Looking back on 2020…

As the new year rolls in, I found myself looking over my reflection of 2019 and couldn’t believe how many things happened! With 2020 being eaten up by the pandemic, I was a little nervous to look at my self set goals for the year. I’ll start this year’s reflection with the goals I set and will then move into the other things that happened this year.

In 2020 I wanted to:

  • Laugh more and worry less, especially when it comes to things outside of my control. Talk about a goal with foresight that was put to the test again and again. Does anyone else feel like 2020 was the year of things that were outside of their control? The year of learning to deal with things that you really couldn’t change while doing the best that you could with what you had? My partner and I worked so hard with each other to find the brighter side of things throughout the year, something I hope we hold onto for the rest of our lives.
  • Do at least one thing I’ve never done before every month. Whether it’s baking something I’ve never tried before or a technique I haven’t tried, I want to spend 2020 continuing to learn what I like and don’t like, but also what I can do if I set my mind to it. There have been so many firsts in 2020 that I actually had to pause and smile. I made apple butter cookies (should probably share that recipe, they’re so good!). I learned how to replaster walls. I tried to grow vegetables. I bought appliances. I sold a home. I bought a home with my partner. I learned about repairing a plastered ceiling. I painted cabinets to give them a facelift (3 times!). I spent hours cleaning mold off siding. I tried new cooking recipes. I wore a mask to work, to the store and around town. I transitioned to working at home full time (and will someday have to transition back). 2020 was not filled with the firsts that I thought it would be, but I still can’t believe how much we still did.
  • Read 100 books! Ok maybe not 100, but I do want to spend more time reading and what better way to do that then setting a lofty goal. I wonder if I should consider a page goal as well, just like I set up a yardage goal with knitting. Sooo I did this. Some of them were cook books. Some of them were comic books. Some of them were audiobooks, but my “read” list for 2020 consists of over 100 books. The pandemic isn’t even to blame for this one, I just put in an effort to read more.
  • Speaking of knitting, I’m not sure what my goal should be this year other than continuing to use up the stash I have. I’ve toyed with dishcloth and sock goals, but I feel like I spent 2019 allowing my creative juices take me where they take me. So if I spend more time sewing this year than knitting, I think that would be ok (though admittedly far fetched). I knit just under 50 projects this year, a number just shy of beating the number I knit while in graduate school. Big projects too, and many of them out of fingering weight. I suppose working from home and having all of your meetings be via zoom has it’s perks. I also knit a handful of test knits for Alicia Plummer, aka fan girled pretty hard when I saw her name in my inbox.
  • Travel, even if it’s not to a new country and is only a few hours down the road. We went to Spain! And then booked an emergency flight out of there after seeing as much as we could in two days. So, I guess that counts? I’ve already written about it and still feel a little PTSD from the event so I’m not going to write about it here.
  • Peel the wallpaper in my kitchen, some goals have to be low hanging fruit right? For starters, I did peel the wallpaper in the condo’s kitchen. Actually, we gave it a major facelift. Then, because we want to start a family when the pandemic is a little more under control, we sold it and bought a house. Where we’ve been spending our free time fixing it up. So. Much. Wallpaper peeling. And replastering. And reflooring. And we got new windows put in. I love our home though and don’t regret any of the hours spent fixing it up.
  • Run, hike, swim, read on my deck after work — whatever it takes to be outside and enjoying where I live. It’d be nice to do some camping this year as well… If anyone remembers my regret of not swimming in the lake I live across the street from, you’ll be happy to know that we swam in it multiple times before moving. There were also 10+ mile hikes and long trail runs. We spent so much time outside until we bought our new house, then we spent more time fixing it than enjoying the remaining warm days. As winter folds around us, we’re finally getting back into the habit of hiking again and it feels fantastic. But you know what else feels fantastic? Coming home after hiking and having a family room to sit in. A room that we spent hours turning from haunted looking into something we can be proud of.

In 2020 I:

  • Found myself living with a partner again and readjusting to sharing a space after living by myself. The transition was both harder and easier than I thought it would be, but worth it. Even when he gets an emergency call in the middle of the night and turns on all the lights before tripping out the door (He’s a firefighter and we’ve figured out how to get him quickly out the door without that happening. It only took one call to realize that that doesn’t work), I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather be arguing over paint colors with.
  • Became the Cioci (aunt) of a happy and healthy niece.
  • Started collecting house plants. They’re even not living in purgatory!
  • Taught python programming. Talk about ripping off a bandaid, my hands shook with every key I typed. Kept my voice steady though!
  • Fell a lot cross country skiing, and bought my partner a set of skiis so that he could do it with me.

2020 will forever be the year that time didn’t really exist for, but 2020 will never be marked as the year that went up in flames for me. So many things were postponed and then cancelled. So many things were closed and there were so many stressors in things that should have been simple (like buying toilet paper). Despite all the challenges and demoralizing moments, we’re still able to count our blessings and have hope for the future.

On “Wear Sunscreen Speech”

There has been a lot of things going on in my life and beyond, so I suppose that it makes sense to be reaching for things of comfort. One of those things is the Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen song that came out in the late 90s. The first time I heard it I was in third or fourth grade, it’s amazing how it holds true today.

Wear Sunscreen was originally a speech published in the Chicago Tribune by Mary Schmich, who decided to write a graduation speech “just for fun”. I’ve listened to it three or four times already this morning and can’t help but smile because her words are still true — I’m glad it was put into a song and wish it would start playing on the radio again.

I didn’t make this video, but the images are beautiful. The world is a crazy place, but I still hope for a better future and am optimistic that even the smallest acts of kindness can help contribute to it.

Song: Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) (2007 Mix)
Artist: Quindon Tarver
Licensed to YouTube by: UMG (on behalf of EMI); Peermusic, LatinAutor, UNIAO BRASILEIRA DE EDITORAS DE MUSICA – UBEM, Sony ATV Publishing, CMRRA, LatinAutor – SonyATV, BMI – Broadcast Music Inc., LatinAutor – PeerMusic, and 10 Music Rights Societies

…and forward on 2020

Though my original intentions were to write a single blog post that included my reflections from 2019 and my hopes for 2020, but as I wrapped up last week’s post on looking back, I realized that I had reflected on so much and hadn’t fully formed what I hope this year will bring. How did I want to set goals for 2020? What kinds of goals did I want to set for 2020? I needed time to sleep on it, and now here we are.

In 2020 I will:

  • Laugh more and worry less, especially when it comes to things outside of my control.
  • Do at least one thing I’ve never done before every month. Whether it’s baking something I’ve never tried before or a technique I haven’t tried, I want to spend 2020 continuing to learn what I like and don’t like, but also what I can do if I set my mind to it.
  • Read 100 books! Ok maybe not 100, but I do want to spend more time reading and what better way to do that then setting a lofty goal. I wonder if I should consider a page goal as well, just like I set up a yardage goal with knitting.
  • Speaking of knitting, I’m not sure what my goal should be this year other than continuing to use up the stash I have. I’ve toyed with dishcloth and sock goals, but I feel like I spent 2019 allowing my creative juices take me where they take me. So if I spend more time sewing this year than knitting, I think that would be ok (though admittedly far fetched). I think the better
  • Travel, even if it’s not to a new country and is only a few hours down the road.
  • Peel the wallpaper in my kitchen, some goals have to be low hanging fruit right?
  • Run, hike, swim, read on my deck after work — whatever it takes to be outside and enjoying where I live. It’d be nice to do some camping this year as well…

I’m sure these will continue to evolve as the year progresses, but I also see setting goals as a work in progress. Some will be a challenge and some will be things that I work on to develop better habits. As long as I’m learning and laughing, I’m ready to take on new challenges that 2020 has in store for me.