A year in review: 2020

How do you sum up this godforsaken year?

Well, let me say first: this has by no means been the hardest year of my life. I’ve personally had more challenging years, but it’s hard to ignore the fact of what we’ve all been through collectively in 2020.

I’m writing this from a place of immense privilege and I know it. I really didn’t have much to complain about this year. I am a homebody by nature and going into lockdown and isolation hasn’t cramped my style as it has for other, more extroverted people. I transitioned nearly seamlessly to a WFH life (and actually like it!), I kept up a good running routine, I was mostly fine with not seeing people (except for my family’s canceled visit this summer), and Jon and I have been content with being around each other all the time. Even if we occasionally lamented the fact that we couldn’t go out to dinner or get away for the weekend, we both agreed that we were making the best of a shitty situation and things could be a lot worse.
The only things that matter at the end of this crazy year are that we both remained healthy, I kept my job (and income), we were able to pay our bills and feed ourselves, we could go for runs and walks, and had a private outdoor space to enjoy. We’ve been luckier than so many.
I contemplated if I wanted to recap this year as I have previous years, but for the sake of consistency and the mere fact that 2020 happened, as much as we would like to just wish it away, here’s my recap of this weird year. 


In January, as always, we welcomed the new year with coffee and a New Year’s pretzel. I posted my list of things I wanted to do in 2020. Surprisingly, while many plans ended up being derailed, I accomplished almost all of them. The highlight of January was a women’s retreat in Tahoe with a full day of skiing over MLK weekend. I had hoped to get back on the slope last winter, but alas, that ended up not happening.


In February, I picked my word for the year. I am not sure I really lived up to it. I attended an “author’s workshop” at work, which I should have taken years ago (given the time I’ve been working at my current workplace). I met Kathrin, a fellow German living in the Bay Area, for the first time in person and also saw Ute, a fellow German living in CT, again after many years. I abandoned my bullet journal and found a new favorite planner. I started half marathon training.


In March, I talked about why voting is so important. I celebrated my birthday, just before the whole world shut down. The new motto became “flatten the curve!“. It took me a little while to get my blogging footing back, and I started a series – blogging through the Covid-19 crisis – to document my own experience of the Covid-shutdown, not knowing that we were in for a long, wild ride. 


In April, I started to sew masks. Like so many of us. My gym shut down and I started running in the early mornings before work. It was the only thing I knew how to do. I baked zucchini bread. I settled into my work from home routine. My friend Tanja was supposed to come visit and run the American River Parkway Half Marathon with me at the end of the month. Of course, that didn’t happen. Instead, we ran the race virtually, each in our own neighborhoods, and even though it was unexpected, I finally got my (unofficial) sub-2 hour PR in the half marathon this year. Who could have seen that coming?


I started baking bread with a sourdough starter that I received from a friend in late April. It’s been the most cliché and the best ‘new’ hobby that has come from this pandemic. I have baked every weekend since. We got our outdoor space ready for the summer and Jon and I celebrated our 14th anniversary.

George Floyd died at the hand of police in Minneapolis and racial tensions flared up big time.


In June, I celebrated Global Running Day and ran for a good cause. I tried to confront being uncomfortable, educate myself, share resources, and stand in solidarity with the black community. I know there is tons more work to do.  I shared some running lessons during Corona times and also posted another update of my blogging through the Covid-19 crisis series.


In July, I had some thoughts on Independence Day. I made our own variation of a Classic Niçoise Salad. I talked about how I fit a workout into a busy day, and how I got my sister to run a half marathon (We were supposed to run the half marathon together in San Francisco this summer, but that didn’t happen and I am so proud of her that she still continued her training and ran the distance!). We spent many summer evenings barbecuing in the backyard


In August, I kept up with my early morning runs and witnessed many beautiful sunrises along the river. I also shared my strength training routine. I wrote another blogging through the Covid-19 crisis update. I got my (road) bike fixed up and went on a bike ride, followed the presidential debates, and send snail mail just because.


In September, I bought a spin bike. Probably the best pandemic purchase of the year. It arrived just before the California wildfires caused major smoke plumes and locked us into our homes for weeks. I had officially worked from home for six months. I shared all the things I baked in quarantine. Ruth Bader Ginsburg died and I wondered what else 2020 was going to throw at us. I posted the recipe for quick 4-ingredient Almond Butter Oat Cookies. 


In October, I talked about the importance of rest days. I urged people to vote in the presidential election. We celebrated Jon’s birthday, and I ordered Stumptown coffee for him. I wrote another Covid-19 update.


In November, I participated in NaBloPoMo for the 14th year! I blogged my way through the last few days of the election.  It was finally confirmed that we elected Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. It’s most likely been the highlight of this year and gives hope to so many of us. I became an ambassador for MudLOVE and am thrilled to support such an awesome small business. For Thanksgiving, we stayed home, I ran a virtual Turkey Trot with Tanja in the morning and then prepared a turkey chicken with all the trimmings just for the two of us. That weekend, I also baked my family’s Spritz Cookies to start the holiday season off on the right foot. 


In December, I bought a bigger and nicer Christmas tree. I was set on making this holiday season great, Covid be damned, and for whatever reason, that tree made me so very happy. I also shared a holiday wish & gift list (because those are always fun!) and sent out a bunch of Christmas New Year’s cards

Shortly before Christmas, Covid-19 hit closer to home than I ever wanted it to. Someone in my family tested positive, after being so vigilant for months. I understand this is bad news if your family lives around the corner, but emotionally it’s on a different level when you’re 6000 miles away. I definitely freaked out there for a second, because you never know how this virus is going to affect someone, and I am only willing to share this now because nobody else contracted the virus (thank god) and the person, who had it, never developed symptoms. We got so very lucky.

But I want to warn you that however ‘safe’ you feel and however cautious you think you are, do better. There are still no guarantees that you won’t catch it (we all have to take some risks, however small they might be) and this will only get better if we’re are all willing to make sacrifices, to stay home as much as possible, and to mask up when we’re in public.

I told you about how we spent our Christmas this year and also summed up my ten best pandemic purchases.

And now we’re ringing in a new year, safely from the comfort of our own couch, hoping that 2021 will shape up to be a much kinder year for us all. 


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  1. I am so so glad to hear that your family member is all well and everyone else is safe too. A lot in this post resonates with me. It was not my toughest year ever either – I did pretty good compared to many others and I didn’t mind staying at home (expect a few days). We are lucky we survived this year, even stayed healthy throughout. I hope there will be more joy and more hugs in 2021. I am glad to know I am not the only one spending Christmas and New Years in the apartment on our own.

  2. Happy New Year San! All the best to you for 2021!

  3. So sorry to hear a family member got Covid. I am glad they did not get very sick. 2 colleagues got it in December, both were very careful and still got it. 1 was in the ER twice, the other was hospitalized for 2 days due to low oxygen levels. They are super healthy men in their 40-50s so you just never know how your body will handle it/react. I am shocked no one in my family has gotten it, to our knowledge as they have not all played it safe and have kids in school. I am especially grateful my parents haven’t and that we haven’t yet. Sending Paul to school is our one area of risk but a risk we can’t avoid with us both working and now having my hands full with a newborn!

    I’m hopeful for 2021 but know we still have tough times to go the out until the vaccine is more widely available.

  4. I am relieved to hear that your family member did not have symptoms from Covid or pass it on! What a scary time, though. I am really grateful that nobody in my family or my friend group has gotten it, and I know how lucky I am for that. The thing about this virus is that you can be SO diligent about taking precautions and still get it. Not to say we shouldn’t take those precautions—just shows you how Covid spreads so quickly.

    I, too, did not have a horrible 2020. If anything, my life IMPROVED now that I get to work from home and stay home more. But it’s still been hard to go through the pandemic alone and worry about people I love getting sick. What a hard year! I’m glad we all made it through.

  5. Love that you decided to recap last year, too. I think it’s important to remember how far we’ve come and what we did during this time. I’m always constantly trying to answer the question of how we define a year, a month, a week, or a day… what motivated us, challenged us, inspired us, etc. Your post is a lovely collection of moments – good and challenging – that defined 2020.

    I’m amazed at the fortuitous timing of purchasing the peloton! I feel like several people I know made that purchase this year and I’ve *almost* been influenced to do the same… but not yet. I was going to try it out when we did the staycation for my birthday, but I didn’t make it down to the hotel gym. Alas. ;) I know that it has been a very important tool for my friends who are living alone during this time and/or suffered loss.

    Glad to hear your family member is doing okay. I’m sure that is so very hard to be so far away. <3 Sending continued healing thoughts their way and hoping we can all stay safer in 2021.

  6. I agree while this year had a lot of inconveniences, I feel grateful and lucky to have weathered the storm well so far. It is great to see that you found so many positives in a difficult year. It’s been nice to connect with you!

  7. Happy New Year to you and yours! Glad to hear 2020 went a little bit easy on you. The pandemic is no joke and I could not agree more, we need to all be ever vigilant.

  8. Happy New Year San! This was definitely quite the year but you made the best of it!

    I am so glad to hear that your family member is okay. The virus is so scary. I know a few people locally and far away that have had it – some with symptoms and some not, and thankfully they are all okay. Definitely serves as a reminder to be even more vigilant if possible.

  9. I am glad your family member who got COVID-19 is doing okay and did not have symptoms!

    I loved reading this since I am a newer reader and have only known you a few months! The spin bike was such a smart pandemic purchase. Everyone I know who has one just loves it! I want to try one one day :)

  10. I know the feeling and being away (thougth I only have a channel between me and my family), it hit me big time. Good to hear your family member is ok.

  11. I’m glad your family member is okay and that nobody got Covid. It’s definitely scary! I’m glad you had a relatively good year, even with 2020 being crazy. My year was a bit hit or miss. Even if Covid wasn’t a thing, it would not have been a great year for me. But I am trying to remember the good and the positive though.


  12. I am so glad your family member is okay, and that no one else got it. How difficult it must have been for you to be so far from them…
    It looks as though you made the absolute most of 2020, despite the multiple curveballs that the universe kept throwing our way. It’s not been easy – but you seem to have really leaned into the changes you made and found ways to live your life in a way that is fulfilling yet safe. All the same, I wish you’d been able to go skiing again, too. :) What a difference a year makes… and here’s hoping we say that AGAIN next January!

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