What Worked & What Didn’t in 2020

I’ve enjoyed reading different takes on 2020 from bloggers. For many it’s time to move on but I’m taking a closer look at 2020 before I let it go without allowing it to teach me.

I may even explore the different takes on looking back in future posts. (Letting go, even of challenging times, can be hard.)

In Emily Freeman‘s newsletter she looked at what worked and what didn’t for her in 2020. If you don’t subscribe to her newsletters or listen to her podcast I encourage you to put this on your to-do list for 2021.


Being gentler on myself 

This may sound crazy but a year and a half into retirement where I have few restrictions on my time it still felt lazy to grab my latest fiction book and read in the middle of the afternoon. Or, in the morning.

I’m a work first person even if that work is determined by me.

It’s taken longer than expected but I enjoy the soft winter sun coming through the window behind me as I settle into my big overstuffed chair with my latest read. 

Floor needs sweeping? It will wait. Dusting? Same

It’s pretty liberating.

Positive self talk

When it comes to time, I’m rigid and even selfish. When our granddaughter wanted to sleep over (this was new to us as we’d only moved here) I was getting anxious about how late she’d want to stay up and how I’d occupy her with things she’d like. I had to repeat to myself it will be okay. We’d all be ourselves and try our best to go with the flow. I had to remind myself I was worrying over things I didn’t even know would happen. (A common habit of mine.) It’s worked beautifully as we are who we are and accepting of that with each other. We take turns choosing movies to watch. When we’re ready for bed we go and she squeezes in between us before our little night owl goes in her room to play on her iPad.

Being more intentional about being a positive voice in social media.

I’m not one for drama and steer clear of political talk I find divisive. This year, in particular, seemed to need more voices of hope so I wrote more on the images I posted on Instagram and included more funny memes on my Facebook page. I don’t know if it had an impact on anyone else but it helped me.

Saying yes to something I had no experience with.

A woman who’d seen my photography on Unsplash contacted me about doing product shots of house plants for her new website. I was open with her when we spoke and we agreed to give it a trial to see if she was pleased. I ended up shooting over 40 plants she sent me and learning as I went. It would have been so easy to say no but we both took the chance.

And that wasn’t the only yes I said to opportunities I had little experience with. In each case I learned so much and built more confidence in my work.


Not taking better physical care

In the beginning of the pandemic we were taking daily walks in the neighborhood. And then someone’s knee hurt or foot and we took a break. Then it was rain and something else until we weren’t walking. 

But we were snacking and eating a bite or two extra. Yeah, that’s hasn’t worked at all.


I don’t know why but I’ve had a hard time making the simplest of decisions. It feels like I overthink everything! 

Do we want to get take out?

Are we going to cut cable?

Looking for another phone plan

I can spend 10 minutes scrolling through movies on Netflix only to never decide and end up watching another Law & Order rerun. It can be exhausting!

Closed Dressing Rooms (see not taking better physical care)

Like so many, that COVID 15 (or whatever) is real. Looking for new jeans was a big deal when dressing rooms are closed. Returning anything to a store is not my thing but a lot “not my thing” weren’t options this year.

I want to end with what I think worked most for me: HOPE. I haven’t lost hope. When you place your hope in God it’s not shaken by the ugliness politics became or fear the news media has spread. My cousin gave me a necklace for Christmas that says, “My hope is built on nothing less”. The old hymn continues to say “than Jesus’ blood and righteousness“. He is my hope.

3 thoughts on “What Worked & What Didn’t in 2020

  1. What a thoughtful piece, Debby … I’m resonating with much of what you’ve penned. It’s helpful to see ourselves in black and white … and to know all will be well.

    So grateful to have you as a beloved traveling companion!

    1. I appreciate bloggers, much like you, who spur me to think a bit critically and gently. I am most grateful to be traveling with you as well, Linda. Let’s keep finding the joy around us!

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