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2020, The Year that Was

In less than two weeks, I will be turning fifty-eight years old.

Like my adult children have done this year, I will be celebrating my birthday sheltered-in-place, a term I’ve only learned in the last several weeks. I’ve purchased my birthday gifts online – sneakers, flip flops, and work-out clothes. Not a dress or business shirt in sight. My husband will likely offer to cook a favorite, special meal (if he dares to go to the grocery store)… make it fun and celebratory.

It will be fun and celebratory.

This, too, for those of us still safe, is all what we make of it.

I have had the good fortune to live another year and look forward to good things yet to come. I am hopeful. But I find what is helpful to quell my worries is to surrender somewhat. We can behave as we see fit, but we are not fully in control. But then again, we’ve never been fully in control.

In surrendering, I can say from my heart that I’ve had a good life. If I am taken out tomorrow, I’ve had a wonderful life. I am so grateful that I can say that. Saying that, gives me peace.

Now, more than ever, I value every single moment together with those I love. I’ve taken all that I already knew for sure to the next level. I've always valued being in nature, admiring the quiet, simple beauty that is all around me. I value fresh air. I value walking and moving my body in a way that honors and heals it. I value the simplicity and creativity that comes with cooking delicious, healthy food, being mindful of planning meals sparingly and without waste. I value feeding my mind and soul as healthfully as my body – with Oprah's Super Soul Sunday, Masterclass, Arial America on the Smithsonian Channel, Andrea Bocelli and his son Matteo singing Fall on Me, books on gardening & Maine, Maine Home & Design magazine, cooking with Joanna Gaines as a preview to the new Magnolia network coming soon.

I value life as I never have before.

Often, in times of struggle, what can come out the other side, is something positive. Certainly, a lot that is negative and dire, but perhaps, just perhaps, a glimmer of change that is good. Something that teaches us, wakes up the sleeping giant within each of us. Something that changes us, our mindset, our values, our treatment of one another or our planet. For all that is going wrong, may we learn from it, may we honor the heroes who walk among us giving so much of themselves to others they don’t even know. May we be uplifted and never forget the generosity and selflessness of spirit we’ve witnessed in this time (and so many times) of need. May we be forward-thinking about what needs to come next – what needs change?

When I’m asked how we’re faring, I say, amazingly well. For now, we have our health, our home, food, jobs, family –who can ask for anything more? Never will I, again.

For my 58th birthday, I will always remember 2020 as a time like I had never experienced before, inside, forced inside, looking out. Evaluating, reflecting. From my window, or alone on my tiny front porch, I see the sun come up each morning and set each evening. The birds still sing and flitter about, not knowing life has changed. The world turns on its axis. The world goes on, despite all.

When, if and when, we go on, I will cherish my freedom but hopefully, continue to live my life wiser, with the valuable lessons this time of quarantine have taught me.

Take care --

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