What I Made in 2020

What’s something you made this year that you hope to remember?

This was the question posed during the last episode of the year on one of my favorite podcasts “The Next Right Thing.” The host, Emily P. Freeman, spoke about home remodeling projects and at-home coffee concoctions, about writing she finished and confessions and changes she made. I really liked this prompt, because I’ve noticed how quickly my memories can fade or blur together from year to year, and how necessarily a processing of recording and remembering can be both for my memory and also my gratitude.

So with that, I’m going to share some highlights of What I Made in 2020. I’m sharing about some foods I cooked up in my kitchen, projects I crafted on my computer (as depicted in the header image of this post), writing I eeked out from the kitchen table or living room couch, and some traveling.

What I Made in 2020

Food, food, glorious food!

Some of my favorite things I’ve made this year have been edible items! From the 12-egg French-style lemon tart to roasted carrots with mint and feta to jars of pesto made from homegrown basil plants, 2020 was a year of good eats.

Earlier this month, I even got to enjoy making food alongside others in the most 2020-way possible: through Zoom (see photos below)! I took a virtual cooking class with one of my favorite cookbook authors, Elyse Kopecky (Run Fast, Eat Slow) and got to make a tasty menu of roasted chicken, roasted acorn squash with miso, and sweet potato sage biscuits. Over 200 participants chopped veggies and butchered chickens from the comfort of their home kitchens, and it was a fun way to end 2020.

Some Designs I’m Really Proud of

When I left my job at a design studio, I didn’t imagine using my design skills much more into the future. However, 2020 had other plans! In the winter, I designed several different pieces for Baylor University’s “Baylor in Washington” program, and in the summer and fall, I worked on a comprehensive website redesign project with Meghann Featherstun, a clinical dietician and sports nutritionist who runs a company called “Featherstone Nutrition.” I really enjoyed making these things, and I’m really proud of how they turned out!

A Whole Lot of Paths Around Northeast Ohio

This year, my body made its way around 1, 925 miles of road, sidewalks, bike paths, and trails while running, and I’m guessing an additional 500 miles of walking and hiking, too. It was a joy to be able to move so much this year, and I know that I’m hoping to keep it up into 2021.

An Unexpected Spot on a List!

At the beginning of 2020, I had an essay published on a website called Mockingbird titled “Little Women and the Truth We’re Too Scared to Say.” 11 months later on Christmas Day, my friend tipped me off that I had made #2 on their list of most popular posts of 2020. I was so surprised to make this list, but I am grateful that the thoughts I had in my head and put on the (web) page connected with so many readers this year.

I also “made” a lot more writing this year as well, including three additional essays on Mockingbird and 27 posts on this blog! I look forward to writing more in 2021.

Some Lovely Memories in Oregon

Traveling to Oregon this year was an unexpected delight and adventure in a year when delight and adventure seemed to be harder to attain. Hiking around so many scenic vistas and trails made for a spectacular trip!

Invisible & Important Progess

I was also thinking today about the invisible things that I made this year.

I remember standing in my kitchen this summer and making the decision to stop wishing a certain chapter of my life had a happy ending, instead choosing to accept that my story will often never go the way I expect it will…and hindsight shows that it’s for the best. I think about the stuff I learned that I now carry in my head and heart, and about the ways I grew. I think about the moments it was made so clear to me of what would be required to live a life that’s about more than myself, and how far I have to go to not be a big selfish bimbo most of the time 🙃

I think the invisible things I made this year—the choices and changes, the decisions and disclosures—were probably the most important things I made in 2020.

* * *

Whether it was food or footsteps, I’m grateful for all the good things I got to make this year. I don’t know what I’ll make in 2021…probably more muffins and tacos and more Google doc essays with titles I thought of while I was running. What did you make in 2020 that you’re thinking about today?

Special thanks to Emily P. Freeman for inspiring this post. You can listen to the podcast that prompted this list below:

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