Here we are . . . sliding into home base on the very last day of 2020! As we prepare to bid adieu to this total dumpster fire of a year, I'm wrapping up my "annual review" with a look at my highlights of 2020.
Highlights, you say?
Because in the midst of this absolutely shitty year, there ARE highlights!
Before I get started on highlights, I want to offer this . . . I don't know what to call it, exactly . . . disclaimer, maybe? Acknowledgement? Anyway. I am aware - every minute of every day - how fortunate I am; how well-equipped I am to handle "staying home" during a pandemic. I have Tom, who is not only a calming presence but also damn good company. I live in a comfortable house in a safe neighborhood. I am surrounded by Plenty -- food, projects, tech tools, resources. I am healthy. I don't have children at home to worry about. Tom's business is safe from pandemic pressure, and he worked from home already, so we didn't even have that adjustment to make. Truly . . . an embarrassment of riches. I have much to be grateful for. And I know this.
(It's been a hard year for all of us.)
On to those highlights . . .
I made some Astonishing Personal Discoveries in 2020!
- If I wanted to (and I don't), I actually could do that Project 333 thing Courtney Carver is always going on about! (Choosing only 33 items of clothing - including coats, shoes, jewelry, and accessories - to take you through a 3-month time period.) Personally, I still don't get the whole arbitrary-ness of Courtney's number 33 (I am a Questioner, after all), but I've always appreciated the concept. And now - thanks to 2020 - I know I really CAN live in 1 pair of leggings for a week. (Courtney is obviously not a knitter, though.)
- I also can go out and about my life - even in my (albeit limited) public appearances - wearing no make-up and sporting terrible hair! I don't care. No one else cares. So liberating! (As much so as letting my hair revert to it's natural color, post chemo.) There is no need for vanity during a pandemic.
- Days can go by without my needing to use or refer to my planner! I used to drag it with me everywhere - because I needed it and used it all the time. But now? I can just schedule (those rare) future "things" without even looking at my calendar . . . because there is so little ON it. So. Weird. (Even still, after all these months.)
Total Game Changers that got me through 2020:
- Curb-side pick-up
- Jessica Yellin's News-Not-Noise
- The New York Times Cooking App
- Yoga with Adriene
We had a Pandemic Dividend (an unexpected bonus) to celebrate . . .
- Late last February, we were convinced Jenny was . . . near the end. At almost 13, she had started having what we thought were seizures or a stroke. A vet visit, though, indicated she was actually experiencing Old Dog Vestibular Syndrome (yeah - it's a real thing and it's really called that). Basically, she had vertigo! It took a while for it to clear up -- but it did. So now, she's a deaf and partially blind almost 14-year-old dog . . . who's survived 2 knee surgeries, anal cancer, and Old Dog Vestibular Syndrome. As part of her vertigo treatment, our vet suggested short walks (she hadn't been able to go on walks for a while), so Tom started by just taking her down the street a little way each day. This was challenging -- because vertigo; she fell down sometimes and it was so sad. Anyway, Tom kept at it, gradually extending the distance. And now - at the end of 2020 - Jenny and Tom join JoJo and I for a one-mile walk around the neighborhood every afternoon! Although Jenny still keeps her head kind of turned to one side, the vertigo has cleared up. Jenny . . . is in better shape than she has been in years, and it's looking like she may make her 14th birthday in April!
My most proud achievements of 2020:
- Becoming the official bottle-capper for FNM Brewing (Tom's home brewing operation)
- Perfecting my technique for risotto
- Learning to pronounce "epidemiologist" (That word just never rolled off my tongue. . . )
- Serving as a Michigan election inspector
Best investment of 2020:
- home wifi network upgrade
Never thought I'd . . .
- wear a face mask in public
- know so much about the US electoral processes in so many different states
Thought I'd miss more than I do:
- the gym
Miss more than I would've thought:
- the casual nature of the Before Times (the ease of making plans, going out for a drinks or meeting for coffee, just stopping to chat with someone you meet out and about)
Best TV watching:
- Ted Lasso
Best things I made:
- those (damn) bunnies (Did I ever tell you the little girls named them Margaret and Penelope?)
- all those (damn) face masks
Favorite Peloton instructor:
Best new podcast:
- Brené Brown's Unlocking Us
What a ride . . .
You've been a year for the books, for sure. Lots of crap. Lots of sadness. Lots of heartache.
But, if we're open, lots of lessons, too. Silver linings.
2020 gave me the time and the space to think and learn and reflect. Left to my own devices, I'd never have cut the cord to so many commitments I thought were important. I would never have dared to live without my planner. I wouldn't have considered working out at home. Or learning to make risotto. Shoot . . . I wouldn't have grown out my bangs!
But here I am, hanging in there and doing . . . okay. I'm healthy -- and I'm determined to stay that way. I'm strong and I'm resilient. I'm more than a little bit mad (working on that). I'm ready to move forward.
Happy New Year, my friends.
Thanks for being here and hanging out with me this year!