Ahhhh, 2020. What a year. My annual year-end superlatives post feels different this year because COVID-19 altered my everyday life so significantly. Still, there is much to look back on! Read on for the highlights and challenges of 2020.
1. Biggest Milestone
“Milestone” isn’t necessarily a word I associate with this past year, which often had me feeling stuck in the mud and moving backward instead of forward. However, I actually did accomplish a milestone this year by having my first year-long Master’s of Social Work student! Stepping into a manager role for this internship placement was both challenging and exciting. The university has asked me to supervise another student for the 2021-2022 academic year, and I am excited to continue!
2. Hardest Challenge
This is not a difficult superlative to answer. My hardest challenge this year was pursuing intensive trauma treatment for past circumstances that were continuing to impact me quite negatively. I am so grateful for making that choice, but it was far from easy. The level of anxiety I dealt with toward the earlier part of 2020 was unprecedented and frightening. I am proud of myself for being vulnerable and doing difficult work in order to experience healing.
3. Most Memorable Trip
This is one superlative that looks a lot different this year! In past years my most memorable trip has been exotic locations such as Italy and Belize. This year, it’s Hilton Head Island, SC. Honestly, I’m not complaining. It was nice to have a slower pace this year, and that included less hectic travel plans. Wes and I got to spend two separate weeks at Hilton Head this summer, and it was so magical. I absolutely love the low country, and a change of scenery was SO nice after being stuck in our home all year!
4. Best Bite
Hands down the best thing I tasted this year was pumpkin trifle from JP’s Pastry. It was caramel-y and creamy and hands down delicious. I’m not even a big pumpkin person, and I have been having dreams about this trifle ever since.
5. Favorite Photo
This photo encapsulates a lot of what 2020 was to me. Perhaps “favorite” isn’t the right word–I wish the circumstances that led to this photo never actually occurred, and I don’t mean to make it sound like I enjoyed a pandemic or the need to protest murder–but this photo just feels right as the one to go down in my memory book for 2020.
6. Inspiring Read
I read SO many good books this year. Most inspiring was probably Off the Clock by Laura Vanderkam. I never thought I’d enjoy what is essentially a time management book so much! The book is almost more about time perspective and time curation than time management. Whatever you want to call it, the entire book was chock full of research-based tips for how to feel like you have plenty of time in this busy world. As someone who nearly constantly feels stretched too thin (at least, during non-pandemic times), this book was extremely practical and applicable and had so many lightbulb moments for me!
7. Most Valuable Lesson
This year, I learned how badly I needed a slower lifestyle. The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent quarantining forced me to cancel many of my activities and obligations and slow down. I feel so much more relaxed. I am mostly well-rested. My chronic GI issues have just about completely cleared. I want to maintain some parts of this slower lifestyle even after society returns to “normal” post-pandemic.
8. Favorite Gift Received
My favorite gift this year was my sister flying across the country to surprise me on my 30th birthday! I turned 30 right when COVID-19 was first starting to pop up in the U.S., right before stay-at-home orders and major quarantining started taking place. My sister donned an N-95 mask for her cross country flight and showed up at my doorstep, much to my shock! So wonderful, especially since the ensuing pandemic prevented me from traveling to see her as planned this year. Love you, sis!
9. Favorite Raleigh Spot
Frankly, I wasn’t exploring too many places this year. Me and my couch were besties. But hands down, the place I visited the most outside of my own neighborhood was Dorothea Dix Park. The ample open green spaces made for perfect socially distanced gathering spots with friends.
10. Warmest Fuzziest Moment
This year’s warm fuzzies were brought by our foster dogs! It is so incredible to watch dogs come from the shelter filthy and scared and then blossom into happy, carefree companions with a little time and TLC. Wes and I had the privilege of helping Nala, Bert, Ernie, Pippa, and Sage leave the shelter and find their forever homes this year!
11. Things I’m Most Looking Forward to in 2021
It’s hard to make concrete plans for the upcoming year due to the uncertainty of the pandemic, but there are a couple of things I can look forward to with certainty: The birth of my nephew, and building our new house! I am also hopeful that I will get to attend my best friend’s wedding in Scotland and possibly tour the United Kingdom while there. We will see!
BONUS: Things That Didn’t Get a Superlative, but are Worth Remembering from This Year
-Exploring new trails around the Triangle with friends.
-Painting Rufus’s Halloween costume (he dressed as Dante from Coco).
-Surviving the craziest election year ever.
-Going under contract to build a house!
-Longest hair of my life.
-Wes also having the longest hair of his life as he pursued man bun status.
-Zoom weddings and drive through baby showers.
-Helping create a Racial Equity & Justice resource site for my church.
-Making over 200 vet appointments for dogs at Freedom Ride Rescue.
-Rescuing a baby bird (christened “Pigwidgeon”) that fell out of its nest in one of our air vents.
-Champagne at the Governor’s mansion for Wes’s Grandmommie’s 100th birthday.
That’s a wrap! I am grateful for another year of life. Here’s to 2021…may it be less weird than 2020!
(And if you’re curious to read my superlative posts from previous years, check them out here.)
P.S. – I’d love to hear about your highs/lows of 2020 in the comments!
P.P.S. – This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you purchase a product using a link from this post. Read more here about my disclaimers/disclosures.