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  • Writer's pictureanja frydendal

Handing Off 2020

One word I like to ascribe to 2020 is "incredible."

Incredible doesn't necessarily need to have a positive connotation. In fact, incredible is simply defined as an adjective meaning impossible or difficult to believe. If you had told me a year ago that I would be happy living in a 25' fifth-wheel for over a year, spend several months without in-person contact with my nearest and closest friends, transitioned completely from in-person college courses to being in a strictly online setting, gain twenty pounds, lose ten of them, give up sugar, start teaching guitar, and maintain both my office and my 4.0 GPA, I probably would have scoffed in your face.

For many people, their entire worlds fell apart this year. Not to be a downer, but I feel like my world fell apart in 2019, when my my marriage began to fall apart. There was much hurt thrown on both sides, and a lot of growth needed to happen on both our parts. I was lucky that, when the time for separation finally came, I was able to land in a safe space (that trailer, on a farm, with dogs and goats and chickens and, once upon a time, a pig). I enrolled in college, since earning a degree has been a lifelong dream of mine, and set off on a journey to find myself. Or, at least, heal and figure out what to do next. I spent a lot of 2019 crying, trying to figure out what when wrong, where I went wrong, where we went wrong. The past year and a half have been, for me, an exercise in reclaiming those aspects I love of the woman I once was, with the experience of the woman who I have become. In March 2020, when Stay at Home orders came into play, they gave me time for reflection and introspection, and also granted me the inspiration to begin exploring music.

Don't get me wrong. There were a number of difficulties that I incurred in 2020. It wasn't until I wasn't able to see anyone in person that I truly realized just how social of a creature that I am. I'd had a taste of this sensation back in 2016 when I self-isolated due to depression, but I had chalked most of that up to social anxiety and had my husband to see every day at the time. The fact of the matter is, I do much better when I can see the people I hold nearest and dearest face-to-face. It took me two months to realize that the lack of physical contact that I was dealing with was a strong contributor to my depression this spring and early summer. And then, my state caught on fire. The entire situation was stressful, with evacuation orders being issued on the northern side of my crossroad, and then the smoke settled in. The majority of the summer was spent with my most important belongings stored along with my hiking pack, just in case I needed to get somewhere safe and fast.

All things considered, as far as 2020 is concerned, I think I'm one of the very lucky ones. I have an amazing support system; my landlords are wonderful people who I was able to "family pod" with, seeing as we live on the same property, see each other regularly, and weren't actually going anywhere. I was able to not only apply for, but receive unemployment benefits (which any of you self-employed people out there know was nothing short of a miracle). Orders lifted, and I was able to see my friends again - even make a few new ones! I enjoyed two litters of kittens this year alone. I gave my very first mid-labor massage. I went on my very first backpacking trip and loved it. I never went hungry, never ran out of toilet paper (but hey, I live alone), and never felt threatened in any way, shape or form.

And then. And then. When I was finally ready to put out the big announcement that I was open again... the Stay at Home orders in California came into play once more. Of course they did. I was hoping to finish 2020 strong, rekindling my business, but I suppose I just need to adjust my trajectory one more time. I've spent the past three days since finals were over wondering exactly what I'm supposed to do with myself. "Work," obviously, but seeing as my actual work is mandated as "closed," it appears that there is other work I need to be doing. Therefore, the final two weeks of 2020, for me, will consist of improving my back-office, bookkeeping, and partaking in exercises for self-improvement.

Oh, and probably a heaping dose of audiobooks while I'm at it.

See you all in 2021!

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