Community Chatter: The best thing you have done this year
It's hard to believe that there are only 10 days left in 2020, it's been quite the year. But in spite of everything that has happened, we wanted to focus on some of the good things that this year has brought.
So here are some of the best things we have done this year:
The best thing I did this year by far was make the decision to expand our family and adopt a dog. We bought our first house this summer (another great thing!) and finally got to fulfill our dream of adding a canine family member.
We went into the shelter that day “just to look.” We had a short wishlist: An older dog. Good with cats. House trained. In a new house, we didn’t want to take too many risks in destroying it quickly. But, we walked into that shelter and immediately spotted a 6-month-old lab/border collie mix named Skye. She wagged her tail with her whole body, and a picture of her eyes could be next to the dictionary definition of “puppy dog eyes.” She was adorable, spunky, and so sweet.
We took her out to the yard to play. She loved toys and even knew how to play fetch. Well, mostly. Getting the ball out of her mouth wasn’t always easy, but she knew the gist of it. She was just a purely happy dog.
We were in love, but I still worried. As a puppy, there was training to do. Her relationship with cats was unknown. And, her breed dictated a TON of energy that I wasn’t convinced we could manage. Humoring me, my husband and I looked at a few other dogs that seemed to fit the bill I was looking for, but none of them were Skye. After some (short) deliberation, we were both convinced. Skye was the pup for us.
We brought her home that afternoon and it was even clearer it was meant to be. Skye, now named Velvet, fit in perfectly, took to training quickly, and even got along with the cats! During this year when it was easy to hunker down and disconnect, she got us back outside to have adventures, take long walks to explore our neighborhood, and best of all, she brought extra laughter, snuggles, and companionship into our home.
Looking back on the year has been a very helpful exercise in figuring out what has really happened. In the midst of “Pandemic Time”, where time seems almost non-existent, and days feel like weeks, or hours feel like minutes, it can be a little more difficult to separate good moments from average or uncomfortable ones. However, in reflecting back, I’ve realized how many good moments I have truly had. As it turns out, a lot has happened this year, even while staying safe at home.
Through many zoom reunions, and attending the Inside Lands music festival (from my couch), it’s clear I’ve made the best of 2020 circumstances. It’s hard to choose just one, but a specific lifestyle change stands out as the best thing I’ve done all year. In 2020, I moved to a new apartment. I live in a big city, where, for better or worse, the rental market completely collapsed. When 2020 began, I lived in a very small space, and I didn’t mind. I had lived in the same studio apartment for 10+ years, and it was cozy. Between business travel and my own adventure travel, living in a small space in a densely populated city was the exact right lifestyle for me. I loved coming home from trips to my comfortable (albeit very small) little studio apartment. However, when the pandemic struck, and I found myself working from home, staying in my apartment almost all of the time, the small space became a bit too small to focus on any one thing. In a studio apartment, the same space where I woke up in the morning was my office, my reading room, my bedroom, my living room, my every-room, alll in one room. But, with more apartments available, for a lower market rate, I was able to upgrade into a larger space.
Moving during a pandemic wasn’t easy, but I am grateful that the opportunity arose from shock of a global pandemic, and I have spent most of my time setting up my new space. Upgrading to an apartment with separate rooms has become my “quarantine project.” Every day I hang a new picture, unpack a little more, and set up a new space. It is with much gratitude that I humbly declare, the best thing I’ve done all year is change my surroundings and set up a new home.
Looking back at this year, it’s hard to really qualify anything as the “best” thing but I do think that one thing that has helped me more than I ever anticipated is my activity/wellness tracking ring. I was listening to an interview on a podcast one day and the athlete was talking about how they had started using a ring tracker to help them get a handle on their recovery during the season. It piqued my interest, so I started doing some digging and after a few weeks I ended up taking the plunge and ordering one.
To say my sleep patterns have always been erratic would be a bit of an understatement, and I’ve got years of sleep debt that I know I can never make up. But using the data from the tracking ring, I’ve been able to make changes in my lifestyle that helped me get closer to my body’s ideal rhythm. I am able to see how well I sleep each night, and I can see how my choices affect that sleep. In March, when we moved to a work from home model due to the pandemic, I was averaging about 4 to 5hr of sleep a night - not great. And often those few hours would be interrupted by me waking up around 3 or 3:30 in the morning for no apparent reason. Sometimes I could go back to sleep, sometimes I just stayed awake and kept drinking more coffee to keep me going.
Once I got my ring and started paying attention to what my body was telling me, I was able to figure out what my ideal bedtime is, and I know when to start winding down for the night. I am averaging about 8-9 hours a night now, and I rarely wake up in the middle of the night. It seems like such a simple thing, but having good sleep has made a difference in every part of my life.
Now it's your turn? What is the best thing you did this year?