50, 2020 and 5. Counting Blessings in a Crazy Year.

Training for a 50K during a pandemic year, and living in a state now hit by five hurricanes? Go away, 2020 – you’re drunk!

There’s nothing I can say about 2020 that hasn’t already been said. We’re all ready to turn the page on this year. I could write a lengthy blog about all of the things that I have hated about this year – like how it abruptly ended my son’s senior year of high school. Instead, I choose to focus on the positive things that have happened as a result of these unprecedented last few months. I am in no way downplaying the virus, or suggesting we should all ignore it. Quite the opposite. It is largely because of our adherence to CDC guidelines such as social distancing that we had extra time on our hands.

Here are a few unexpected positives that came about for me this year:

  1. Time to go solo. I don’t take for granted the fact that I’ve been able to continue running. In fact, 2020 provided me with more time on my hands by canceling my work travel and all of our family’s extracurricular activities. Not having my group of trail buddies around me has been tough. But, it forced me to learn how to run alone, and be alone with my thoughts. The 50K I’d been training for back in the Spring moved to Fall, allowing me the entire summer to focus on getting stronger.
  2. Old dog. New tricks. Well, I didn’t become fluent in Spanish, but I did pick up the guitar again, and learned a few new chords. I also fit in a couple of inspirational Audible books on my long runs.
  3. Family time. With band, soccer, Scouts and everything else canceled this year, we found ourselves at home together a lot more. Did we get on each other’s nerves sometimes? Sure. But, we also built lasting memories of family game nights, and dinners around the table. I even got my tweenager to go camping!
  4. Grateful to be busy. Prior to COVID, when someone asked how I was doing, chances are I’d reply “busy” with a heavy sigh. As if that were a badge of honor. These days, while work is still very busy, I try to catch myself before giving that autoresponse. Many people I know have had their wellbeing and livelihoods impacted by COVID-19. I am grateful to still be employed, and thankful for my family’s health. Which brings me to my final point….
  5. Being there for others. As long as I am able, I plan to pay it forward. That may not look the same as it used to, with less in-person volunteering. But, I can always find a way to share kindness, even if it’s just a phone call or text to check in on a loved one, or support for a local organization helping those in need.

What about you? Have you been able to find any rays of hope during this otherwise dark time? I’d love to hear them.

P.S. – Even though it’s no longer in the national spotlight, Southwest Louisiana is still reeling from the impact of Hurricane Laura. If you’d like to help, please visit https://unitedwayswla.org/DisasterFund.

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