Looking Back on 2020

Looking Back on 2020

So I usually do a yearly recap where I look at the goals I set here and go through them.

Well, I’m not doing that this year.

2020 just wasn’t a year to focus on goals. I was not in a mental space for much of the year to “work on things.”

However, the year wasn’t all bad. While it was so many things (scary, anxious, sad, lonely), it was much much much more. I wanted to highlight some good things from this year and call out some things I learned.

Good things from 2020:

-Found out who true friends were. There were some people in our lives who ended up lying to us. It became apparent during the pandemic who people were who truly cared. Friends who got in touch. People who opened their homes for visits when I was going CRAZY in this house. Friends who supported us during hard times. And the others fell by the wayside.

-Speaking of friends, we got very creative in our time together. Porch hangouts where we mixed cocktails in front and back yards. Bonfires with projectors to watch football games. Outdoor birthday parties and porch drop offs of birthday gifts. Having a friend over for lunch instead of eating out together. Traveling and doing “safe” things like going on walks and eating at home and watching TV together – but it still felt good to be together.

-I spent 9 whole weeks with Remington. As a working mom, that’s not something I ever really thought I would do outside of maternity leave. It wasn’t all roses. There were hard days trying to balance work and a preschooler (and for a month Tyler had moved out to protect us from the virus), and it was HARD. But we had lots of good moments, too. Lots of putting her down for naps. Lots of morning snuggles. Lots of laughs. Lots of making crazy pancakes. Lots of playing together.

-Remi got to have SO MUCH Grandma time with both Mimi and Gigi. We had more family time than ever this year. During the beginning of this when everything was shut down, we saw our family almost every day. We ate tons of meals together. They helped me corral her during the workdays. They were here a lot.

-We had a super fun vacation to a farm! This probably would never have been my choice of vacation- going to a dairy farm with a creek. But it was SO fun. We relaxed, played games, played in the creek, fed the animals and just enjoyed ourselves.

-We explored our state. We went on (I think?) 9 weekly hikes during the Spring/early summer (once it gets too hot, you can’t hike here, comfortably. Too many bugs and snakes for me!). We saw awesome waterfalls, and I think one thing we will continue to make time for in the Spring is going hiking. I have some spots flagged in my local trail books to check out next year! (for the featured photo above, I chose one of the best spots we found all year at King’s River Falls. So peaceful and beautiful.)

-My work was gracious and flexible. My coworkers are amazing people (which is why working at home since March has been hard- I miss them!), and they’ve made a way for us to remain busy and productive, and also safe.

-I cooked more at home than I ever have before. I baked bread. I made pancakes (a lot). I grilled and sauteed and braised and baked and fried and did all the things. At times, it felt like these people would never stop needing to eat! But I like to cook, and it was fun to get so much kitchen time.

Things I’ve learned:

-I NEED people. I’m an extreme extrovert. An enneagram 7. A people person. I need community. The beginning of isolation was tough and lonely, and screens helped but didn’t solve it.

-I desire “novelty” and had to get creative at finding it. This resulted in trying new recipes, going on those hikes, and trying new hobbies (that didn’t stick).

-Live music really does feed my soul. When Hanson began very small, socially-distanced concerts in October, a part of me came alive again.

-I’ve learned a few cooking skills: perfected my cinnamon roll recipe, learned how to make great homemade biscuits (the trick is grating frozen butter and laminating the dough!), and making omelets (finally! Been trying for years!).

-I’ve learned to sit with sad feelings (better, not perfect). I tend to run away and push away sadness, but I’ve learned it can co-exist with other feelings and you can push through sad days.

-I’ve learned that people can be good. (Yes, it was a year when I felt insanely disappointed in people at times surrounding things about the pandemic and the election…but…) I have been AMAZING at watching people go above and beyond for others. Watching them at Christmas and Easter and Halloween work to make the holidays safe and special for our communities….watching them take care of neighbors…watching them support small businesses. It’s been great.

I’m not trying to put lipstick on a pig. This year hasn’t been easy. It’s been fraught with anxiety over almost choice we made to leave our home. It’s been full of second guessing every headache or runny nose. It’s been crying myself to sleep worried about loved ones and connections who were sick. It’s been sad and lonely and the days were long. I got out of routine of working out and eating well and gained weight and lost strength. But I survived. All of it. I might have more gray hair and wrinkles now (but I did find a good skincare routine!), but I also was able to dye my hair pink and have a little fun with it.

But. But God. God was (and is!) still moving in the midst of all of this. And I’ve really had to seek Him out to point me to the good. And these were all things that felt like mountaintops during the year. God continues to be good, even in the crummy years.

And while I do hope that somehow magically changing the calendar date gives us at least a mental “fresh start,” I know that I will keep learning and growing and looking for the good.

Happy New Year, friends.

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