I realize I'm speaking from my privileged place when I say that.

For a lot of us, it was the absolute worst year in a very long time. Our country saw riots, protests, more racial injustice and unrest, bad cops murdering innocent people, a weird-ass election cycle, division like we've not seen in decades, income inequality that worsened, homelessness, job loss, a pandemic that has unfairly targeted minorities and the poor. Not to mention the death of Justice Ruth Baden Ginsburg, the hacking into our Homeland Security and other intelligence agencies, a very dominant hurricane season, and so much more.

Mental illness, depression, and anxiety have taken their toll on many people this year. 2020 has been a doozy.

The stock market went way up and our leaders said that meant the economy was booming. We all know that just means the rich get richer and the people who don't own stocks got nothing. There has been very little help with relief for those who lost jobs, or are under-employed which is a nice way of saying they either don't have jobs worthy of the degrees they hold, or can't find a job at all due to the loss of so many businesses this year. Some of us have to hold down 2 or 3 jobs to make ends meet.

Good cops doing good things for their communities, groups of people coming together to protest racial inequality, people of all political beliefs uniting to elect Kamala Harris as our very first Black and female Vice President. People have stepped up to help support local businesses, families have decided to hold zoom celebrations since they can't be together, people have had countless parades for birthdays, healthcare workers, teachers, and other essential workers have been lauded as the very deserving heroes that they are. This pandemic has been no joke and 2020 is going to go down in infamy.

But based on the relationships I've forged stronger and the ones I decided to let go of, I think that 2020 has been a pretty good year. I don't say that to belittle the tragedies we've seen unfold this year.

If I hadn't already figured out who some of my friends and family were, 2020 certainly made it much clearer. I saw with fresh eyes where people stood on issues, what they were willing to overlook, and just what they were willing to stand up for. I was surprised by some of them, but not all of them. Some I knew exactly where they stood on their social beliefs and I chose to overlook it because I knew them to be good people overall. My wake-up call was when I saw them not saying anything about George Floyd being murdered right there on camera for the entire world to see. When Breonna Taylor was brutally murdered in her bed. When they decided not to wear masks because of their freedoms, forgetting that they themselves are the ones spouting all that "freedoms don't come free" on Veteran's Day and Memorial Day.

They could have chosen to wear masks and be thought of as patriots but they chose to go without, spreading a deadly virus throughout our land. We are supposed to be the leaders of the world - at least that's how Americans have positioned themselves - but that most certainly isn't how we've come off to the rest of the world. They think we're imbeciles.

People decided they didn't believe in science anymore, like it was just a thing that wasn't based on facts. Like it was something they could disagree with as if it were an opinion about the best pizza toppings. "You told us masks didn't work but now you're saying they do." Well, science changes based on actual studies that are done. I guess they weren't paying attention in 4th-grade science class.

Others believed conspiracy theories and were susceptible to social media idiocy. I have seen some of the nastiest comments on social media. The way we treat each other, the way we help each other is all that matters. Helping and loving one another is what Jesus wants us to do. But it doesn't seem like anyone remembers that anymore. It doesn't take a lot to have manners and to be kind. In fact, it takes less energy to be kind than it does to go out of your way to say mean things to another person. Just keep your trap shut, FFS.

When I saw the words "libtards" and "demon-rats", I used that as a sign to move on from those "friends". I refuse to allow anyone to be in my orbit when they're using those words directed at me, personally. We clearly don't have the same values. I used 2020 as a year to clean out my friends list on social media. Honestly, my life is much calmer without those people.

I also created my health journey this year and stuck to it! And, because it's a thing now, I started a podcast with my two best friends who live in another state. You can check us out here: snarkysweet.com

Together is a wonderful place to be.

Because of the pandemic, I've gotten to spend a lot of time with both of my kids that I wouldn't have had any other year of regular schooling. I work from home, so having both kids here has been a challenge but a welcome change. We started social distancing/quarantining in February because our son is medically fragile. It's a lot of togetherness as my husband works from home, too, but it's been a way to slow down and regroup. To check in with both kids to see that they are becoming the people we are trying to raise.

My kids both grew a lot this year. Both physically and developmentally. My daughter went from being a child-like 12-year-old to a very mature 13. Her maturity is above a lot of adults I know.

She's very invested in her social awareness, which is more than I can say for a lot of the people I know. Her open-mindedness is one of the things I love the most about her. She is kind, and thinks of others, and is inclusive. She has seen how privileged she is and knows that she lives in a safe, warm house and never has to worry about where her dinner is coming from. She uses her voice. She gently calls out people when they overstep or are cruel to others.

I am raising a fierce, female warrior who is already somebody who stands up for her beliefs, doesn't allow others to put her or anyone else down in her presence, and loves her friends. She has a voice that she uses kindly, she reaches out to those who are overlooked, and makes up her own mind on what she reads and hears in the news. She is becoming a productive adult, right before my eyes.

I usually try to see the world through rose-colored glasses and assume the good in people, but 2020 has been a dumpster fire for the rest of the world.

The fact that our kids were able to slow down a bit, actually learn about the world around them, and take in this historical year is what made 2020 not so bad for us.

I hope that you were able to slow down and take a moment to breathe in all of the crazy shit that happened this year. I hope that 2021 will be a better one for you and your loved ones.

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