2020: not a total waste

Despite 2020 being a flaming dumpster fire of poo that will vex future history students forever, I managed to accomplish some things this past year. This list is my way of reminding myself to celebrate victories, no matter how small. Stuff I did in 2020:

  • Stayed with my whole food plant based eating pattern for a second year. With the Clean Food Dirty Girl meal plans, this was pretty easy–I honestly prefer to eat this way now and I don’t feel deprived at all. The effort to cook all my food from scratch is SO worth it.
  • Didn’t drink alcohol (and if I was going to start drinking again, this was the year to do it). I’ve never had a drinking problem, but a few years ago I wasn’t happy with the trend my drinking was taking. After I cleaned up my diet, even a sip of alcohol made me feel nauseated, so it was easier to cut it out altogether. There are still times I look longingly at Campari and Buffalo Trace bourbon at the store, but I know I’m much better off staying alcohol-free.
  • Learned how to sew masks. I ordered a sewing machine and fabric in late March and am so thankful I did! I hadn’t sewn in nearly 30 years, but with practice I was able to regain some muscle memory.
  • Briefly volunteered on a political campaign. I will never do this again–it’s definitely not my thing.
  • Rediscovered how fun playing cards are. I relearned nertz and euchre, which I played a lot when I was younger, and I learned gin rummy (my new favorite card game) and a few solitaire variations. I also learned how to deal casino blackjack, baccarat, three card poker, and pai gow poker. Odd skills to have, I know, but I might use them someday, somehow, when this pandemic is over.
  • Read a lot of books. I don’t keep track of what I read, but I definitely loaded up on stories set in WWII and spy stories (both fiction and non-fiction).
  • Wrote and submitted two short stories. I’ve been in a writing slump for years, so I’m glad that I’m finally turning things around a bit.
  • Kept up with regular exercise, thanks to this bike trainer (much cheaper and more versatile than a Peleton).
  • Kept a pandemic journal that I’ll eventually donate to Michigan History Center. In their words, “When we look back at what the state collected during the 1918 influenza epidemic, we find government records, but few glimpses into what the crisis meant on a personal level. Our hope is that the record we preserve in 2020 will help future generations understand what it felt like to live through this time.”
  • Crewed a socially-distanced, outdoor community theatre production of “Working: The Musical.”
  • Investigated other skills I want to learn, such as zine making, collaging, and drawing. I gathered several bankers (banker’s?) boxes of material and have been tinkering with them a little. Thanks to Austin Kleon for the ongoing inspiration during this difficult year.
  • Refreshed my website and started this blog. I’m already enjoying this incarnation more than my past attempts, maybe because I’m not trying so hard this time.

Whew! That list is longer than I expected. I know I’m missing a lot of items, but that shows that even in a crappy year, many good things can still happen.