(Editor’s Note: I’ve been drinking since 5 p.m., so ignore the typos and ramblings. It’s been a rough year.)
The world seems to be waiting for 2020 to be over.
It’s been a crazy, tumultuous year, with the COVID-19 pandemic changing the way we work and live in ways unthinkable. No more traveling. No more potlucks at work. No more weekends spent with friends.
Some of my favorite restaurants have shuttered permanently. I spent four months trying to homeschool my preschool-aged son. And I’ve never hiked so much in my life. (It was one of the few things we could do.)
Add to that pay cuts, higher expenses, working from home, a shortage of flour and toilet paper, fear and stress and the challenge of wearing a mask all the time. (It took some getting used to, for sure.)
It’s easy—and warranted—to want this year to be over.
Yes, millions of people got sick, hundreds of thousands died, people were separated from loved ones, jobs lost, weddings cancelled. But I think there has been a lot of good in 2020, too. (Just go with me here.)
Now I can only speak from experience—and honestly, much of my year sucked. Really sucked. But here’s what else happened:
I started Zooming with a group of friends I had only seen once a year. It started on a Thursday afternoon in early March—and we haven’t missed a week since. I’ve never felt so connected to this group of friends before, and we can thank COVID-19 for that.
I’m working from home—and loving it. It allowed me to homeschool my son without taking time off from work and I was able to get way more done than I could at the office. (I could also do laundry on my lunch breaks. Bonus!)
I spent SO MUCH TIME with my son and husband, more time than I probably wanted, but time that I would have never had before—and time that I completely appreciate now. Yes, there were times I wanted to ask for a refund on my husband. But the pandemic—OK, the stay-at-home orders—forced us to talk, coordinate schedules, share the workload at home. Now he cooks and cleans the house once a week. And I’m not complaining.
We hiked and swam and surfed more than ever before—as a family. It was all we could do, really, since most businesses and restaurants were closed, and we didn’t feel like being around a lot of people. During the pandemic, my then-3-year-old son summited at least four state-run trails—and in impressive time. He learned to bodyboard (with help), dive underwater and can name at least six native plants he sees on trails. All because we had the time to do it.
I read a lot, cleaned a lot, gardened a lot. We binge-watched a bunch of Netflix shows and listened to podcasts. We walked our neighborhood every day, getting to know our neighbors (and postal workers) better. We discovered Fresca and Truly and made a lot of bread. I wore pajamas for about nine months straight.
To have something taken away can often become a gift. I couldn’t see my parents during the pandemic, so when I stopped by to drop off food or groceries, I treasured the moment. When my son’s preschool reopened, I appreciated everything the teachers did to educate our kids while keeping them safe. When I could see my friends IRL (in real life), I was completely overjoyed. Small things, huge impact.
I know people who, during the pandemic, wrote books, got pregnant, had babies, started books, changed careers, fought illnesses, took up new hobbies, got married, LIVED. THRIVED. It was inspiring.
Was 2020 great? Hardly. But great things did happen. (There was a presidential election after all.) And I’m sure 2021 will only be better.
It has to, right?