I’ve noticed a lot of optimism about moving into 2021, and I have to admit, I’m not really sold on it yet. I think 2021 is going to look a lot like 2020, at least for the first six months pandemic-wise. But a “good” year or a “bad” year doesn’t have to be governed by external forces. In some ways, a year is still what we make of it. On that note, I’ve also seen a lot of talk about what was good in 2020, and while it was a colossally difficult year, some good and some new did come out of it. These were some of my personal favorites.
New hair. I had an absolutely disastrous salon experience in 2019. Let’s just say I was in tears before I even got to my car. I had it corrected with a darker color (to cover the yellow-striped-carrot look), and my hair was dark for the next year. But in 2020 I went blond (with a new stylist, of course!). I had blond hair well into adulthood, though even before said dyeing disaster, it had darkened a lot. But my new bright highlights just feel so “me,” and there’s nothing quite like feeling yourself again after a long time away.
New walking shoes. About halfway through my three-month furlough due to COVID-19, I decided to take up a daily walking habit. I began doing about 3.5 miles a day at a pretty brisk pace, and my shoes did not last very long. I’d probably had my old workout/walking shoes for a dozen years, and after about five weeks of daily walking, they officially kicked the bucket. Keeping up this walking habit will probably mean new shoes about every year.
New clothes. A big part of the reason I started walking so religiously is because when I unpacked my summer clothes in June and put them on, I was so unhappy with how they looked, I nearly cried. When I committed to walking and calorie counting, my only goal was to fit into my clothes better, but I actually ended up losing enough weight that I had to buy a lot of new clothes (ooops?!). Included in the haul is this shirt, which packs a double punch because it can refer to the book I’m reading or the one I’m writing. Win-win!
New tattoo. I went a little Hamilton on this one, but it also refers to rising up to pray. And it didn’t seem to be appropriate for anywhere but my foot. I was terrified to get a foot tattoo, having heard it was extremely painful, but it really wasn’t that bad. There was only one spot – the very last letter – where he must have been really close to a nerve, and I was afraid I would reflexively kick him. Thankfully, I didn’t! This is my second tattoo, and I especially love that it was done using a stencil of my own handwriting. (You can read the fun story about my first one here!)
New “neighbors.” My parents took the plunge and moved near us again! They’ve been a HUGE help with childcare and distance learning, not to mention the comfort of having them around. I’m unabashedly close to my family, but I also have a great capacity for love. It’s like when you have the second child and you don’t know how your heart can do a Grinch-trick and grow enough to contain the same amount of love for the new baby as it does for the first…but it happens.
New novel. NaNoWriMo in November meant starting a new novel. The general story isn’t new to me, as I’ve been contemplating it for more than a decade, but I have definitely learned a lot of details about the characters and their histories. It’s also really new and exciting to be writing near-historical fiction (it takes place in the mid-1970s) and exploring characters who are quite a bit unlike me.
I know some of these are a bit superficial, but with a year like 2020, I don’t think it matters what good we hung onto when it often seemed like there was so little. And despite my hesitance about 2021, I am certain it will also hold some good, new things.
I’m already on the lookout.