2020 was wild. I think everyone remembers where they were when everything shut down. The last thing they did before the world completely changed and the panic shopping that ensued as an invisible terrorist hit home.
I work in an industry that deals with overseas importing, and I remember hearing about COVID19 in late January as it was impacting our shipments. I did not think much of it at the time – naïve in the fact that I did not think it would get here or be a big deal. Then, almost two months after it first broke out in China, I was working from my dining room table, getting week by week updates on when we would return to the office, and eventually the updates stopped, as no return date could be decided, and I became comfortable wearing sweatpants every day.
At first, we did not see any friends. We only saw our family members and spent a lot of time at home – eating, drinking, and watching Netflix. Eventually, after a few weeks, we became less afraid of seeing other people and started seeing our close friends again.
I’m not a social person, I definitely prefer my time alone, but seeing friends again made me realize how much I needed to talk and see people in person. It made me appreciative of the friendships I had and ensuring I made time for them even during this time.
We had some unplanned trips that happened in 2020. I went to Oklahoma as my grandpa fell ill and we needed to be there with him. It was in early April and it was still an uncertain time to be traveling but we knew it was the right thing to do and I’m glad we went.
We also took a road trip to South Dakota with some friends in the summer to get away from everything, and since it was open, it was a nice way to escape and experience “normal” life again. It was definitely a trip we probably would not have gone on it we had been more comfortable to fly.
Our priorities definitely changed in 2020 in terms of what we spent money on. We put a lot more into our home working on house projects, buying furniture and even refinancing our home. These were all things we wanted to do; we were always just unsure of when we would get to them.
A major event that impacted our 2020 was probably the killing of George Floyd. We live in NE Minneapolis, close to a police precinct and police union. When the riots were happening, I was staying up all night, lights on, watching Unicorn Riot to see where the crowd was going and if they were coming close to our neighborhood. I was following multiple social accounts to keep up to date on what the protesting plans were to see if we needed to leave for the night. While I was also upset and understanding of the protests, the rioting was scary. I was not afraid of the nonviolent protesting, it was the people who were opportunists that scared me. Luckily, our neighborhood made it out untouched, but I will always remember how it felt and driving around seeing all the buildings boarded up.
Another unexpected change for me in 2020 was how I participated and looked at our government. There were a lot of events this year that put our government on center stage – both at the presidential and local level. I think because I am older now, I see more of the impact the government has on me and how little an impact I have on it.
This year has really opened my mind in terms of what I want from elected officials and how much trust I put in them. We watched, as a nation, as each state “picked sides” in the pandemic along with an election that had everybody stressed out take place. It also allowed a lot of people to shame one another based on politics or on their opinions on COVID. I experienced this myself with people shaming me for going to South Dakota; for seeing friends; for my views on politics and COVID. In a year that should have brought people together and strengthened us, it really tore people apart.
All in all, we are very fortunate and lucky that none of our loved ones have gotten severely sick from COVID; we all still have our jobs and are able to work; and we all still have somewhere to rest our head at night. There are so many more people who unfortunately lost their jobs, lost their homes and are struggling to put food on the table. There are local businesses that we love that have had to close because of the pandemic.
That has been one of the hardest realities to face, is those that are suffering, and I need to remember to be appreciative of what I do have because there are always others who have it harder than I.