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#ShareOptimism Stories

Optimism Shared by Lily G, California

A 5,000 mile road trip is not something our pre-pandemic parental minds would *ever* have considered with a 3 and 8 year old, but after 5 months of sheltering in place, a significant reduction in work hours and the announcement that the fall semester for our daughter would start remotely, we packed our suitcases (and loads of snacks and masks and hand sanitizer and disinfectant sprays and pee-bags), and safely hit the road in late August. We mapped our route, stopped at some of the country's most awe inspiring parks, listened to Hamilton at least 37 times and clocked 93 hours in the car. Of course the sweetest part of it all was watching our kiddos hug their grandparents after such a long and anxiety-filled time apart. The two month journey filled up our buckets and gave us a renewed sense of autonomy and adventure - just the fuel we needed to hunker down for another several months back home. 

"I have been able to grow significantly closer to my two younger sisters, and 2020 has been an incredible catalyst for growth."

Optimism Shared by Lydia VH, Michigan 

"In 2018, my parents moved to northern California, which left my two sisters and I here in Michigan to fend for ourselves. We’re all grown (some us more than others), but we had to navigate a new life without family dinners, summers next to the pool, and my mom’s blueberry coffee cake. 
But within this loss, I have been able to grow significantly closer to my two younger sisters, and 2020 has been an incredible catalyst for growth.

My middle sister, Francie, is a hairstylist, and my baby sister, Grace, is an opera singer. Both of them lost their jobs during the first round of lockdowns. But I watched something truly magical happened when they lost their jobs: they found themselves. (Corny, but true.) Grace was able to start therapy and conquer her anxiety. She started teaching singing lessons online. She discovered a love for DnD (Dungeons and Dragons) and started creating amazing, imaginative worlds beyond anything I could fathom. She teamed up with a friend to create art. And when her best friend’s mom passed away suddenly, Grace was able to show up with her full heart.

Francie was finally able to relax and get away from the constant barrage of client requests and the Instagram #HairHustle. She started painting watercolors in her free time, which she hadn’t done in almost ten years. Instead of using her social media to promote her hair, she started selling little paintings on Instagram found a renewed self-confidence in her art. She turned her attention to her home and painted every room in her house. We thrifted for odds and ends to make it perfect. And, then she did something she and her husband had been trying to do for years: Francie was finally able to get pregnant. Watching my two sisters grow, emotionally and physically (Ha!), has been the best part of this year. Although we’re missing our parents fiercely, we have each other – and a new little niece or nephew – to support, love, and laugh with. Thanks, 2020."