January 1, 2020 seems much longer than 365 days ago! If there's ever been a year that has felt like 10 years, 2020 has been it! And with the pandemic taking hold of our lives in March, everything that we knew, and the way we always did things was no more.

There was and still is plenty of bad in 2020 and will continue into 2021. Thousands of Mainers lost their jobs or saw their incomes slashed. Over 338 thousand people have dies of COVID-19 in the United States and 82 million people worldwide have had COVID-19. Countless businesses have been impacted and still are impacted because of COVID restrictions. Tensions between political parties have been exacerbated, racial tensions erupted into riots, clashes between the police and the public have been the worst I can remember, keyboard warriors are out in force... The list of bad things can go on and on and on.

Yet, with all the bad, there have been good things. Often it is harder to remember or find the good things, but if you focus solely on the bad and don't remember or acknowledge the good things you'll be walking around under a black cloud.

Here are just some of my best memories of 2020 or how 2020 has changed me

  • Mainers pulled together. Food banks were stretched to the max, but donations came !  When people needed help, Mainers delivered. It just reconfirmed my belief that Mainers take care of Mainers and those they love.
  • The pandemic forced a reset in our priorities. People realized that athletes weren't heroes, but everyday people were! Nurses, grocery store workers, first responders, pharmacists, front line workers were given the appreciation and thanks that they have always deserved.
  • Teachers, schools and families pivoted when remote education became the norm. Was it a total success? By no means! But with little advance notice it happened. Schools made sure children were fed. Teachers worked and continue to work crazy hours. Parents realized how hard teachers worked when they were forced to be the teacher's aide
  • Schools, parents and students thought outside the box to make virtual or parking lot graduations a thing. There were parades of graduates, cardboard salutes to graduates and more. Some of those things proved to be so popular that some things will continue post-pandemic. New traditions were born. Lots and lots and lots of hours went into the preparation, some arguments and even a few tears but everyone did what was necessary to make things as best as they could be, and better than anyone could have originally thought possible.
  • Businesses thought outside of the box! Take out and to-go were never so popular. Parklets became a thing. Whoever thought you could get alcohol and beer to go!?
  • People rescued dogs, cats and kittens like never before! Shelters were emptied as people adopted them giving them their "fur-ever" family!
  • Little things that people never appreciated suddenly became a lot more important. Going to Church, seeing people smile, shaking hands, hugging are all things I have missed and can't wait to do again
  • The upcoming baby boom! The forced quarantine in late March and April are going to be keeping the Obstetric wings busy at the local hospitals! Yes, we know how you kept busy those early nights of quarantine!
  • There was a return to the nuclear family. Families had to interact with each other. There was more game playing together, local trips together as people kept their bubble small
  • I ate more meals with my wife in 1 year than in a couple of years combined! We had lunch and dinner daily, and it made me realize how lucky I am that she married me 32 years ago! The time together has helped me realize even more how great she is
  • 2020 forced me to slow down. I would generally have 3-4 meetings at night a week, and in the Spring baseball/softball games during the week and weekend and at least 1 remote every weekend. All of those were largely canceled forcing me to slow down.
  • Businesses and individuals embraced technology. I had never heard of Microsoft Teams. Now I conduct meeting and interviews with it all the time. Zoom? The last time I had heard of ZOOM it was a TV show in the 70's/80's. Using our Alexa show I'm able to video-chat with my parents in Florida at a minimum daily. It's not the same, but it's the next best thing to being there in person.

These are just some of my thoughts and memories. I'd love to know your best memories of 2020! Please drop them in the comments!

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