‘Don’t go through life, grow through life.’ – Eric Butterworth
If you had told me in January, as I was learning to embrace my new town while mending a broken heart, that that would be the high point of normalcy, I would have laughed because, well, look around. But I (and we) made it!
This year has been a lot and then the pandemic. It’s ironic that the world flipping upside down would really make me appreciate Bend but here we are! I had started to feel like things may be okay at the start of the year but fully embraced my Oregon life as the pandemic continued to linger. Things here started opening up the end of May. I had access to state parks and finally visited Crater Lake, a place I have wanted to visit my entire life and it did not disappoint. I really enjoyed exploring the area and see some truly stunning vistas. I also switched restaurant jobs and found a really lovely community, both coworkers and locals, who made me feel like things will be okay. I would not have survived this year (emotionally or financially) without this little neighborhood spot.
While I appreciate Bend a lot more, I still needed to get out. Road tripping Utah was an incredible and profound experience, something that was very unexpected. I found a bit of peace in the chaos. I also discovered that I love Salt Lake City! I had hopes of moving there this summer but those are on hold. Covid 2.0 caused me to be grounded at the restaurant job I love so much. In addition to no move, this spike has cancelled my plans to visit Mt. St. Helens over Thanksgiving, Redwood National Park/California Coast over Christmas, and is currently threatening my plan to see the ‘Firefall’ at Yosemite in February. This vaccine can not be distributed fast enough! With the upheaval of the end of the year, it made me even more grateful I was able to visit Southern Utah and the Mighty Five. Treasured memories in a period of real pain.
This year, I was supposed to have visited the East Coast to see my dad and finally meet my godson. I have a airline credit just waiting for me to depart. While my family and closest friends are so far a way, I never felt truly alone. The thing about the pandemic is most of us put things on hold and put the health of others above ours. I had the best virtual coffee dates with my best friend in Greenville and FaceTimed with my godson in Philadelphia. Lots of texts and letters to feel together apart. I’m also grateful I was already in therapy before the pandemic, I think it (and the Harry Potter Lego Sets from my dad) help keep my anxiety in check. This is not to say that I haven’t cried in the shower but I’m doing okay.
So long 2020, I grew a lot but am happy to turn a new page. I have never really a big New Year’s person but will be very happy to ring in 2021! Thank you for all the support this past year, the most successful yet for The Next Great Adventure. Remember, be brave and live furiously. I cannot wait to see where the coming year leads!