So, we're rounding a corner and about to put 2020 to bed. It's been a challenging year. I don't think I need to list out all of my reasons - they're likely similar to yours. And even if they're not, you can probably intuit what I mean.
But honestly, the year hasn't been all bad. Like the old joke goes, "In all this shit, there's bound to be a pony somewhere!"
There are a few good things I should share.
- I got to see Hamilton. Second to last row, but I paid face value on the tickets, and I got to see it. And it was spectacular. It lived up to my expectations. Jim went with me and he enjoyed it, too!
- I went to a Pete Buttigieg rally, and got to hear him speak. I ended up sitting in the Special Guests section because I was in the right place at the right time, and I had a list of reasons I was a supporter. OK, so he dropped out of the race the next day - but who just got named as the nominee for Secretary of Transportation? Exactly.
- I was able to get to the mountains a few times, and even held the picnic. I feel under pressure to go more often and keep an eye on things, and of course, we need a new fridge up there - but you know, I got to see people. Not all of them, but quite a few.
- Piper turned out to be a pretty good co-worker. I was always worried about working from home - either that I'd be so distracted I wouldn't get anything done, or that Piper would be unmanageable. Neither are 100% true. I do occasionally unload a dishwasher while on a muted call, and there are days I worked outside just to keep Piper from destroying the house. But we have worked out a routine, and for the most part, she's easy-breezy.
- McSweeney's said YES! Once. They also said no a few times, and that's OK, as we'll discover later. But I wrote a piece that they paid me for, and that people liked and read.
- McSweeney's said NO! And I made the decision to turn the rejected material into a month long social media "Advent Calendar" of sorts - the theme was Christmas Carol/Christmas Karen. Sort of a Goofus and Gallant for the middle aged woman. A lot of people liked it - and as the lyric from Title of Show reminds us, "I'd rather be 9 people's favorite thing than 100 people's 9th most favorite thing."
- I didn't travel for work for the first time in 16 years. I may have had a single overnight to Alabama - I can't remember if that was in November or January - and it doesn't really matter. A single night that is two hours away isn't really work travel - at least, not in the bulk way of years before. Remember how I used to list my annual trips to Ohio, Texas, New Jersey and so on and on? This year is a maybe one night in the suburbs of Birmingham, but who can remember?
- My clothes still fit. One of the bigger fears of working from home was that I'd put on a lot of weight. And truth be told, since we're right at the end of Christmas, I did put on a little festive weight, but we're done with the insanity. Most of the baked treats are gone. Most of the non-baked treats are gone, and I don't believe I'll be getting a lot of take-out lunches like I did on the week off. Now, the jeans that were wearable but tight at the start of Covid are still tight. But they're not any tighter or less wearable. The same three pairs I've leaned on since March are all exactly as they were then.
- I threw a party. A Zoom gathering with friends a few weekends ago, and people came and had fun. I got to "see" people from all over the region, and it was delightful. I still have the party throwing mad skillz.
- I attended some parties. Game nights, baby showers, craft events... it's amazing what you can do when you can't do anything.
- I tested negative for Covid. Twice. Long story for both of the instances, but it seemed like the right idea. If you want to know what it was like, I'll tell you. Imagine a tiny mascara brush on a long handle. Like what a chimney sweep in Smurf Village would use. Mesothelioma Smurf. Anyway, imagine them taking this implement and inserting into your nose until they hit brain. And then they swish it around in there for fifteen seconds. And then they do the same thing with your other nostril. It's like getting pool water up your nose. It's not that bad, honestly.
- I donated blood. Six times this year. In total, 54 units given in my lifetime. Possibly more, actually - but that's the recorded info they have. I've been doing this since I was 17. Anyway - the last three donations, they checked me for Covid antibodies - nope to the nope. I apparently haven't been exposed - which means the nasal swabs were just belt and suspenders. Sort of?
- I took on the role of cheerleader at work. Initially, we were going to do six weeks of activities for everyone working at home. That turned into doing them for the rest of the year. Typically, it was a survey, or scavenger hunt, plus an e mail. But it was a lot of fun, and as I said to anyone who mentioned it, "I'm just glad they let me keep doing it".
- Feedback. I received several notes throughout the year from people thanking me for the work I am doing. That feels good. It means a lot, and it tells me that they get me. They understand who and what I am. I also took a DiSC profile and learned that while I am still a High i (Influence), my secondary has moved from D for Dominance to S for Steadiness. I told my boss I'm less about dominance now because I have good leadership handling that for me. Now, I'm more about results (a key component of the S-type). What I'm saying is, people see me as I see myself, and I what I'm seeing. So do they.
- We are here. I know of some folks who died this year. Friends' parents, former colleagues, lots of strangers. A few scares with friends and family, some minor illnesses - but on the whole, we're doing OK. I take that as a win.