Welcome 2021

A new year brings anticipation for great things. This year feels like a warmth of sunshine after cloudy days. 2020 brought many challenges without the “perfect vision” the year number indicated. Learning from our experience gives us energy for improvement as we move forward.

My list of twenty-one take-aways from 2020 with optimism that 2021 will be a better year if we remember:

  1. We are resilient and can recover from stressful conditions.
  2. We care about others more than our own comfort. Wearing a mask is proof.
  3. We are creative with ways to connect, celebrate, worship, and teach while social distancing.
  4. We are resourceful and can adapt to difficult circumstances.
  5. We are all passionate about our beliefs, therefore it’s important to respect individual beliefs especially when they differ from our own.
  6. We are patient, notably when it’s necessary.
  7. We persevere in hard situations as we work for improvement.
  8. We are courageous as we learn to do things we’ve never done before.
  9. We are fashionable. Masks often match what we are wearing or make a statement about our personality. Colorful, fun masks are amusing.
  10. We need each other. Isolating negatively affects our mental health.
  11. We realize hugs are not to be taken for granted.
  12. We are more aware of what our teachers and healthcare providers do. We are so thankful for their dedication.
  13. We gained gratitude for sanitary stations by most building entrances.
  14. We have appreciation for disinfectant wipes to sanitize grocery carts.
  15. We learned zoom meetings are an effective way to take care of business.
  16. We learned routine doctor visits can be done efficiently and are convenient by facetime or duo phone calls.
  17. When an in-person doctors visit is necessary, the sticker on your shirt with the written temperature reading puts other at ease or encourages them to keep their distance if you have a fever.
  18. We appreciated less people in the doctor’s office making the wait time to get into the exam room significantly shorter.
  19. More people working from home improves the air quality and drives gasoline prices down. It’s grand that city streets no longer filled with vehicles were roped off for recreational bike riding and walking.
  20. Social distancing at home allowed more time to get projects done.
  21. Each person is important. We make a difference in the lives around us.

This year has been an experience we’ll all remember. 2020 not only strengthened our character, but it helped us realize what is most important. I hope to remember the positive lessons learned from the past as we move forward.

What can you add to the list?

Good-bye 2020

My favorite ornament made by our friend Carl Wengel.
It sums up the year perfectly!

There’s more excitement with the close of this year than most. However, this will be a year for the books. Besides earthquakes, hurricane winds, riots, and fires, the coronavirus hit hard. Schools, churches, concerts, theaters, sports, restaurants, and other workplaces were shut down for a time. Every support group listed on my March Newsletter was cancelled. You name it and it was affected by COVID, including family and friend relationships. Some people take the virus seriously and others do not. Some introverts may enjoy an excuse to isolate, while some extroverts fight it.  

At first, I didn’t feel a huge change in my lifestyle. Afterall, I’ve worked from home for many years as an account manager for Earthwork Property Management. It’s nice to have people now joining the at home employment group.

Before the pandemic, Mark attended an activity day-program. He missed going out every day. Churches closed too which meant another disruption to our regular schedule. Mark enjoys being busy and wants to be productive. My challenge has been making activities available for him to do at home. In conjunction with the loss of his short-term memory, he depends on repetitive activities. It took several weeks for him to remember why he wasn’t doing his normal routine. Lucky for me he’s easy-going and we’ve adjusted to spending every day and all day together. It’s a good thing we like each other.

The biggest shift for me remains to be grocery shopping. I can no longer do it in the middle of the night while Mark sleeps. The reduced hours, daytime shopping, and the distinctive roped walkways to keep customers entering the store in an organized, evenly spaced manner was shocking in the beginning. The employee at the door counting every person entering to make sure the store stayed within the limit is unique to a place that thrives on a crowd. Once allowed in, seeing empty shelves and necessary items such as toilet paper, paper towels and disinfecting wipes gone is unnerving. Now many items are rationed, resulting in better stocked shelves.

We know several people who have or have had the coronavirus. Fortunately, their cases have been mild, but the increase in numbers and our full hospitals are worrisome. We’ve been blessed so far and have escaped the virus. Nevertheless, we feel the effects of this pandemic and look forward to getting the vaccination. We are hopeful that in 2021 we will clear our world of this disease.

This year I found another way to end up in the hospital. On October 5th, I had knee surgery which meant our daughter Katie and her husband Eldin needed to move in with us for two weeks to help with Mark’s care. It was the second time this year they willingly stepped up to task as we needed them in March when I injured my knee. We enjoyed having them here and especially during the uncertain times of the earthquake and closures. We couldn’t have made it through this year at home without them and I believe this would have been the worst year to have Mark in a care center. We are forever grateful for their help.

Many positive changes came this year, such as routine doctor visits done by phone. A definite plus when you or your loved one has ongoing health issues. When an in-person visit is necessary, the wait time to get into the exam room is significantly shorter and now there’s only one or two in the waiting room.

The isolation at home provided time to get more yard and home projects done. We had our reserve irrigation tank moved to the back corner of the yard which made new water lines necessary. A big project I’ve wanted to do for years. I also planted more grass in the orchard. The vegetable garden was plentiful which equates to a lot of preserving. Canning lids were another shortage this year. I couldn’t find them in any store. Lucky for me I have good friends who shared some of their extra lids with me.

While reading this message to Mark I realized this year of social distancing is much harder on him than it’s been to me. He agreed with my conclusion. I added, “I’m such an introvert and you are truly an extrovert. How did we ever get together?”

His reply, “On a double date!” I laughed at the irony of the true statement.

For now, I’ll relish in this quieter, slower pace at home and Mark will probably continue to miss the busy social schedule. Together forever, we are a testament that opposites attract.

What positive things have you realized from this negative experience?

What changes do you hope will stay?