2020 has been the worst year ever – right? Watching 2020 unfold was like watching porn. First it was titillating, then it felt unseemly, and lastly you got a sinking feeling in the pit in your stomach like you get two minutes after wolfing down a quarter pounder and large fry. No happy ending, so to speak.
Hopefully without sounding too insensitive, 2020 was actually pretty good for us! My bride will argue this point – she just made a snarky comment about my IQ and how I must have mixed up my meds. And the planet of my origin.
As you might guess, our travel this past year was front-end loaded, as in 90% of our travel was in January and February – pre-Covid awareness. You remember back then – that was before we rounded the corner.
We had plenty of great experiences this past year, which would be easy to forget with all that has transpired. Drum roll… here goes the “2020 Year in Review, Top 10-ish Experiences” from 2020.
Family. Our family members (children) are remote, in a good way. They are pursuing their lives, careers and experiences – as well they should be. There may be an entire generation of young families working from home that could do with a little less child interaction right about now, but if so, trust me, you will miss it when it ends.
We did get to see both our children this year, albeit sparsely and at different occasions. And we did get to see them via the internet for Thanksgiving, which was actually a lot of fun! Miracle upon miracle, Karen and I (with the kids’ help of course) were able to navigate getting on a Zoom call. Wonders never cease.
Friends. We spent a fair amount of time early in the year meeting up with friends, which was so cool. Those connections early in the year probably helped us through the latter part when we had social restrictions.
Even with social restrictions in place, we were able to meet with friends this past summer. With a close cabal of friends, I played more golf this past summer than I have ever played in my life. Don’t get excited – my game did not improve.
Friends (albeit socially distanced) really kept us grounded this past year, more so than normal I am sure. Queue Andrew Gold’s Thank You for being a Friend…
Health. You never appreciate good health until you lose it. We have by and large been fortunate to have and maintain good health. We are the lucky ones.
Youth. Since graduations were cancelled this past year, we came together as a neighborhood this past spring to congratulate and support the best hope for this country – our youth! Socially distanced, we celebrated their accomplishments in education, whether graduating high school, college, or moving on to the next stage of their educational experience. Whether they contemplate cardiology, plumbing, military, carpentry, politics, engineering, law… it matters not; just find your passion! So proud of these kids.
Volunteerism. With as much negativism as existed over the past year, we have rejoiced in the sense of community and support from our neighbors. We made an appeal in our neighborhood to support our efforts to feed healthcare workers at the local hospital and we were rewarded by an unbelievable outpouring of love and money.
We ended up being able to supply literally hundreds of meals and masks to our healthcare workers – and a ton of love as demonstrated through hand-made thank you cards!! At the same time, this provided some revenues to a few local restaurants at a time when every dollar mattered.
Travel. You know us and travel. The first step is to accept you have a problem. I should acknowledge – Karen makes our travels the best they could be. She is masterful in finding the cool, neat, beautiful places out there that I find so easy to photograph and write about after the fact. If I didn’t have my bride to navigate, surely, I would be lost.
This was a bizarre year for travel. We were refused admittance to one campground because we were licensed in Georgia. In another, we had to provide documentation that we had been in a neighboring state for at least two weeks.
Mostly pre-Covid, in no particular order, we visited places like Waco, Terlingua, Alpine, Lake Havasu, White Water Draw, Las Cruces, Bar Harbor, Organ Pipe, Fort Davis, Bisbee, Damascus, Denver, Sparta, Rye… And a LOT of Hampton and Marietta.
Food and Beverage. While all our dining experiences this past year have been, at best, limited, we nonetheless had some good, if not great culinary experiences. 2020 was a year of eating, not dining. Takeout became a new art form.
Having spent the summer on the NH seacoast, we did not want for fresh seafood. Access to fresh-caught haddock is as good as it gets, like what you get at Petey’s. But we had some other taste delights, from Buffalo Wings in Buffalo (Duff’s), to croissants at the Elephantine Bakery, to burgers in the desert at Nellie B’s and the Owl Café in New Mexico.
Nature. No matter what is going on in the world around us, nature could care less. Actually, nature cares exactly what we do. Suffice it to say that we experienced some unforgettable nature during this past year.
Neighbors. I mentioned our neighborhood previously. Whenever you think the world has gone crazy and there is no one with a coarse grain of sense out there, turn off the news and turn to a neighbor.
We have been so fortunate in our experiences over the years to enjoy fantastic neighbors. I know everybody does not share my Pollyannaish view, but we have been super lucky.
The thing about neighbors: it is not about the big things. It is about the myriad collection of sometimes insignificant courtesies that occur that you may not give much thought about – unless, like good health, they no longer occurred. Take a moment and randomly thank a neighbor.
Home. Like everyone, we have gotten to know our home(s) and surrounding area far better than maybe any of us would have wished. My bride and I spent a considerable amount of time riding bikes this past summer, which was fabulous. With decreased traffic, beautiful views, and cool temperatures, we had a blast!
Humor. How could you have possibly existed this past year absent humor?? If you made it through this past year without some humor in your life, well, you may be certifiable. We laughed a lot (or was that commiserated?) with friends and neighbors this year, although we are looking to laugh a whole lot more next year.
Let’s keep our eye on the prize… a healthy, humor-filled, and enjoyable 2021. Wear a mask – stay safe!