Monday, December 28, 2020

the best of 2020

So that 2020 huh?  

Yeah, but did you take time to remember the good things that happened?   Because I'm sure there were some.

On December 31, 2019 I wrote this in my sketchbook:  “I’m alive, I’m well, I’m loved…THAT is more than I deserve.  I am grateful!”  A year later, I’m still alive, well, and loved.  I am very grateful.

In early January I celebrated my birthday by virtually running with several friends.  I had this student, Nick, who always said he’d never run.  For some reason Nick decided to run for my birthday.  Then he decided to run again the next day and the next.  This year he ran every single day and on January 4, 2021 he will likely have his one year runniversary.  He’s getting fit and getting fast and I’m really proud of him.  Nick’s runstreak is one of the highlights of the year.

During the spring semester, a group of students gathered weekly on Thursday mornings to do “The Ninjas Of Kindness”.  The ninjas would do acts of kindness for the campus.  One day they all offered free hugs or high-fives.  Another day they gave away balloon animals.  They made so many people smile.  Highlight.

Speaking of running, I started running some extra miles last January and training for a half marathon.  It was sort of cool.  Very challenging, but cool.  I’ve always toyed with the idea of running a half marathon but I was afraid to do it because I didn’t want to endanger my 5K every day runstreak.  Fear is the enemy of fun so I signed up for a race.  On March 7 I ran the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon and enjoyed it.  Didn’t miss a day of my 5K streak either.  A very good thing.

Seven days after the half marathon we were working and schooling from home.  While this meant some not-so-great things in terms of emotions, it also came with some very cool family dinners and some very, very cool outside play-times after dinner.  On a toilet paper run (kidding) G found one of those foam airplanes and brought it home.  Somehow that became one of the joys of quarantine.  The kids and I threw that plane all over the yard throughout the spring.  We had contests, did tricks, and when a breeze took it into the high grass, we got to rescue it with the truck.  Eventually it was held together by duct tape and a couple of bamboo skewers but we still loved it.  Highlight.

The family time kept coming with Quarantunes With Violet and the Art remixes.  I know the family mostly tried to escape helping with the remixes and Blue got sick of hearing music in the house but we did have some very enjoyable bonding times with these activities.  Extra family time was fun.  Definitely highlight worthy.

Summer vacations were particularly nice this year.  The beach was a great place to relax our brains and sort of mentally check out for a bit.  The sunrises were spectacular, as were the beach walks.  And the food!  Coming out of quarantine take-out-only food, it was really nice to eat some of our favorite things in our favorite places.

Getting to go back to face-to-face instruction in August, for the kids and for me, was great.  I thrive on being in the studio and the exchange of energy with students.  I was so happy to be back.  I had to resist going back to my frequent high-fiving ways but the very first day of classes I walked past one of my people and I saw the high-five in her eyes.  ECoop threw up her hand and I gladly slapped it as I walked by.  It was so great.  I’m sure we both disinfected immediately afterward as any responsible person would in a pandemic, but that was a great high five.

There was also a cool moment near the end of the semester when I was forcibly hugged by Hannah.  I’m not a hugger and typically the only hug a student will ever get from me will be at their graduation.  Hannah is an Olympic class hugger and her hugs are coveted by her friends.  On Hannah’s birthday I was lucky enough to get a Hannah hug and it made my day.  Highlight.

All of my students were a highlight this year.  They were all so happy to be back in the studio and they really worked like they were valuing their studio time.  They all stayed ahead of schedule this semester, finishing projects early and doing their very best creative work.  My Sculpture 1 students impressed me, my intermediate students made some excellent work, and my advanced students made work that would make any professional sculptor sweat with envy.  I’m so very proud of them.  They are all highlights.

The musical situation of 2020 was weirdly awesome.  It’s now been well over a year since I last attended a real concert and that sucks.  But it turns out that musicians having some extra time at home is not a bad thing for us all.  Langhorne Slim, Jeff Tweedy, The Avett Brothers, and Taylor Swift all put out new music this year and they are some of my favorite musicians.  My ears have been happy. 

The holidays have also been pretty great.  Not in the normal, traditional ways, but still great.  We did not go back to campus after Thanksgiving break so there were some virtual things to deal with for a week, but the extra time at home was a nice treat for me.  I was able to get my gift-giving in order and there was a lot more extra family time with Christmas movies and some quick adventures.  We did not get to celebrate Christmas day with my extended family but the absence of that important tradition gave me an even greater appreciation for it and for the people who make it important.  

It's much funnier to joke about the year being a total dumpster fire, but I want to make sure I don't lose the lessons of a challenging year.  If you have a list of highlights in your head, maybe write them down or even share them with me.  And if you don't have a list of highlights but you are alive and well...I can assure you that you are also LOVED.  So maybe write that down.

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