A surprising thing happened when I began saying goodbye to the year 2020.
As I scrolled through hundreds of photos of the past year, I experienced a bit of nostalgia.
How is that possible? Weren’t these images taken during a freakin’ pandemic? Shouldn’t I have felt despair and pain as I reviewed the year? Especially since this crisis is nowhere near eradication?
Wrestling with these thoughts I realized one thing. This past year my anxiety increased each time I yearned for quick fixes to “unknowns” baked inside the pandemic. Like you, every evening as I watched the news my heart sank as the number of people sick and dead soared. The unrelenting consequences of a highly contagious virus constantly produced feelings of helplessness.
Yes, my day-to-day life feels different as I’ve navigated safety precautions and attempts to stay sane, but SOMEHOW (like you) I’ve trudge on. And that’s where my “nostalgia” showed up – revealing a thread of normalcy in the midst of calamity. My 2020 photos are soft landing places inside my crazy COVID-19 year.
I know you’ve been doing your best to swerve and avoid the potholes that this pandemic placed in your 2020 path. And it’s exhausting, right? When our emotions are riding high – it’s easy to lose hope and sink into despair.
And that is so normal
And it is ok to say out loud that you are sick and tired of being cooped up, not free to hug your loved ones, and fearful for how long this trial is going to last. We’ve all been strapped into this rollercoaster ride we didn’t sign up for.
And many of us have slipped into despair. And that is ok. Because we can’t gain hope back unless we acknowledge that it was lost.
Here’s a quote from Jon Kabat-Zinn that may relieve your mind and reduce your stress:
“Acknowledging that sometimes, often at very crucial times, you really have no idea where you are going or even where the path lies. At the same time, you can very well know something about where you are now (even if it is knowing that you are lost, confused, enraged or without hope).”
How are you doing with that? Where have you found hope and support in the six-foot distancing gap that divides us? Has your spiritual life and faith practices given you a base of support and comfort in this tough time? Have you taken a moment to grieve the loss of what “should have been”?
Did you stumble in?
Even if you simply stumbled upon this blog post today – I care about how you’re doing. Please feel free to contact me privately or leave a comment below. I’d be honored to hear some of your comfort practices as we wrap up 2020 and anticipate (unfortunately) some more pandemicitis (is that a word?) for the coming year.
I’ve listed some data points below to let you know what I’ve been up to in 2020. Enjoy the funny’s and then the photos will speak for themselves.
- Number of RV reservations canceled. 16 in 10 different states
- Number of European vacations for a 10th wedding anniversary canceled. 1
- Number of RV campgrounds we stayed at all year. A measly 2
- Miles we SHOULD have traveled in our RV in 2020. About 8000
- Actual miles we traveled in our RV in 2020. A pathetic 376
- Number of family and friends we DIDN’T see due to COVID? Over 70
- Number of times it took me to get the hang of Zoom calls and Google Meet? About 6
- Number of successful Zoom calls with family and friends? Dozens and dozens
- First mask purchase? March
- Number of carry out meals eaten. Dozens
- Number of parties canceled. I’m too sad to count them all
- Number of teeth cleanings canceled. 2
- Usual number of teeth cleaning in a year? 3
- Number of people I know who died of COVID? 1
- Number of extended family infected with COVID-19? Zero!
- Last time I was in an airplane? Feb. 19
- Last time I wore dress pants or heels? Can’t remember
- Number of conversations discussing pandemic: Countless
- Number of cleaning/organizing/redecorating projects to fill time? Probably a dozen
- Number of countries I snuck into illegally. 1
- Number of bathtubs seen on the trail. 1
- Number of miles hiked. Close to 1400
- Number of days spent back packing. 14
- Number of beautiful vistas I’ve seen. Countless!
- Strange critters seen. 7
- Number of plane crash sites visited. 1
- Number of medicinal trips to Culvers for ice cream in the summer? 6
- Number of spontaneous and not really necessary Amazon orders? Probably over 30
- Number of times I said I’d stop biting my fingernails. About 10
- Number of times I stopped biting my fingernails. 0
- Number of Pup cups Penny enjoyed at Culvers? 6
- Number of laps Penny sat on in 2020. Everyone who would let her.
- Number of saguaro cactus seen. Literally thousands
- Number of cactus thorns impaled in my body. Unfortunately, dozens
- Number of desert wildflower photos. See for yourself!
- Number of Coyotes heard at night? Chorus upon chorus
- Number of photos to make me smile. Not enough!
- Adorable Penny photos. Dozens!