I wanted to write this blog every time I saw a new meme or heard someone declaring 2020 a complete loss. As I look back over this year I have so much to be grateful for and 2020 will not be a year I would want to forget. I’m not diminishing how devastating this year has been for many and the terrible loss that too many people have experienced. I, however, have been fortunate. My losses have been miniscule in comparison and in the long run may be seen as gifts.
Today is December 26/Boxing Day in Nashville, TN and I am an ATT customer. As I write this I have had no internet or cell phone for 24 hours. I don’t know what the next few hours or days will bring but I have the ability to focus on what’s good, right now. I have a roof over my head, a fridge full of food, 2 cats, 1 dog and a husband who makes me breakfast. I have all that I need at this moment.
I have been someone who has judged teachers. My judgements have lessened after years of working with, being friends with and marrying a teacher. This year I witnessed first hand what it is to be a public school teacher. Since August our living room has turned into a virtual classroom. Daily I listened to my husband do his very best to communicate and help his ELL students while at the same time they all learned a new technology. The care and concern that he showed through his voice and actions overwhelmed me at times. There were days when I sent exasperated texts to friends wishing for a return to the usual peace and quiet of my work day, but experiencing exactly what a teacher does for their students (and society) has brought me a new appreciation of the profession and of my husband.
Online Yoga with Friends
If you know me or have read any of my other blogs, you’ll know that yoga has been the centerpiece of my life this year. I wrote about the benefits of online yoga previously. In December of 2019 I signed up for YTT 200 hr with Liberation Yoga. Training started the month we locked down. Hello Zoom! Part of training is practice teaching. So, after multiple configurations of my office and utilizing every computer, screen and camera I had in my house I finally felt confident to teach a class online. I put out the word on Facebook and sure enough yogis near and far showed up online. Not only did I get to learn how to be a teacher, I connected with friends and family that I don’t often see. Now twice a week we are practicing yoga together. I may be the teacher but I am receiving so many of the benefits of this practice because of them.
Losing My Job
For the past couple years I have been unhappy in my job. A job that I used to wake up excited about daily and even thought about and looked forward to on weekends became a source of pain and frustration in my life. For twelve years I was an integral part of growing a one man show into a family business and I was proud of that achievement. I was making more money than I’d ever made in my adult life and had a tremendous amount of freedom in my work life but day to day I wasn’t happy. I complained to too many people and some of them even suggested I quit but I was afraid to leave. Both the Nashville tornado in early 2020 and Covid-19 affected our business to the point that there was no money to pay my salary. So I left. I worked on my resume. I wrote cover letters and I tried to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. I’ve worked two different jobs for two different companies and the experiences have been both challenging and rewarding. I’m still trying to figure it out and I’m lucky to have an employed partner. Now I wake up looking forward to what opportunities are out there that may come my way.
He Ain’t Heavy
As I mentioned previously I’ve connected to more friends and family this past year through teaching yoga online. I’ve also connected more with my brother. He and I have lived miles apart from each other for 20 years. We’ve always gotten along when we did see each other but didn’t communicate too much on a regular basis until Covid. He had visited us in Nashville the week the tornado hit. I don’t know if it was going through that experience together, the concern I had for him living alone during lockdown or the concern he had for me living in a US city but we now talk or text almost weekly. After quarantining for two weeks on a visit home to Canada this past October, we spent a day together seeing the fall colors, searching for my favourite hard cider and eating some of the best fish and chips I’ve ever had. I don’t want to ever forget that day.
Our Monday Date
Every Monday evening since April 2020 Ben and I have performed a Facebook Live show. Some of the people watching have been there from the beginning tuning in every week. Not only has it been great to play Ben’s music and some of our favorite cover tunes but we’ve also increased our jazz repertoire. Each week I sing two jazz tunes and over the year I’ve learned quite a few new songs. Along with singing on a regular basis again, we’re staying connected to friends in Nashville and around the world and those tuning in have told us how much they’ve appreciated the weekly shows.
To disregard 2020 is to forget my friend Heidi Hall. Heidi and I were born a few days apart. We met in our 30’s and from the first day I knew her I felt I had a sister. She was an incredible writer, friend and human being. In December 2019 I turned 50. Heidi never got to experience turning 50 as she passed away in September 2019 of metastatic colorectal cancer. Her memorial service was standing room only. This was not a surprise. She was a big personality with a heart-warming laugh, wonderfully witty and had a tremendous faith. As scary and difficult as 2020 has been, I’ve lived through it all. The fear and the joy. For that I am grateful.
I could easily go on and tell you about quarantining with family in Canada, having a new appreciation of my home, deepening friendships, my love of small get togethers, creating new traditions (post show popcorn), cooking appreciation, time with Gracie and so much more. Instead I will stop here and hope my reflection has brought a smile to your face. I heard once it takes resistance for a plane to fly. Sometimes for me to learn something I need a little pushback and this year has been nothing if not that. I can’t say I’m grateful for this year but I am grateful for the obstacles and I hope what I have learned I won’t soon forget.