The arc of my life during Covid 2020

Before the pandemic hit, I was having a great year in 2020. I wrote a song for the first time. In January, I passed my Aikido 2nd kyu brown belt test, and I was enjoying training and exercising with a wonderful community of people that I had become close to over the past 3 years beforehand. I had been doing martial arts training an average of 20 hours. I also had just completed Kangeiko, a week of winter intensive training in Aikido. I was one quarter away from finishing my degree in Anthropology at UCSC, in Santa Cruz, CA. Then, in March, of course as we all know, everything shut down and it seemed like my whole life had fallen apart. Then, after a few days into the lockdown, I noticed that Dan Navarro, who I grew up loving when he performed in the musical duo, Lowen and Navarro, was having daily live streams. Dan’s music had gotten me through things in the past, like washing mountains of dishes, so I decided to make a point to tune in. The consistency of hearing his familiar music every day for months really helped to give me stability through the pandemic.

I did finish my degree and had an online graduation. However, my family and I had been living at on campus housing and we had to move in the middle of the pandemic since I was no longer a student. Then, the CZU lightning storm caused fires in the Santa Cruz area and we had to evacuate to my sister’s house in Portland, OR for weeks due to the threat from the fires and poor air quality. It seemed like every day there was something new to worry about. How did I get through it? In addition to listening to music live streams, I made sure to keep in contact with my mom, and she has really also helped me to get through things. I also kept in contact with my close friend from my Aikido training, which has helped me greatly.

In addition, I have always loved spending time in nature and although I cannot have close contact with other people right now, I can have a connection with all the plants and animals that live around me, which has also been a great solace. I enjoy photographing wildlife and I have been making a point of posting moments of beauty and joy that I photograph in the world around me to help lift other peoples' spirits.

I have been making sure to make holidays special for my kids and celebrating in ways that we never have before and really never had time for without more busy schedules. My children were born on the same day but 5 years apart, so for their double birthday this year we baked a 5 layer vegan carrot ice cream cake and for Christmas we made gingerbread houses from scratch that even had stained glass windows made of hard candy.

At first I was definitely feeling depressed, but eventually I decided that I needed to choose to be happy and I needed to choose to feel joy within myself again, despite what was going on in the world around me. In addition, I decided to take advantage of all of the new online classes that are options, and I signed up for songwriting workshops and ended up writing several songs including a Birthday song for my kids and a cheery one about wanting to live in a gingerbread house for Christmas. In addition, I just signed up for music theory and ear training classes online through a local community college. So the pandemic in a way is giving me time to slow down and focus on things that I have always wanted to learn, like how to read music. Finally, it is 2021. I just completed another Aikido winter intensive training week via online classes. I am hopeful for the future, and I think that we all need to find ways to keep doing things that bring us joy in whatever ways are safe and work for the time being, even if they are not ideal. I try to think positively, and I am grateful that I and my family and friends are healthy. However, I also feel a great sadness and loss for all the people who have suffered due to the pandemic.