What I Learned in 2020
My new granddaughter is the best part of 2020!
I feel like by the age of sixty-two, I should have already learned whatever I need to get me through. 2020 revealed I still have a lot to learn. Just when I thought I had life figured out, 2020 threw me a curveball in the form of a global pandemic. The main lesson I’ve learned is that I’m still able to adapt, grow, and learn.
Let me make it clear; this is not a blog about positive things relating to COVID-19. Every time I read a post or blog about that topic; I cringe. The United States has had over 300,000 people die because of this virus. Each of those 300,000 people was a human being who was loved and is now dead. Each of them had a past, and they should have had a future. I refuse to insult their memory or hurt their families by pretending to have gained anything from the virus. I only share what I have learned about myself and the world.
1. I am a homebody
Before the pandemic, I was social, going out to eat with friends at least two or three times a week. I was out a lot, going to events and social get-togethers, but it always felt a little forced. I found out I like staying home, and I am fortunate I have that choice.
2. Curbside Pickup
I had never taken advantage of curbside delivery before, and now I can’t imagine life without it! I order groceries online, drive up, my groceries are placed in my car, and I drive away. I haven’t been inside a grocery store in months. I don’t miss it. I also utilize this service at restaurants. Maybe I should rephrase this and say I have learned I’m basically lazy?
I’m not nearly as in control of life as I previously thought I was. There is so much in the world I can’t control, and it’s been a significant learning curve for me to learn to let go. I’ve learned there is no point in me spending hours “doomscrolling” or watching the news. I read enough to stay relatively informed without getting too bogged down in dysfunction. The Serenity Prayer has become my mantra.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.
So much can be accomplished via Zoom and with less transit time and gas money. I was a newbie to Zoom and was very awkward initially, but I’m getting more comfortable. The great thing about it is I don’t have to bother getting dressed or putting makeup on. The trick is to dim the lights just a little. Beyond meetings, I’ve also enjoyed Zoom for book club get-togethers, family time, listening to author talks, and even attended a cooking class via Zoom!
5. Toilet Paper
When my ex-husband and I were newly married, we repeatedly argued about toilet paper. He was in his medical residency, and I was a part-time grad student, part-time retail worker, so our budget was tight. My ex thought I used too much toilet paper. I thought he was ridiculously picky. It turns out he may have been right. Dang, that hurt to admit. Does this mean he possibly could have been right about other issues?! Nah, let’s not explore those far-fetched possibilities.
6. My kids are awesome
Ok, that’s cheating because I already knew it, but the pandemic has confirmed it. My daughters and their husbands have consistently offered to pick up things for us or run errands. They have even done surprise door drops of our favorite treats. They worry about their old parents, and although I cringe at the thought of being in the vulnerable category of “elderly,” I appreciate their thoughtfulness.
7. People are amazingly kind
I am surprised at how many friends and some acquaintances have stepped up and sent my brother mail. My brother is intellectually disabled and has been on lockdown at his facility since March 17th. Our usual outings came to a screeching halt, but as long as he gets his mail, he is happy. The kindness people have shown my brother (and therefore me) has meant more than I have words to describe. I strive to pay that kindness forward.
8. People are selfish
There are always two sides to every coin. I am amazed at how some people can’t manage to wear a simple piece of cloth across their faces if there is even a slight chance it might save another person’s life. It’s disappointing to see the selfishness of some.
9. My kitchen has a function
I previously thought of my kitchen as a place to go in the mornings to get my caffeine fix and occasionally bake some cookies. Since the kids left home, we ate out almost every meal. Since March, we have had take-out a couple of times a week, but otherwise, we are dependent on my cooking skills. We have had zero cases of food poisoning and saved some money from cooking at home.
10. Yoga pants
Yoga pants are fantastic; they are the only pants you need to have in your closet during a pandemic. Pair them with a nice shirt for Zoom meetings, and wear them with a sweatshirt the rest of the time. The best advantage of yoga pants is they stretch to accommodate the newly expanded pandemic body.
I have learned a lot in 2020, but I would give it all up in a minute if I could undo the deaths and damage COVID-19 has caused. As we end this tragic year, most of us feel no regret seeing the end of it. We don’t know what 2021 will bring, but the optimist in me believes there is light at the end of the tunnel. But just to be sure, I plan on eating a big bowl of black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day. I hate those nasty little things, but I am not taking any chances for less than good luck in the New Year!