Goodbye, 2020

New Year’s Eve is a day that always sits on the fence. It’s a time to reflect on the past 12 months, and simultaneously look ahead to what the coming year might bring. I don’t think I have enough vocabulary or eloquence to adequately justify how challenging 2020 was.

The world has been in crisis mode, and we’ve all had to find ways to work through our personal challenges that have stemmed from the global pandemic. The sheer amount of communal grief is overwhelming.

On top of all that, 2020 was the year I decided to flip my personal life on its head. Thinking back to the promise of the last New Year’s Eve, I still find it hard to believe how much has changed in my world this year.

Reflecting on 2020, I find sadness in my heart. I said goodbye to my 14-year marriage. I said goodbye to my dream house. I said goodbye to a handful of people I considered friends because of our support of different political candidates. I said goodbye to the possibility of visiting my family back home in Toronto, in a year that I would have really appreciated their hugs. In many ways, I feel I said goodbye to pretty much everything I ever knew in my life.

But in my heart, I also find happiness. I said hello a lot, and most importantly, I said it to me. It seems odd to say, but I didn’t really know who I was. I had always defined myself, and how I was feeling, based on others around me. Unless it came to hockey. That, I knew, was a core part of my identity. But what else was, and is, inside me that makes me, me?

And this is how my Memory List has helped. My therapist, Agnes, was my guide, my sherpa, through 2020. Back in August, she was the one who gave me the homework of creating a list of 50 memories I wanted to have when I looked back on the past few months, on this very day. Today is December 31st, 2020. Thanks to her guidance, and my hard work, my mind swims with so many memories – ones that I wanted – that I made this year.

I documented many of these memories, but not all of them got their own spotlight. Maybe they felt too small to me, to dedicate a full blog post to them. Maybe I didn’t have any photos of me making the memory, and not having a featured images was enough of an obstacle to keep me from publishing them. Maybe I just didn’t know what to write about them. But, my 2020 includes these memories:

  • Burning incense and relaxing alone in my very own apartment.
  • Sitting on the couch, that first moment I feel the apartment is finally clean.
  • Improving my personal best on the treadmill.
  • Going to the batting cages.
  • Shopping at a farmer’s market.
  • Interior decorating the apartment, and then rearranging things later.

Looking at my list of memories I wanted, I’m proud of all that I accomplished. In the coming days, I’ll be compiling my Memory List for 2021. The things I didn’t get to this past year will roll over, but I wonder what new memories will find their way onto my list.

I started this blog to share the stories behind each memory. And thank you, dear reader, for joining me on this journey. It’s my hope that it can inspire you to create your very own Memory List. Looking ahead to the coming year, what memories do you want to have when you look back on December 31st, 2021?

Follow along and make memories.

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