2020 did a number on us.
Was it awful and heartbreaking and exhausting? A thousand times yes. But was every inch of it ugly and stressful and horrifying?
A thousand times no.
To prove it (to ourselves) Clay and I passed the time on a long car ride by reflecting on our year. We spent over an hour time traveling through the months and retracing each step, one by one. We retold our best/worst moments; our favorite music podcasts, movies, books; our strengths and weaknesses, and so on.
Clay and I try to have this ‘year in review’ conversation every year. It was especially sentimental to reflect on all the people, places, and things that held us upright over these past 12 year-months. I even considered sending Christmas cards for the first time ever, because if any year calls for a festive photo-card that says, “we’re still here, we survived, and we’re smiling”…it’s 2020. Unfortunately we didn’t get around to it, but we thought it’d be nice to share our ‘best of’ lists and year end reflections with you instead.
Without further ado, I proudly present our first annual newsletter.
Happy New Year!
A few notes:
First off, many of the movies, tv shows, books, and so on were “new to us”. In other words the following ‘favorites of 2020’ lists are about a half and half mix of old and new releases.
Second, my perfectionist self wants (needs) you to know that most of the illustrations were taken out of my (Katie’s) sketchbooks and therefore are not perfect, nor are they meant to be perfect. (I’m looking at you: illustration of Taylor Swift.)
…speaking of sketchbooks, I treated the following pages as such: fun daily warmups to explore and dust the cobwebs off. As a result, I did not always take the time to make sure everything was tightly aligned or cohesive or legible, even. (read: it’s messy, sorry not sorry)
Lastly, it’s possible that Clay and I initially intended for this to be a brief 1 or 2 page newsletter typed out in a Google Doc, but then Classic Katie bulldozed that idea and gradually rebuilt it into this whole ridiculous thing.
Best of, favorites, etc….
BEAR: Watch Katie’s IG highlight (bear) to see more about our bear encounters
WONDERLAND: For pictures and a short essay on our best/worst days on the trail click here
It was the best of times, in the worst of times:
We’ve heard a lot of talk about 2020 being a wasted year.
In some instances 2020 certainly stunted our growth––that job, that wedding, that big trip–– big things were put on hold for so many of us. Not to mention the emotional and mental toll of it all. Still, we hope it didn’t rob you of a whole year.
Because there was an alchemy to 2020; the turning of crap into gold. …not always, not everyday, but for the most part there was a creative dedication to joy, and hope that nudged us on. Did you notice it too? The stubborn resilience that held us upright and said “this will not break us,” even on days when we insisted it might.
These thoughts remind me of a Mexican proverb I read in September:
“They tried to bury us; they didn’t know we were seeds.”
My heart did a little battle cry when I first read that; it rallied. I love the redemptive reminder; that in spite of the dark and bleak there will always be opportunities to churn out something bright and beautiful, too. Because redemption is not a silver lining thing, it’s an invitation to be a part of the new narrative; to be seeds.
That’s our biggest 2020 takeaway. Every inch of it did not have to be awful and heartbreaking. Every day of it did not have to be a waste. We hope you agree.
So…rest in peace 2020.
We can’t say you’ll be missed, but you taught us a ton.
2 replies on “First Annual Newsletter”
Wow, this is pretty cool, what you made here! Stumbled across your site via the Reader for Seattle, for your essay about Fremont, that was a good one (btw I’m friends with Valarie of Wedgwood fame). Saw on one of your old posts you’re from GR, it looks like. I grew up in MI, out in the boonies between Muskegon and GR. See, you never get too far from the Great Lakes. Still anxiously waiting for our chance to get back and visit family.
Hi Jason, thank you! And yes, I am from GR. It’s always nice to run into fellow West Michiganders out here. We (my husband and I) are also looking forward to the day when we can travel back; soon-ish…we hope!
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