Song 11 — the LAST SONG — of the 2020101 Project: “Before / After”

Wow. Hello from Day 101– the last day — of The 2020101 Project. I have to say, it feels great to say that.

The last song is called “Before / After.”


And here we are: it’s the last song of the 2020101 project.

Back when we began this project — when I was organizing the themes that emerged from the stories we collected from people’s experience of the year 2020 — I decided that this theme might be a good one to end with. I’m so glad I did, because — as I’ve worked through the material for this song, and in the process of writing it — I have found it to be a healing, helpful theme for me in my own life. I hope it is for you, too.

There were more entries in my notes about this theme than any other in our story collection — it was clearly a very big thread running through people’s experience of 2020. Over and over again, I read what people shared with us about how the events of 2020 conspired to bring them to a realization that something akin to a total personal transformation was required in their lives.

A change in perspective.
A need to slow down.
A focus on the question, “What really matters?”
A commitment to self.
A commitment to the relationships that matter most.
Going deeper.
A reckoning.
An active pursuit of healing.

Somewhere in the exploration of these imperatives, people shared how they had a realization that the way they’d been doing things

— living on autopilot, maintaining the status quo, never pushing their wheels out of well-worn ruts —

was not working for them anymore. In fact, they came to an understanding that old ways likely hadn’t been working for them for a while. But with the world — and their lives — suddenly interrupted by the historic events of the time, the jarring stop was like an earthquake rattling the house, calling attention to the fact that some fundamental things had to change.

Letting go …

… of busy-ness.
… of old patterns that no longer served them.
… of unhealthy habits.
… of self-judgement.
… of fear.
… of people-pleasing.
… of material possessions.
… of manicuring their image for social media.
… of unhealthy relationships.
… of connections to people who harm their wellbeing.
… of anger.
… of old beliefs that had held them back for too long.

Letting go … so that they could make room for …

… taking their own power back.
… physical and emotional healing.
… an understanding that they are enough.
vitality in their bodies and minds.
grace for themselves and others.
… a life that they enjoy.
time for themselves.

learning about themselves.
… following their curiosity and daring to try new things.
… deeper connection with loved ones.
… delving into spirituality.

calm, peace, and gratitude.
… listening to their own instincts.
fulfillment in their work.

… enjoying simple things.
… establishing healthy boundaries.


I imagine that world history might record 2020 — with its global pandemic, its loss and grief on a mass scale, its social justice uprisings and political instability — as a year that formed the fulcrum between what was Before, and what came After.

But in absorbing people’s telling of their individual experience of this time, it’s apparent that many humans’ memory of the year 2020 may also be a personal story —

— of who they were Before,
and who they became After.

And maybe this phenomenon — around the globe, people facing some kind of a individual reckoning, almost simultaneously with potentially billions of others — will be a sustaining impulse for us, citizens of planet Earth, to establish ourselves on a path toward collectively creating an After that serves us all.

So long, Before.
Here’s to a better After.

If you have a story to share about realizing in 2020 that you needed a radical personal transformation, please email it to Jamie at

Throughout this 101-day-long project, we are creating a living, interactive document of people’s experience of 2020. Those stories, and all the songs from 2020101, will live on at

Here’s me, the night I finished writing and recording “Before / After.” It felt SO GOOD to have completed the heavy lifting for this project. Being done felt great for the sake of being done; but also, I feel so grateful for the opportunity to have worked on this project. It has challenged and fulfilled me so much, it has helped me to make some meaning out of this crazy time, and it has helped me build bridges to other people’s experience.

I want to say a BIG THANK YOU to our Misfit Stars supportive community, whose monthly support is what made it possible for us to birth this new idea for making and releasing an album. It means so much to us that you have thrown your lot in with ours, supporting our work, and keeping us doing what we do. We love you, Stars. ✨

If you’d like to support our work in this way, we’d be so grateful. You can sign up to do that at

Annnnnnd, that’s all for today. We are that happy kind of tired that you get when you’ve completed something worthwhile. And although we are fulfilled, we are still pooped. We’re going to take some time for rest and rejuvenation.

You’ll be hearing from us again in the near future, as we have some thoughts and plans to share about what’s next for us and our work … but … just not for a little bit.

For now, we’ll be over here staring blissfully at a tree … or something. 

Love and radical transformation — shannon