2020 Sucks but I’m Still Grateful
I started, and deleted, and started this post over and over again before I was at least a little happy with it. I am generally an optimistic person, but 2020 is trying me and everyone I care about. A global pandemic, civil unrest, and a contentious election have all congealed together in our collective consciousness to create a whole new kind of anxiety.
And, as if 2020 hadn’t kicked my ass enough all year, I got the news in early October that my father wasn’t doing well and was being moved into hospice care. On October 6th, he passed away. October 13th would have been his 85th birthday.
Even though this year has been a dumpster fire, I’m still grateful. Every day is another day I get to live in this world, even if that looks a little different right now. Every day I tell stories for other people, and a few of my own. Since it is the season of thankfulness, I thought now would be a good time to assess the things for which I’m grateful this year.
Childfree people often get overlooked when it comes to their immediate family. There’s a cultural norm that “family” means “with children.” But it’s also a definition we want to change. Family can mean a lot of things. My family is me, my partner, and our cat Toast. And, of course, my family is also my mom, brother, sister, brother-in-law, and nephews. I am grateful to have all a wonderful supportive family even if we live far from each other.
Best Friends All Over the Country
Beyond my household and my relatives, I also have a chosen family. I have close friends all over the country and I am grateful every day to be able to cultivate these relationships. What’s more incredible is that we live in an age where we have access to instant communication through technology. Not only can we interact online through social media or texting but also video calls. We can be a safe space to air our frustrations or be there to cheer each other on. I love my besties and we should tell our friends we love them more often.
Memories of my Father
Losing someone is never easy. But in all that sadness is the joy found in memories. My father wasn’t a hands-on parent, but the things we did together stuck with me. He read to me every night before bed when I was small and helped me develop an appreciation for storytelling. He took me to see The Last Unicorn when it came out in theaters in 1982. I was only 7 and it changed my life. He took me to see my first Broadway musical – Les Miserables – when I was about 13. I've loved musicals ever since. I'll have these memories forever.
Work I Love
The pandemic changed the way we interact with work, too. For a lot of people, working from home even in their traditional jobs, became the new normal. For others who already worked from home, like me, there weren’t many differences. But I have never been more grateful that I can work for myself. We all struggled this year, even freelancers, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. And, if nothing else, the pandemic gave me more time to work on personal projects such as my novel and this blog.
Looking Forward to the Next Chapter
None of us know what to expect for 2021. We don’t know when things will return to “normal” or even what “normal” will look like. But I have several things in 2021 to look forward to that aren’t dependent on the course of the pandemic. At the end of April, Matt will graduate from Law School. We will use the month of May to pack up and move back to Asheville. From there, the sky’s the limit as we begin the new chapter of our lives.
What are you thankful for this year? Let me know in the comments or on social media.