I couldn't resist looking back to my post from last December, Way back then, (doesn't it feel like more than 365 days?) I listed out five areas of focus I envisioned for myself for 2020.
Little did I know that Covid would kick all of our plans to the curb and force us to re-think our engagement and response to everything.
I'd said I wanted to focus on Conservancy. I had a vague idea that I would volunteer more or perhaps find a way to engage more in citizen science efforts somewhere. Well the pandemic made curious work of that. I certainly couldn't *go* anywhere, but so many global organizations leveraged Zoom and offered programs that opened up a world of research to feed my mind and keep it off creating pandemic grocery lists comprising of only cleaning products and paper towels. I joined an Earthwatch virtual class where scientists shared their knowledge about climate change. (see Science Matters Webinar series and particularly Episode 2 with Churchill's Northern Studies). As an offshoot of my volunteering for Explore.org, I found a new community of polar bear watchers (http://knutisweekly.com/) and the Canadian Polar Bear Habitat and ISAMR.- organizations supporting great research for the Arctic.
The pandemic gave me considerable time to follow my heart with reading - old favorites and new-to-me authors - exploring the depth of writers who explain, expose or expostulate about our natural world (I wrote to this here). I'm still struggling with my emotions about a quote I read in early May:
"..all conservation of wildness is self-defeating for to cherish we must see and fondle, and when enough have seen and fondled, there is no wilderness left to cherish."-
Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac
In Jan 2020, I envisioned a healthier me once I had a new hip and could move again (hopefully) without pain. I count my lucky stars that walking was my rehab and that I had both a local venue and willing companions to make my daily walks not only pain free but enjoyable enough that we continue them to this day.
I'd also said that in 2020 I would focus on writing. Well, I am thrilled that I was able to publish, The American Metallic Fabric Company: A century of wire weaving on Cape Cod, in 2020 to Amazon. My other manuscript has taken a backseat as I slowly slog through necessary revisions. But I wrote, and got considerable feedback from, posts about hockey when the emotion around sports and the pandemic got the best of me (see here, here, and here). I deeply appreciate the responses that I got from those pieces - those that were supportive and those that were critical. I hadn't realized how much I missed the conversations and heated discussions we used to have in person until the pandemic made face-to-face impossible.
Artistically, I buried myself in Jane Stafford's online weaving guild , learning to weave as an escape from the pandemic and politics. In November I was pleasantly surprised when my friend opened Port City Emporium in Manistee and asked me for glass and fiber work for her store. With my sales I was able to donate to the Churchill Northern Studies Centre in December - something I'd worried wouldn't be possible earlier in the year.
Lastly, last January, I'd anticipated that hockey would be my first focus area. And despite the pandemic that did came true. Hosting my first CCWHA tournament in February was a thrill. I was also able to attend the USAH Empowering Women in Hockey summit and to attend the MHSAA's Women in Sports Leadership conference. I looked back on what I wrote in Jan 2020, "We need more women in sport! Organizing, coaching, mentoring young women so they have positive female leader/role models." Little did I know, when I typed those thoughts, that I would attend and speak to our Secretary of State and guests at the Michigan's Task Force on Women in Sport . This group has just released their first report and I'm proud that my involvement ensured ice hockey would be included in their research. I also agreed to volunteer as a USAH Goaltender Coach-in-Chief. USAH, and my colleagues in Michigan, have done an impressive job putting their educational programs online. It is still my hope that we'll be back on a rink sometime, somewhere, safely in 2021.
So perhaps, as bad as 2020 was (and let's be honest - it was a horrid, horrid year) there were some upsides. It gave me challenges I had to take, taught me lessons I have yet to absorb, and reminded me daily of what matters the most. Surprisingly, it's also made it impossible for me, a born planner, to plan. I can't plan for 2021 - in fact I can't plan for even next month or next week. With one day feeling surprising like another, and all the disruption that 2020 brought, I find all I need is to lean into each morning, bless the energy that's made it possible for me to begin the day, and then take it one step at a time.
Not that I don't have lists of to-do's (didn't I just call myself a planner?). But I just don't feel like annual resolutions (or even areas of focus as I did last year) are going to be helpful to me anymore. Living more closely to what I value, looking for ways to demonstrate care and concern, continuing to speak truth and, more importantly, to listen to the truth of others - these aren't so much goals for the new year but results of the incredible once-in-a-lifetime year that's past. Like so many of you, I look forward to 2021. As Mary Engelbreit wrote, "Don't look back – you're not going that way."