2020 flat out sucked. The pandemic changed everything. We went from anticipating our life on the open ocean and exploring foreign ports to basically locking down at the marina. Our busy social life and wide circle of friends closed to just family and dock neighbors.
Eleven people that had some form of effect on my life died. Of those, three were my husband’s family members (Uncle Bob, Uncle Bill, and his mother, Donna Perry), one was a dear childhood friend’s mother (Margaret Sloane), one was a much-loved sailor (Jim Hild), one was a special writing group friend (Catherine Phillips), and five were influential in my careers (Cliff Benson, Julian Polvorosa, Charlie Gilcrest, Dr. Marshall Mitzmann, and Tom Guarino). I have never experienced so much loss in one year.
I had entered 2020 with hopes of establishing myself as a writer and blogger and preparing for life at sea. I had just begun working as a Global Account Manager for a world-wide meeting planning company (which I would be able to do anywhere I had internet), bartended once a week at a quirky local watering hole, and was loving every minute of being the fun Nana that surprises her Grands with special experiences. I became unemployed, thrust into being a school-teacher and child care provider, and my super-duper-extrovert self became depressed and lost. I almost completely stopped writing and creating recipes and went into survival mode.
We had hoped that this would be Aaron’s last year of working as a Union Electrician. He put in his 30 years with IBEW 595 and could officially retire. But since we aren’t heading south due to the pandemic, and financially and physically support the children and Grands, the decision was made for him to continue to work and keep contributing to the cruising kitty. His favorite pastime, racing sailboats, has been temporarily put on hold because of Covid, and he has suffered from shoulder pain and many colds lately. Yet, he gets up every day and goes to work for our family. And when our granddaughter is asked, “Whose girl are you?” and she throws her arms around him and says with a big smile, “Papy’s Girl!” his eyes light up and I see pure joy. He is an only child with no blood-children but is most definitely a father and grandfather of the heart and the anchor that keeps us all grounded. He is so very loved.
Of course, being an eternal optimist, I can also find some good in even the most dire of circumstances.
First and foremost, my family stayed healthy and weathered the year. Meghan had many challenges as she settled into life as a single mother and finalized her divorce. She moved into her own place for the first time in her life and began a career as a behavioral therapist to special needs children as well as growing her photography business. The Grands continued to grow and thrive, even as they had to learn how to navigate school online and life in two households. Harley’s small engine porting business was hit hard and Jenna was laid off. They are smart, young people and pivoted to use their skills to make a living. Harley delved into saltwater fish tank set-up and maintenance and other aspects of his porting business and Jenna used her artistry to create personalized items and logos. Both of my children are in loving relationships and I have high hopes that we all will see happiness and success this year.
I did have two absolutely wonderful things happen in 2020. First was the implantation and activation of my BAHA (bone activated hearing aid). Being able to “hear” from my deaf left side again is amazing! Going from “mono” to “stereo” after so many years has been magical … Music is a sheer delight and I can again enjoy being in situations with many conversations that I can actually participate in. I won’t ever take any of my senses for granted and am grateful for the incredible health benefits provided by my husband that made this miracle possible
I’ve worked my entire life and being unemployed is hard for me. With the exception of a very few jobs, I’ve loved all of my professional roles … from advertising assistant and sports copy writer to Chief Executive Officer. One of my absolute favorites was working for Beth Chaim Congregation, where I assisted Rabbi Dan, coordinated events and managed the office. I left that position to work as a boat charter director five years ago and by a twist of fate the position opened back up this summer and I was re-hired. It is such a joy to be of service to an organization that appreciates my skills and grounds me in my Judaism. I can’t wait to go from working remotely to being back in the office among a truly loving staff and group of volunteers. This will be my last job before we go cruising in a few years. I’m home at BCC.
Finally, 2020 brought us a new addition to our family: Slice. She is a 1978 Chuck Burns design Wildnerness 21, lime green, and the exact burst of joy that we needed to wrap up the year. She’s our lighthouse through the storm … as we come out on the other side of the pandemic she will be the place where we are reunited with friends for daysails and estuary races, teach our Grands the fine art of small-boat sailing, and bask in spontaneous sunset cruises down the Alameda Riviera. I will regain my confidence and ability as captain of a vessel and Hubby will have an outlet for his frustrations. I also have a feeling that she will spark new creativity for my writing.
Bring on 2021 … it’s time for a new course.
Vivo O Sonho … Living the Dream!