2020 Awesome List

2020 really was "the best of times and the worst of times" and it really just came down to luck/privilege if you had the best or worst year.

Because of this, I really struggled over whether or not I should do an Awesome List for 2020 - a year so many endured the worst struggles of their lives, facing sickness, death, despair, and economic devastation, while others, like myself, had the complete opposite experience - stable jobs which allowed us to work from home, the luxury of being able to avoid situations dangerous to our health, and the peacefulness of a slower pace. 

I grappled with risking coming across as not "reading the room" because my heart definitely does go out to the people that suffered and are still suffering. However, I think that awareness of luck and privilege by comparison should make one appreciate their own blessings MORE and I finally made the decision to publish because I don't believe in guilt; I believe in gratitude. 

So here goes...*
*Apologies in advance for this post's verbosity. It's not my usual style.

My year by the numbers:

6 states visited
1 country visited
11 flights taken
2291 Instagram stories posted
41 times I use the word "awesome" in this post


AS USUAL, though I didn't get to start off the year with the awesomeness of a midnight kiss, it was awesome that (as usual) I got to ring in the new year with my parents. #blessed

After "working" so hard to get to gold status in 2019, I got upgraded to first class on my first flight of the year. That was super exciting! Flying first class is awesome! 

Except... I didn't actually get to fly first class because the plane had a mechanical issue. Instead, I got to spend the night at a very NOT first class Days Inn and take off at the crack of dawn the next morning... in coach. 

BUT they did give me a $12 voucher for breakfast which I spent all on chocolate so... in the end, AWESOME!

My second trip of the year was to visit my dear friends in New Orleans, where both the architecture and the company were awesome.

While there, I also (finally) tried hollandaise sauce for the first time. Trying something new and the sauce itself were both awesome.

I don't know what it was about having a birthday party on a Monday night but it was totally awesome that 30 people showed up to celebrate with me! (Remember parties?!)

My cake was pretty awesome too:*

*PS - I got my wish. You're welcome.


On my third trip of the year, I had an awesome time visiting my oldest friend (we've been friends 43 years!) and her family and getting tons of gorgeous content for my Instagram in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Alas, my 4th trip of the year - Anguilla. 

This trip was supposed to be The Most Awesome Thing Everrrrr - one of my favorite people in the world was taking me, we were going to get to spend four whole days together, we were flying first class, and we were staying at the Four Seasons Resort. I would say it was an absolute dream come true, but honestly, I never even dreamed that big! 

I cannot explain in this blog post the level of excitement I had for this trip...

...which makes the very NOT awesome thing that happened that much more devastating

The first morning there, out for an early morning exercise walk by myself on the beach, I lost my balance walking on rocks and fell so hard that I ended up with a severe pelvic bone contusion that kept me in bed not only for the rest of the trip but for the following eight weeks

I was so so so so so so so so so X infinity sad and disappointed that I didn't get to enjoy this once in a lifetime trip (I didn't even get to go in the water!). 

Just thinking about it still makes me tear up.

However, let's focus on the positive: the fact that this was literally the worst thing that has ever happened to me, shows how awesomely blessed I truly am. 

I had to have wheel chair service at the airports and I am so grateful for all the people who fought for disability rights so that there WAS wheel chair service because I could NOT have gotten home without it. 

And here is where I tell you that "By law, U.S. airlines must make available some form of wheelchair or electric cart service at no additional charge to passengers" thanks to the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986 which was sponsored by Senator Bob Dole (R-KS) and co-sponsored by, get this, twelve Democrats and eight Republicans and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan (never expected to have his name appear in my blog).

It is pretty awesome to have this reminder that once upon a time, our politicians came together to pass bi-partisan laws that help people and I was a direct recipient of that help.


Though my first class five star getaway was ruined, I am so lucky to have two awesome parents who bought one-way tickets to come take care of me and were there to greet me with a wheel chair when I got back.

Despite the fact that I could barely walk and spent most of my time in bed, it was so awesome having them with me for an unexpected two weeks. They were so nice to me and it was so awesome to be taken care of! They bought groceries for me and heated up my heating pad and made all the meals and were just lovely company. I feel SO LUCKY to have that.

Who knows - my fall might have actually saved my life because I couldn't leave my apartment for 10 days before any of us even knew we were ALL about to go into quarantine when COVID struck, big time... 

Because my fall was on 2/28, I had just enough sick time to be able to stay home until March 11th. Having my sick time run out was NOT awesome and meant that I had to go back to the office a half day that Wednesday, then for a full day on Thursday. 

The truth is, it was too much for me - my body was NOT ready. I needed a LOT more time in bed. Luckily, Friday was my work from home day...

Meanwhile, everything in the whole country was closing, everyone was freaking out and super stressed about being around other people. Now, I didn't want to go to the office the following Monday because of my injury AND COVID. The stress was NOT awesome.

The relief I felt that Sunday night, when I got the email telling us to start working from home made me burst into tears and cry for literally 20 minutes straight.  

I was so LUCKYYYYY that the shutdown coincided with my convalescence because I really needed to stay in bed, which is what I did for the next for the next two weeks. 

On March 27, one month minus one day since my fall, it was definitely awesome to finally get to go out for my first real exercise walk. 

I was so HAPPY in this photo OUTSIDE and ABLE TO WALK after a month in bed.

Though I was late for my annual Spring Inspection and many of the flowers were already in bloom, it was awesome that I healed in time to not miss the cherry blossoms! 


While other people were baking bread, I was getting awesome at crostatas:

More awesome things: 1.) Being able to take walks again. Given that I couldn't really go anywhere outside of my two mile radius, I pretty much walked every street within it, taking lots of pics of 2.) the pretty houses and 3.) the pretty spring flowers. 4.) I made some deliciously awesome meals too. 

The truth is, I did not mind being alone in quarantine one single bit. Normally, I suffer from a lot of FOMO due to my less than ideal social life so I loveddddd the total lack of FOMO that I had since no one was doing anything. It was so awesome to finally, FINALLY be able to enjoy my own company WITHOUT feeling lonely. Overall, I'd say that was the most awesome aspect of my 2020 (which I guess is sad and says a lot about my pre-COVID life).


Though I didn't mind the solitude, I did get real tired of walking in circles in my two mile radius. So, I masked up and headed to Maine to quarantine there with my dear parents. Going in early June also meant that I got to experience spring twice in 2020! That's awesome!

Despite the mask, it was awesome to be at an airport and on an airplane again. 

It's so simple, but one of my favorite things of 2020 was that my parents' neighbor's cherry tree was in bloom and he said I could eat as many cherries as I wanted. I never ate cherries off a tree before! That was awesome!

Ahhh, It's the simple pleasures - a generous neighbor, nature, deliciousness. I ate the cherries every time I walked by that tree until it was bare! 

The other awesome things about my time in Maine were:

1.) Discovering Big Daddy's Ice Cream - OMG the best ice cream in America! If you ever get to Ogunquit or Wells, Maine - GO THERE! The first few times we went I got one ice cream, ate it, and then got another for the road! That was awesome!

2.) Getting to go to the beach almost every day either before work, for a lunch break (so lucky!!!), or after work.

3.) Going on lots of outings with my parents. We went to New Hampshire a few times and I discovered how truly awesome that state is! I loved it! The pics below are from Fuller Gardens which I HIGHLY recommend visiting to see their amazing greenhouse of cacti and succulents.  Also, please note my awesome outfit in the first photo.

4.) Eating lobster rolls was awesome, though I definitely did not eat enough of them.

5.) My parents have a neighbor with a beautiful vegetable garden surrounded by a beautiful zinnia fence. It was so lovely to get to see the garden bloom, grow, and ripen. And the zinnia fence? OMG.

6.) Though it wasn't the furthest I'd ever ridden, riding my bike to Portland (~32 miles roundtrip) for the first time was awesome and felt like a big accomplishment.

7.) Being in Maine for the beautiful fall foliage:

8.) A family weekend in Boston and getting to just be somewhere DIFFERENT. I love Boston! 

9.) The primary destination for our trip was Jonquil's because I had been obsessing over Ukrainian genius pastry chef Dinara Kasko's desserts since my first visit. Her creations are every bit as good as they look (which is so rare!). 

10.) My parents taking me to see the foliage along New Hampshire's Kancamagus Highway in the White Mountains National Forest on a beautiful fall day. It's such a gorgeous scenic drive!  

11.) Although I didn't get to travel hardly at all this year (compared to 45 flights last year/30,000+ miles), I did get to go to one of my favorite places in the world multiple times. Prouts Neck's Cliff Walk is on a very, very exclusive peninsula that has NO PARKING signs screaming at you everywhere. Luckily, if you don't mind a ~20 mile (roundtrip) bike ride, they, do have bike racks.

12.) I have said it so many times but being from Maine is so awesome and I was so lucky to get to enjoy five months of quarantine in one of the most beautiful places in the world. It was a dream come true! 

13.) The best part about being there was the stress relief of not having to worry about not spending enough time with my parents. Being an only child with aging parents is super stressful, and while they can still keep up with me now (which is impressive!), I don't know for how much longer I will get to enjoy that. So, it was an awesome blessing to have the whole summer and part of fall with them. 


I had all this extra free time this year and for most of the year I (shamefully) wasn't strategic about organizing it. By the time evening rolled around, I wouldn't really know what to do with myself.  So, inspired by an influencer I follow who is always talking about setting weekly goals, I decided to share some daily ones publicly on Instagram - that meant failure would not be an option. I was so grateful to be able to leverage my Instagram followers as a way to hold myself accountable (any maybe inspire them to do some leveling up of their own).

What I found was that setting small, achievable goals really WORKED. It is much easier to "read" if you commit to just reading 10 pages. And it is much easier to "stretch" if you commit to just stretching for 10 minutes. (Side note, while I did my ten minutes of stretching every night, I'd kill two birds with one stone by listening to stand up comedy on Netlfix. I always "want" to see more stand up comedy but it is not something I ever prioritize so I never actually do it. Problem solved - stretching while laughing ftw.)

Having these goals helped me organize my time to ensure I actually would achieve everything on my list AND the BEST part was they mostly stopped being "goals" and started being HABITS.


Ending my year having been lucky and healthy and grateful at a time so challenging for so many was very awesome and I am so appreciative of that.

The gift that 2020 gave me was the awareness that my aptitude for gratitude enabled me to embrace solitude with fortitude.

It's all about attitude. 

Finally, I'd say ending the year looking like this at 46 years old is pretty f*cking awesome.

As always, the best part of my year was time spent friends and the people I love.

I hope you had good moments to appreciate in 2020 and I certainly hope 2021 is better for everyone.

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  1. What a year! So pleased you took the time to share this with your followers. Making the best of a difficult situation takes a lot of inner strength. That makes you awesome.

  2. 46?! You’d look amazing for 26. It’s obviously your positive outlook and work ethic that’s led to you defying the effects of time. I appreciate how many times you said “awesome”, never lose your enthusiasm

  3. I just saw this, it's great! I couldn't upload a picture since my computer ones are so small and I dont have time right now to do that. I am jealous of your trips and beautiful places, etc, esp during quarantine! Hope I can visit someday down there (and I can be on your friends picture list, haha)!! :)

    1. These pics make me want to visit Maine also! I need to get outside very soon, I have been inside too long, and nature, sunshine & exercise are my favorite things (along with talking with people-6 ft away-in person)! You are lucky to travel!!

  4. Hi!
    I just realized that your last post here was made on the same day that I was last free. ;) What a coincidence.

    Hope you're having a good trip!

    P.S. Do NOT, under any circumstances, mention that I wrote you here or have access to the Internet in your regular letters. I am obviously still incarcerated. But feel free to respond here ;)


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