It’s been quite some time since my last post, June of 2019 to be exact. And while I trust I don’t need to fill you in on the events of 2020, I’ve compiled a chronological journal of my own to share some personal highlights of the past 18 months.
- Left my job as a Facilities Director at an SF tech company to take a sabbatical and continue my WSET studies through Napa Valley Wine Academy.
- Our bulldog, Elwynn, was diagnosed with Stage 4 T-cell lymphoma, which you can read about in a previous post.
- Had my birthday, and my partner his
- Lost a friend to breast cancer
- Hit the road for 6 weeks. The goal was to give Elwynn the most epic road trip of her life, what little of it she had left. We stayed at some fantastic places – Kimpton hotels perhaps being the best insofar as dog-friendly goes – and had some pleasant visits with family and friends along the way.
- Continued my studies with WSET (passed level one and now progressed into Level 2)
- Did a stage and was offered a server position working under a well-known Sommelier at Petit Crenn in San Francisco. A dream come true for someone with virtually no high-end hospitality experience.
- I turned down that job offer when my partner decided to take some time to get his personal affairs in order. His well-being was on the line. He made the difficult decision to depart San Francisco for a month beginning in early July.
- Partner out, our dog is now on borrowed time with her meds. She has less than 8 weeks to live and is beginning to show signs of slowing. I spend as much time with her as I can, rolling her through our neighborhood streets to the park in a convenient and very comfortable blue cart. She’s a real hit.
- Met up with close friends for our annual Sonoma trip. My partner was not along for this one, and with the dog on the decline, the visit was bittersweet. Elwynn did get to swim in a pool with a life vest for the first time ever, and it was delightful to watch.
- Continued to “manage” and grapple with incompetent contractors who, after 16 months, still had not completed water damage repairs to our condo after a year…
- Anticipating more grief and subsequent stress, I begin to seriously research Ayahuasca…
- Partner returns home on August 2nd – he’s a changed man and in great spirits – despite…
- Elwynn loses her battle with cancer on August 10th. She was our favorite hello and our hardest goodbye…
- My best friend of the past 16 years dies unexpectedly in his sleep. He was the embodiment of love and light and only 42 years young. I am devastated.
- I pull the trigger and book a month-long journey to Peru, El Salvador, and Costa Rica. I am excited to partake in an 8-day Ayahuasca ceremony and volunteer to save Sea Turtles, amongst other volunteering.
- Depart on September 17th to Peru
- Return home from South America feeling cleansed and somewhat reborn after my journey. It was inarguably the best decision I ever made in life.
- Start putting feelers out to freelance as an independent personal/executive assistant and land a first client I continue to work with through January of 2020. Picked up a more suitable 2nd client in November, who I continue to support to this day.
- We purchase a stuffed sloth who we name Pumpkin, and immediately develops a backstory and becomes a stand-in for our gone-to-soon bulldog. Pumpkin is accompanied by a baby sloth. We call him Chauncey Jr. Chauncey is misguided and misinformed and supports all of the movements and causes, even if they’re in direct conflict and opposition.
- In the spirit of maintaining my promise to do more for others, I sign on as Lead Tech volunteer for Cut50, an organization working to change the current and highly flawed prison system.
- My partner takes a job in NYC with a long-time friend and colleague, and the possibility of us relocating back to the East Coast is suddenly becoming real.
- AVN awards with friends in Las Vegas
- The news of Coronavirus spreading through China is increasing. Those in the know begin to anticipate office closures in San Francisco.
- I travel to Los Angeles for four nights to do some urban hiking, get some much-needed sunshine.
- I awaken on my last day in LA with sickness like no other. My skin hurts with the slightest breeze, my cough is chunky and violent, I am weak and short of breath, my head is pounding, and I fear I will not be able to physically make it home.
- The first reported case of Coronavirus in the U.S. is pinpointed to a Korean Airlines flight attendant out of LAX.
- I make it home and am feeling seriously ill on my sofa for the next ten days, barely eating or drinking. I lose 6 pounds as a result.
- I read the reviews of previous guests of my LA Airbnb and quickly discover that the two who preceded me by 2 and 4 days were from South Korea and China, respectively.
- The office I work from PT in San Francisco is shut down temporarily.
- Cancel my April tickets for Art With Me Tulum
- I rediscover Sam Harris and am instantly hooked to both his Podcast and Meditation app.
March – April 2020
- Working from home amidst COVID. I begin to note the increasing number of people in my life who seem comfortable sharing their absurd conspiracy theories with me. I heavily contemplate these associations and how they impact my general well-being.
- Breonna Taylor is murdered by undercover police officers allegedly on the scene to investigate and search for suspected drug activity. She was 26 years old.
- Here’s a timeline of Coronavirus shutdowns, tracking, etc.,... as the dates are at this point, all a blur…
- I am meditating daily.
- My partner and I have birthdays.
- George Floyd is murdered in broad and public daylight in Minneapolis by Derek Chauvin, a peace officer sworn to serve and protect. Mr. Floyd was 46 years old.
- Begin working in an additional PT role as an EA to a well-known figure in Silicon Valley. I am not optimistic about the position from day one.
- I am meditating daily.
June – July 2020
- Widespread and justifiable civil, social, and political unrest.
- A trip to Portland and Los Angeles to witness the protests and looting firsthand
August – September 2020
- The unrest continues – all climate (environmental, political, social, economic, etc.) seems fatigued.
- Work continues, as does the political and social unrest throughout the country and elsewhere.
- A trip to Palm Desert, isolated in the mountain where my partner and I do Psilocybin therapy and scatter the ashes of our friend, Sam. (we drove)
- Continue on to Las Vegas for what was assumed to be a small 4 person gathering, only to discover 50 careless people arriving on the scene for what would turn into a 3-day party. When the first 5 strangers arrive, my partner and I abscond to our Airbnb and lock ourselves in for a week, binge-watching Breaking Bad once more, in its entirety.
- Leave my PT position with the self-important SV dude – the one I felt unsure about in May.
- I am meditating daily.
- A friend’s 40th birthday party in Miami (small, four-person and negative tested group)
- A trip to see my nephew in Idaho.
- Friends and some family continue to deny the impact of the virus.
- I voted.
- Trump is an idiot.
- We discover and obsess about Schitt’s Creek. Finish in its entirety in rapid time.
- Meditating daily.
- Head to NYC for 20 days, most of which is spent walking around the city, working from my tiny Airbnb, and getting COVID tested every four days. I’m pleased to report six negative tests in total since October 24th, 2020.
- NYC shuts down again on December 11th.
- Outdoor dining in a snowstorm is remarkably ambitious and masochistic.
- Learn that two close friends in California were admitted to ICU with complications due to COVID. One is on the mend, one remains in the hospital.
- A close friend informs me that she is aware of no less than seven people who attended the Art with me Tulum festival who tested positive for COVID. These same folks continued about their day to day in NYC. Read more about the repercussions here.
- Chauncey Jr. makes a break for it on our way to the Airport in NYC and is nowhere to be found since our return…
- Not meditating… I’ve been neglectful to myself but am acutely aware.
Here we are, four days to go until Christmas.
If there’s any silver lining to be had, this will be the first Christmas in nearly thirteen years that my partner and I celebrate together in our own home. And while it is bittersweet (he’s not missed a year with his immediate family in 46), I am grateful to have someone by my side through it all.
The past year has been exceptionally challenging for every human on earth – arguably some more than others. While I hope we can only go up from here, the economic, social, and health impacts have yet to be genuinely felt. I believe we are only just getting started. It will get worse before it gets better.
Local businesses need our support, as do our communities and their inhabitants. We have a moral obligation to take care of ourselves and each other if we expect to bring about real change.
So call your loved ones. If you’re fighting with family, take a moment of pause to think about life without them – permanently. Let the personal offenses go.
Take time to learn a new craft or hobby that calms and soothes or enriches your mind.
Help others whenever and however you can. Volunteer, donate time or money and wave to a stranger.
Read more, listen more.
Meditate. Practice makes perfect, and a healthy and calm state of being is crucial to navigating what’s to come.
Thanks for reading.