Thursday, December 31, 2020

2020: Year In Review

Photo by Immo Wegmann on Unsplash

Can't stop, won't stop! Here's my year in review for the millionth year in a row:

1. What did you do in 2020 that you'd never done before?
* wore a mask in public
* worked from home at a new job
* spent 24/7 with my children from March until August
* accepted Zoom meetings as the norm
* lost sleep over a presidential election

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Last year my year of the word was "embrace." I totally and completely forgot about this, but it feels kind of ironic since I've hugged my immediate family and NO ONE ELSE for an entire year. I'm not a huge hugger but I really miss hugging people. 

Last year's resolutions...
- More yoga - Yes, I did this. I'm more flexible right now than I've ever been in my adult life, even though I fell of the daily wagon in early December (grief slump).
- Mantra for 2020: Remember you already have everything you need. I'm going to try to be very conscious about consumption and see if I can purchase most of our non-consumables (clothes, home items) gently used. I did pretty well with this, but definitely could have done better.
- Organize for the morning the night before! (This is so obvious. Why is it so hard for me?).  I did this at the start of my job and then it became much less crucial when I quit leaving the house.
- Try to chill out about my new job. I actually saw a therapist to help me stop freaking out, which was a great move. I was only at my job for 8 weeks before everything shifted to working from home, but at present, I really love my new job in ways that are somewhat unexpected. I feel very lucky.

This year's resolutions:

* daily yoga (even if it's one downward dog)
* no new clothes for me until June
* more veggies
* boost savings account
* buy used/local
* revise novel
* involvement in equity work at kids' school
* read 65 books

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
G's first babysitter, my friend Paige (who is also the SIL of my SIL) had a baby boy in November, whom I've seen briefly from 6 feet away.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, but I know too many people who have lost someone they love this year.

5. What countries did you visit?
Ha! Barely left my house.

6. What would you like to have in 2021 that you lacked in 2020?
Traveling and hugging my friends and eating in restaurants and going inside other people's houses.

7. What events from 2020 will remained etched upon your memory?
The COVID-19 pandemic & the election

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I was so grateful for the participation in my Eliza library donation project, and so proud to donate 150 books to the library at David's school. I also started a new job, shifted to working from home, taught a class at my new university that went well, supervised remote learning for the girls, and completed my Eliza book project (waiting on layout to be finalized and final proofread!).

9. What was your biggest failure?
I don't think anybody needs to focus on failure in the year of the pandemic. There were plenty of things I should have done differently, but we are all just muddling through right now and that is FINE.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had a sinus infection in January (like, an actual one--I clarify because I know a couple of people who thought they had a sinus infection later the year and actually had COVID-19). It was super gross and required antibiotics and an ear wax clean out that was horrifyingly satisfying and disgusting. But I took a round of antibiotics and that was the extent of it. 

11. What was the best thing you bought?
stretchy pants and a couple of sweatshirts, plus a lot of books from The Novel Neighbor, cute face masks, and chocolate and caramel drizzled popcorn

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
* Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
* the administration at the university where I work
* scientists and researchers finding a vaccine
* all healthcare workers 

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
The President of the United States and also Mitch McConnell (this hasn't changed since 2019) plus Josh Hawley, senator from Missouri, and people who think that this virus is a hoax and/or that the act of wearing a mask to protect others from germs is an attack on their personal freedoms

14. Where did most of your money go?
instacart groceries & Gee's babysitter (who deserves every cent she gets)

15. What did you get really excited about?
sitting outside six feet apart from friends & Marco Polo messages

16. What song will always remind you of 2020?
Taylor Swift's entire Folklore album

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
- happier or sadder? sadder... not in a personal way, but in an existential way
thinner or fatter?  unsure
richer or poorer?  about the same

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
exercise, reading actual books, and wearing my blue light glasses

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

20. How did you spend Christmas?
At home. My parents joined us since we were all able to take precautions. We didn't see anyone else, except via Facetime or Zoom. The girls did a Christmas spectacular performance via Zoom a week in advance, which was fun. Coco sang "Rudolph" and Zuzu sang "Jingle Bells" and they performed a couple of dances. Gee was supposed to announce what Santa says but kept saying, "No, no" instead of "ho-ho-ho."

21. Did you fall in love in 2020?
not with anyone new! But I will say that this year has shown me that I honestly like working from home. I feel more rested and less stressed and I like not driving every day. It isn't sustainable--and I wouldn't want it forever--but I want to take lessons from 2020 about how I really want to spend my time and carry them forward into 2021 and beyond.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Bridgerton. Never Have I Ever. The Flight Attendant. Schitt's Creek. The Crown. Cheer. Thank goodness it was a good year for TV because it wasn't a good year for much else.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I don't hate anyone, but I'm really disappointed in one person I know whose choices and values shocked me this year.

24. What was the best book you read?
My top five:
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd
The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld
Beheld by TaraShea Nesbit

(Honorable mention: Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid. Also important: Stamped by Ibram X. Kendi and Know My Name by Chanel Miller)

25. What was your favorite musical discovery?
I'm not much in the way of discovering new music, so I can only say that we listened to a lot of Brandy Carlile, Jason Isbell, and Taylor Swift. Per usual.

26. What did you want and get?
work flexibility and a project that would help me commemorate Eliza's tenth birthday.

27. What did you want and not get?
the pandemic to be over

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
Did I even watch a movie this year?

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 40. I was ready to party. In fact, I ordered a gold sequined shirt in February, planning to wear it for my birthday at the end of July. I threw it on with stretchy shorts and "partied" with my best friend and her family at my house, which was great but not quite the night out I had imagined.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Adequate government leadership.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2020?
business from the waist up, comfy from the waist down

32. What kept you sane?
good friends, good books, yoga with Adriene, being on the same page with David about most things, and Heather Cox Richardson

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Kamala Harris

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
the election (the pandemic is not and should not be political, so it doesn't apply here)

35. Who did you miss?
I missed seeing so many people in person. I missed my friends and colleagues from my old job. Zoom is great, but not the same. I missed my would-be-ten-year-old girl. I missed seeing my brother and his family and all my extended family at Christmas. I missed being able to give my friend Erin a proper send off when she moved.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
Surprisingly, I was able to connect with a group of women via Zoom who meet weekly to discuss issues of racial equity and they let me join their group. I've never met most of them in person--only over Zoom! But they are smart and funny and I'm grateful to get to show up and learn from and with them.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2020.
2020 taught me some things that should be obvious: nothing really matters more than your health and safety, everything I truly need is in my home or can be delivered, maintaining friendships is worth the effort, and I am so lucky.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
And when I felt like I was an old cardigan
Under someone's bed
You put me on and said I was your favorite
(from Taylor Swift's "Cardigan")


  1. I really love your end-of-year annual post, particularly for the book recs!

  2. Seriously delayed reaction, but I, too, really enjoy your end of year post!