beautiful sunlit trees at Delamere Forest
Family, Health, Learning

Reflecting on 2020

A year ago I wrote my first looking forward post to 2020. After the awful, disastrous year we had in 2019 I didn’t ask for much.

I’m not making resolutions – I just want 2020 to be less painful than 2019 please. Please.

And, well, 2020 was certainly a rollercoaster but it wasn’t as painful as 2019 was for us.


In 2020, we’ve all had to make adjustments that we didn’t foresee a year ago. But, well, here were my thoughts a little while ago:

Anyone else find it weird that they’ve readjusted to each of this year’s rollercoaster changes without too much trouble?
So many people I know have found it so hard, but for me, it’s been ok. I’ve had a few conversations lately, both real and in blog comments that have caused me to reflect.

I think I had a head start when lockdown arrived in the spring. I’ve worked from home for 6 years. I’m used to not seeing anyone other that school staff all week long. It wasn’t a huge upheaval to not see them either.

Home learning was so so hard but I also know that my kids were relatively willing and their refusals certainly weren’t daily. My boss was accommodating and himself did his part too.

We’re also used to not seeing family for months on end. We’re spread all over the country and going 6 months between visits is long, but less of an impact than if we were used to seeing each other weekly.

I’ve realised that I don’t much mind avoiding the social interactions with school mums. I don’t have to worry if I said something wrong or analyse the difference between acquaintances and friendships. I spend much less emotional energy when I don’t have to deal with that.

Its not that I don’t love my real friends, and I do feel more remote from them. But I also don’t mind not wearing the wrong clothes to go to dinner with them or feeling a bit left out when a group forms subgroups. I’m just much happier 1 to 1.

So, despite my chatter box nature and always cheerful exterior, maybe I’m a secret introvert? Maybe that’s why I love anonymous Twitter and my blog?

I haven’t minded lockdown and isolation. I know that makes me very unusual but I’m putting that out there.

And that’s the end of my self indulgent introspection. Thanks for listening Twitter void.

Originally tweeted by Smelly Socks and Garden Peas (@AndSmelly) on 24th December 2020.

Our 2020

The start of the year was painful for us as we looked back on January 2019 and how little life had respected our expectations for baby boy3. I got into my running a bit more seriously, and definitely caught the bug.

As the worldwide impact of COVID became apparent, I firmly stuck my head in the sand until it became truly relevant to us. We knew a lockdown was going to be needed and we were disappointed when it took so long to come. The schools did an amazing job adapting to teaching from a distance and I learned a lot from it too.

We did our bit and stayed home and safe for months, adjusted to everyone being in the house together all the time and taking our fresh air where we could get it. Small boy eventually decided that reading was a worthwhile endeavour to invest his time in, while large boy worked on some badges for Cubs. We got through most of their school work most weeks and my job accommodated some strange working hours so that I could help them along. I quite enjoyed keeping a diary of everything we got up to.

By June, we were able to go out and about a bit more and we celebrated small boy’s fifth birthday at the zoo. Then we finished off the school year, the boys had come on leaps and bounds – large boy even got an award for reading 3 million words.

Finally, in August we managed a long-dreamt of road trip to see our families. It was a bit wet but we didn’t let a bit of rain stop us enjoying it. Then it was back to working with the boys in the house, trying to stay busy while himself and I worked as usual. It was something of a relief for them to be back at school in September, although also more complicated with drop off and pick up and lunches to organise. Almost immediately, we had COVID tests all round but since then we’ve luckily had few worries on that front.

In October, I kicked off a blog series about Lesson in Loss and I’ve had some wonderful contributors, that’ll be continuing in 2021 too. I was lucky enough too, to contribute to Renata’s Thanksgiving Pot-Luck and to T.B.C’s Christmas Collaborations.

My favourite posts

I think next year I need to keep track of some awesome posts by fellow bloggers so I can share them again as 2021 comes to a close. I didn’t do that this year, sorry.

So here are some of my own posts that I loved. They aren’t necessarily the most popular, but they did me good to write.

Some statistics

No, I’m not going to publish blog views or anything like that for the year. If you’re reading this as a blogger too, you’ll either laugh at how tiny I am or feel like your blog is (even) small(er). I don’t want to make you feel like that, so I’m not saying anything.

Here are my 2020 vital statistics:

  • Weeks in lockdown with home learning: 13
  • Meltdowns from small boy about reading: 20+ (we got the hang of it after about week 3)
  • Miles travelled to see parents: 925
  • Active time according to Strava: 111 hours
  • Total distance run/walked and recorded on Strava: 710 km
  • Weeks off running with evil knee: 10
  • Gin consumed: lost count after 5 bottles since April
  • Large boy book-supply-related meltdowns from me: 3 (thanks to the Accelerated Reader Twitter team for preventing further tears with your suggestions)
  • Coffee dates with friends cancelled: 35 (managed a couple of one to ones and walks during the summer)
  • Total cooking disasters resulting in inedible food and tears from small boy: 1 (well 2 really, I made some pretty awful mushroom pasta)
  • Respect and admiration for keyworkers, all NHS staff and carers, teachers and TAs, single parents, medically vulnerable folks, people living alone: IMMEASURABLE

Besides all that

I think that, like many people, beyond all the activities or missed opportunities of 2020 I’ve learned some valuable lessons. Above all the others, are gratitude for the small things that we have that make life easier, an appreciation of the beautiful imperfections and recognition of the simple pleasures that make a strange year bearable.


Last but very far from least I want to say a big huge massive and heartfelt “thank you” to everyone who’s passed a few minutes reading any of the ramblings I pour into this blog. To those who have commented, shared their experiences or collaborated with me, an absolutely humongous gargantuan “thank you too”. I’m not one for wallowing in big emotions, but seriously folks you’ve all made this year much easier to deal with. You guys are the sunbeams filtering through the dark canopy of 2020’s gloomy forest.

So, well, ta and I hope we can keep the chattering going next year.

…. and here comes 2021.

30 thoughts on “Reflecting on 2020”

  1. As I always say I love reading your posts. I felt like staying miles apart but I read a lot of your real life experiences. Keep on writing dear. And wish you a great year ahead.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve been enjoying the range of your posts these past few months & the honest sentiment keeps em very relatable. Like we touched on, I also found a lot of positive from 2020 in really embracing family, outdoors, kitchen (lol) aspects, & consciously practising gratitude. It’ll be interesting to see where we all take those things & evolve some more with 2021 πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Such a great post! I’m glad you were able to still find some good and positivity from the craziness that was 2020. After your 2019 year, I cannot blame you for coping with 2020 better than most of us. I hope that 2021 is even better for you!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Love this post! I know its been an odd year but it seems like you all dealt with it well. I did laugh at some of your stats though. I ruined a lot more meals than you did!!

    I got so involved in work, working much longer hours than normal! My boy should be grateful he got a hot meal at all to be honest!

    I hope things pick up soon for us all very soon x

    Liked by 2 people

  5. While I don’t really work from home, it didn’t take much time for me to adjust to doing so since we had days at work when we could choose to work from home and not report to the office. I actually like working from home even though I live close to my office. What I just miss is the freedom to change scenery – I used to love working at coffee shops too but with COVID 19 threat, I don’t do that now.

    Yes 2020 was a very rollercoaster year because of the pandemic and even though we are still in the middle of a pandemic, I am hopeful that 2021 will be a bit better for all of us.


    Liked by 2 people

  6. I think it is good to point out that 2020 has inspired so many bloggers and I am happy to be connected with you and so many others whom I enjoyed and learned reading your articles.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Love those statistics!!!

    Truly immeasurable respect as well as immense gratitude for all frontline workers. ❀️

    So glad you got to go visit your folks! My grandma lives 2500 kms away and it’s the first year I haven’t gotten to see her. (Her health isn’t the best so I didn’t want to take a chance by flying to her since India is a covid mess. πŸ™ˆ)

    Hope 2021 is a better year for all of us. ❀️

    Liked by 2 people

  8. 2020 was the year the I had the chance to meet our through your blog. I’m thankful for that! This post is so real and so coming out of your heart! Thank you and I really hope 2021 brings you everything you have been dreaming of! Have a really Happy New Year!

    Liked by 4 people

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