I might be posting this wayyyy late, but friends, it is never too late to rejoice in the fact that 2020 is over. 2020 was a year none of us expected, and one that upended pretty much everybody’s sense of ‘normal’. Where does a person even begin when looking back on 2020?
There was a global pandemic this year.
And it changed everything.
Working from home. All sports seasons cancelled. School entirely online. No vacations or trips (and I had so many booked). Hand sanitizer and masks became commonplace. Staying home was the new in thing. Having friends (or at least, spending time with them in-person) was out.
While the year did have some good things, the scales were definitely tipped towards the less-than-good. This was a year full of more stress, overwhelm, and anxiety than I would like to have in my life ever again. When I look back, my memories are overwhelmed with work. And anxiety. And more work. I’m a little surprised my computer survived. I learned how many of my relationships depended on the social/sports activities I participated in, and just how much of a homebody I can be when I don’t have external expectations to be somewhere. In my reflection last year, I mentioned that there were times were I just felt content with my life. That feeling did not exist this year. In some ways, I’m surprised I survived.
I think it’s important to acknowledge that much of 2020 sucked. It was hard, it was scary, it was lonely, and again, it was incredibly full of anxiety. But along the way, some pretty cool things happened too. So let’s focus on that for a minute.
Some of the good things
- HigherEd Experts presentation. Early on in the pandemic, HigherEd Experts started short weekly webinars to support their community. And they invited me to present! It was only, like, a six-minute presentation, but the fact that someone found me on the internet and reached out to ask me to participate was pretty cool. Benefits of Twitter part 7380.
- I spent a week in Shuswap. I’m so grateful for this week. In September, I put on my mask, boarded a tiny airplane with five other people, and flew to Shuswap (via Kelowna, of course) to spend a week with my 1-year-old nephew (and his parents). We were staying right on a lake and went canoeing, adventured in the paddleboat, rented a pontoon boat, went hiking, and just hung out with the little one. After a summer that was absolutely non-stop, getting away from it all for a week was so needed.
- Launched @UVicYearOne. At the beginning of the summer, we created an Instagram account specifically for our new UVic students, as a way to try and connect, building community, and support students while they were studying online. While this account has been a lot of work, it has also been a great opportunity to connect directly with students and to be creative on an ongoing basis.
- Finished grad classes AND the lit review. This year was a major milestone, grad school-wise. We wrapped up our courses in July, and I spent weeks struggling to write my 12,000-word literature review, but eventually got it done. With only one term, and one major project, left in the program, the end is getting near!
- Played some soccer. Normally playing soccer is just a part of my life, and not part of the highlight reel. But in a year where so many seasons were cancelled, the limited number of games I was able to play before restrictions banned adult sports again rocketed up the importance list.
- Passed Star 1! After skating for about 25 years, I finally took (and passed!) my first test. I can now officially confirm that I can do the things I’ve been doing for at least 20 years.
- Explored Victoria. Most weekends, I say “I should go visit [insert place], and then I don’t do it because my bed is comfy and I like books and the internet. But this fall, almost every weekend, I actually did! I left my apartment, went to some nice location in Victoria (Gonzales Bay, Ogden Point, Inner Harbour, East Sooke Park, and so many more). And I loved it.
I originally started the 100 things project as a way to recognize both the large achievements that happen in a year, but also the smaller moments that really build a life. I will admit, coming up with 100 things this year was a bit of a battle, and down to the wire to find those last few (there’s only so many times you can write “stayed home to save the world from COVID-19”). But I did it!
At the beginning of 2020, I set about 30 different goals. I’ve achieved about 1/3 of them, and to be clear, I consider that a success. I set goals at the beginning of the year to try and give myself some semblance of a direction. But that direction often changes over the course of the year, new things pop up that I never expected (*cough, COVID, cough*), and sometimes I lose interest in the original things. Success and failure are much more than a list of goals I wrote over the span of a week.
Goals I achieved:
- Write an e-book. I don’t really think this is what I meant when I wrote the goal, but I did co-write a literal e-book this year, so I’m counting it as a win. The writing I was originally alluding to will happen as part of my master’s project in 2021!
- Read 52 books. Squeaked this one in again this year!
- Join a book club. Successfully started a book club with two of my work friends, and it’s a highlight of my month, every month.
- Complete 2 online courses. Completed Indigenous Canada and the Science of Well-Being courses.
- Present at CACUSS. I was supposed to be a part of three different CACUSS presentations, but then the conference was cancelled. I still presented during the CACUSS Online webinar series though!
- Develop a CACUSS competency self-assessment. Pearl and I finally finished our self-assessment! It’s in the hands of CACUSS now.
- Launch a podcast. I did not launch the podcast I intended to when I wrote this goal, but I did launch a podcast at work! That still counts, right?
- Run 8+ activities with the Graduate Student Network. Webinars, workshops, discussions and more!
- Add 3 new meals to the repertoire. I’ve discovered chicken quesadillas, learned to make my own chicken parmesan, and discovered that I could do without tacos.
- Complete 100 things project. It was a bit of a struggle to get to 100, but I did it!
Goals COVID threw out the window:
- Volunteer 25 hours. With everything going online, and already spending LOT of time on my computer for work and school, spending more time online to volunteer was asking too much (sorry).
- Train for and run a Spartan Race. Yeah… there definitely weren’t Spartan Races happening last year.
- Pass Star 1 and Star 2. I passed my Star 1 skills test right before the pandemic arrived in BC… and that was the last time I was on the ice for the year.
- Start training the axel. Hard to do when you’re not on the ice! I chose not to return in the fall, as I was hesitant to be around that many kids who were in school.
- Find other adult skaters. See above!
- Start a swimming habit. Pools were closed for much of the year, and I definitely wasn’t on campus to go swimming at McKinnon.
- Run 3 races. What races?
- Go on 10 hikes. I went on a bunch! But I don’t think I made it to 10.
Goals I failed:
- Relaunch Grad School Uncovered. I swear, this will happen someday.
- Write 1 personal post per month. This is still the dream.
- Write for 15 minutes every day. This is also still the dream, but I haven’t been able to make it a reality yet. I still find it so difficult to get started, and give up the minute it feels the tiniest bit hard.
- Journal every day. I actually did journal regularly for a portion of the year, particularly when the pandemic started. But it did not last all year long.
- Read one chapter of a work-related text weekly. All my work-related books now serve as a laptop stand and stare at me every day. Eek.
- Complete the Hootsuite social media training. This one isn’t even my fault… this training simply doesn’t exist for me.
- Learn handlettering. I started this towards the end of the year (during winter vacation), but I think I need more time than just a few weeks to say I’ve learned!
- Feel healthy and strong. If anything, the pandemic led to the exact opposite of this for me.
- Take a multivitamin. Oops.
- Develop a chore routine. Since I’ve been at home literally all the time this year, you’d think this one might have actually happened, but nope.
- Keep up with school. I’m a deadline-driven person, and I don’t think that’s ever going to change. In other words, I continued to leave everything to the last minute.