Journal, Mental Health

Unpopular Opinion: 2020 Wasn’t the Worst

Ok…hear me out before you hit unfollow We all know that last year really threw us a curve ball, but when I think about 2020, the bad pales in comparison to all of the good that happened for my family.

I know it’s been a minute, so hey! How have you been? In the last month I started a new job, moved across Phoenix, and celebrated two big holidays. There hasn’t been much time for writing or getting some consistent workouts in, or cooking dinner every night (which are three big things that keep me sane and bring me joy). So, this year I made a commitment to put up a post every week. I’ve already missed two weeks so we will just pretend today is January 1st. At some point our new home will feel “finished” and I will settle into a new fitness routine around my 40 hour work week and maybe I’ll have a little more free time to commit to this space. For now, I have to make a conscious effort to write (I’m currently writing this in my phone with a toddler in my lap both kids watch some Disney Junior show about a kid vampire).

Back to why last year wasn’t totally shit. A lot of this stems from the circumstances of our life. My kids were not in school or daycare. I was not working and my husband’s business was deemed essential so he continued to go to the office and his job was also secure, despite the economic crisis. The greatest upset was when the playgrounds and zoo closed and I started driving to other neighborhoods to mix up our daily walks (because there’s only so many routes on our block and toddlers are only entertained for so long inside or in the backyard). Oh yeah, we also were fortunate to be in a house with a good-sized, grassy backyard, which was great until June when the triple digit heat hit.

When the lock down was ordered in March, I was full of anxiety from not knowing what was going to happen. They were saying there was a 10% mortality rate and everyone’s grandparents were going to die unless we hunkered down at home. Anyone who didn’t have weeks of panic attacks from that is superhuman or had a very good therapist teach them some great coping techniques. If the latter applies to you, please share in the comments. Thank goodness the virus has a more than 99% survivability, but it has wreaked havoc on our healthcare workers and affected almost everyone I know (my friend’s mom has been in the hospital ICU for over a month fighting the virus).

There was so much fear and so much misinformation as we learned about this terrible virus and adjusted every aspect of our lives to living in a pandemic. People checked in on their elderly neighbors. Friends organized drive-by birthday parties and baby showers. I had many good, cathartic cries watching those videos because people can be so inherently good. Parents and grandparents learned how to work a Zoom call so they could stay connected. The world pivoted and learned how to operate in a new normal.

We had to get creative with entertaining two kids, so we bought kites and made some of my favorite memories trying and mostly succeeding at flying them at local parks. I caved and joined TikTok with every other millennial and then promptly deleted it, but not before I learned both Savage dances (do not ask me put up the videos…there is a reason I never posted on TikTok). After our third straight week of triple digit heat, we booked our first family vacation at an Airbnb in Newport Beach for September. My husband I have never laughed (and argued) so much together and we still were able to do 12 date nights last year, global pandemic and shutdowns be damned (we did our last one on NYE). We read books and I learned so much about health and nutrition and worked up to a three day water fast. I decided to finally launch a blog. We bought a house. I got a job. We moved. Our friends moved. Some of them had babies. We were able to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas with our immediate families. We watched our favorite Christmas movies with our kids. We had dance parties and played glow in the dark hide and seek. There were play dates with good friends and outdoor hangouts with others. We made s’mores in a makeshift fire pit and set off fireworks on the 4th of July and New Year’s Eve. I learned how to cook naan and soft pretzels from scratch. I perfected my guac and hummus recipes. We threw our own Oktoberfest in our wonderful backyard. Best of all, I stopped watching the news.

2020 was hard, but I worked even harder to make fun memories with my family. I chose to remember the good. There was still a lot of frustrated tears and “I hate this year” slipped out a lot, but I didn’t hate the whole year, just the truly sucky bits that I am not going to get into here.

I want to challenge you as we move into what is sure to be another roller-coaster of a year to see the good, to make fun memories, and to find what fills you with joy and do more of that. Complain less and find more reasons to smile and laugh. We are all in this together and if you need some support, I’m here for you (find me on Instagram or Facebook).

I hope these ramblings brought a smile to your face a little joy to your heart.

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