2020 is over and I was reflecting on this tough year through my pictures.
A little year ago, at the end of 2019, I was so looking forward to 2020, which was going to end with a trip to my homeland, Peru. Things were going so well and the upcoming year looked so eventful and promising. But, one thing that life has taught me, over and over again, is that a lot is out of my control and that I should remember that I can get through mostly anything.
The year started off great. On the 1st day I started my commitment to regaining my health and dedication to be consistent with exercise. I challenged myself every weekend doing 5-7 mile walks at the beach and I actually stuck to it . My birthday at the beginning of March found me traveling to one of my favorite places, Santa Barbara. My son and his girlfriend even came up to spend the day with me. The original plan wasn’t Santa Barbara though. But, there was so much talk about a virus that was taking so many lives overseas and beyond and countries were starting to close down, trying to lessen the spread of a disease that was brand new. Within days of returning from my trip to SB, a complete shutdown and panic was setting in on Los Angeles and the world. We left work early on a Thursday with the intent to work from home for at least the coming week. I rushed to the market to fill up on groceries and any essentials. All week long we had heard about stores being emptied and toilet paper was scarce. For the time being my physical wellness had to wait. I was worried about how my mental wellness was going to take the thought of a deadly virus which had no cure or even remedy. It was only two years earlier that my depression reappeared after being gone for over a decade and a half. I had worked so hard in 2019 on myself and I didn’t want panic to make my life dark again. The worry of death was definitely going to be tested. I had so much I still wanted to see, so much I still wanted to do. I didn’t want to go yet or especially leave my son too early. Covid-19 was testing me. I quarantined by myself and didn’t even venture to a store or get delivery for over three weeks. I zoomed briefly with my therapist, but I was well aware after 1-2 meetings that now was not the time to dive into issues that still needed to be healed. The best thing for me was to try to make the best of my time and stay positive. But bike/beach paths were closed. The fear of venturing out to come across some who was unmasked frightened me. Just like weeks earlier with Italy and most of Europe, New York and Los Angeles and other cities across the country, everything had to wait. Life had stopped as we knew it and our daily lives were at a standstill.
Within a few months, I learned how to protect myself. I learned to work through my fear of dying too soon. I learned that even though I like to be alone, I don’t like to be lonely. I learned that I can be very resourceful and know how to stay busy and alone. I probably already knew that, but not to the level of weeks on end.
Thankfully I kept working Monday-Thursday, just now from home. I easily gave up the occasional eating out. I picked up the commitment to myself at the beginning of the year and as soon as the beach paths opened up, I got back on my bike. I and the rest of the country dealt with the heartache that even in 2020 to some, black lives don’t matter. I embraced my son’s maturity and mind to take this virus seriously (he has asthma). I also felt proud that he protested and stood for the fact that Black Lives Matter and that he finally understood what his mom had warned him about for so long – that not everyone will see beyond his skin color and that even in 2020 his life doesn’t matter to some. I learned on a deeper level that I can truly commit to something. I was finally conquering my diet and was working off the 30lbs I gained after Matt’s death in 2011. 2020 was also the year that I fully got over my intimacy issues. Little by little over the prior two years, I was feeling like I was almost there, but not fully. I had put up a wall after Matt’s death, and really wasn’t sure if I was going to entirely want to love again. And, even though the man that taught me that I am over my heart being closed off didn’t work out, I learned through our one night together and weeks of communication that I could love again and I want to be fully loved.
Oh 2020, you kept me busy with having me dive deeper to see what I was capable of, what I did and did not love about myself and living situation, and so much more. I read more, I stimulated my brain more with word puzzles, I listened to more music, I got to witness a Congolese man being baptized in his final days during a baptism that was performed by people from the Congo, I kept up my love of taking pictures, and I pushed myself further on my bike rides. Another good thing that came out of meeting that man. He had said to me, “I bet you can ride further “. So I did, doubling my distance at times. I now do 25-30+ miles on my bike! I learned that I can easily adjust into new routines. Maybe when things get back to being better than they are now, I’ll look forward to my old routines finding their way into my new routines. I learned that I truly enjoy myself and still can amuse myself on my bike rides, taking pictures, or while just feeding the birds at the beach. My strengths, vulnerability, and perseverance is undeniable and if anything I wish to truly hold onto when I look back at 2020 is how much my child grew in this year and how grateful I am of my life and whom I have become. I look forward to this next year and the next, and the next after that, and the next after that! I’ll never take my life for granted.