I usually write a “top 10” end of the year list, which feels more than a little tone deaf this year. But my long history of self-help books and Oprah shows have taught me to be grateful NO MATTER WHAT, so here is a list of nine things (tried to get to 10) that have kept me SANE this year. I hope you have found your own ways.
- Time with my kid. I have rambled on about this in post after post, but it really is the best part of my year. I can’t tell you how depressed I was about going back to work full-time & then literally a month later I was home with my kid 24/7. I will have spent over a YEAR at home with her by the time this vaccine gets here. I’ve learned she loves being naked, she has a rather large vocabulary & she’ll say “I love you Mom” randomly throughout the day.
- No commute. My fellow commuters who have been able to work from home more–you get this! Imagine hopping on The 10 (as we call it in L.A.) for OVER 15 YEARS LOLOL IT’S TOO MUCH!!! A person can go insane driving the same route so many times. I thought I would spend the extra time working out and cooking healthy meals, but I mostly spend it thinking about doing those things while not doing much of anything.
- ROAD TRIPS. This is probably the single thing that kept me from falling into too much of a depression. The drive from L.A. to Colorado is so scenic & getting to do it while camping (even though I got us into some TOO remote situations) was pretty epic. An extended stay with my parents, getting to see my brothers & their families–a dose of joy. I also made it out to Santa Barbara (Goleta–one of my favorite spots!) and Big Bear.
- I got a promotion. I worked a job for over a decade without the slight hint at a promotion, so how crazy in a year where people struggled so much to even have ANY kind of an income–I got a promotion. I struggled as I witnessed many of my best friends and colleagues lose their jobs at the same organization, so I can’t say I was ever jumping for joy over this or celebrated (there may have been a little persistent begging involved, which never feels all that joyful). But if there is one thing I ever really deserved (omg do you know how many years of hard work I have put into this place!?!?!), it was finally getting a promotion.
- A swimming pool. It’s hard to remember during the winter months how much this pool SAVED ME over the warmer months, but renting a place with access to a pool was the best idea ever. When parks and zoos and museums and malls and literally everything closed down, we still found at least a couple of activities to keep us busy–and this pool was one of them! I live in such a tiny house–I swear it is the same square footage as this pool–that any outdoor space at all has been a real GIFT.
- Huxley. My dog always keeps me sane and also drives my anxiety sky high (every year of his life has resulted in at least one trip to the ER), but overall he’s a ball of fluff that literally decreases my anxiousness by double digits with a good snuggle session. I hate teaching online. It’s like someone taking away everything I love about teaching and saying “Hey Kristy get to work!” But looking down and seeing Huxley sleeping during every single class (am I that snooze-inducing?) helped me breathe a little deeper.
- “The Olaf Loop.” There is a street in our neighborhood where someone put up his Olaf (snowman from Frozen)/holiday decorations out this summer just to bring some joy to the world. Kenzy started calling this loop we have been doing since she was in a baby stroller “Olaf Street.” Even after this same neighbor moved away & Olaf was no longer, she still says, “Let’s go to to Olaf Street!” I picked a really cool residential neighborhood to live in where you can find pockets of normal neighborhood streets without traffic, stop lights, etc. This loop in particular is my place to workout without getting in anyone’s way and short enough for Kenzy to take her scooter or bike out for a little ride. It is a dose of nature, exercise, fun all rolled into a little 20 minute adventure.
- Instagram stories/Direct Messaging. Pre-pandemic, I could barely keep up with a text message–much less be a social media queen. But my friends and co-workers on Instagram became my social lifeline (still are, though not quite as active) through our DMs. I joked I would print out one of my chat groups messages & apply it as a wallpaper around my house because it was SO LONG. Posting a little story to say “hey look at Kenzy jumping into the pool” and getting a little heart response or a few words–may seem like such a little thing, but these interactions are pretty much all I have! SO thank you for all my Insta buddies.
- Taylor Swift. I had tickets to see Taylor at our brand new stadium this past July. I was so excited because I only see her every OTHER tour (budget purposes). But also another admission: I never really totally was into POP TAYLOR. I’m a country/americana/folk/sad alternative/banjo/strings fan. So when over the pandemic she released not one but two (!?!?!?!?!) albums partnering with The National and Bon Iver and other such sad alternative souls, the PERFECT KRISTY ALBUM was birthed into being. Song after song of lost loves, broken relationships, lost loves found, more brokenness, etc—thank you Taylor! I was listening to Folklore any chance I could when Evermore was released–true music overload! This album is for non-Taylor fans but also Taylor-fans. I don’t know how she does it. I’ll detail my favorite tracks at a later date, but for now just wanted to say THANK YOU for your music. I bought the new Fiona Apple and tried to be as into that as I was to this, but I will always be a little uncool & am OK with this.