Looking back at 2020

By now, you’re probably all sick of reading posts that highlight how horrible 2020 was and how much people either did or did not achieve during the year. However, I have gotten into the habit of listing the good and bad of the year in reflection so you’ll just have to suffer through another post about the year that most want to forget.

Let me start by acknowledging the challenges that many faced during 2020. It certainly was a year that no one could have predicted and it has impacted so many people’s lives in good and bad ways. I want to acknowledge the work of all essential workers during this time – thank you. I want to acknowledge that I was privileged to survive this year with minimal to no impact to my life – I kept my job, my business didn’t suffer, and my family pulled through. I know this is not the case for many, and I want to say that I empathize with the position that 2020 has put you in. You are amazing for doing whatever it takes to survive and provide for yourself and your family.

So, 2020, what happened? In the traditional style of my looking back posts, may I present a list!

  • Had fairly major surgery on my left wrist and recovered from this
  • Started medication for my anxiety and depression, and started seeing a new psychologist (both of which has helped me a lot)
  • My brother and sister-in-law moved to Mackay
  • Travelled to:
    • Stanthorpe – for two days with my parents and grandma
    • Mackay – to deliver a puppy to my sister-in-law and see their new house
    • Gold Coast – for a week of holidays straight after the school year finished
  • Started renovating our only bathroom (it will hopefully be finished by the 11th of January 2021!)
  • Completed and framed a 3000 piece puzzle of Hogwarts
  • Read 39 of 52 books and diversified my reading to include more BIPOC authors and Own Voices stories
  • Ran 5km on my birthday
  • Completed a half-marathon
  • Bought a Switch and started playing Animal Crossing New Horizons
  • Started a YouTube Channel and a Facebook page
  • Started a PhD, then took a semester’s leave from PhD when things got a little overwhelming
  • Published an article in School Libraries Worldwide (read about that experience here)
  • Presented virtually twice to School of Information Services students at Charles Sturt University
  • In terms of teaching, I…
    • Taught 60 year 10 students 3 different subjects in one class over the span of a year
    • Developed some of the best teacher/student relationships I’ve had thanks to having classes for an entire year (first time this has happened to me in my teaching career)
    • Taught from home for five weeks – I thrived on this!
  • Cultural experiences:
    • Cirque du Soleil in January
    • Attended a Brisbane Heat Big Bash League game in January
    • Star Wars in Concert in February
    • The Little Prince by the Australian Ballet in February
    • Recorded some singing for the Mount Alvernia College Promotional Video
    • Sang Vespers and the Christmas Eve Service at Nazareth Lutheran Church
    • Continued the Valkyries Book Club using a combination of Zoom and in-person meetings every two months

In my mind, I didn’t achieve as much in 2020 as I had in previous years and that’s ok! My word for 2020 was courage, and boy did I need it. It took courage to acknowledge that my previous mental health care plan wasn’t working and that I needed to make some changes, including taking medication which I never would have thought was necessary but here we are. I needed courage to acknowledge that teaching online, surviving gym closures and a change in my husband’s work, my inability to provide for those that worked with us at our business, and a sense of guilt because my work was considered essential and therefore was consistent was probably not the best time to be working towards PhD Confirmation. Something that I’ve kept fairly quiet about in public life is the fact that someone in my close family has cancer (managed with surgery and regular checkups) and we all needed courage to face the continuous uncertainty and stress around this. I needed courage to acknowledge that I was not ok and even more courage to start to identify what was causing this and how I could negate or remove these causes. It hasn’t been easy. There were some very serious low points in my mental health this year (which I kept quiet because who had the time to worry about me when everything else was going to hell in a handbasket – I realize now that that was not the way to handle that…), but I kept coming back to my word for the year to keep me going and that, I think was the most courageous thing I could have ever done in the year that was 2020.

And so, what does 2021 bring? Well, I’m going to do a post a little later in the week with my word for the year and intentions. Hopefully you’ll come back and read that one too!

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