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Finding the Good in 2020

March 11, 2020-this was the day the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic due to the Cornavirus. This also was my youngest daughter’s 16th birthday, and the last time I ate inside of a restaurant. Let me just take a moment to reflect on how fitting it is that the family member who brought down my entire household with Covid had a birthday that coincided with the declaration of a global pandemic. Yes indeed, six months into the pandemic she got a little lax with the social distancing and masks with a couple of her girlfriends on Halloween-and just like that, we all got sick within a few days. In fact, just one week after Halloween, on the day Joe Biden was announced as the President-Elect, I had been in and out of Covid delusions.

Statistically speaking, my husband was the household member who should have been hit the hardest. But the longer we have lived through this pandemic, the more we realize that Covid is anything but predictable. Turns out I had the worst of it. I was sick-really sick. Blessedly, I was able to stay out of the hospital, and I did make a full recovery, but it sure was one heck of a roller coaster ride. So, the fact that my entire household survived Covid is 100% the best thing that happened for me in 2020. I am well aware that there are countless numbers of people around the world who aren’t so lucky. And for those of us who were fortunate enough NOT to lose a loved one in 2020, you still probably lost something. Perhaps it was missing out on an important celebration for a milestone graduation, birthday, or other life-cyle event. Maybe it was your first or last year of school that got cut short and thrown into chaos. It could have even been a once in a lifetime vacation or significant financial loss. As my youngest daughter (the one who almost killed me) likes to say, everyone lost something in 2020.

But now let me tell you about the good things that happened to me in 2020!

I have a label for good things in my life that otherwise likely would not have occurred had we not found ourselves living in a once-in-a lifetime global pandemic. My label for these good things is #MyCorona2020! I initially used the label to describe my altered experiences living in 2020 (like grocery shopping in a mask), but quickly changed it to the label of good things that are only happening because of the pandemic.

Here is my #MyCorona2020! list:

I became a (self-proclaimed) master challah bread maker.

Prior to the pandemic, I dabbled in challah baking, but literally, it’s been years. And all of those years ago when I dabbled, I wasn’t fully satisfied with the end product. Purchasing challah from someone else was not only more convenient, it was much more delicious than anything I could make. But during the pandemic, I perfected the art of challah making, and I enjoyed the process. I also loved devouring it with my family every week.

I took daily walks in-lieu of going to the gym.

I think I walked almost every day during the pandemic, save a handful of bad weather days. When the weather was really hot, I would try to go early in the morning, and sometimes in the evening. As the weather got cooler, I enjoyed lunchtime walks. The fact of the matter is, prior to the pandemic, I was kind of getting burnt out on going to the gym. I have been a regular gym exerciser for a little more than 30 years. I just didn't seem to be enjoying the gym as much as I had earlier in my life. Then, when going to the gym was deemed unsafe, my gym ended up going out of business. While this was of course unfortunate, I came to the realization that I really didn’t miss going to the gym, so I never looked for a new one once we were out of lockdown.

I rediscovered my love for yoga.

While I had been doing yoga intermittently for the past 10 years prior to the pandemic, I started embracing the practice and making it a regular part of my lifestyle during the pandemic. I enjoyed the time for mindfulness, breathing, and stretching. I also started enjoying brief, social interactions with people I didn’t really know but shared space with at an acceptable social distance. The social distancing in a yoga class that can hold 40 bodies at full capacity but now is only allowed 10 bodies for public health reasons…well that was another lovely part of the experience. No more nearly getting kicked in the face by an overly enthusiastic yogi.

All of this-plus a new type of bonding with my oldest daughter (who was supposed to be 5 hours away on a college campus instead of in her bedroom taking online classes). Early in the pandemic, I grieved her lost college experience. But as the pandemic wore on, I realized how amazing it was to have this unplanned extra time with my oldest. She plans to go back in the Fall of 2021, even if she’s still online, so I’m going to continue to enjoy all of the extra moments I have with her, because they too shall pass.

Knowing this pandemic will pass is the most reassuring thing about saying goodbye to 2020. I expect that we will still have a rough road ahead of us, but I do believe we will start to get to do some pre-pandemic activities in 2021 that seem risky to our health now.

So while I look forward to putting 2020 behind me, I know I still have much to be grateful for.

Wishing all of you a happy, healthy, and safe 2021!


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