I struggled for a few days to come up with the text for this post. I knew I wanted to write about the year, but every way of starting felt too sappy (attempt one), or too glossy (attempt two), or too depressing (attempt three after reading the news again). The fact is, this year was complicated, and summing it up in a pithy post was a challenge.
Then, while working on a rather profound untangling project for a client, it hit me that I had a metaphor for the year literally sitting in my hands. This beautiful multi-layered vintage diamond necklace is gorgeous when it’s laying right – we sold it to the client a few years back and I remember admiring it in our case. But, when not stored precisely perfectly, the whole thing tangles. And then tangles some more. And then, each time you think you have it untangled… it snags again. I am finding myself back-tracking again and again to solve the same problem, but each time I go back to it, the problem is slightly different. Sound familiar?
2020 brought us an ever-revolving door of challenges and considerations that I never anticipated facing. I have hit my ceiling of “able to cope” in all three of the major defining roles I have: as a mother, as a wife, and as a business owner. The year felt like whack-a-mole and at a certain point, I became completely decisioned-out. And yet, I had to continue making decisions and fulfilling my roles because that is just how life is. It continues to move on, even when you “just can’t.” The fact is, we can – because we have to.
I have learned a lot about failure, about taking things into perspective, and about succeeding where you can. I have learned to stop panicking when reality bites. I have learned to let things roll off my back instead of digging in my heels. I used to call that “giving up,” now I’m choosing to call it grace. I have learned that when my problems feel too big, in the end, I’m a lucky, lucky person to have them. This is the year of perspective: it all could have been so much better, and it all could have been so much worse. It doesn’t take much imagination these days to be able to see yourself in either of these variants.
The fact is, we still had a great year, professionally and personally. We launched our Engagement Line. We were voted Best Fine Jewelers in NoVa… again. We broke our record for custom projects and had an amazing fall season. We kept our staff employed, paid, and safe. We fulfilled a dream and finished our rustic cabin. Nolan learned how to ride a bike. We actually made friends this year, as impossible as it may seem. We finally installed our wallpaper in our Wedding Studio. All very good things!
So, here’s the real question: what the heck did I do with that necklace? Well, again, the metaphor stands: we’re going to cut the chains loose, untangle them, and start fresh. Why spin your wheels trying to untangle a mess when you can just use your skills to build it into something better? We can do this. YOU can do this. We’ll see you on the flip side in 2021.
Alexandria & Company is an Old Town-based workshop and design studio specializing in creating and restoring fine jewelry and silver hollowware. They are the in-the-know jewelers of Alexandria and have been serving clients out of their small workshop for decades. Tucked in their historic building on South Royal Street, the team at Alx&Co. brings a personalized, modern approach to their craft – this is not your average stodgy jeweler or antique shop. Visit them during their walk-in hours or online to view their collection of handmade fine jewelry or to drop off a repair project; or, if you’re feeling creative, make an appointment to talk about that custom design project you’ve been imagining.
121-B South Royal Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Design Studio Walk-In Hours (all jewelry services): Wednesday – Saturday 12-6pm
Silver Workshop Walk-In Hours (all silver repair and restoration services): Wednesday or Friday 12-6pm, or by appointment
Appointments encouraged for custom design.