2020 Hindsight—What if 2020 is the year we finally see 20/20?

With pretty much everything being a cause for division these days, I’m pretty sure there is something we can all agree on: 2020 was a year. An exceptional year that brought us a great deal of pain, struggle, and loss. A year that gave us plenty to learn from and a lot of tough challenges to work through.

And now that we are soon to have 20/20 hindsight of 2020…what do we see more clearly?

I saw this poem on Instagram, and it gave me hope…

What if 2020 isn’t cancelled?
What if 2020 is the year we’ve been waiting for?
A year so uncomfortable, so painful, so scary, so raw –
that it finally forces us to grow.
A year that screams so loud, finally awakening us
from our ignorant slumber.
A year we finally accept the need for change.
Declare change. Work for change. Become the change.
A year we finally band together, instead of
pushing each other further apart.

2020 isn’t cancelled, but rather
the most important year of them all.

~leslie dwight

What if 2020 is the year we finally see 20/20? What if it is the year that we see things for what they truly are and then strive to make them better?

If this is indeed the case, 2020 brought some critical issues into sharper focus. Yes, there have been good things that have come about this year, but for me, 2020 has made some things undeniably, painfully clear. So…this post is going to get dark (and the list is incomplete!), but perhaps there will be some light at the end.

Systemic change…needs the system to change. And the system isn’t going to change when it works for those who created it and hold the power and money…and it’s been working for the powerful for a very long time. Racial injustice is part of the system. Gender inequality is part of the system. Income inequality is part of the system. So those folks in power are either going to have to have a colossal change of heart…or we’re going to have to have a change of power. I think we know which of these is more possible than the other.   

We are indeed in a post-truth era. Because someone merely says something should not make that something true, but it seems that is enough these days for “facts.” Having been groomed for months to expect that if the election didn’t re-elect the current holder of the office he would cry “rigged” should have caused everyone to suspect that a game was in the process of being played. But for WAY too many people, it did not. The fact that this crying of fraud without any substantiation has radicalized people to the point of threats and violence is a reminder that fear, hate, and greed are the root causes of most of the misery in this world. We need objective truths to matter again.

If our well-being depends on the collective good, we are in trouble. We may come together to help people in short-term instances of natural destruction, but apparently asking to help each other with longer term behavior like wearing masks is too much for some. I’m not sure where we go from here if covering your face is too much of a sacrifice to make to help others stay healthy. I’m not sure at all.

Our gargantuan corporate healthcare and insurance systems aren’t working for anyone except the suits. And the more they grow, the worse off we all will be. Covid has made this irrefutably clear. Too many people don’t get the care they need because they don’t have insurance. Too many of our healthcare workers are overworked and underpaid. People fight government intervention in healthcare because they say keeping it private is better…but as these private systems grow, what is the difference? Big is big. Both access to and quality of care suffer. Another system that needs changing.


Science matters. Enough said.

We need to change how we take care of our older citizens. The pandemic made it heartbreakingly clear that long-term care facilities are leaving our older Americans vulnerable and in danger. What a horrible and sad way to see that “corporate care” is only interested in the care of their bottom line. Our systemic change list grows.

Income inequality is so much more than different-sized paychecks. Our reliance on technology this year has meant that those without access to internet or devices have struggled to learn and earn, and the disparity continues to grow. If kids can’t access education, people can’t go to the doctor, and families are going hungry, this should matter to everyone—not just those who are directly impacted. Systemic change, anyone?

Our democracy is not beyond destruction. I can’t believe I just wrote those words. I remember learning as a kid in history class about the toppling of governments and thinking that could never happen to the United States, but I am learning that not only can it happen, but it is in the process of happening. And unless we can protect and have faith in our free and fair elections and have our politicians work for “we the people” instead of themselves, we are at risk of becoming a full-blown plutocracy.  

Yes, indeed…2020 has taught us that we have several systems that need changing, which I find totally overwhelming.

Where do we go from here?

I wish I could enumerate the steps that we need to take to begin the fixing, rebuilding and/or healing, but I am not wise.

What I can offer is a simple simile for hope and change:

Be like lichen.

Ahem, what?

Be like lichen.

I remember learning that after a volcano erupts and spews a deadly and destructive lava flow, the first thing that grows back and begins to rebuild life is…lichen.

Lichen begins growing on lava’s ruins and is the foundation of the new ecosystem.

To me, this simile is helpful and hope-filled because the devastation that the lava brings seems insurmountable—but there is still life, still hope. It always grows. There is the chance to start over and create anew—even in the shadow of the very volcano that could erupt again—life is reborn.

The lichen is the basis for all the rest to begin.

We may not be able to be the lichen everywhere that needs change and renewal, but we can be to some things.

At least that’s what I tell myself on a good day. The reality is that the work to be done everywhere to fight injustice, help those in need, and take care of our planet is difficult and daunting.

But 2020 has given us a chance to see it clearly. And now that we see it better for what it is…let us get to work. Let us be like lichen.

Grateful to Be Hooked Up to Life Support

If you read my post last week, then you know my vacation got off to a bit of a…shall we say…rough start. It was one challenge after another, but we made it through.

A major reason that this is truth is because of the life support system that I am blessed with. Sometimes when I’m within the swirl, it’s hard to stand back and truly appreciate it all. I’m grateful as it all happens, but that doesn’t do it justice. Not entirely. Continue reading “Grateful to Be Hooked Up to Life Support”

I Just Need to Lift My Hood

Among the many flaws and weaknesses I have, there is one that masquerades as a positive quality—at least that’s how I’ve seen it for most of my life. It is only within the last few years that I realize that it isn’t a sign of strength but more accurately a sign of stupidity.

You see, I’m not very good at asking for help. I like to take care of things myself. Asking for help is a sign of weakness, of inability…of failure.




Stupid, right? Yeah, I know.

Unfortunately, that’s how I’ve been wired since I was a kid, so seeing it for what it is has really taken me some time. (Or maybe I’m just a really slow learner.) And then changing it? Well, that evolution is still underway.

But let me share a recent lesson in my progress.

The other day I was on “band carpool” duty. My son’s school shares a band with another school, so one day a week, we have to get up extra early, drive farther out to the other school, have class, then drive the kids back in time for their “real” school day to begin. It pretty much sucks. (Support the Arts in school, people!)

My husband does this every week…and I am very grateful. But last week he needed me to do it, and I did. All went just fine…until I forgot to turn my headlamps off. It was bright enough daylight that I didn’t see that they were still on while I sat in the car with the motor off and waited for the kids. It was very cold…and therefore didn’t take much for my battery to die.




Yep. As I went to start the van to get it warm for the kids, it sputtered and whined and then passed out.

Let’s say my language was colorful as I swallowed my disbelief and tried to understand what this meant in my little world. No van. Need to get kids back to school in a tight timeframe. Freezing. Idiot.

Actually, the idiot part happened right out of the gate.

I called my husband and shared the situation with him. He offered to drive out and help, but I knew that meant a lot of time to add onto the solution. It dawned on me that maybe I could ask one of the other parents to be my booster car.

You see, I am very well versed at jumping cars. Being the “I’ll take care of it” person that I am, I’ve done it many times both for myself and others. The only help I need is…another car.




And that was my problem here. My plan was to get my cables out and ready and wait for one of the other parents I knew to show up. (They don’t sit and wait but return at pickup.)

I wanted to save time and do all that I could to be ready, so I got the cables and then popped my hood.


hood up


As soon as I lifted the hood and propped it up, the man who was helping direct the school buses for that school came over. He was wearing a yellow safety vest and a kind smile. “What do you need?” he asked. I told him I needed a jump, and he grabbed his walkie talkie and started to tell the guy on the other end to get the cables. I showed him that I already had those, and he smiled and said, “Well, give me a second!”

Indeed, within seconds, he had his truck over and his assistant and he were hooking up the cables. (I must admit that I quietly intervened and changed what the assistant did since he put them on in the wrong order.) The van popped right off within a few seconds.*

Problem solved.

We made it to school right on time.

(As it turns out, of the two parents I was looking for to help, one didn’t come that day and the other was running late. So my planned solution would have at best made us quite late.)

By lifting my hood, I inadvertently put the call out for help…and received it.

I may have had the cables and the knowledge, but I couldn’t do it on my own. I needed someone’s help. And I was not weak for needing it. The reality is I simply couldn’t do it on my own no matter what—I needed another car.




Sometimes help is “needing another car.” Not being less than or incapable. Not being weak or not enough. Just not having all the Xs and Ys to solve the equation.

I’m still learning to embrace that…rewiring takes time. But I am learning. One of the things that helps me grow is remembering how I feel when I am able to help others. I don’t feel like I’m stronger or more capable or anything like that—I feel grateful to be able to help. I feel needed.

When I don’t allow others to help me, I am denying them that feeling. That’s lame. Remembering this pushes me to be better about asking for help.

As a work in progress, I am growing to accept that it’s okay to prop my hood up and signal that I need help—that I can’t do this on my own. That I need someone to be my booster car. One jump at a time, I am getting there.


*Turns out that the man in the yellow vest and the kind smile is actually the principal of the school. Seeing him help with the buses and then with my car, I never would have guessed it–and he never let on. Class act.

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An Aquatic Connection

I’m pretty crazy about dolphins. It’s a love I’ve had since as far back as I can remember. I was even blessed enough to swim with them years ago.


My experience was all I had hoped for and more–their grace and beauty were overwhelming, and when one of them looked me in the eye, I’m pretty sure she saw right into my soul. She pretty much communicated “I see you,” like in the movie Avatar. Powerful stuff.

It was also a whole lot of fun. Breathtaking fun.

I think that’s part of my love for dolphins–they simply exude joy.

For today’s Frabjous Friday post, I want to share a video of a dolphin seeking a diver’s help. It’s a different kind of joy to feel here–the amazing connection between two mammals from two very different worlds.

The diver was there to film stingrays, and the dolphin just swam up as if to say, “Um, excuse me…could you please free me of this hook and line?”

And that’s exactly what happened. Take a look.

[Email subscribers: please remember you will have to click through to my blog to view the clip.]

This dolphin knew enough to ask for help in his struggle.

We should, too.

So if you’ve got a hook and line that’s hurting you, maybe it’s time to find the right diver to set you free.

Sometimes all you need to do is ask.


PS. If you have a few more minutes and would like to enjoy a “dolphin stampede” that is captured via drone video, watch below.