The pandemic has presented its share of challenges, but it also delivered a healthy dose of wisdom through lessons learned and clarity gained. With that in mind, we asked 10 prominent Nashvillians to share what they’ve eliminated from their lives once and for all, now that we’re getting a little closer to putting the pandemic behind us.

Collage of contributors to the article
Top five, left to right: Henry Beecher Hicks III, Deana Ivey, Hugh Howser, Jasmine Sweet, Ed Nash | Middle: Matthew Charette | Bottom four, left to right: Hunter Premo, Liza Graves, Kenzie Todd, Ridley Wills. All image credits can be found at the end of the article.

The One Thing I’m Eliminating from My Life Once & For All

1. Deana Ivey — Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.

“I’ve stopped taking things for granted like going to cool events or having dinner with people. I used to think, It’s okay, there will be other events, or I’ll do it another time. But because of COVID, I realized there may not always be another time.”

2. Ridley Wills — Owner and Design Director of The Wills Company

“Unfocused meetings. If we hold a meeting, there needs to be clarity of purpose.”

3. Hunter Premo — Fashion, Lifestyle, and Travel Blogger

“It might sound silly, but I would be okay with never going to the grocery store again! I am now a Kroger Clicklist loyalist. I’ve found that it makes me more purposeful with my shopping list, and let’s be honest, I was over Cameron insisting on self-checkout even when we had 50+ items. I also wouldn’t mind if Bartaco to-go margs stayed a thing forever.”

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4. Henry Beecher Hicks III — President and CEO of the National Museum of African American Music

“I’ve done my best to stop worrying about little things that don’t matter in the big picture. While the COVID-19 pandemic was a time of great hardship for so many in our community, it was also an opportunity for all of us to take a step back and evaluate what in life really brings us joy. Whether we wanted to or not, we all had extra time on our hands. I’ve grown to value that time and the ability it gives me to slow down and focus on being present for the things that really matter.”

5. Liza Graves — Founder and CEO of Blueprint.Inc (The parent company of StyleBlueprint)

“I’m eliminating kicking the can down the road. For the most part, I had already stopped doing this a few years ago, but COVID-19 definitely made me confront a few things in my life that I seem to put off perpetually. Both hard conversations and big dreams … I’m embracing the today better than ever before.”

6. Matthew Charette — Owner of Boston Commons

“It might sound cliché, but I stopped saying yes to everything. More importantly, I stopped feeling like I had to say yes to everyone. During COVID, fewer things were going on, but what was going on was very important, so I became very focused and intentional on those things. I learned that I could live without so many things I felt I had to do before COVID. More importantly, I learned I’d rather do fewer things in a more focused and meaningful way, rather than run from one thing to the next, never really being able to give my 100% effort, time, and focus to all of it. I’m sure it has a lot to do with priorities becoming clearer.”

7. Jasmine Sweet — Lifestyle Blogger and Marketing Manager at iHeartRadio

“I’ve left overworking in my last life! COVID-19 reminded us that these routines and races that we participate in don’t have to happen at the expense of our health, family, or finances. When everything shut down, all we had was time to sort through everything a bit more slowly and meticulously, and therefore, we showed the world that we could be more productive in that kind of environment. So, here’s to productive styles of working, and bye-bye to burnout.”

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8. Hugh Howser — Co-Owner and Designer at H3 Events

“Masks. Kidding! One thing I have definitely eliminated from my post-pandemic life is puzzles.”

9. Kenzie Todd — Owner and Founder of Full Ride Cycling

“Being on the other side of what was arguably the hardest year of my life, I can confidently say that I have eliminated making decisions based on fear. I am wholeheartedly leaning into pursuing a big, bold, and beautiful life because I’m listening to my gut and truly trusting that now more than ever. My post-COVID lifestyle reflects a new version of myself that wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the challenges that 2020 brought, so for that, I am thankful. Eliminating fear and living from a posture of hope.”

10. Ed Nash — Artist

“Since there was no toilet paper, bread, or cleaning products in the stores, I have given up all three forever!”

From carving out more time for experiencing joy to getting rid of unnecessary anxiety, the pandemic has certainly prompted us to reassess and restructure priorities. As exciting as it is to reconnect with loved ones, it’s also a chance to take stock of the mental and physical self-awareness (not to mention, sense of humor!) we’ve acquired along the way. So, what have you eliminated from your life thanks to the pandemic? We hope this inspired you to reflect and shine a light on the positive.

Image credits in order of quotes: Ashley Hylbert, Alyssa Rosenheck, Cameron Premo, NMAAM, Grannis Photography, Erin E. Mercer-Swayze, Olivia Dixon, Rachel Moore, Jennifer Cody, and  Elijah Rodney


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Jenna Bratcher
About the Author
Jenna Bratcher

Jenna Bratcher is StyleBlueprint Nashville’s Associate Editor and Lead Writer. The East Coast native moved to Nashville 16 years ago, by way of Los Angeles. She is a lover of dogs, strong coffee, traveling, and exploring the local restaurant scene bite by bite.

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