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well i’m just gonna throw this out there – 2020 wasn’t that bad for me. actually it was a great year.

yes, there were hard times. i had to go onto unemployment and john’s business slowed down, resulting in more time together, leading to critical judgements and demands of each other. i saw my friends struggle as they learned how to do home schooling and juggle business which usually resulted in depression and anxiety. and i witnessed how the pandemic effected children, installing fear in their every move while they were robbed of carefree childhood development. there were also roughly 6 wild fires amongst our beautiful Colorado, taking several friend’s homes and cabins as victims from our dry, fragile state. and don’t forget about the black lives matter movements that shattered several major cities, murder hornets, and joe biden becoming president elect.

on a lighter note, i started out 2020 training for my first half marathon which took place in february. i was finishing off a year of sobriety, eating right and exercising my butt off. i did better in my race than i expected for a first timer – even beat my time by 5 minutes. my parents came out to cheer me on and greet me at the finish line with flowers, hugs, and tears. 

in march, covid hit. it started with the social distancing and lockdowns. really that meant nothing to me. my home is my domain. it’s where i live 90% of my life. outside of running and hiking, i was only leaving my house to run errands and occasionally show my face awkwardly in social gatherings i felt i didn’t belong in anyways. so for my introverted self, this whole social distancing was a great excuse for me to hermit up even more.

i took up lots of hobbies. i learned how to grow a starter using einkorn flour (in layman’s terms that means living yeast for fancy italian bread). it felt so authentic and ancestral for me to work my hands into dough. for my first time ever, i made pancakes, sourdough, muffins, pizza, and cinnamon rolls from scratch!

i joined a 12-week running class where i gained more confidence in myself and made some new friends.

i got serious about growing my own vegetables. with some contractor friends (and some extra unemployment money) we were able to dig out terraced veggie beds and build a geodesic dome. i collected river rocks from along the valley roads and built walls for weeks, grew plants from seed in my living room windows, and wheelbarrowed SO. MUCH. SOIL. the “queendome” (as i like to call it) came together like a charm and was well worth the months of blood, sweat, and tears. i am still harvesting vegetables and it is mid january!

i ran numerous trails that i always struggled hiking. i dipped in alpine lakes, identified and snacked on wild flowers, slept under the stars, and gasped for air above 14,000 foot peaks. 

i had a blast in lake powell with my closest girlfriends celebrating my marriage. we danced in the dirt, saw fireworks, dressed up as pirates, rode a unicorn and swan, wore lipstick, and laughed our asses off. 

my extended family visited in august (when our wedding party was supposed to occur). i took them whitewater rafting and to the glenwood hot springs. we barbequed and played poker as a traditional “haines family reunion” activity. 

i went bow hunting for my first time and stalked an entire herd of elk. waking up at 5am to camo up and hike in the dark was worth all the effort for the experience of the magical sounds of the bull elk bugle and cow calls that pull my soul into the hunt. the trees, rocks, brush and i became one as i blended into nature and learned how to listen, smell, and feel the wilderness life of the wapiti. 

i kept up with my fitness throughout the year and enrolled in a virtual race up aspen mountain in december. i had done this race years before, jokingly with a friend as we sipped fireball in our tutus, giggling our way up the ski hill. interestingly, this year we could complete the vertical race however we wanted. john and i utilized our incline trainer and we both took first place! i “hiked” up 3267 vertical feet in an hour! 

john and i ended the year by celebrating our 6 year anniversary in steamboat springs (my first time)! we skinned in the backcountry, soaked in the most magical hot springs, and devoured a seafood dinner we cooked ourselves as we indulged in some nostalgic 90’s music. 

despite all of these amazing memories, my heart goes out to all of those who have lost loved ones, lost their businesses, lost their homes, lost their incomes and struggle to make ends meet. my goal isn’t to diminish real, raw experiences of human life that many suffered through. my only hope is to show that 2020 wasn’t all a loss. i hope you as well gained so many new insights about yourselves, learned new things and cherished those that still exist.

a friend of mine who passed away this year always said, “life isn’t always suites and bottle service”. we’ve had it pretty freaking good. we have been spoiled by the riches of this planet. we have demanded, taken, and consumed without avail or thought. maybe 2020 was our wake up call. a call to what’s really important in life.

i hope for 2020 you can look back with both a sigh of relief and a heart full of gratitude. 

Commit yourself to do whatever it is you can contribute in order to create a healthy and sustainable future – the world needs you desperately. Find that in yourself and make a commitment – that is what will change the world.” – John Denver