Let’s face it – 2020 was an awful year, and we can all list reasons why. Instead, I’ll list the things that happened in 2020 for which I’m thankful! I’m confident there are a few things worth celebrating.

Our family saw more of each other

I usually spend a week each month on the road, but that didn’t happen this year. I miss travel and seeing my friends face-to-face, but being home with my family week after week has been good for us… really good!

Kids doing school at home has been very stressful at times. But it’s led to some unique interactions with my kids that never would have happened otherwise. For example, my daughter Hannah asked to create a website and we spun up https://hannahs.link. ❤️

Alyscia’s brother took a very long Amtrak ride from Texas and moved in with us. He managed to eke out some space for a bedroom in our unfinished basement. It has been such a blessing to have him here and welcome him into our daily lives!

Difficulty cultivated creativity

Did you know that my multi-personality roleplaying talk Configuration Management in Drupal for Beginners initially didn’t include Mr. Jenkins or Kyle?! MidCamp 2020 going virtual encouraged me to try something more unique and entertaining than it ever was before.

David's multiple personalities during his session Configuration Management in Drupal for Beginners: Kyle, David, and Mr. Jenkins.

This has been a great year to experiment with new training projects for work, like live streaming to YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn each week. What I’ve learned this year has given me great ideas for self-paced learning in 2021.

Since I’ve had more time at home, I’ve been making my home-office a little nicer. We’ve also had time for little home improvements and yard work, which has helped make us all happier.

Self-care is no longer optional

This year has brought some low moments. Through it all, I have the support of friends who I know genuinely love and care for me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

I also set up recurring one-on-one calls with a counselor, as well as a counselor for our marriage. We didn’t have specific issues to bring up, but a friend suggested trying it anyway. The sessions are great for opening dialog and we’ll have it when something does come up. It’s been a big blessing. I wish I had gotten help sooner.

As you might expect, this has been a great year to recognize that I’m not in control. Nothing I do can change our circumstances, and when I try to do everything, I break. It’s been more important this year than ever to let go and remember that God is in control:

  • I need time for prayer and reading scripture every day. (With God Daily is a big help and I will happily gift you a subscription if you ask.)
  • I need rest. The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry helped me decide to let go of some things and make room for a sabbath day. Maybe I’ll write a blog post about what this means for us, but we’re still figuring it out right now. Having a day each week set aside to read, reflect, and relax as a family has been precisely what we’ve needed.
  • I need to be present during those quiet moments, during online church, and sharing with my family.

What about you?

I’m sure that I’m missing many things, but these were the points that came to mind.

This article was inspired by a post in the Pantheon Community Forum. Big thanks to my friend and colleague Tara King (@sparklingrobots) for creating that post to help us focus on the things we’re thankful for this year and my friend Mauricio Dinarte (@dinarcon) for pulling me into that conversation.

What things happened to you in 2020 that you’re grateful for? I’d love to celebrate with you! Leave a comment or ping me on Twitter.

Categories: Life

David Needham

David Needham is the Team Lead of the Technical Curriculum Development team at Datadog. When he's not blogging about productivity and faith at davidneedham.me or speaking at conferences, you can find him streaming on Twitch or playing fun board games with his wife and kids in Champaign, IL.


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