Feb 5, 2021 | LIFE | By Abby Mercier | Illustration by Bibi Powers

It goes unsaid that a global pandemic is unprecedented — and, well, unprecedented can be really brutal. Over the last year, I have come to realize that flowers bloom where you least expect them. After reflecting on the last 12 months, I am awed by the wide variety of life lessons, tears, experiences, and laughs I’ve been offered.

I’d like to first acknowledge that I feel (and am) extremely privileged that COVID-19 has not directly impacted my loved ones in the same ways that it has affected others. To those who have lost and grieved, I am sincerely sorry for your loss(es) and I personally offer you my condolences.

Here’s a monthly glimpse of my personal experience with 2020: a page out of my journal, per say.

January: I celebrated my birthday with my parents. My dad took me to my favorite coffee shop downtown and later to grab dessert at a new pub called “Abby’s Bar.” I visited the Paint Mines and my best friend’s hometown, Simla, Colo. — it’s really small, as in blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kind of small.

February: Early in the month my roommate’s identical twin sister came to visit us — they look spookily similar! Some people from home connected me with a couple to babysit their twin 13-month-olds. Evidently, February was the month for twinning.

March: In March, I panicked about getting sent home unexpectedly. I cried a lot and avoided coping with the reality of not knowing the future. I went on my first socially-distanced date with my partner. We sat in a park reading, walking, and throwing a football; this made me think that other people would be what pulled me through.

April: I took my second course of Organic Chemistry and spent 13 hours on a weekend test. With nowhere else to go, I buried my head in my work and was absolutely miserable. My younger brother signed on National Signing Day to play D1 soccer for the U.S. Air Force Academy (yay, I was excited he would be close to me in Springs!)

May: School finished up and I got my wisdom teeth out. Yes, there are some very incriminating videos (if you ask, I might oblige and show you) of me dancing and singing Hakuna Matata. The first day of summer, my dad dragged me on a 10-mile hike that was “supposed” to be only five, though I still had a lot of fun. I started doing all kinds of art and began to realize that I would pull myself through the darkness of quarantine.

June: I started working as a nanny for a lovely family at the front of our neighborhood — their girls were three and seven and absolutely adorable. We soon discovered if I shook a hammock with them in it and used some Disney character voices, it was much more entertaining than Eliches could ever be. My mom and I created a cookbook together and spent our time trying out its contents. YUM!

July: I worked 60-hour weeks and was dead-dog tired. Admittedly, I was burying my head in work and eating my feelings with late night McFlurries and french fries. On the Fourth of July, I went on a backpacking trip that felt like a breath of fresh air.

August: I felt like I was the star player in a tug-of-war competition. I swear the days in August were longer than any other month. It took every ounce of energy to not get overly excited about going back to CC. I also struggled to leave — I had unexpectedly spent five months with my family. We were closer than ever, and it was difficult to say goodbye when they dropped me off.

September: Navigating the pandemic on a college campus was difficult. It was difficult to have uncomfortable conversations and to think critically about the actions of an entire apartment while still maintaining friendships. My brother met me at an ice cream store and I finally got to visit with him (with masks and at a distance) for the first time in four months. Honestly, you never get used to seeing your little brother in a full military getup. Oh, and we dragged ourselves up Pikes Peak for the first time!

October: I went for a lovely hike in Green Mountain Falls right as the leaves started to change. One odd morning, we randomly decided a puppy was long overdue. So, Franklin entered our lives; feel free to stop by for cuddles, he’s pretty good at those as long as you offer him a stick.

November: I spent almost all of this month playing with Frank. Solid month. Spent Thanksgiving alone, which was a bummer, but felt like it was the safest decision. I really missed my family and felt guilty that I wasn’t going home.

December: The pandemic got progressively worse and I stayed on campus. I finally got to see my family and we played many rounds of poker. My grandparents contracted COVID-19 and we were really worried. Thankfully, they are okay. A bittersweet end to the year.

Thank you to everyone who helped me along the way this year — I couldn’t have done it without you.

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