Amy’s Top 10 Favorite Things of 2020
In a year that brought so many challenges, there were still discoveries and blessings and favorites. Here are my top ten favorite things from 2020.
I’m not sure if it was because we were all trapped in our homes for months or if we needed the stress release of humor, but those people in the world who create memes and share them via social media had a banner year. Here are my top 10 from 2020. (And believe me, it was HARD to choose only 10!)
2. Untamed by Glennon Doyle
One does not simply READ this book. One EXPERIENCES it down to the very tips of her toes! I laughed…out loud. I cried…a lot. I shuddered. I gasped. I shook my head. While reading it and even now, I cannot seem to adequately express how completely this book slayed me. I think it should come with a warning label that reads, “Reading this is probably going to be very uncomfortable for you, but by the end, you will also feel like Glennon is your new best friend. You will not be able to UN-read it, and your life will never be the same.” Hands down, this was the book of 2020 for me.
3. Pickle Ball
Sometime in the late spring of 2020, I posted on my Facebook wall that I was looking for someone who could give me tennis lessons. I thought it would be something new I could learn and play during our year of COVID restrictions, and I do love to compete and to learn new things. A friend from my very first teaching job replied that she didn’t know anyone who taught tennis but that I could come learn to play pickleball (like tennis but with a whiffle ball on a smaller court) if I wanted. I jumped at the offer and cannot tell you how much fun I have had learning and playing this new game. It’s a great workout. I have met so many new friends and my game is even improving a bit as I play. Pickleball has definitely been a highlight of a very different year!
4. Walks with Friends
About two weeks into the pandemic, we started to meet several of our friends who live in our neighborhood after the “work-from-home” and remote learning school day had ended for a daily walk. Our younger kids rode along on their bikes and occasionally, we would cajole our teenagers to come too. While walking, we would talk over the latest news on the pandemic, wave at neighbors as we passed, discuss the changes in each of our workplaces or businesses, lament the challenges of school from home and share tips on which stores still had toilet paper or sugar in stock. Sometimes, we just talked about the weather or what we were making for supper. There was something calming and normal about it in the midst of so much change, fear and chaos in the world….it was an anchor for all of us and something to look forward to each day. Rain or shine, light or dark, snow or sleet, throughout the last ten months and every season of weather, these walks have continued to be an anchor in an uncertain world, a simple pleasure, and a safe place to share the experience of 2020.
The other day, I was sitting on my front porch chatting on the phone and realized that within my vision from that stoop, there was a UPS truck, a post office truck, a FedEx truck and an Amazon truck all dropping off packages to my neighbors at the same time. Never have I been more grateful for the ability to order online and have items show up within days, sometimes hours of my pushing a button than in 2020.
6. Family Dinners
I can vividly remember a moment in March when all five of us sat down for a meal together, thinking to myself with sad astonishment, “Oh my gosh. My children have been so busy with all of their activities, they don’t even know how to eat together as a family.”There were sibling fights, constant reminders about manners, frustration because no devices were allowed at the table, complaints about people chewing too loudly and what we were eating, and groans as clean up was delegated to different people. Not gonna lie, it was rough at the beginning (and sometimes, it still is). But we persisted and over time, we got into a groove and the time together at our table started to be more enjoyable. There were stories told, frustrations vented, jokes and laughter shared, and a new healthy normal of gathering each day together. What felt so awkward and irritating to start has become a favorite part of our life. Shared mealtimes have brought us all together and I am grateful.
While everyone grew a little fatigued with constant virtual connection points this year, there were so many times when I felt grateful that this form of technology was not only available but that it was free with an internet connection and an app or laptop. I have run both of my businesses through Zoom almost exclusively for the last ten months, my older kids have done almost all of their school through it, and we have even been able to gather as an extended family on holidays when we couldn’t be together because of Zoom. While it is certainly not as good as a real hug and shared meal or an actual classroom with a teacher interacting with students, Zoom connection was better than no connection at all.
The election of 2020 will go down in history for so many reasons. It was extremely divisive, more controversial than any I can remember. More people voted and in more ways than ever before in our nation’s history. We elected our country’s first female vice president. We also had a different election experience because of the pandemic. Almost everyone I know followed closely as the results trickled in over the days following election day, coloring states red or blue on our electoral college maps. Whether you were elated or disappointed with the outcome, I know I left the experience overwhelmingly grateful for the OPPORTUNITY to vote. I hope I never take that right for granted. The process is imperfect and so are the candidates, but I wouldn’t want to live in any other nation or under any other form of government. Winston Churchill said it best, “No one pretends democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government….except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”
As a former teacher and being married to someone who has been serving in education for over 25 years, I thought I had a healthy appreciation for all teachers…until 2020. I can remember getting Andrew onto a Zoom one morning in the spring and almost crying tears of joy as I listened to his teacher so joyfully and playfully explain how to decode a word or as I watched her break down a complex math process so he could understand it. All of our kids’ teachers have shifted gears countless times and worked tirelessly to meet the needs of their students under the most trying of circumstances. God bless ALL of the educators! You deserve a raise!
10. A Support Team
A friend who has known me for more than twenty years and worked with me intimately once said to me, “I finally figured it out. You aren’t really that great at anything but you are REALLY great at finding amazing people and letting them help you.” Never did I realize the truth of this statement more than in 2020. With the help of the most amazing support crew, we created my very first online course, celebrated the third anniversary of Amy Kemp, Inc. with the launch of my brand new branding and website, added several new properties to our rental portfolio, and became only the 34th team in company history to do over a million dollars in sales in a year four times…all of this during a pandemic. I am so very grateful to my assistant, my business manager, my graphic designer, my home support crew, my virtual assistant, my web designer, those who help run our home and all of the others who contributed to make these dreams a reality. Team #kempnation is the very best!
Simply amazing and uplifting as always! ❤
Love your spin on 2020 and seeing your pictures that captured it all.
I love reflecting on this past year through your eyes! Thank you for letting us in and sharing the “inside of Amy Kemp”!
You are a true inspiration!! Not to mention an incredible listener, teacher and leader! May 2021 continue to be filled with blessings beyond measure, good health and lots of new and fun adventures!
How have I not come to your blog before this morning!? Thank you for your reflections of 2020…what a year it was! I ordered the book btw 😉