I’m conflicted about this year.
On the one hand, 2020 has been the most difficult year of my life. After pandemic struck, I was underemployed and making less than half my normal income for much of the year. As a social butterfly that values gatherings, events, and travel, it’s been hard to pretend to be something I’m not: an introverted, ineffectual homebody that’s suppose to keep their distance.
To be asked to do this for an indefinite period of time is even worse, especially after a country of 10 million (Sweden) has avoided lockdowns, face masks, and closed businesses, even though their death rate is better than Spain, Italy, France, and America (who all opted for strict closures and mask use — go figure).
On the other hand, there’s a lot more to like about 2020 than not. In fact, it’s far from being the “dumpster fire” it’s been called. Although I wouldn’t consider it my favorite year, it’s certainly the most memorable. Here’s why:
- Our savings, um… saved us. A year into owning my first business, I went three months without a paycheck, and it was horrible. I nearly had to get a job and ask mom and dad to help me cover rent, but on the last Friday before I went broke, a man cut me a check for some work and the rest is history. Ever since then, Lindsey and I have built and maintained a large emergency savings so we’d never have to live through a scary moment like that ever again. This year, those savings were finally put to good use. While it sucks to lose income, it’s wonderful to be able to draw from the hard work you’ve saved in the past to get out of a sticky situation. I’m grateful for that.
- I published my second book. I finished the final chapter the day America shut down on Friday the 13th of March. After several months of revisions, editing, and artwork, I finally published the book last month and am incredibly proud of the result. You should read it. I’m confident it will change how you see the world.
- I wrote, produced, and recorded my debut album. The week after lockdown started, two of my clients called the same day to cancel our work “until summer at the earliest.” Never before had something affected my work so hard and fast. That night I sat down and wrote this song of hope and despair. I recorded it. Then I wrote and recorded another. Then another, and another and another. All combined, I wrote and recorded over 20 songs in the first four months of quarantine. The emotions and creativity flowed with an ease I’ve never experienced. I had no intention of writing songs this year, let alone an album. But after everything I recorded, I packaged the best and released it as Mr. Mustache on all major music stores. “Don’t take this the wrong way, but it’s surprisingly good,” my good friend confessed after first hearing it. I hope you agree.
- I grew my first mustache. It didn’t go very well and looked more like something a pubescent middle-schooler would attempt. But I did it. Amazingly, my wife let me! (Her support is seriously off the charts!)
- I started a cover band. I haven’t played in a band since college. While unknowingly writing songs for what would eventually become my first album, I also placed an online ad seeking like-minded musicians to play a bunch of energetic dance rock songs from Phoenix, MGMT, Fitz & The Tantrums, Billy Idol, and more. We’ve been playing once a week since April and it’s been amazing. I even wrote a song about it. Although COVID has canceled our first two shows, we’re hoping to perform as soon as venues reopen.
- I co-founded a new company. This summer my friend Wesley called me with an idea. We ran with it and recently formed an education company called PowerSpace, which teaches the billions of people now working from home how to get the most from this flexible but isolating environment. Either way, I’m really excited about it, not to mention the many mentors that have freely given their advice to make it better.
- Staycations with family. With borders closed around the world, my family bonded over several staycations within Utah this year. We hiked all over the state, did local things we haven’t done in years, and road tripped to Dinosaur National Monument, Lake Powell, and Arches National Park (where Lindsey and I first fell in love with the outdoors over 12 years ago).
On top of all of that goodness, my work has starting picking up again. The future seems bright, and I still believe the good far outweighs the bad in this world.
What are you thankful for this year?