Look For The Bright Spots In 2021

We finally made it to the end of 2020! This year has been a whirlwind roller coaster from start to finish, and I can’t believe it’s only been twelve months since we all gathered around to watch the ball drop at midnight to usher in what we all hoped would be the best year of our lives.

We were all so, so wrong.

2020 for me started with a sinus infection and an acute case of bronchitis. I went to a paint bar with my friends and couldn’t even drink because of all the cold medication I was on, and I was home with my family by nine. Really, that should’ve been all the omen I needed. But still, I was hopeful.

And then Covid hit. And it all went downhill from there.

So, let’s recap my shitty year, shall we?

A week after Covid was declared a pandemic and everything began to shut down, I was supposed to be in Baltimore for an on-site seminar for my Masters program. I was banking on this event to network and secure a job in the city when I moved at the end of the year. That seminar never happened.

I got back to RI after three weeks of quarantining in Maryland, only to have to quarantine two more weeks. During this time, I became unemployed, and then partially employed. I went from working 40+ hours a week, to being lucky to get a solid 12 in. This left me with significantly more free-time than I’m used to, which was both good and bad. Time alone to rest, recharge and focus on things you like is important. Too much time alone can be detrimental.

I had to postpone the wedding I’d been working so hard to plan. We still held our ceremony, but it was so, so different than the dream wedding I’d envisioned. That one especially hurt.

And, not to mention all the friends I lost touch with—whether because Life became too much to keep in touch, or because the friendship had (unexpectedly) run its course.

This isn’t even counting all the global tragedies that have struck this year—from the staggering death toll for Covid, to the harm caused by racial inequality and our governments’ failure to act on literally anything, resulting in the pain, suffering, and death of countless people… this year just sucked. It fucking sucked.

I went into December feeling more down than I have since 2015, the Worst Year Of My Life. That really frightened me. 2020, what was supposed to be the best year of my life, was now competing with 2015 for the title of the worst year of my life.

But I got to thinking, and as much as this year fucking sucked, it had its bright spots.

Despite not being able to attend my seminar, I did get to intern with the Lippitt House in Providence—virtually, of course. And I still ended the year with a job—a museum job in DC, at that. And even though I spent maybe a little too much time alone with my thoughts this year, I also had plenty of time to rest and do things I enjoy that I haven’t done in years. I read 31 books this year. I played the Sims 4 for more hours than I worked, but I’m not mad about that because I loved that game and I got to feel like I was in high school again. I painted and crafted and made bookmarks and opened an Etsy shop and did more to flex my creative muscles than I have in years. I worked on two manuscripts this year, and I’m going to work on the second in 2021 to try to land an agent—finally.

The friendships that I lost along the way hurt in ways I can’t even articulate, but the friendships that lasted have been a saving grace to me this year. When I was at my lowest, I knew that despite everything, I had a solid support I could fall back on when I needed it. And although I’m hurt by lost friendships, I’m comforted by knowing that I put my all into every relationship I’m in, and that I’ll always hold love in my heart for these people. People’s paths cross where they’re meant to, and I take solace in knowing that I learned valuable lessons about love and genuine human connection from these people; I hope they got the same things out of our relationship, too.

And most importantly, although it wasn’t the dream wedding I’d envisioned, I got to marry my best friend. I got to move from Rhode Island to Maryland, a state that’s felt like home since I first visited at 16, and we started our lives together. We got a real Christmas tree together and decorated it with all of our favorite ornaments. We turned our plain, boring white apartment into a bright and vibrant home. As many things as 2020 took from me, it gave me just as many. The most important thing it gave me was this—the ability to call Ricky my husband, and to enjoy our home and our new family.

In 2021, I’m trying not to get too caught up in myself. I have goals I’ve set, just like I’ve done every year, but if I don’t reach those goals, I know I’ll be okay. My biggest priority for the new year is to continue growing—to be the best friend, wife, daughter, sister, and person I can be. I’m going to make being nice to myself a priority, because I didn’t do that as much as I should have this year.

And above all, I’m going to look for the bright spots. Because even amidst all the darkness we experienced this year—individually and collectively—there were bright spots for us all. That’s what we need to hold on to. Look for those bright spots, and hold onto that—whatever it may be.

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