2020 won't kill my gratitude

Let's be real - for the last several years, we've reached December 31st and there's this huge sense of relief. Because by year's end, we're all exhausted and can't stop cataloging all the awful events that somehow managed to cram themselves into the calendar year. By the time the year is on its way out, all anyone can say is OH THANK THE STARS THIS YEAR IS OVER, NEXT YEAR IS GOING TO BE SO MUCH BETTER.

Like in 2016, when John Oliver declared the year "the f*cking worst" and literally blew it up (language warning on this video - I'd say it's "NSFW," but who's at work while reading blogs these days?!):

Or in 2017, when GQ wondered at length if that was truly the worst year on record, in large part because 2016 was merely setting the stage for some of the worst moments that came in the subsequent year.

Of course, things were really getting out of hand by 2018, leading to lots of top ten lists about why THAT year was the worst.

Same thing, 2019. Lots of Top Ten Reasons why 2019 was The Worst.

And all the while, 2020 was lurking in the background, cracking its knuckles, so it could eventually roar "HOLD MY BEER AND THEN WASH YOUR HANDS BECAUSE THAT CAN IS COVERED IN COVID-19, BAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

But here's the thing.

Yes, in many ways, 2016 was one of the worst years I'd ever experienced - but it was also the year my daughter was born, which was a gorgeous beautiful miraculous thing that I wouldn't trade away and will also always be linked to 2016 for me.

Yes, there were moments that had me pulling over and sobbing in my car at the news in 2017. But that same year, I successfully defended my master's thesis while holding down full-time employment and bringing a nine-month-old to campus for said thesis defense.

In 2018, I reeled at world events, re-organized my meager monthly donations to make sure that I was doing what I could to support those working on the border, those working to end gun violence, trying to figure out who I could work with to help make this country live up to its highest ideals, and also became a homeowner for the first time in my life (which in some ways I saw as a pretty massive leap of faith).

In 2019, I wondered how much more our planet could take, felt so worried and fearful about our world - and got to visit dear friends in Europe, feel more connected to worldwide society... also spent two weeks in one of the most beautiful and wild places I've ever been, in a remote town in the Colorado mountains, as an Equity theatre company produced my heartfelt play.

Here we are, in 2020.

I'm now heading into my eighth week of sheltering in place because a brutal, mishandled global pandemic has shut down normal daily life not only in places we're hearing about in the news but right here in the United States of America.

But I remind myself daily that good things have already happened this year (my family is safe and together; I signed with an incredible literary agent; the planet is taking a deep breath), and I believe more good things lie ahead.

I know this list is a selfish one, listing out the best things that happened to *me* in each of the last four years. But I think for most of us, there are always glimmers of hope even in the darkest of timelines - and while some days I struggle with it more than others, I for one will not let 2020 kill my gratitude.

Also for the record, historians have apparently determined that the worst year ever was 536 AD - so hey, we're doing great!

Love to all. Look for the good. More soon.


  1. I have the same yin/yang moments for these years/fears. I am trying to focus on the good in every day, while still fighting the good fight for the rest. What's the fight for, if we don't savor the joys that we have?


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