Podcast 15: Good things that happened in 2020

Hello hello, and welcome to the 15th episode of Life On the Brink, and our final episode for 2020!

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I first want to commend each of us for making it through this year. No matter what it looks like right now, no matter if your 2020 goals list is still unchecked, you made it! This was a year for the history books for sure, and most of the news hasn’t been good.

But as we stand on the brink of a new year, what will we dwell on? That is up to each of us. I do believe it’s perfectly fine to mourn the losses of this year, whatever that looks like to you, but more than that I’m choosing to spend a little time highlighting the good things that came with 2020. It’s a little unfair to say the whole year was wasted, that it never existed. There were some beautiful moments in each of our lives, and I think that taking time to reflect on those moments will pay dividends in the new year. A little extra boost of hope for 2021.

Tea and scones: clear priorities.

This episode is interactive! Today I’m highlighting 20 good things that happened in 2020, first a quick list of some great things around the world, and then a Top 10 list detailing some of the best moments of my year. That’s where you come in:

I want YOU to make a list of your Top 10 highlights for 2020. You can go ahead and stop to get a piece of paper or a journal or something, or you can even just make a note on your phone. Since my list is personal to me, I want you to make one of your own. Maybe something from my list will trigger a memory of yours, or you’ll be inspired to reflect. Either way, I encourage you to make your own list and hold on to it as we enter the new year. Maybe even share, especially if you’re ringing in 2021 with a few special loved ones. Reminding yourself of all the good moments that this year brought will help encourage us all to hope for even brighter ones next year.

So, with that, here are a few great things that happened in 2020:

1. We gained a new appreciation for teachers and healthcare workers

2. The U.N. environment program declared “2020 a superyear for nature and biodiversity”

3. We all found a renewed sense of gratitude for our families, jobs, gatherings, everything.

4. Taylor swift came out with 2 albums (even if you haven’t listened, that’s still impressive)

5. Drive in theaters are kinda back, I’m ready to be a Pink Lady

6. Our priorities have never been clearer

7. The U.S. presidential elections had the highest voting turnout in years and years.

8. Senator Kamala Harris was elected as the first female, first Black, and first Asian American vice-president. No matter which way you voted, that’s still a pretty cool milestone for the nation.

9. People came together in new ways, whether through celebrating special moments via Zoom, supporting their black brothers and sisters, or simply reaching out to those in need. Even in the midst of hard times, we found ways to be there for one another.

10. Finally, Xiao Qi Ji, a panda cub, was born on August 21st at the National Zoo

Of course, there are stories from all around the world of people choosing to make the most of every situation, and there’s no way I could mention them all. Plus, let’s not forget John Krazinski’s project, “Some Good News,” which brought the best of the good stuff every week during the darkest weeks of quarantine. What a wonderful beacon of optimism in such a frustrating season.

There’s also no way I can account for all of the good things that happened in the individual lives of everyone out there. We each had beautiful, exciting, uplifting, and fulfilling things that carried us through this year. What I can do is share mine, so without further ado, here are my Top 10 favorite things that happened this year:

1. I fed a giraffe. This was pre-covid, right at the beginning of January. My siblings and I went in on a special behind-the-scenes experience at the Virginia Zoo as a Christmas gift for our giraffe-obsessed grandmother. She and I got to spend well over an hour feeding and interacting with a little family of giraffes and, even though it was a freezing day in January, we were absolutely living it up.

2. I started my first-ever outdoor garden. I’ve talked a lot about this experience here on the blog, and shared lots of harvested goodies over on Instagram, but it honestly was just so good. I’d been excited to have a real garden for a couple years now, and this year it actually came together. It was the perfect cure for hardcore lockdown this spring.

3. I discovered The Great British Baking Show (or Bake Off). I found out about this through the holiday specials last Christmas, but it was only in 2020 that I really fell in love with it. I’ve now seen every season on Netflix and have successfully dragged a few of my family members into it as well. The vibe, the music, the bakes, the people, Mary and Prue, it’s just perfect.

4. I realized that I miss my work (I’m sure I’m not alone in this). This year really shone a spotlight on the things that we truly love, but often take for granted. My relationship with music as a performer and composer has been a little tense at times (“this gig is a stepping stone to the next gig and the next gig and the next…”) and sometimes I find myself exhausted, wondering if I even like doing it. But this year has shown me that I really do, because I really miss it. It’s comforting to know that I’m actually pursuing something I love.

5. I started to like coffee. We all know I’m a tea lady, but 2020 was just crazy enough that it finally turned me over to coffee as well. It started back in May, and now I can confidently say I like it. It’s opened a whole world of beverages that are still confusing to me, and even though I still opt for tea most days, I’m excited to enjoy more different drinks in the new year.

6. I GOT MARRIED. This is obviously the #1 most impactful and wonderful thing that happened to me this year. Even though it was a stressful road to the altar and we had to undergo some serious adaptations, even to the point of moving our date by two months, I can end this year married to the kindest, most caring, giving, wonderful man in the world.

(click here for the beautiful wedding video my sister made)

7. I went to Disney World! Josh and I went in October as a belated honeymoon, and any trip to Disney is a highlight of any year. It was our first road trip together, our first solo vacation, and finally felt like we could celebrate being together. It wasn’t too hot, and even with the masks we had such a fun time.

8. I got more comfortable in less makeup. This started back in the spring when we couldn’t go absolutely anywhere for weeks and weeks. And I’m not one of those people who can get all dressed up with nowhere to go, I just can’t be bothered. Plus, the mask covers like half your face. So I got used to seeing my face with very little or no makeup on, and it was pretty freeing actually. I’m trying to embrace it again this winter and even as the pandemic comes to an end (which it will), so that I can remain more comfortable in my own skin.

9. I learned to live quieter. Not only did we take a step back from our social lives, our jobs and our regular routines, but I took the opportunity at times to step even further away from the news, social media, and the need to always be moving, doing, acting, achieving.

Who needs that noise?

10. I started this podcast! This has been one of the constants in my life this year, and it’s truly become one of my daily and weekly joys. I have loved stepping into and creating moments of pleasant pause, to refresh not only myself but for everyone out there listening.

My hope is to continue to grow this platform and this community. We are a unique group of inspired people who choose to make the best of each day through creativity and calm, and it’s my pleasure to foster that community in any way I can.

On that note, why not try to connect with others in this community? Head over to my Instagram here where I’m posing the question “What’s the best thing that happened to YOU in 2020?” and leave a comment with your experience! At the very least, you’ll get a good dose of positivity from the comment section as we say goodbye to this very strange year.

Definitely the highlight :)

This Week’s Little Joy: Pomegranates- they’ve been a staple in our home for the past month or so. Josh in particular likes the process of breaking down a pomegranate (which is not hard by the way), and we’re left with all these little candy-like seeds in the fridge. I snack on them during the day, they’re great with chocolate or on oatmeal, yogurt, even toast. They’re not in season all the time, so if you’ve been too intimidated by the pomegranate, take this as a sign to give them a shot. Trust me, they’re just delicious!

What I’m Listening To: We’re going a little different for this final episode of the year. Since we’re kinda passed the Christmas music phase, I felt a little comforting palate cleanser was in order. I’m including a sort-of-playlist from a Youtube channel called Nemo’s Dreamscapes (click right here!). They make a lot of videos called “Oldies music playing in another room and it's raining,” and this one includes fireplace sounds, which makes it extra cozy. I’ve been loving this video this week for working, reading, or just having a little soft background music/soundscape. Enjoy!

Thanks so much for listening, friends, and for supporting this podcast in 2020. Please feel free to leave a comment below, a review on your podcast app, or head to Instagram to share your happy moments for the year! I'll be back in January to continue with my 2 week schedule, so until then have a Happy New Year!