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  • Writer's pictureDakota J.

The End of 2020: A Joy Report

Updated: Nov 8, 2021

I’m going to need a stiff drink to get through this.

– David Rose, Schitts Creek

Even though I’m a little late at getting this out, I really did want to write a post highlighting some of the great things that did happen in 2020. Enjoy! 🙂


A 28th Birthday & The Phantom of the Opera

I started off the year with a weekend trip to Chicago. I was able to spend time with one of my favorite people, Kari, and went to see The Phantom of the Opera with my dad and Dani. As a fan of musicals, I was utterly underprepared for how amazing this production was!



Self-Care & A Sensory Deprivation Float

In February, work on my PhD was ramping up, since I (at the time) was planning on defending my PhD in July. Of course, those plans changed (eventually), but, at the height of all of this stress, I realized the importance of self-care. I discovered the joy of a sensory-deprivation float and felt completely renewed. I highly recommend trying this, although it’s not for everyone!



Quarantine Hikes

At the start of the pandemic, my partner and I made life bearable by venturing out once a week for hikes in our area. We explored a couple of new areas that we had long lived by but never visited.



CRANDIC Half-Marathon

In mid-April, I ran the “virtual” CRANDIC half-marathon. It’s not an easy feat to do without crowds cheering you along the way, but it’s one of my greatest accomplishments of the year!



A Favorite TikTok Trend

In May, I discovered a favorite TikTok trend. Don’t ask me why this became a favorite trend of mine, but I couldn’t get enough of these videos!

Check out more of these videos here!



Backyard Pride 2020

Summer during the pandemic was less fun than it should have been, but I made due with some new super-gay shoes as well as this cool “Gaymer” tank from FitGz on Etsy.

(Check them out on Instagram, too, for memorable LGBTQ+ memes!)



Off-the-Grid in Southern Missouri

In July, my partner and I went off-the-grid as we took a trip to southern Missouri. We stayed in an Airstream camper for a week as we went canoeing, kayaking, and hiking in the beautiful Current River area.

After the trip at Current River, we stopped in Hermann, Missouri for a day, where we did a number of wine tastings in super cute romp-hims!



Homemade Liqueurs

I decided to take my own fruit from my garden and make homemade liqueurs in August. It was a lot of fun, and they are very, very tasty!

We also attempted to make homemade wine. It’s still fermenting!



A Trip to the Local Apple Orchard

As the crisp weather started to roll in, I made a trip to our local apple orchard, Wilson’s Orchard. It’s one of my favorite local business to visit every year!



A Photo Captures a Special Moment

While you may have read my recent post, Love you always, Grandma, I have to add this moment to my favorite moments of 2020.

During a surprise visit with my grandmother, I took this “photo” with her.

After her passing, I found out that my phone had actually captured this very special moment as a “Live Photo” on my iPhone.



A Proud Guncle & A Happy Niece

In November, I got to spend some very precious time with my niece. As you can see here, she’s adorable. What you can’t see, though, is how ornery she is, too!



A Pandemic PhD Defense

One of the biggest accomplishments and most exciting moments of the year was my PhD defense on December 17th.

The defense went better than I could have ever expected. I am so thankful to my PhD advisor, the Universitat Auònoma de Barcelona, and the members of the defense committee.

I am happy to share that I recently found out that I was also awarded Cum Laude, which is a high distinction in a Spanish PhD program.


Honorable Mentions

December was a very exciting month for me, and it would be a shame if I did not mention these two exciting events.

A Familiar Face

A very good friend of mine, and the author of Sounding Lustig, came to the United States for the winter holidays and spent some time with us before visiting her family.

When we were in college, Chelsea and I took a number of classes together. During our final year of our studies, the three of us, my partner, Chelsea, and myself lived together in an apartment. It was one of the best years of my life! Getting to spend time with her in December was definitely a joyous moment to the dumpster fire that was 2020.


A Family Trip

It wouldn’t be appropriate of me not to mention the amazing time that I had in Colorado with my family following my PhD defense.

Kudos to my stepfather for planning an amazing surprise trip for my mother. We had an amazing time as a family in Colorado. We went hiking, skiing, snowmobiling, and lots of shopping! I look forward to the next trip!


Now it’s your turn! What were your favorite moments of 2020? Even though the year itself was a disaster, we have to find the joy. Share a favorite moment or your own joy report in the comments below!

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