We Said 2018 Sucked, 2020 Said Hold My Beer.

Sometimes my lack of blogging is annoying. It’s like working out, or keeping that countertop space clear, where you SAY this time you’ll make it a habit, and have every intention of doing so, but somehow just never quite get to it. Work gets busy, other people in the house keep throwing their crap there after you’ve just cleaned it up(OMG, will you STAAAHHHPPP doing that!), and after a while other things become priority. Before you know if you just feel guilty when you think about it, and then you kind of give up. Bump that to the next year’s resolution list. Next year for sure. We got this.

This time, it’s almost comical looking back. Not in a ‘hahahaha’ funny kind of way. In the way you laugh at something really awful, because sometimes a morbid joke is better than breaking down crying. Tears can make you feel hopeless. A laugh, no matter how grim, says if nothing else, at least we have our sense of humor. 2018 was job stress. In 2020 people died. A lot of them.

2020 has been the year of Covid.

Back in mid-January we started to hear about a respiratory illness spreading in China. Not much was being reported, and it sounded like a variation of the flu. A more virulent, easily spreadable flu, but contained to a very small area of China. By the end of January there were reports of isolated cases and some small clusters of outbreaks in 18 other countries. While they found a few single cases among travelers in the US at that time, it didn’t start to hit most people’s radars until there was an outbreak on a cruise ship in early March. At this point some of us began watching the numbers daily, because it was fascinating to watch the exponential spread happen on the dashboards just like in any pandemic or zombie movie. There had been some deaths by then, but not many, and a lot about the virus was still unknown.

By mid-March, it was becoming apparent this would not be contained easily, and those of us who could found ourselves working remotely, schools shut down and went virtual, and a lot of restrictions came regarding restaurants, stores, gyms, bars and other places that held groups of people. We were encouraged to wear masks when we left the house, though at first that was optional. That proved to be a huge mistake. The closures were inconsistent, the message from government was that this was not a big deal, and that led to a lot of feeling(mostly from conservatives in this country) that the entire thing was a huge over-reaction, and a big conspiracy for the government to ‘control people’s lives’. As such people continued to socialize, restrictions were flaunted, and the virus continued to spread.

As I write this, we are in the second wave, and we stand at 317,929 for the US Covid-19 death count so far, with the numbers growing exponentially every day. For comparison, we typically lose 34k a year to the flu, and we are currently trending at about 4k deaths a day from this. So many people I know have lost friends and loved ones, and people losing multiple family members is no longer uncommon. Most people who get the virus tend to be asymptomatic, or get a very mild case. That unfortunately seems to fuel the theories that it’s no big deal. And it’s true that most people recover completely. The most at risk seem to be the elderly and people with things like asthma, diabetes, etc. It’s equally true that a LOT of otherwise healthy young people have died, or become ‘long haulers’ who require oxygen supplementation several months out just to function. Strokes, heart attacks, blood clots…not uncommon in healthy 20 to 40-somethings with this virus. Still many continue to deny that it’s anything more than the flu, refuse to wear masks, and fight against the restrictions that have helped many other countries get this under control.

The upside to all this is that two vaccines have just been approved and are starting to be rolled out. There are a lot of hiccups happening with that, and they won’t be widely available to the general public until probably late spring, although health officials are trying their best to get it out faster, a goal we hope will be more easily attained with the incoming Biden administration. Only time will tell.

Where I Disappeared to at the End of 2018.

So before I begin, can we all just agree 2018 was kind of a shitshow? I mean really, looking back at the entire year all I can think is “What the actual fuck was that about???“.  I feel like we somehow all deserve a do-over. Or maybe we just quickly shut the door on it and pretend it didn’t happen. Like let’s not even talk about that one, ok?

In November things came to a head for me. I turned 40 on November 12th, and I celebrated the hell out of it this year.

We went to a very fancy restaurant with good friends downtown for the birthday dinner, and then the following weekend I took a trip to New Orleans.

New Orleans was a turning point for sure. I went and spent an amazing, relaxing weekend with a bunch of girls who came all the way down here just to celebrate with me. Me!! It was kinda surreal. I mean, there’s knowing that you have amazing friends, and there’s them trekking across the country when they really don’t have to, just so you have great memories. We laughed together, we drank together, we stayed up WAY too late together, and at the end of the trip we spent a night in just eating and talking because we are all introverts and THESE ARE MY FUCKING PEOPLE, Y’ALL.

I should have come back from that trip happy and ready to take on the world, instead I came back to the realization that my life had turned into a dumpster fire of stress(mostly work…sooo much work stress), I’d been majorly unhappy for the bulk of the year, and I needed to get my life together.

This led to making one of the best decisions I could have made – I quit social media for about 6 weeks. No Facebook, no Instagram, no Twitter. I kept Messenger so I could keep in touch with people, but I completely cut myself off from the daily distraction and noise. I needed to focus on reducing stress, doing all those things I kept meaning to do, and generally being more mindful and present. While I couldn’t change everything overnight, this was an easy adjustment to make that would have a big impact on both my focus and my attitude.

Since work was my biggest issue, I looked right away at updating my resume and searching for a new job. I had been mostly focused on looking outside the company when my fairy godmother Tammy suggested I try her department, as it was much more the environment that I had been used to before the most recent restructure came in – you do a good day’s work, and then you go home and forget about it until tomorrow. It sounded perfect, so I emailed the manager, and holy hell y’all…I’ve never seen a hiring process go so fast! Emailed on Thursday, phone interview on Tuesday, in-person interview on Wednesday, offer on Thursday. Umm, YES!! So I am now under new management even though I haven’t officially started that role yet, as I have stuff from my old job to finish out first. I’m not kidding when I say the worst of my work stress will literally be gone by the end of this week. Way to start a new year!

Side note – my new manager and I have known each other on social media for years, so this is my first time having a current boss on my FB. All I can say is you knew what you were getting into. 😂

Job stuff aside, I’ve been working on getting those random projects done, spending more quality time with Paul (when the kids let us) and working out a schedule that balances time with the family vs keeping the home running vs some very much needed time alone. It’s not a perfect system yet, but we are working on it.

I usually make big New Years resolutions, but since I already have Sara’s Get Your Shit Together plan in place that I’ve been chipping away at since November I’m just going to resolve to keep at that. It’s working for me so far.

And social media? I’m looking at ways to post so I can continue sharing those amusing little thoughts and pictures and bits of randomness without getting sucked back into the void of ‘Oh crap, where did the last 45 minutes go??’. Buffer may end up playing a part in that, but if anyone has good posting tool recommendations send them my way!

I hope this finds everyone well, and if not happy, at least working on a plan to make it so. We got this.