Thursday, December 31, 2020

in the WINS column of 2020

A year ago, I had an idea of what today would look and feel like for me. It's completely different from what I imaged. I am completely different from who I was a year ago. We all are, whether we acknowledge it or not.

There have been so many LOSES this year.

Lives and livelihoods. Routines and traditions. 

So I wanted to take some time to focus on my personal wins. This is a simple but difficult exercise for me. This is an important exercise for me. I do not want to forget this year, or write it off entirely.

My WINS column of 2020

There's a Podcast All Right. In August of 2019 I bulldozed my way into the lives of Goldie & Janna. I love them both so much, and they let me! In February, we launched our Twin Peaks podcast. We've published 27 episodes (a few of them are just trailers, but heck, I'm counting them!). We've gotten over 2,500 unique downloads. Getting a little bit of attention is one thing, but what has become more valuable to me is the connection with two incredible people through a shared passion. Recording sessions with Goldie & Janna have become a mental and emotional anchor for me throughout this seriously wild year. I've also learned a lot about the process of recording, editing, publishing, and publicizing a podcast. It's involved. And it's rewarding.

Hyde Came to Cape Cod. Our friend of 16 years came to celebrate his birthday with us this year. It was his first visit to Cape Cod and it was an absolute joy! We got to treat him to his first taste of real New England Clam Chowder. We got to treat him to a special birthday dinner out and crepes mille birthday cake. He's the only Twin Peaks family we got to see this year in person and I am BEYOND grateful that he got to come here in February. Love you, Bryan! 

Couch to 5k and beyond. In June, while Ryan was upping his marathon training, I decided to make a positive change for myself. I was partly inspired, no joke, by the Netflix show The Floor is Lava. I watched regular people in decent shape have a hell of a lot of fun on a goofy tv show and I wanted so much to be part of it. Or at least, I wanted to be capable of being part of it. So I downloaded a podcast series called Couth to 5K, published by the NHS. My only goal was to get out the door. I followed instructions and in 9 weeks I was able to comfortably run 30 minutes. Within a couple months from then I could run 3 to 5 miles 3 times a week with comfort and have done so ever since. I have even run 6 miles a couple times and have a 7 mile route planned. It feels so good to be able. And as a side effect, I've lost 20 pounds from March to now. Special mention here of my dear friend Nicole, who inspired me to run without headphones too, which has become a real blessing all of its own.

One Perfect Dinner. I woke up one morning in early September with a craving for biryani. I conspired with Ana-Maria about my craving. I shared my fantasy to pick up food at Ryan and my favorite local Indian restaurant chain, Shanti, and show up at the Belanders' backyard to share the bounty in exchange for safely distanced company and mocktails. It was, like I said, a fantasy. But Ana-Maria, Ryan, Landers, they were all in for it. The day and time would work. We were all healthy, all cautious. The restaurant was near enough to their backyard. The weather was agreeable. I found parking. The woman was bringing my order out of the back as I walked in to collect it. She complimented my hair. The drinks Landers made went perfectly with the flavors spread out around the table in plastic containers, still warm. The conversation was lively and we were all graced with leftovers from the meal. It went PERFECTLY. Like a dream. And in contrast to every other plan we've tried to make and execute this year. I will forever remember the joy I felt in accomplishment that night. The bravery in expressing my fantasy.

Grief Group. On November 2nd I learned that a dear friend from graduate school was on hospice care at home. Four of us that were close to her arranged to chat that Thursday. We knew there wasn't much time and we knew that we would need each other. Jenni passed away on November 4th. I found out on the 5th. I am forever grateful that we had that chat scheduled already. I lost Jenni, but I won Beth, Nicole, and Katey all over again. They have become my grief support group and so so so much more. I love you ladies SO MUCH.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Okay, yep. This is a video game. But it's not just a video game. I made new friends through playing it, and have been staying in touch with Faye most regularly through the game. I am so grateful to Nintendo for creating a place for me to escape to when I most need it. And for creating a tune for me to hum when the anxiety is so bad I can feel it filling my chest. I hum it A LOT. It's my inner-song. That is such a gift. 

Mesdames des Macarons. My little company turned 10 years old in Nov/Dec of 2020. To celebrate, and because I was not going to be able to sell at the one market we usually have around our "birthday", I completely changed my business model this year. I used new tools (google forms and square) to set up a Macaron of the Month Club. Thanks to the help and support of Mary, I was able to rejuvenate the company after a long seven months of not baking at all. It turned out to be a nice way to celebrate and has gone really smoothly aside from most Christmas orders getting shuffled in the mail due to COVID. This change and my company go in the win column because I so easily could have let it sit out, let it fade, let it escape me. Instead, I innovated. I'm proud of that.

All Elite Wrestling. Okay, yep. This is a wrestling promotion. This goes in the win column for 2020 because so few routines held up this year. Fortunately for us, we picked the right sport to watch. Every Tuesday and Wednesday night this year, I could reliably settle in for a couple of hours or more and let most of the real world wash away while I watched hot bodies with beautiful minds beat each other up and flip over each other for my entertainment. And what a great group of accepting, talented, and wonderful people I have found to admire from this company. I will be forever grateful. Having discovered Abadon, Lance Archer, Ricky Starks, Top Flight, and many more this year, is part of this win. 

There are so many KEEPS in 2020 too. There are a lot of things and people that have stayed with me this year. Some of them has strengthened. These are kind of like honorable mentions... Ryan, Alli, Rowdy, Daniella, Liz, Erin, Kelly, Jason, Faye & Hawkins, Shane & Sheila, my family (though it's freaking complicated), work (though that's even more complicated), my house/home, Caitlin (my pen pal!), Michelle, Becki, my Twin Peaks family, my WW family, my Gustare family (some of the coolest teenagers I have *ever* met, I met this year), and there are more, for sure. Everyone who's stayed in touch with me, shared with me, checked up on me. Thank you all so so so so much. I love you so so so much.