For several days I’ve been thinking about how to approach my end of the year blog post in this dumpster fire of a year. I thought about comparing it to 2019 but that seemed just too sad, as 2019 was a banner year for me, including 3 wonderful road trips and lots of social gatherings –none of which could take place this year. So cataloging the insults and injuries of a pandemic, political upheaval, climate catastrophes did not seem like the right way to go but neither would a Pollyanna/Hallmark movie viewpoint do. How to find the balance?
In looking for the silver linings I have looked back at previous posts for this year and found a great deal to be thankful for. These are the very things that saw me through a year full of anxiety, frustration and anger. If you look back at last June, you will see that only four months in (only!) I was quoting my friend Peggy Sue’s helpful hints at getting through this stress:
“On the Mayo Clinic’s list of self-care for mental health during the pandemic they recommend maintaining a routine at home and focusing on the things you can control. Keeping in touch with family and friends via technology is a suggestion that has proven helpful to me. Music, books, and gratitude, always good, are now more helpful than ever. They also recommend limiting your news intake and sticking to reliable sources. Sensationalism and hyped up emotional content is not helpful to volatile stress levels.*”
So here is a list of things I am grateful for that have gotten me through this year intact (so far). You can skip this list and stroll through the posts from this past year for more pictures and detail if you would like.
husband – obviously
Thornbush– beauty to behold on walks every day and through every window
family – just a ferry ride away in Skagit County we were able to visit a handful of times this year
sculpture park adventures with my friend Francie provided a much needed creative outlet
my wonderful dog walking friends who come rain or shine to exercise their pets and visit every week with me
my wonderful dog, Maggie Mae who becomes dearer every day
Zooming, although not ever as good as in person, has brought several groups of friends and family close even when they live far away
Yoga on Zoom and in person helped me breathe
Time to get a lot of things done around the place including the cottage addition and the garden
My island and all of nature which seemed to go out of its way this year to make up for the challenges
Community was hard to come by when you are self-isolating, but we managed to find it with the Grange and Transition San Juan committees, and the SJ County Textile Guild for me. And for Roger it was neighbors helping neighbors in a firewood co-op, his weekly Growers’ Circle, the Farmers Market. And when it was a tad bit warmer, the friends we were able to sit six feet apart from on our lawn and share a gin and tonic and some cheer.
Music whenever and wherever we could find it—including peaceful mornings with Pandora playing instead of the news, playing uke and accordion together, and our first and last dinner party of the year with musician friends in January.
Also, don’t want to go without listing the distractions of books, movies, and even old t.v. sitcoms—thanks to Netflix and Amazon Prime streaming services—we’ve relied on even more as the winter darkness and weather have descended upon us.
I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don’t feel—so bad. (OK, that last was a bit Pollyanna)