The Transition of Years Part 1: 2020

Wow, what can I say about 2020 that you don’t know?  There was a pandemic and the death rate in the US was pretty horrific, and totally avoidable.  I still know people who think it is a hoax.  There were economic issues caused by the pandemic, such as high unemployment, shortages of essentials (anyone remember the TP shortage?!) and small businesses folding (the huge companies had one of the best years ever!).  There were travel restrictions, social distancing, isolation, and all of that.  There were natural disasters, such as huge fires, multiple hurricanes, drought, flooding. The death of some big name, influential people, Covid-19 related and not.  And then there was the politics of the year, which is still go on, and getting scarier.  Too much said about that one… It was a year to remember.

I was not as effected as many that I know, but I was effected.  Some people close to me were very sick. Luckily I didn’t lose anyone very close, but I did lose people I know and know some people who lost very close family and/or friends. I haven’t seen any family member since July of 2019.  I did no travel.  My wife lost every one of her contracts and so her income was zero through a chunk of the year. We lost a sweet cat, Josie. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

But then, there were positives.

As we moved into 2020, I felt more confident about the year ahead than I had ever felt about a year in the past.  Sure, I had three mortgages with sky-high interest rates and a rapidly dwindling savings due to those payments being much larger than my income.  Yes, the first thing that happened in 2020 was the sale of one house falling through two days before it was supposed to close.  No matter, I had never in my life felt so positive.

So, was any of that optimism justified?

Actually, yes.

That extra house finally did sell in the spring. So far I have been able to refinance one of the other mortgages, the larger of the two (working on the other).  The payment after refinancing is 70% of what it was before!  That’s a huge savings.  So I won’t lose the house.

I got a raise this year.  Yes, I get a cost of living raise every year, but this was a raise to a new pay-band, the first I have received in over 20 years, even though my work and responsibility has literally increased a thousand-fold in that time.

Financially I no longer have a date on the calendar circled when I will run out of money.  Now I have a date circled when it will be financially possible to retire.

Thinking houses, I was unable to get any work on the new house done in 2019 and was a little depressed about it.  Of course, if I had, I would not have had the funds to tide me over until the other house sold, so in ways it was very lucky that the contractors didn’t call back!  I did get a lot of work done in 2020, including having the house painted, having a new roof put on the barn and the barn sided and a little plumbing work.  There is still a ton of work to do, but this was a huge help.

I was more consistent in my exercise in 2020 than any other year.  I added to my run, and included a few bigger hills as well as more mileage.  I increased weight on weight exercises.  I added pushups, chin-ups and pull-ups to my routine.  I just started with a row machine, mostly for use when I can’t run, but also used for warmup before weight/strength exercises.  Overall, I am in better shape than I have been in my entire life.  OK, in my late 20s I used to ride my bike 200+ miles a week at a racing pace, which I doubt if I could ever do again, but overall, I am far stronger than I was then. I am back to my weight and pants size I was in my mid-to-late 20s.

I was able to kayak quite a bit, more than in 2019, though I kayaked less in 2019 than any other year in the last decade.  Still, I did have a great kayak year in 2020 and got some good photos from the boat.

I saw a lot of wildlife.  I literally ran into a huge black bear (I was running and screeched to a halt just a few feet in front of it!).  I saw a coyote, some fox, rabbits, opossum, raccoons, etc.  I saw seals often, and had some come up less than a paddle length from the kayak. There was a hummingbird nest outside of my office window and I saw baby humming birds.  There were, of course, more osprey than can be counted.  Hawks, falcons (I’ve been seeing more falcons) and other large birds of prey, though since I didn’t visit Ohio, I saw less eagles.

I have picked up studying math and science on my own.  I know, nerdy, but I think personal growth is super important.

We had a share in a community supported farm, and so ate a lot of the freshest veggies imaginable.  I’ve been cutting down on meat, and this helped.

I’m sure there is a lot more, but that is enough for now.

As you can see, despite all of the setbacks of the year, there were some positives for me.

Of course I am not blind to the hardships of others, and will talk about that a little more in Part 2, which I will post tomorrow, New Year Day, 2021.

29 thoughts on “The Transition of Years Part 1: 2020

  1. Master of Something Yet

    You’ve had quite the year but I’m so glad you were able to find the positives. I imagine the focus on your physical health would have contributed to your managing to cope well with the challenges. Well done on all the work you’ve done and congratulations on the raise! Happy New Year to you, Trent!

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks! Last year was the cliche “best of times/worst of times”. I think you are right – if I miss a few days of exercise, my attitude deteriorates. I hope you had a good New year and that you have a wonderful 2021!

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  2. workinacresnothours

    We need to off load & mention the bad that’s very important, I think the bear encounter is a great analogy, 2020 came reared up then left, hopefully this year for all the trail will only get better. It’s hugely important to focus on the positive & share that. I love your contribution to that with your smile blog, thank you for that & for just being your true nerdy you. lol.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I agree that we do need to acknowledge the bad, and sometimes a bit of venting or offloading can be healthy, but dwelling on the bad doesn’t do much good. And I guess I can at least occasionally be an optimist ;) Which might also be why I host the Weekly Smile… Thanks, love the comment. I hope you have a wonderful 2021!

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  3. Pingback: The Transition of years Part 2: 2021 | Trent's World (the Blog)

  4. Corina

    I’m glad you had positives that you can focus on. I did too. However, right now I’m stuck in the negatives. I actually think I need to list the positives so I can remember them and focus on those for a bit. Looking forward to reading Part 2.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks, Corina. Sometimes we do need to look at the positives, count our blessings, etc. Glad that overall you had a positive year, even if you are currently dwelling on the negatives. I hope 2021 is a great year for you! (I just posted part 2 and it turned into more of a political rant than I had planned…)

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  5. Dale

    Let me just start off by giving you kudos for focusing more on the positive things that happened in 2020. People really need to start doing that.
    Happy 2021 to you and your loved ones and may it bring you even more joy, smiles, happiness, health and wealth!

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I feel lucky, and grateful, that I have had such a good year considering what it has been for so many! Personally, for me the worst was poor Josie :( I hope you have a happy New year and a great year ahead!

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        1. trentpmcd Post author

          I actually have two (besides the two dogs). Albert is the three -legged cat from Kuwait. Sounds funny, but he is a funny cat. He has been having issues the last couple of years so I was surprised we lost Josie instead of Albert. But he is a fighter. And we inherited Gracie (renamed Grace Kelly, because all cats are royalty (Josie was Joséphine Bonaparte)) when her owner passed away. She is doing great. So no cat any time soon. I did see a photo that your cat is with you in your trailer.

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          1. Alexis Chateau

            Sounds like you still have a full house! Your three-legged cat sounds like the most amusing of the bunch!

            Shadow is king of our little castle. He took over the dinette. I can’t even eat there anymore. I eat on the sofa! 😂

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  6. Ocean Bream

    I know people who think it’s a hoax too. I find that so strange. This is a pandemic, it’s a Big Event, like the wars were, like the last pandemic was, like all the Big Events going on in other parts of the world (wars, earthquakes, landslides, etc). Are all those ‘big hoaxes’ too? I am sorry to hear about your wife losing a lot of income, and also about your cat. And your list of positives were heartwarming to read! Goodness, getting work done on a house, having a sale go through, wow! And with regards to fitness, very inspiring :) the bear story should be fleshed out more I think… what did you do when you screeched to a halt? Did it give chase?! That must have been frightening lol. It sounds like 2020 was a healthier and more productive year for you, and I am so glad to read it. So many people are berating 2020 and listing all their negatives, so it’s really nice to see that some people have also benefited from this year. Of course, it’s been very hard on a lot of people, but celebrating your wins is a positive way to go about things. Wishing you even more success in 2021 :)

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I don’t understand the whole hoax thing either, except some over on this side of the pond thought it was best to downplay the pandemic for political reasons, and it came back to bite them – some times quite literally! I did have a post on the bear, but a quick version is that it wasn’t as exciting as all of that. I stopped. It walked a step or two more in my direction, then stopped. It stood up on its hind legs look closely at me, than run into the woods. I walked to the other side of the road, walked past where the bear went into the woods, and then started running again. For the most part I did have a healthy and productive year, and so have tried to look at the positive. Hope you have a wonderful 2021!

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      1. Ocean Bream

        Oh people here did that too and it bit them literally as well. And people continue to do it. That bear story sounds adrenaline-boosting, lol. I must go through your blog to find it :D Thank you for summarising it to me. And thank you for the good wishes! I hope you have a wonderful 2021!

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