anniversary and it’s very special. That said, in my opinion, buying your first home is so much more special. So I think if you had to pick one or the other, I’m very proud of Madison for being decisive in that way and not waiting to live her life for another year. I think that that’s a beautiful thing to do. And I’m sure whatever home she gets, it’ll be an incredible memory because she’ll know that in part it came from her 2020 canceled wedding.

Emma: Yeah, yeah. And I don’t know, I think I have a little special place in my heart for elopements because I have friends who do it. But also our parents kind of eloped. They just did, you know, a little…

Elsie: Oh that’s true…

Emma: …yeah. So, and I always loved looking at our parents’, they only have like three or four wedding photos from where this little chapel they went to. I want to say in Oklahoma.

Elsie: Yes.

Emma: And you know. I don’t know. I always looked at them a lot growing up. You always look at your parents’ wedding pictures and that’s the ones they had. And so elopements to me are very like…that’s what I think of. I think of my parents being young and just doing it, getting eloped. So, yeah. Yeah. So many things. I think Madison kind of hit on that same thing. You know, I had my tangent about earlier is it’s uncomfortable to, you know, for her to be feeling this financial security when she knows a lot of people are not — they’re feeling the exact opposite because of…

Elsie: Yeah.

Emma: …similar, you know, the pandemic.

Elsie: But using it to increase your giving, I think is the number one best thing you can do if you’re not in a shitty situation this year. You know, use it in a good way.

Emma: Oh, yeah. Yeah. I would be so excited…I haven’t heard any of this, I mean, there probably won’t be stats on it for a while because we won’t even have the information. But it would thrill me to see that like giving went up this year, you know, from individuals who could…

Elsie: I feel like that is very possible. I mean, it’s feeling like that to me.

Emma: Yeah. I feels that way to me, too. I don’t want to say too much else, but yes, it feels that way to me too. And it makes me so, so excited. I just really think it’s the time to be evaluating and thinking on all that stuff. So anyway, it sounds amazing that Madison’s doing that. Very cool. Alright. This next person is named Emma. But it is not me.

Elsie: (laughs) What does it say? “I wrote a novel.”

Emma: “I wrote a novel. My life’s great.” (laughs) This girl sounds like such a jerk. Alright. Anyway, this Emma, not me, she says: Last year, my husband and I got married. Then we bought a house the next month and he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer the month after that. Then another month went by and we found out we were having a baby. Eleanor was born February 22nd and has spent most of her life in isolation. With a newborn at home and in quarantine maternity leave, we ramped up our house projects and decided to start a blog. It’s called Shoe Makes New and it’s a DIY home improvement blog. And so far it’s been really fun while we’re stuck at home. We probably wouldn’t have made such a big jump if it wasn’t for quarantine. It’s kind of given us an outlet and a way to connect with people who are also working on their homes without actually leaving our home. And she leaves her web site, which we will also put in the show notes. It’s shoemakesnew.com.

Elsie: Yes. As soon as I read this, I looked it up and it’s a beautiful DIY blog and I’m so proud to say I was the first person to follow it on BlogLovin. So everyone follow Emma’s new blog and support her because it sounds like she has been through quite a lot and she is really making the most of it. And I think anyone who’s using this time to try to start a blog or a business deserves our support. So cool.

Emma: Yeah, that’s amazing. Amazing. I also love the name Eleanor.

Elsie: I love that name, too.

Emma: Such a cute name. So classic. OK, so this one is from Zoe. Zoe says, I just saw on your Instagram story asking people about big life changes during quarantine. I got married after being engaged to my fiancee for only six days. With no end to quarantine in sight and seeing so many of our friends weddings getting canceled, postponed or rescheduled, we decided we didn’t want to have to worry or stress over planning a wedding during this time. And we would just rather be married…

Elsie: Aw, I just got chills.

Emma: So on March 28, we tied the knot. I know this one gave me goosebumps when I was reading it before this. I was like, oh, my gosh. Yeah. On March 28, we tied the knot on a Zoom call with about 300 of our friends and family. And the best thing about that is we could have never hosted a 300 person wedding. So many people got to join in on our day. And it was so special.

Elsie: (sighs)

Emma: Yeah. And we plan on hosting a big New Year’s Eve party next year where we will renew our vows and get to party and celebrate with the people that we love.

Elsie: Well, I obviously love that one. I love these big, decisive moments. Obviously, there’s probably some people who shouldn’t decide to get married during quarantine, but it sounds like sounds like Zoe did what was best for her and made a great decision. So that’s exciting.

Emma: Yeah. I also have loved seeing all the creative uses of, you know, video chats and zooms and all of that. I’ve been to a couple surprise party is over zoom over this time. And, you know, I’ve seen lots of other things like that. I just think it’s fun that people are still just doing what they can do to connect and to keep living their life and to not just let it pass them by during this time. I love it.

Elsie: I agree.

Emma: What a great attitude.

Elsie: I loved that SNL episodes that were in large part filmed on Zoom. I thought it was really creative and really fun.

Emma: Yeah. Yeah. I guess my favorites are whenever like I think Pete Davidson had some and it said like little credits afterward, and it said his mom filmed it. I was like, oh, this is the best thing ever. Because I guess he was living with his mom or I don’t really know but she was there. So anyway, that was amazing.

Elsie: Yes.

Emma: We have two more stories.

Elsie: Jessica! This is the second Jessica, huh?

Emma: Is it? Yeah, it is. Second, Jessica. Jessica number two. She says, I currently juggle life as a full-time interior design student with working full time as an interior designer. So double. Double time. I basically haven’t had a day off in two years. It’s worth it in the short term because it’s been a long term dream of mine to be an interior designer for a long time. And I thought I would continue working with the same company for the next 20 years. And then the quarantine hit. The way the company treated its staff during this incredibly difficult time made me reevaluate whether I want to dedicate my whole life to them or if maybe I want to dedicate my life to myself and my own dreams instead.

Elsie: Wooo!

Emma: Yep. After always swearing I would work for a company forever. I’ve started putting the wheels into motion to start my own freelance interior design company when I finish university in the next 18 months. I am so excited and also a little nervous, but mainly just filled with joy and grateful for this change in perspective. So, yeah. So there’s someone, Jessica, who kind of saw her employer during quarantine and thought, you know what? I don’t know if this is the right fit long term. I’m not feeling like this is how things should be going. So makin’ a change, which is pretty gutsy.

Elsie: Ok. This one’s from Anonymous. She told me to make it anonymous. We moved to a new state three months before quarantine and realized that it was just the wrong decision for us. Currently lining up jobs so we can move back. The pandemic put a lot of things in perspective. Once all of the fun things in our new town closed, we realize we want to live near people we love more than activities and restaurants we loved. So back we go. Come this fall, it will almost be one full year since leaving. I, I just, I love it. I love it because I, I do think that when your town is shut down it does put perspective like where we live, we basically haven’t…because we kind of moved to a different part of town when we moved, and we basically haven’t been to any restaurants because we moved four days before we started not going to restaurants ever again. So, we went to one restaurant the first weekend, I think, and then that was it. I think I’m making this about myself, but I’ll just go ahead and finish.

Emma: (laughs)

Elsie: So I realized that the thing I love about our new area is like the parks and the trails and there’s, you know, basketball courts and tennis courts, things like that that are fun things we can do with our kids on the weekend. And yeah, I haven’t even honestly thought about restaurants for so long. We do do the carry out sometimes, but…

Emma: Of course…

Elsie: …not even everywhere offers that.

Emma: Right. Yeah. Some places I’ve just decided to shut down.

Elsie: So we’ll end this one on a happy note because this is…

Emma: Yes.

Elsie: …this one’s special.

Emma: Yes. This one is from Jill. And try not to be too jealous of Jill because I had a really hard time. (laughs) Alright. Here’s her story. She says, I saw you’re looking for quarantine stories and I have a unique one. Not sure this is what you’re looking for or not, but, hey, why not? So we left for Mexico on March 18th, which was supposed to be an adult vacation with a few other couples. As the weeks approached to our departure date, couples slowly started canceling due to COVID, understandably. We, however, thought it over for a second or two and we decided, let’s pack up and grab our four kids and make it a family trip. Long story short, we ended up in a private villa in Mexico for eight weeks and it was the most incredible time of our lives. All caps.

Elsie: I did have one friend who kind of got stuck on vacation. And it is the ultimate everything like. Yeah. Why? Because, you know, we love it. Because we’re moving, I guess. But we love to go to Palm Springs. Like, why didn’t we get stuck in Palm Springs for six months?!

Emma: I almost was like at our my Florida BnB house because I was there like two weeks before we started. And so I was, when I came home, I was like super quarantine for a while because I was waiting to see, because I had been in an airport. So I was like, oh my gosh. But I almost am like, man, it would have been kind of fun to be stuck down there. I wouldn’t have minded, it has a pool. My house doesn’t have a pool, but also my dogs are here. That’s all my follow up questions for Jill, which I don’t have her email, but it’s like. But how did the money work and did you have any pets? And like, what do…you know? But it’s also like they took their kids. Their kids were probably out of school because school didn’t happen the rest of this year.

Elsie: So I wouldn’t mind using my emergency fund to stay on an extended tropical vacation because that’s what the emergency calls for.

Emma: Yeah, I mean, if you have your family with you. I don’t know. Doesn’t sound doesn’t sound terrible. That’s why I was like warning: don’t be too jealous of Jill. (laughs)

Elsie: Well, we are happy for you, Jill.

Emma: We sure are.

Elsie: And. Okay. So to wrap up this episode, these stories, they’re so all over the place and I think that’s kind of the point is that each of us has been through something so uniquely different during COVID and it’s not even nearly over yet. We probably still have a whole nother year or more in front of us of COVID pivoting. So if you have a surprising story, send it to us anytime at podcast@abeautifulmess.com, because I honestly, it’s just like my hobby now is reading these stories.

Emma: Yeah. It’s so fun to hear from other people. And I do feel like some people just don’t want to share in a real public way. So it’s would be fun to send an email. No pressure though. You don’t have to email us. But, you know, if you want to. We are reading them and we do care.

Elsie: You have to. You do have to and we demand it. OK. Thank you so much for listening. And if you have time to leave us a review, don’t for-jet, (laughs).

Emma: Don’t for-jet!

Elsie: …Leave us a review (laughs).Don’t forget to subscribe. And if you want to be, you know, the extra A+++ podcast listener, sharing it on Instagram is always something that means a lot to us.

Emma: Yes, we appreciate you. We’re thinking about you. No matter what you’re going through we’re going through it, too. Let’s all have some grace for each other.

Elsie: Social distance hug! Right now.

Emma: Yes. We love you all. We really do. Bye.

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  • Great episode. I started (after a 33 year “hiatus”) ballet again – online and love it so much. I’m finally pursuing my desire to learn to sew athletic wear. And, I am doing online dance workshops with women around the world, which feels great when in most ways my world feels so small.

  • What a great episode! I love listening to your podcasts, I always do it on my walks and it feels like walking with friends :-). Thank you Elsie for talking about adoption in relation to COVID. We have been in an adoption process since 2014. It was already a long wait, but now everything has come to a hold. We are adopting from South Africa which does not make it easier at the moment. I’ve always been positive and hopeful, but I find it quite hard at the moment. But we have to stay positive cause it’s the only thing we can do. Thanks again! And I love to see you with the girls!

  • The long-distance relationship thing is hitting me hard. We’re within a day’s drive but it’s still hard to navigate how to schedule visits right now.

  • I loved this episode! You summed it up perfectly: everyone is having such different experiences during this crazy time. Although, I definitely found myself wishing I was experiencing that last story- I want to be stuck on vacation!

  • I loved this episode. It was so cool to hear stories from others about their big changes. We have decided to move out of the city and a little bit more into the country (we live in Michigan) Pre Covid we had talked about it but we were so tied to our location with school and my husbands work that we never did it. He is now permanently working from home and school is looking so different that it’s honestly the perfect time. With relying on walks and being outside to keep our sanity in the beginning of the quarantine we all kind of realized how much we are craving having some extra land and not being so close to our neighbors ? it’s scary and exciting and never in a million years would I think this is what we would be doing this year yet here we are. This just felt like the pep talk I needed and the whole time I was just shaking my head and saying “yes” I appreciate your kindness and gratitude with everything going on ❤️

  • I was all set to move back home to LA from Northern VA when everything was shut down. Had to postpone because of job security and was paranoid I could take the virus home to my parents. Staying put until opportunities pop back up. Very sad and disappointing but trying to make the best of it and grateful we have a home and health.

    • That sucks. I hope your parents are well! Thanks for sharing.

  • Would love to hear a mini episode about buying a house! Planning to be a first-time home buyer and would love some tips!

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