Lol. I don’t even know how to write this post this year. I feel like my 2019 year in review was such a downer, and then 2020 was like “hold my beer” and here we are.
This quick 5 minute NPR listen really sums up a lot of how this year felt. I am grateful that we made it through the year, that our jobs are flexible and that we even still have jobs. I am grateful that we got to spend more time together that we wouldn’t have otherwise. I am grateful that our country made the right choice in the election in November. But none of the gratefulness this year feels like it outweighs the loss of lives, health and livelihoods that our country, and our family, has experienced.
And I think it’s ok to sit with that for now. I see hope in 2021 with a new administration and a new vaccine, but I also see the reality that our lives will look quite similar to how they did in 2020 for awhile and I’m trying to stay humble in that. I placed far too many hopes and dreams on the back of 2020, and I’m trying to approach 2021 with a stronger vision of reality.
If I had to give this year a name like I typically do in these posts, I’d call it the year of grief. We personally grieved the loss of multiple family members, the loss of plans and dreams whether permanent or temporary. We watched people we love grieve the loss of their livelihoods. Jobs, gone. Businesses, closed.
And we’ve also grieved the loss of who we thought so many people in our life were.
I thought this quote summed it up: “This year may have broken your heart, but it opened your eyes.” The way people behaved in 2020, their reaction to COVID, their choice to speak out or stay silent about the Black Lives Matter movement, their choice to vote for change or vote for a narcisistic white supremacist… it has left a permanent mark on how I view every person in my life. Do you feel similarly?
Friends, family members, people I don’t know in real life but follow(ed) and admire(d) on social media. For some, it has deepened my respect and love for them so profoundly. I want to RUN towards those people in my life for the challenges they’ve faced, the fights they’ve fought and the selfless sacrifices they’ve made. I value my relationship with them infinitely more. But for many others, it has shown a selfishness, irresponsibility, racism, complicity or lack of empathy that I don’t think I’ll ever forget.
In many ways I am grateful for how eye opening 2020 was. I think a lot of us knew about these traits in many people in our life, and even in ourselves, but they were easily ignored due to our privilege or busy-ness before 2020 became a magnifying glass so clear we could no longer ignore them. I think it will help us make more just, equitable and informed choices about what we do and who we spend our time with once the world opens up again. But it still hurts.
Not unlike 2019, a lot of the heavier things our family faced this year are things I can’t talk about publicly and honestly nothing I mention here even compares to those. They’re either not my story to share, or I’m simply not ready to share and may never be.
I’ve faced, and am still facing, some new major health struggles. I’m going to keep most of the details to myself for now (and maybe for always) as we navigate things, thank you for understanding that.
But I had surgery back in August and let me tell you, having surgery during a pandemic is something I’d prefer to never do again. Yet, I’ll likely have to in the coming months.
We were originally told that no companions were allowed for surgery, so Jeff and Arlo were going to drop me at the door of the hospital to head into surgery alone. But at the last minute they told us that the rules had changed due to COVID numbers dropping (at the time) and Jeff was allowed to be there.
We scrambled to get COVID testing done and weigh our risks, and had a true hero of a friend step in to watch Arlo for a few hours so Jeff could come with me. He had to leave shortly after I woke up post-op, and I recovered alone in the hospital for days, but I am forever grateful that he could be there even for those first few hours.
And I share that because I want people to know that so many were not so lucky this year to even get those few hours. Every COVID patient, and thousands of others who are undergoing health battles not related to COVID are facing the reality of enduring surgeries, procedures, losses, births, deaths and hospital stays, alone due to (necessary but brutal) restrictions in medical facilities.
Nurses, the true angels that they are, are now not only taking on the risk of contracting COVID to help their patients physically, but the mental weight of helping those patients recover alone, too.
Some people are attending parties and gathering maskless in bars, and others are suffering the scariest moment of their life alone or carrying that suffering on their backs. I’ll never understand it.
After facing tests, appointments, surgery, recovery and ongoing medical care without help or childcare for nearly eight months (on top of running a business), we finally made the hard decision to take the risk and temporarily move some family out here to help us. Even with strict quarantines and COVID testing, I’ve felt so much guilt about that decision but we were running out of options that allowed us to remain isolated and also not put anyone else outside our immediate family at risk.
And after a turbulent two years in the adoption process, our plans to grow our family are on hold at the moment. I know many of you have been looking for an update. This pandemic has made that necessary decision all the more painful as we’ve spent the majority of the last ten months as just us three.
I would give anything for Arlo to have a sibling and playmate through these long days. But I’m so proud of how much he’s grown, his incredible imagination and how he’s somehow become more outgoing when the rest of us have become the opposite. 😉 The sacrifices the children of the world have made, phew. They deserve so much more credit than they are getting.
We still have a long road ahead of us, so I’m keeping my expectations for 2021 remarkably low, but with a glimmer of hope with a vaccine and new administration on the way.
In 2021, I plan to run TOWARDS that vaccine the second I get the chance to with BELLS ON. I believe in science, I believe in the incredible people that have worked so hard to bring this vaccine into reality without sacrificing our safety. I believe in the medical professionals who are receiving it HAPPILY. Bring it ON!
I plan to continue fighting towards a more just and equitable society, and holding the Biden/Harris administration accountable for doing so, too.
I plan to continue fighting for my physical health with my team of doctors and my mental health with my therapist.
And other than that, I plan to just get through this year. I plan to lean into the happy moments, as we did and shared this year, and ride out the brutal moments as best we can. But really we’re just taking it day by day.
If you’re seeing people outline huge goals for 2021 and that’s getting you down, know that for some people that’s how they’re getting through this unprecedented time. But if you’re the kind of person, like me, who needs to just get through it some way, somehow, one day at a time, know that that’s ok too.
In 2021, I simply hope more people choose science and selflessness over conspiracy theories and selfishness. I’m sending love to everyone who has lost someone, lost trust in someone, lost their livelihood, made sacrifices and/or is struggling as we enter this new year. You are not alone.
And I want to thank you all for being here through every up and down of this almost decade long journey here on Studio DIY. I don’t know what this year will bring for any of us, but I’m so glad you’re here! And I’m excited to continue sharing bits of our life, home, the talented people I come across and more right here as per usual!
Stay safe, wear a mask, thank an essential worker in your life.