YOU GUYS—what. a. year! I keep a running list of inspirational quotes on my phone (lol, it should not surprise you that is the type of person I am!) and this is the last quote I saved in 2019:
This year will not end like last year at all.
You have learned to be free.
You have learned to be strong.
You have held onto light when the night was too long.
You have braved many fears.
You have learned a new song.
Through the deepest valley you have learned to carry on.
No, this year will not end like last year at all.
This quote really resonated with me last year—2019 was the first full year at a new job, which always presents many challenges and growth opportunities. I ended last year really tired, but excited about what was to come. But this year, this quote is a perfect summary of how I’m feeling as we’re just hours away from 2021.
A few weeks before the pandemic really forced the lockdowns, I just remember being so tired. It was late February, it was freezing cold, and my 45-minute commute in the elements was really starting to wear on me. Even though we were less than two months into the new year, I’d already spent eight nights in a hotel for work and when I was home, I had something going on every night of the week. I remember reading about the cruise that was plagued with coronavirus and texting my mom and sister that it would be my worst nightmare to quarantine on a boat, while also thinking the virus would stay on the other side of the world.
Then on March 12, I was riding the elevator at work and had a true Lizzie McGuire moment: I chipped my front tooth on my laptop. I called my dentist, booked an emergency appointment, and haphazardly packed up. I left behind no less than five pairs of shoes, a bottle of cholula, my favorite Tervis tumbler, my notebook, and a desk calendar turned to March. On my way out the door, I told my coworkers I would see them in April. (LOL—yeah, maybe April of 2021 if we’re lucky.) We got the email we were working from home through the end of March while I was sitting in the dentist’s chair, having my front tooth repaired. Those first few days and couple weeks of working from home were a wild ride—on one hand, having the freedom to pop laundry in between work calls or not having a commute once my day ended were great. On the other, I spent my time being consumed by the news, which spiked my fear and anxiety, especially since there was a lot less known about the virus back then.
The day the DC mayor issued a stay-at-home order through April 27, I cried myself to sleep. One thing I said often during those early months of the pandemic was that a big part of the mental challenge, for me, was not knowing what the end date would be. In hindsight, I am really glad I didn’t know—if you had told me in March that we’d still be living through the pandemic at Christmas, I’m not sure I would have had the mental fortitude to take in that news.
Of course, as the days and months marched on from March, I built a new routine for myself that made the days go by more easily than those early ones. The weather got warmer. The days got longer. I loved checking restaurants off my DC takeout to-do list. I spent more time on FaceTime and Zoom than ever before. In May, we got the gift of outdoor dining, which truly gave me a whole new lease on life.
And while this year has been extremely isolating living and working alone, I am so grateful for the lessons it taught me and the gifts it gave me–especially about what’s important to prioritize in life.
I needed to slow down; I was going at an unsustainable pace back in February—and while I wish it didn’t take a pandemic to pump the brakes, I hope when this is over, I don’t go back to over-scheduling myself.
This year also gave me more time with family—it was probably the most time I’ve spent with them since high school. We created some memories this year I’ll take with me forever.
And I would have never survived this year without my friends. They were there to help pick me up on some really dark days, and I hope they would say the same about me.
While this year was certainly not without struggle, I still consider myself to be very lucky—I have my health, the health of my family and friends, a job, a roof over my head, and food on the table. As we close out 2020, I know so many people are grieving what seems like insurmountable loss. I pray they find comfort and healing on the road ahead, and will continue to try to make a difference in lightening the load for others when I can.
This blog post is my favorite one to write every year. (You can read the ones from year’s past here—2019, 2018, 2017, 2016!) While this year had a lot of lows, there were also some pretty great highs and like any other year’s highlights, they are worth remembering and celebrating. So I hope you enjoy reading this blog post as much as I enjoyed writing it. Also, on a housekeeping note, in past posts, I used to just do one image per moment, but this year I couldn’t edit things down—so I picked out a few photos for each one. It’s 2020 and we have to find our joy where we can take it!
So without further ado, here are my top 10 moments of 2020: