I'm thankful that, all in all, this year touched me pretty lightly. While I know people who have been sick, all my nearest and dearest have stayed healthy - with the exception of my mother-in-law, who tested positive twice but stayed asymptomatic. Whew!
Being asked to stay close to home hasn't been the hardship for me that it has for some; while I'm somewhere between introvert/extrovert, I'm a happy homebody, because I put a lot of time and effort into making my home a place I want to be. (Also something I'm lucky to be able to do).
Living where we do, instead of in the city, has made this year a lot easier, too. We have good neighbors who look out for each other, and we have enough local stores that we can patronize who run a tighter ship regarding masks and hygiene than some of the larger chains. While I'm feeling hug-deprived, I'm not deprived of people - I see my neighbors regularly, and we're having a socially distant, masked New Year's Eve gathering in the middle of the street tonight.
I can also say that keeping close to home has made me very productive this year. I finished and submitted A Wider World in May, for publication this coming April, and I just emailed the publisher a completed draft of the third book, Lady, in Waiting, for publication the year after. I wrote an entire book this year, plus edited the second one, and did audio edits for Songbird. Busy is also how I keep myself from thinking too much, so it's not been productivity for its own sake; it's been to keep me from running off the deep end when the existential dread sets in.
Though I'm looking forward to the vaccine being rolled out and things going back to (a slightly different) normal, I'm not sure if any of us will ever completely resume our pre-pandemic existence. As annoying as masks can sometimes be (though far less annoying than oxygen or a ventilator), I have to admit that neither Mario nor I have gotten sick at all this year. Even our allergies have been greatly reduced. That could also be because we're exposed to less people, but I can't think of the last unmasked conversation I had with anyone close enough to pick up a germ.
I miss faces.
But it's New Year's Eve, and we're supposed to be looking ahead and trying to be positive. I'm going to try. Hard.
Happy new year to everyone - I hope you and yours are healthy and stay that way. Thanks for stopping by and listening to me ramble. There will be more to come.