Newlyweds in a Pandemic: A Reflection

To add to the ever-growing echo on the interwebs, 2020 was a year unlike anyone could have imagined. When Connor and I got married, we had no idea that barely 4 months later—and en route back to the United States from our honeymoon in New Zealand—we’d be entering into a weeks-long stay-at-home order and working from home indefinitely.

The end of a year is always cause for reflection—about the year we’re leaving behind and, of course, the year ahead. I haven’t felt like writing much this past year. Even recapping our incredible trip to New Zealand last March felt frivilous as the entire world began shutting down, borders closing, trying to prepare for the unknown lurking ahead. The world I wrote about 8+ months ago seems so far away from where we are now (Read: And Yet, Here We Are).

I’ve discovered that I don’t often start to really think about the new year until we’re actually in it. I think I get so immersed in the hoildays and strive to be present and enjoy each moment that I don’t think too far beyond that until I’m ready. *Checks watch and discovers we’re only 6 weeks into the new year* Well, I guess now is as good a time as any! 2020 might have been a little (ok, huge) dumpster fire in many ways, but there were still plenty of positives that we’ve been able to take away from our first full year of marriage which happened to coincide with a once-in-a century pandemic. So in briefly reflecting on the year that’s now behind us, I offer a few glimpses into the year ahead—which is brimming with just as many unknowns as its predecessor.

Our Honeymoon to New Zealand
We were very lucky to get our honeymoon in before New Zealand shut its borders (literally less than a week after we left). We spent 2 weeks traveling between the North and South Islands and would go back in a heartbeat! It was definitely a long way to go, but 100% worth the trip. And seeing how they’ve handled the pandemic…did I already mention we’d love to go back? (We’ve got a few posts drafted about our trip—stay tuned!) I’m hopeful that this year we’ll be able to take a few car trips and explore some areas of the U.S. we haven’t been to—COVID-19 positivity rates pending, of course. Cautious optimism!

Running My Second Marathon
I’d never actually done a virtual race until this year (they’re not really my thing). But when the Chicago Marathon was officially cancelled, we were still training to run the distance and, at the time, needed to keep going for both our mental and physical health. On October 25, I completed my second marathon as part of the 45th Marine Corps Marathon—and snagged nearly a 30-minute PR. Connor ran the last 6.2 with me (after dealing with a nagging leg injury in the weeks leading up to race day) and helped push me to the finish, complete with a toilet paper finish line! And while I don’t see us racing in-person this year, I’m intrigued about doing our own time trials in both the 5K and half marathon. Looking forward to this once the snow melts!

Togetherness
I feel incredibly lucky and blessed that Connor and I have been able to have all of this unexpected time together over the past year. I know how privileged I am to even be able to say that; I truly don’t take any of it for granted. Between all the cooking, running, Packer and Brewer games, video game-playing, cocktail mixing, and candle-lit dinners, I think we’ve made the most of our first year of marriage, 90% of which has been spent in our 2 bedroom apartment.

Starting a 365 Photo Project
When I turned 25, I started a 365 photo project. At that time, Instagram had only just launched and I took most of the photos on my compact Olympus digital camera. I did another 365 project when I turned 30 and just started my third 365 project in December when I turned, you guessed it, 35. See a pattern here? So much can change in 5 years! Ten years ago, I hadn’t met Connor yet. Five years ago, we’d just run our first half marathon, Connor was in grad school, and I had a completely different job. I know this year will challenge my creativity given that we’re not on-the-go as much, but I’m looking forward to flexing that creative muscle a bit.

Reading
I was a big commuter reader (and probably will be whenver I see the inside of the subway car again, but who knows when that will be). My kindle was an everyday player in my grand commuting game. On a rare occasion I forgot it, I honestly didn’t know what to do with myself on the train and the rides felt intensly long. I’m also a walking reader. During lunch, one could often find me strolling through parks on the Upper West Side nose in my kindle. Truth be told, much like writing, I haven’t read as much since being at home. I have plenty of time, but feel like I have no time, ya know? I finished 28 books last year, short of my 35-book goal. My tops reads last year were Untamed, Station Eleven (A page-turner! But beware reading this in the middle of a pandemic—don’t say I didn’t warn you) The Sundown Motel, and Full Circle: From Hollywood to Real Life and Back Again. I’m aiming for redemption this year and attempting 35 again, including President Obama’s memoir.

Hijiinks in the Kitchen
I love to cook. Except when I’m tired. Then I cook begrudgingly but still with love. Early in the pandmic, when grocery store shelves were empty amidst all the panic shopping, we started doing the meal delivery service Hello, Fresh. The meals were good (we did 3x per week) and while it didn’t eliminate the need to go to the grocery store, it cut down on the number of trips we’d need to take. Last summer, we signed up for our first CSA through a local farm and got a small box of fresh produce every other week, which was fun to experiement with. We were always been big “lunch-bringers” and cooked from home often pre-pandemic, so not going out and eating in wasn’t a big change for us. Among the new-to-us things we’ve made: Christmas cookies, chicken bone broth (all with food scraps!), egg rolls, sweet and sour cabbage, butternut squash pasta sauce, mushroom and wild rice soup, and more. Between our Instant Pot, slow cooker, and air fryer, we’ve really taken our culinary and meal prep skills to a new level, including adding in a few meatless meals per week.

What’s Next?
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for sticking with me! In the words of my favorite {fictional} president, Josiah Bartlet, “What’s next?” It’s hard to predict what the rest of this month will look like, let alone the rest of the year. But I can only be hopeful that we’ll find ourselves in a better state, as a nation, than we were a few months ago. Perhaps I’ll see the inside of my office again, which I tidied up and left on Friday, February 26, 2020, the day before we left for New Zealand. Maybe we’ll road trip out to Wisconsin to see people (masked-up, of course) we haven’t seen in over a year. I might actually be able to start grad school this fall. Cautious optimism might just be my 2021 mantra.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: