The year that was

It’s the last day of 2020. A time to reflect on the year that was. Even as I find myself struggling with how to do that.

It was a year that could easily be defined by what was taken from us, rather than what was given or earned. A year where we lost momentum, missed milestones, and canceled celebrations & ceremonies. It was a hard year filled with tears, anger, and heartbreak. Even trying to write this, I’m forced to face how broken I feel, how hard it is for me to kick my brain into gear to put together a coherent sentence.

But to focus entirely on what went wrong would be an injustice to all the good things that happened – and good things did happen

While there have been days it has felt a bit like a prison, our home has become our refuge. A safe space that has been able to adapt to changing requirements, with space for each of us to have a place for ourselves, as well as to gather safely even if that meant Christmas dinner in our garage.

Stuck together in this house, our relationship with our children became stronger. While I know they have both been frustrated, sitting on the runway waiting for takeoff, I’ve been grateful for the chance to get to know the adults they are becoming, and see the friendship they have, before they move on to the next stage, leaving Steve and I to muddle along.

It’s been a reminder that if there was a partner I want to muddle along with, it’s Steve. I once read that we put too much pressure on our spouse to be all things at all times. I will look back on this year with gratitude that our relationship has strengthened under the pressure, particularly as we kept our businesses rolling, and our family connected.

We have been fortunate to be able to keep working, both at the agency and at the bike shop. One has been a bit slower. One has been a lot busier. Together the hustle has kept my brain occupied as we figured out how to do business during a pandemic. I am beyond grateful to our employees, clients and customers for their willingness and ability to adapt.

Even as we kept busy, we also were given the chance to slow down. To take a time out for a ride, a walk, a paddle, or a week away near friends. This year also allowed me to say no without guilt or explanation, and to consider what I will say yes to in the coming years, understanding I certainly overcommitted in 2019.

While my world felt like it shrunk, it also expanded as I took up the mic again to co-host Manic Mommies. Chatting with Erin provided me with a lifeline, a platform and a filter through which I could process, laugh and cry. The podcast also reconnected me to the larger community and, as it had done so many years before, made me feel less alone.

When I look back on 2020, I believe creativity may be the word that best describes the year for me. Not just because of the bread, the baking, the painting, and the crafts – and yes, this is the year I gave up the iron-on seam sealer and learned how to sew – but creativity in how we worked, and how we learned. How we connected, celebrated and even mourned.

What will 2021 bring? I am not even going to hazard a guess. As we move into the next year, my word may be hope. Hope for more laughter than tears. For more joy than sorrow. Hope for more success than failure. For more connections and less division. More kindness and less cruelty.

Hope for a happier, healthier new year.