2020 Has Changed Me

When this year began 366 days ago, yes 366, it is a leap year, I had no idea what was in store for myself, my family, our country, our world. This year has changed me. This last day of the year has finally arrived; we have all longed and wished for this last day of 2020. I am reflecting on the year, myself, my family, our world.

As all pivotal moments in our lives change us, graduation, marriage, birth of a child, etc, we reflect on the changes. Moving into the career world I had to be responsible, pay bills, be an adult. Marital relationships force us to work and grow with another adult. We have to compromise and perhaps make changes to our grand scheme. Raising a family causes us to no longer put ourselves first. We have to consider our futures under a microscope more than ever. When 2020 began, I didn’t make any monumental resolutions. I thought the year would continue and end the same as it had began. I was wrong.

job; In March I have to admit I really was not paying attention to all this Coronavirus talk. I had heard about it, but knew very little. My 7th grade students made fun of it; cracked jokes as 12 year olds are known to do. One of my co-workers, who was drained from her 1st grade students, joked about it. ” Bring on coronavirus! I need an extra few weeks of Spring Break” Wow, she had no idea what we were all in store for. We did get a few extra weeks of vacation, but then we had to reformulate our profession. Reworking how we teach and engage our students for 6 weeks was a challenge. 6 weeks turned into the rest of the school year. Then the four months turned into the next school year. New digital curriculum was developed. Online platforms blossomed. Bitmoji classrooms took over. I don’t think I worked this hard in my entire life. I don’t think I put in this much time to anything in my life. Thinking, planning, problem solving, reflecting and so on. I am truly dedicated to my teaching career and feel I am a pretty great teacher, but 2020 forced me to turn into a harderworking, more dedicated, amazingly innovative educator.

family; In March I have to admit I really was not paying attention to all this Coronavirus talk. I had heard about it, but knew very little. My husband and I occasionally discussed current events. But what was about to happen changed our family dynamics. We’ve been married for 16 years and have an eleven year old daughter. First thing that happened was that we became news junkies! We watched the news channel for most hours of the day for most of the days in the last 9 months. It took over our lives. Maybe not necessarily in a good way. We were addicted. The news channel would be on from first thing in the morning to past 10:00 every night. While we were admittedly crazed, I became more knowledgeable in my entire life about politics and what was happening nationally as well as internationally. I am middle aged and really never cared. It is good that I am more learned on my world. In addition, we as a couple didn’t necessarily like to watch the same programs. He likes his sports and I like to binge watch all kinds of shows. A friend joked, “Coronovaris saved your marriage.” It did certainly help us grow together as a couple while educating me. The second thing that happened was my family, like so many others, spent elevated quality time together. We played games which delighted our daughter. She enjoyed hanging out with her parents as we all laughed at beating Daddy at Farkle. He’s an athlete and always has to win. For a while, family movie night was daily. We’d need a break often from our manic news watching. It brought us closer together and made our daughter overjoyed to spend that much time together. We also passed on our love of Horror and Action movies to her as well as introducing her to our childhood favorites. She’s seen some of the classics: The Shining, Chucky, Die Hard, the 7th Voyage of Sinbad, the original Clash of the Titans. We’ve watched so many movies it is hard to pick any at this point in the year.

personally; In March I have to admit I really was not paying attention to all this Coronavirus talk. I had heard about it, but knew very little. I had no idea that it would prevent me from seeing my friends or family again for the longest time ever in my life. Right before everything shut down, a very close friend and I took our daughters sledding. Several times a year we would get together for sleepovers. We are childhood friends and delight in the fact that our daughters who are very close in age enjoy playing with each other. It was an unexpectedly wonderful time. Both my daughter and I were scared of the very steep and tall hill. But we loved it! The kids played all night back at my house, while my dear friend and I talked into the night. I didn’t know that would be the last sleepover for a very long time. Last Christmas my sister visited and brought my parents to my house for a 3 day holiday get together. We ate, drank and were merry. Christmas dinner was delicious both the night of Christmas and as leftovers the next day. We all stayed in our pajamas on Dec. 26 laughing and relishing our time together. While we enjoyed our holiday, we had no idea that it would be a very long time before we could do that again. This pandemic merely forced us to rethink how we spent time together as friends and family. I Zoom with my friends every week. We use to see each other 4 or 5 times a year, but now it is weekly! I keep in daily contact with my parents and siblings and for the holidays we Zoomed so we could celebrate together. While it is not the same, it has made me see how very important these relationships are and how very strong they are, too. Take that pandemic; you can’t destroy my relationships.

So after all this Coronavirus talk, death, disaster, destruction has occurred in 2020, I am changed. Many say this has been the worst year ever, and it has been devastating. As I sit here and reflect, I am so blessed so say it has also been wonderfully life changing. 2020’s cloud had some silver linings.

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