Finding Joy in 2020

Easy to hop on the bandwagon and kick this year out of the park. I certainly agree that it was awful and unpredictable and annoying. But if you think about it and you, like me, are still alive here on this planet, I bet we can recall a few moments that brought us joy this year.

I didn’t travel and the one trip I did plan had to be canceled.

That didn’t stop me from dreaming about traveling. In fact one recurring dream I kept having this fall was of me packing a suitcase. But I had 2 suitcases and several bags and some loose clothes and even a sled. I was having a difficult time carrying it all.

Apparently packing dreams have many interpretations. On the website packing dreams generally mean big changes ahead. The packing represents considering what to keep with you and what to let go.

Some big life changes have been happening this year for us: Pete sold his house. My house had some major renovations. I retired from teaching after 30 years. The boys sometimes lived with us and sometimes moved out.

In a year that I can’t wait for the threat of catching a deadly disease was over, I must reflect on the silver linings. What moments made me smile and appreciate that I still can enjoy this gift of life.

In honor of the last full moon, called a cold moon where 13 full moons happen in one year, here are my 13 best moments of 2020!

13. Waving to my students at their homes as I dropped off their school supplies and some other goodies after the schools shut down for the year.

Goodbye kindergarten

12. The wave goodbye drive by as families cruised past to cheer on the masked teachers from their cars.

11. Moving back into my house early March with a brand new renovated kitchen and bathroom.

Loving my new kitchen

10. The double rainbow in spring that was super vibrant.

9. Driving into Montauk this summer for a mini vacation. That view of the salty surf, sandy beach and quaint town as you descend from Old Montauk Highway always makes my heart sing.

8. When, at a socially distanced farewell party to good neighbors, they gave us all t-shirts with our neighborhood nickname.


7. Playing board games with my family after homemade dinners for those first 4 weeks sheltering at home.

6. When Harry runs around the house with his leash in his mouth to let us know he wants a walk on the beach.

5. Watching Pete use the new grill in our backyard instead of dining out.

4. Sitting in our inflatable hot tub at night with a glass of wine.

3. Making a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for my family in the new kitchen.

Thanksgiving buffet. Eat in dining room.

2. Getting the report that My brothers heart surgery was successful on Christmas Eve.

1. And finally, the joy of retiring and heading to Florida – for a month!!

Looking forward to finding more moments of joy and connection with friends and family in 2021.

Happy New Year to all of you. Wishes for good health and happiness in the new year.


At the age of 51 I unexpectedly became a widow. For the first 6 months after my husband died, I was in shock and numb. I journaled and with the help of friends, family and therapists was able to get back to living my old life, even if it is now very different. Before I was married, I had spent a semester in England and backpacked around Europe. My husband and I moved from New York to California for 8 years and started a family. Travelling took a back seat to raising a family and going to work everyday. Since the loss of my husband I have visited a lot of places with family and friends and took a solo trip to Thailand. I am enjoying sharing my stories and adventures as well as some of my insights to how I am traveling the path of being a widow. I hope to share my stories and adventures as well as some thoughts on being a middle aged widow. While I have some great experiences traveling to Thailand and cruising to Central America, some of my adventures involve a trip to see a Broadway show in nearby Manhattan and a shopping trip at Bed, Bath and Beyond. If I can inspire anyone to go out and continue to live a good life that would be my greatest accomplishment.

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2 Responses

  1. I am soooo jealous of your beautiful kitchen. It really looks nice, especially that island. COVID-19 affected our own kitchen renovations plans to the extent that we simply stopped trying to arrange for it. It’ll have to happen sometime late next year. Congrats on retirement, and also on the wonderful news about your brother. – Marty

    • runawaywidow says:

      Thank you Marty! Best wishes in 2021 and I hope you get that new kitchen. What a difference it makes!!

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