Guys, there is less than a month left of 2020! I don’t know about you, but I am very ready to move onto 2021. I had a webpage error this morning that led me to a blank white page with just “2020” in the corner. Couldn’t have said it better myself. 2020 should be the new 404.
2020 certainly gave us a clear vision of the world as we’ve made it, whether we wanted to see or not. All of the many flaws of our society were exposed, and thankfully, some good also shone through those cracks. I have a greater appreciation for our healthcare workers, first responders, especially our firefighters (I was near an evacuation zone for wildfires twice in the last two months!), delivery workers, maintenance workers, and all the other essential but often overlooked people.
I’ve been one of the lucky ones in this pandemic. I’ve been able to work from home full-time since March with no loss of pay. I’ve been able to get all of my groceries and other household goods delivered. I’ve adapted very easily to “stay at home” orders, thanks to my introverted nature. My family has stayed safe and healthy.
All of that luck hasn’t shielded me from the extreme stress and anxiety that comes with living during a pandemic. I still feel like I and people I interacted with dodged a bullet at the beginning of the pandemic. Right before things shut down in my area, I had jury duty that involved me sitting in a closed courtroom with 120 other people for two days. None of us wore masks because we didn’t know. I counted the 14 days after that with a mix of anxiety and guilt. I had danced with Teacher and my amateur partner after jury duty. I had been to the office. What if I had exposed people I cared about to a deadly virus? What if they brought it home to their families??
Thankfully, I never got sick and neither did anyone I came in contact with (that I know of, hopefully the 120 other jurors stayed well). Realizing the possibilities that could have come out of that courtroom though set the tone for my pandemic experience. I was happy to stay home and isolate because I wasn’t about to risk anyone’s life unnecessarily.
As if the pandemic wasn’t enough, California and the rest of the West Coast burned through the summer and fall. The wildfires have been particularly persistent in the last few years and 2020 was no exception. I’ve lived in Orange County for 15 years, including areas susceptible to fires. Never have I been near an evacuation zone until this year. Twice in the last two months, I’ve been close enough to wildfires that I had to monitor the evac zones. Again though, I’ve been lucky! I didn’t have to evacuate.
My experiences this year have led me to be grateful for what I have, take less for granted (who thought we’d ever have trouble buying toilet paper?!), and ask how I can live better moving forward.
So far, “living better” has looked like spending my dollars with small businesses more often, switching to sustainable/eco-friendly products, educating myself on racism in this country, and paying attention to my own biases so I can correct and adjust.
In dance, I’ve continued to work with Rx Ballroom Dance, which has done an incredible job of pivoting to an online format this year in order to keep their participants moving. If you haven’t heard of this nonprofit, definitely check it out. They provide free ballroom dance classes to people with neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. The results are amazing! A person who can barely walk will be cha-cha’ing by the end of just one class. But I don’t have to tell you how powerful dance is. You know. Physical, mental, emotional…the effects of dance reach all parts of our being.
Fundraising took a hit this year because we couldn’t hold any of our usual parties, galas, auctions or other events in person. Giving Tuesday went really well, but we could use a bit more as we hope to expand both online and in-person classes next year. Anything you can donate would help! The graphic will give you an idea of how even a small donation makes a difference.
I’m also going to donate 10% of all purchases in December made at Practice Ballroom Dance to Rx Ballroom, so you can get your holiday shopping done and do some good at the same time!
This year has been nuts, and it’s not over yet. Which means there is still time to create some positive memories of 2020 and create some positive impact. With so much anxiety and anger out there, I encourage you to do your part to introduce some kindness and compassion. We have less than a month left of 2020. Let’s finish strong. Let’s finish together.