Sam checks in for December, and for 2020 really

What a year!

[Drawing of a rabbit outside in front of a street lamp in the snow. Caption: “Next year will be better because now I have a better understanding of what I need to be okay in these kinds of times.”] From EMM, not Emma,

When 2020 began I was focused on knee replacement surgery and on my son Miles going off to Australia for study abroad in the middle of a year of very serious bush fires. He ended up coming home early not because of the fires and smoke but because of the covid-19 pandemic. Luckily the N95 masks we sent him with turned out to be useful for something.

I haven’t heard about my knee replacement. I’m assuming it’s delayed. The hospital where it was scheduled to take place keeps experiencing covid-19 outbreaks and cancelling all non-essential surgery.

The really big drama of my year was the story of being dean at a university as we closed down residences and moved out classes online. I blog about #DeanLife over here.

Next up, in personal drama, was the year of the empty nest. Frankly I didn’t expect to mind when children moved out. I thought I’d enjoy having them over to dinner on the weekend and still having family vacations together. I didn’t expect to be empty nesting for the first time during the pandemic with public health advice guiding our actions. Mostly I haven’t seen much of the kids, except outdoors, and now it’s winter, and the whole thing is tough.

I don’t whine about it much, that’s not my way, but it’s also been hard watching other people not be so careful and welcome their university age kids home as if being family makes it all okay. It doesn’t. The household is the people you live with, not the people you love, or the people you’re related to. Anyway, it’s been the hardest part of the year and it’s made me sad even if the completely empty nest ended this month when the youngest moved home.

It’s been the year of missing people but also missing holidays, missing bike trips, missing charity bike rides, and lots of missing seeing our friends.

The only part of the summer that seemed normal was when things opened up a bit in Ontario and Sarah and I got out for a big canoe adventure. We also did one shorter trip with more time for reading and basking on rocks with my daughter Mallory.

Now it’s the end of December and I’m trying to relax a little at the same as I also chase writing deadlines and finish up grading. I’m on holiday from Dean-ing but not from the other parts of my job as an academic.

What else to tell you in a year wrap up?

I’m exercising lots–just hit 401 workouts in 2020. But really it hasn’t been for reasons of physical well-being, though my knee does feel lots better when I move more. Moving energetically helps me feel better emotionally and more able to cope. And often it’s the only thing I can do. I’m too easily distracted to watch much or read as much as I’d like.

I’ve ridden my bike more than 5000 km.

Thanks Strava for the lovely data.

But the real rock star of the pandemic isn’t Strava. It’s been Zwift. As regular readers know I’ve been racing lots. I joined a Zwift bike team, TFC. That’s been a blast. It’s been fun learning a new thing, meeting new people, and riding in a bunch of brand new virtual worlds.

If you’re on Zwift, please follow me and throw some ride-on love my way!

Sam’s Zwift profile

Sarah’s been Zwift racing too, of course. You can read about her big adventure here.

I haven’t read as many books as I’d like (this list is mostly non-philosophy–I don’t track work reading).

That said, another 2020 highlight has been connecting with a group of readers across the globe through Todd Tyrtle’s international book club. He’s a fellow cyclist, which is how we met, and his blog of adventures is here.

Sam is ready to be done with 2020 and feeling cautiously optimistic about 2021. You?

Cheddar has also played a big role in my #workfromhome life. He’s in the background of most of my Teams meetings. And we go for walks together during the way. Hello sunshine!

Oh finally, one more thing. We have a new pet, Lizzie the bearded dragon came home with Miles. She’s kind of delightful.

Lizzie and Cheddar

I’ll write soon about my plans for 2021. They’re cautious plans. Things can change fast. I knew that already but I extra know that now.

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