Friday, January 1, 2021

The gifts of 2020

Wow. What a year.

Many of us have been held captive by the news. Maybe even become news junkies, waiting for the next headline on Fox News, MSNBC, CNN or NPR to raise our blood pressure and our anxiety level. We may swear off and then be drawn back into the melee. That has been the case for me. I said I would only read the news when I first got up in the morning, but then an email would come in from the New York Times or the Washington Post and I'd feel compelled to read it.

In spite of my continued captivity to the news, there were gifts in this unforgettable year. These are mine:

1. We decided to convert the daylight basement of our family home in Brier, a northern Seattle suburb. We'd been talking for several years about making a change in our residence. After five years as snowbirds in Tucson, I was ready to move to Arizona full time, to our small (620 square feet) park model trailer in a retirement community. But Art was not. Born and raised in Seattle, he'd lived elsewhere only during his stint in the Marine Corps in the late 60s. He wasn't ready to make a permanent change. We considered renting apartments or buying a smaller one-story home, but Seattle housing is expensive, and if we were spending half our year in Tucson, the unused Seattle dwelling would be money wasted. Deciding to remodel the basement in our family home was the optimal solution.

2. We had the financial resources to do the remodel.

3. We hired my son James to do the work based mostly on faith that his work ethic would lead to success. We were right.

4. I saw James more often this summer than I have in the last 20 years. I realized that he is now a man of honor, which was a primary goal I had as a parent.

5. Everything in our new apartment was chosen by me, from furniture to teal accent pieces - none of it expensive. There are a LOT of unneeded things still in the garage! My preference for minimalism has a chance in this new place.

6. During the pandemic, I got to choose the degree of risk I was willing to take on. I always wear a mask in public as my contribution to the greater good. I almost always refrain from having any non-household member in my home or in my car. I think I've eaten inside a restaurant maybe three times since March. 

7. I used my first stimulus money to pay rent for an Afghan refugee now living in France. We had the financial resources to do that.

8. On Thanksgiving Day, we had a Zoom call with the kids in our blended family. Six out of eight of them turned up. For a few, it had been years since they had seen each other. I'm pretty sure one of them was watching a football game at the same time. 

9. On Christmas Day we invited two friends to join us for dinner. We set up a large table in the carport and, socially distanced, enjoyed a communal meal of ribeye steaks, cheesy potatoes, corn bread, and green bean casserole, with apple crumble for dessert.

10. On the third-to-last day of the year, I got an ultrasound-guided injection in my right hip. I am looking forward to more frequent walks and better sleep. 

When I look for the gifts, I can always find them.


Sheila said...

I love your last sentence. On my birthday in April, all our 5 kids got on a Zoom call, which made my year. I think that was the first time since my granddaughter's funeral 11 years ago. Funerals shouldn't be the only occasion where everyone gathers.

Joanne Noragon said...

Such a lovely recap. I'm glad your new living quarters are perfect. Happy new year.

Tom said...

I agree, even in a lousy year we should try to look for some positives. Thanks for the uplifting post.

DJan said...

I am so glad to hear how well 2020 went for you, Linda. I always enjoy your posts and look forward to them, and when you show up in my news feed, I know I'm in for a treat. And sure enough, you delivered. Sending you lots of virtual hugs! :-)

Sally Wessely said...

Happy New Year Linda! You have again come up with the perfect plan for integrating all that is important to you into a complete whole. I’m sure your two living arrangements will fit perfectly in the years to come. I hope your hip gets better so you can resume your activity levels. Sending best wishes your way.

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

I do love the fact that you find bright spots even in the darkest spaces and times. Your new apartment sounds like a wonderful way to downsize, and to make a fresh start for you while keeping treasured connections alive for your hubby. Happy 2021!

Linda Reeder said...

Oh good, another list from Linda GM. You usually spark something in my own thinking too, as you did again.
I think about 2020 kinda what Linus said about Charlie Browns Christmas tree: "I always thought it wasn't such a bad little (year). But then I am fortunate to have resources, too.

Bonnie said...

What a wonderful outlook, loved your positive vibes that inspire me to re-think my view of 2020 and my future living plans.

Allison said...

I do hope the hip injection improves things. My left area in that general region is cranky. Biking is good, hiking not so much. Happy New year to you and yours. I'm looking forward to less news, more everything else!

Joared said...

Happy New Year wishes! Good for our mental health to be aware of that for which we can be grateful. Sounds like you have made significant progress in resolving your housing plans.

Elizabeth said...

Yes it is so true, it is very difficult to switch off the news cycle at the moment, but if this year has taught us anything, it is that the small close-to-home pleasures in life are to be treasured.