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2020, as sh!tty as it has been, has not been the sh!tt!est of years that I’ve ever had so on that scale I feel quite fortunate. I can quickly recall a couple years way worse for me. Covid19 struck both my teenagers several weeks ago, but they fared well and recovered quickly as young people tend to do. Somehow, unless we were a-symptomatic and got false negatives, my husband and I skated past that plague….so far, but I mean there is still plenty of time left. I’ve dealt with normal adulting stress and drama, but who hasn’t. That’s an every year thing that I can’t blame on 2020.

I get all ragey. I’m lucky enough to have a small group of women deemed “my people” who get my rage texts and respond back with affirmations and more rage. It’s the only thing that gets me through. What causes this rage you may be wondering? Face-freaking-Book. When I started Facebook 10 years ago it was a happy place. But in 2020, it’s not that. It’s where I open to discover a person I thought of as a lovely, kind human is actually a racist, disgusting person. In the words of Michael Scott, “Well, well, well….how the turn tables.”

I teeter between wishing I never knew the inner workings of people I used to admire to being grateful I know their truth, so I know who I’m really dealing with. Grateful. Key word. 2020, while admittedly not as bad for me as I’ve witnessed it be for others, has pushed me into an ungrateful mindset of which needs to be remedied. I present to you my list of current counted by number, but in no particular order, blessings.

1. That my dog smells like a dog now, instead of the skunk that sprayed him in the face last month.
2. The steady rain, the sound of light thunder and sitting next to my guy as we both stare at our open laptops under blankets on the couch tonight.
3. For Life360 (I’m not trying to sell you this app, won’t be giving you a promo code. I just genuinely feel blessed by it) for letting me have the comfort in seeing that my son is at a pizza place presumedly having fun with friends and that my daughter is in her sorority house presumedly laughing with her gals on their university campus.
4. That the previously mentioned son and daughter attend the same school and live close to each other giving an added layer of support.
5. The reheated, homemade tomato soup I just had for dinner.
6. Serial Killer/Murder/Scandalous documentaries on streaming services to be watched at my leisure.
7. Deep breaths of air. The slow kind I can feel fully inflating my lungs when inhaling. A friend from high school is battling cancer and it literally hurts her to breathe tonight. Deep breaths of life giving air are a gift I take for granted daily.
8. The candle on my kitchen counter makes the whole place smell like “hot cocoa and scream.”
9. The icy coldness of my sheets when I slip into bed. The way they startle my senses and allow the warmth of the blankets to feel blissfully soothing.
10. How cute it is when my dog rings the little bell installed at the bottom of the front door to signal that he wants outside.
11. When my elderly neighbor called last week to tell me she thought she needed a ride to the dermatologist, but now she doesn’t, but she’ll keep me posted. Then ended the call with “you know I love you.”
12. Facetime
13. Hilarious and mostly inappropriate memes, both sent and received among friends.
14. Taking walks that require a light jacket.
15. The way coffee feels when it hits. That awake and new day vibe.
16. I can pray to Jesus, have a conversation with him, without an appointment. I just show up and he’s waiting. It blows my mind someone that big cares about what I have to say and is available to me. It’s amazing when I take a minute to really think about that.
17. Pinterest for giving me endless examples and the confidence to try craft projects that I don’t have the skills to do.
18. Text group chats. They stay in continuous mode, never ending. Group of co-workers, with the women in my family, with friends…. the connection stays even when 2020 keeps us apart.
19. Halloween decorations I have out even though I’m the only one who will see them this year.
20. That this isn’t it. This isn’t all there is. After this body wears out, there is something more, something bigger and better.

Now back to rage.

It’s cold in Kentucky. It’s cold all over this half of the country, but Kentucky is where I live and so I’m mostly pissed that it’s cold in Kentucky. Everything is frozen, even pipes.  Also, house breaking a new puppy while the ice coated grass crunches beneath my feet as I wait on this animal to poop in my yard makes me question my sanity.  I sit at my desk in my freezing office and work, wrapped in a thickly knitted turtleneck sweater that my husband describes as “not my favorite look on you.”  Every time a client says, “just email that to me,” instead of “see you in my office for that meeting tomorrow” I rejoice because it allows me a little more time to remain indoors rather than facing the artic reality of walking through a parking lot in heels.  Oh, and my children adore frost bite apparently by their aversion to wearing a coat.

“You have no choice. You are wearing a coat to school today. I swear if either of you come home without that coat on your body you will be grounded.” Things I never pictured myself needing to say to a 15-year-old and a 16-year-old on their way out the door on a 6-degree January day.

However, as much as it pains me to admit, winter is a necessary evil in nature. There is a whole lot going on under the soil, biologically. In fact, if a winter is too warm, it will negatively impact the crops and what we see at the produce stands come summer time. The deep freeze kills many insects and pathogens. For instance, there is a beetle that feeds on corn. A winter that’s not cold enough to kill them will almost certainly mean smaller harvests and frustrated farmers in the warmer months that follow. The frigid temperatures also bring a cycle of dormancy. The plants fall into a deep winter nap and reserve their energy, storing it up for new growth in the spring.

Winter is necessary for me too. It holds me indoors and forces me to focus on the people who live in my house. I cook more in the winter, which equates to more time around the table together. The entertainment options are limited to board games (which I detest, but will agree to play as long as it’s not Monopoly) and relaxing on the couch with some hot chocolate and a movie on Netflix. When we host company in our house, our friends are all together, corralled into one smallish space. Some fun times happen in those moments. I get in the mood to deep clean, which never happens on a warm June day, I can assure you. I do a giant purge that is cleaning out closets. I donate clothes to the needy. I get caught up on reading that book I got for my birthday in July, but never made time to sit still enough to finish. Winter slows me down. It slows me down physically and it slows me down emotionally. I reflect more. I sleep more. Just like the crops, the cycle of dormancy that winter brings me reserves my energy and prepares me for new growth. Also, like the crops by the end of February I’m bursting at the seams longing for the spring. My stored-up energy can only be satisfied by some warm breezes, a front porch swing and vitamin D. I confess, the last half of February is the worst part of the year. The good thing about the last part of February is that it’s the last part. Newness is coming. The sunshine is around the corner.

Winter isn’t my favorite, but it’s necessary.

However, if the air decided to turn a few ticks warmer, even if just for a day, I would not be mad about it.