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It's really not all bad

'Life isn't going to go back to normal when the calendar flips to 2021'

It's the last week of 2020, and I can honestly say if someone told me in January that I would be writing as part of a regional team, in a newspaper that didn't even exist yet, I probably would have tossed it to the side as some sort of crazy conspiracy theory.

Yet, here we are. And while I certainly have scrolled through plenty of intriguing theories over the past nine months, I've learned it's the actual facts that are sometimes the hardest to grasp.

But, this isn't going to be about how horrible 2020 has been, because on a personal level, I simply don't agree that it has been the dumpster fire that so many people describe it as. Yes, there have been some tough times, some adjustments, some guilt, some frustrations, and some weird days. Nevertheless, I'm a firm believer that life is what you make of it.

For our family, 2020 has not been the most challenging year. It has been relaxing and chaotic. It has been quiet and busy. It has been a year of contradictions for sure - but it really hasn't been bad.

My husband, who deals with a list of unpredictable health issues (including a seizure disorder) has been seizure-free for as long as we've been in a global pandemic. I know, saying that out loud might act as a jinx, but at this point we are basking in the fact that we have lived a somewhat normal life in such an abnormal time.

Anyone who has been through any serious or unpredictable medical issue, or has had a family member go through it, can probably agree that being in a hospital repeatedly is exhausting. The emergency room was once a place we found ourselves often, at all hours of the day. Our weeks were often much more lonely and unpredictable than anything we've experienced in 2020.

Over the past nine months, staying home has been the simplest thing I could do to keep my family safe. And while I'm a busy person by natural, I will gladly continue to stay home if it keeps those closest to me out of the hospital. It's just not a place I want to return to anytime soon.

As Christmas neared, we allowed ourselves to ease into the idea that things would be different. Yes, we have daily reminders of how much we miss certain people in our lives. But, our kids were still excited about Christmas - because we were excited about it.

We've carried the same attitude about online schooling. Our kids actually don't hate online learning, and I think it's in part because we've approached it with a positive attitude.

I know everyone has their own unique set of challenges - and it's much easier said than done to simply 'be happy.' The past year has been heavy and hard for many people, but I'm not taking those feelings into 2021. I know life is going to continue to throw unexpected curve balls at me, and that's OK.

We are likely going to have more time to binge watch Stranger Things as a family, and there will be a lot more hours spent playing Fortnite and chatting with friends over headsets. Google Classroom will continue to be part of our days, along with Zoom meetings, masks and sanitizer. Life isn't going to go back to normal when the calendar flips to 2021.

But, I'm going to embrace everything that's good about where we are at. Because I know the time will come when we are back to watching baseball games under the sun, driving to soccer tournaments, attending family gatherings, and planning camping trips with friends.