2020: A Year I Could Do Without

It’s finally here! The end of a year that I thought was supposed to be an amazing one. 2019 set it up to be great. The plants of an epic plotline for 2020 were placed. There were supposed to be big trips, big work events, and more character development! But it only took a few days, six to be exact, for that illusion of a better year to come crashing down. There were five days of happiness, of pure bliss, of spontaneous decisions, and then it became about surviving.

The Bad

I typically start my end of year review going through and month by month talking about the adventures I’ve had. I’ve done it that way for years, but this has been different, so a new format seems appropriate. Let’s start then, with the bad.

  1. To start the year off, my mother died six days into the New Year. She was a force to be reckoned with and one of the strongest women I know, and I was absolutely devastated to lose her. She was a guiding light, a translator between my dad, my sister, and me, and she was taken too soon.
  2. The COVID-19 pandemic increased in intensity and it quickly became apparent that there was no way out. It cancelled any big trips I had planned (Goodbye Buffalo Caps game, Korea trip, beach weekend, cabin weekend). It cancelled events (Goodbye Anime Frontier, Anime NYC, Awesome Con, Rose City, Caps hockey games). It cancelled hockey and figure skating. It divided people and I soon lost faith in people.
  3. As things with the pandemic worsened, I lost my job. I had been with my company for six years. I had put in so much time and effort to help build the division I worked in and in one simple fifteen-minute phone call, I lost everything.

The Ugly

As if things couldn’t get worse, somehow they did. Somehow I found myself in a hole and climbing out seemed impossible. Things continued to feel hopeless.

  1. The loss of my mother left a larger hole than anyone could have imagined. It put immense strain on my relationship with my dad and my sister, and it sometimes doesn’t feel entirely resolved. I feel like I spend a lot of time treading carefully of their feelings but destroying my own. One day these relationships will hopefully repair more fully, but until then, they will be as they are.
  2. The moment that I lost my job, I was adrift. Applying to job after job and not hearing back, or hearing that I’m just not quite right, has compounded an already existing fear I have about my own competence. I’ve been struggling with feeling like I’m inadequate, and not good enough for anything. Rationally, I know that’s not true. But, it doesn’t prevent me from feeling this way.

The Good

Much of this year felt like a waste. I keep seeing posts going around reminding everyone that just surviving this year is a feat with everything we’ve collectively been through, but for me, almost the entire year feels lost. But, I got some good things.

  1. Geoff and I bought a condo. We finally decided that the rent was too damn high at our apartment building and the housing market called. So, we quickly (and I mean quickly – two months) searched around for a condo or a house to call our own. And we managed to find one that we loved. So in September, on the eve of our second wedding anniversary, we signed the papers and got the keys to the place we’ll call home for at least the next five years. It’s both exciting and scary. The prospect of being locked into a new place feels permanent, and that’s scary. But, I’m so excited to have a place that’s mine. Where I can paint the walls whatever color I want and make as many changes as I can.
  2. Even with a shutdown season, and then a shortened season, hockey has saved me. I’ve managed to find friends, which is difficult to do as an adult I’ve found, but I’ve found them. And they’ve been good people and I can’t imagine getting through this year without them. My existing friends have also been wonderful and I’m so lucky to have them.
  3. The administration is changing. It won’t immediately be great and it won’t solve everything. We have a lot of work to do, but a rational administration that can be reasoned with seems like an A+ thing in my book.

One of my favorite books, Beartown by Frederik Backman, has a quote, “All adults have days when we feel completely drained. When we no longer know quite what we spend so much time fighting for, when reality and everyday worries overwhelm us and we wonder how much longer we’re going to be able to carry on. The wonderful thing is that we can all live through far more days like that without breaking than we think. The terrible thing is that we never know exactly how many.” It feel rather relevant this year more than most. This year has been a strain in every way I could possibly imagine and yet I have survived.

I’m not making any New Year’s resolutions for 2021. I’m not burdening the new year with my hopes and dreams because I know that there is still a lot from 2020 that needs to be cleaned up. But I hope that 2021 brings you all happiness and joy along with whatever challenges get thrown your way. We all deserve that. Here’s to 2021!

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