2020: A Year in Review, Part 1

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2020 was not a great year. In fact, arguably it has been the worst year any of us have experienced in our lifetimes. When my kids grow up, they’ll tell the story about how they didn’t leave their house for a year because someone in China ate an undercooked bat.

The year was filled with bad…

And a whole lot of unexpected good. And one thing it did not lack was a whole lot of learning and adapting.

This and my next post are my 2020 year in review. Here are the first five of ten things, in basically no particular order, that have changed me or changed for me in 2020:

1) I Was Forced to Adapt to Exercise in 2020

I already worked from home before the pandemic, so the biggest change to my routine was when they closed my gym. And then they did it again. And yet again.

I used to love working out from home. I enjoyed the privacy, no competition for equipment.

But ultimately, I learned to truly love the gym. With all of my heart. It became my second home, and it’s still a major part of what keeps me going.


So what did I do when the chains fell across the gym doors? I sulked… and then I adapted. I tried bodyweight training and using the scant equipment I had. I got bored quickly. Searched YouTube looking for new inspiration. And I eventually settled on these guys, who have pretty much saved my at-home experience. Thank you Anabolic Aliens!

Trust me when I say that when the gym opens again, I am going to run over there like there’s no tomorrow. Nevertheless, I’m glad I found some type of outlet to push me through the darkness.

2) I Learned to Miss Travel in 2020

Thank goodness, my wife and I got back from a phenomenal trip to the States and Vienna in February, right before all the lockdowns and quarantines started to crash down upon us all.


First of all, I’m not a good traveler. And since I’m so bad at it, I used to try to avoid it as much as possible. And then I went ahead and married someone who loves to travel… and before you know it, I started catching the bug. Not to the full extent. I’m still a subpar traveler, and everything that frustrated me before still frustrates me now. But when we’ve traveled, it’s been quite positive and pleasant.

But after the smoke cleared, I could still live without the traveling.

And like so much in life, I didn’t miss it until it was taken away from me. And now I would absolutely love to hop on a plane with my beloved wife and see what’s out there in the world!

3) I Learned to Miss People in 2020

Like travel, I don’t really love people. They annoy me. A whole lot. I love my alone time and I always will.

And I wondered how much I really need social interaction. I’ve got my family. I’ve got a cute dog. I already work from home. Surviving 2020 should be a piece of cake.

And it was. Until it wasn’t.

I quickly discovered that as much as people are the worst (the worst!), I have a bare minimum amount of social interaction I absolutely need to survive from day to day. And Corona made me sink way beneath that amount. And I here I am, begging for social experiences. I miss hosting. I miss being hosted. And more than anything, I miss meeting brand new people.

So Corona and 2020 has helped me find that place within me that actual loves humanity.

Even though it sucks!

Corona and 2020 has helped me find that place within me that actual loves humanity. Click To Tweet

4) I Survived Marriage in 2020


At the beginning of the pandemic, everyone started speculating what would be when the world opens up again. You have countless couples that spend so much of their weeks apart from one another, they’ve either forgotten what it means to be together all day long, or they never wanted it in the first place.

Even good couples can get sick of each other after interacting too much for too long.

So, of course, we’re all expecting the many divorce lawyers out there to have more business than they know what to do with when the world opens up again.

But what about us? What about them Jaffes?

Turns out… We’re killing it!

Basically a year straight of being trapped in a house together, and we still love the hell out of each other. We’re still enjoying our conversations and having fun together. And neither of us has tried to smother the other one in their sleep.

Yup, 2020 hasn’t destroyed our marriage. If anything, it’s shown that we’re still meant to be together.

5) I Learned to Appreciate Planning Ahead in 2020

No one could have prepared me mentally for what kind of a year 2020 would be. I wouldn’t have believed them anyway. But it certainly sent a message that I’m reading loud and clear: Sometimes you’re trapped at home. Do whatever you can to make your domain the kind of place you’d want to be for 24 hours a day, for prolonged periods.

Yes, it could be time consuming and expensive. And you might never need to benefit from having a home like that. But if, for whatever reason, this is a reality in our lives again, I think (I hope) so many of us will be better prepared for the experience.

So get the books and the video games and the exercise equipment and the art supplies. Who knows what kind of future is lurking out there?

Worst case scenario, your home is homier. It’s more fun to spend time there. And since we’ve all once again learned what’s truly important, since we’ve all now been in our homes for prolonged periods with our families, we can also better appreciate the value of time spent there.

Why not make the place of the people most important to us also the place we would all most want to be?

We should never need this… but it certainly can’t hurt!

See you in Part 2.


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2020: A Year in Review, Part 1

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