Musings

Wrapping Up 2020, A Year Of Introspection

January 2, 2021

As we enter the new year,  I thought I would reflect on the old, the horrible year of 2020. That, in retrospect, wasn’t too horrible for us.

We started it off in Merida. We had escaped the cold weather in San Miguel in November 2019 headed to the beaches and finished with hosting friends.

Glenn and I had a lot planned for the year, culminating in a six-month trip to South East Asia in September.

Little did we know what actually awaited us.. I should have had an inkling when I got as close to a manic episode as I had been since we moved to Mexico in April 2018. I was teetering on the edge, trying to stay away from tipping entirely. Maybe that was an unconscious prelude to what was to come.

Back in San Miguel, I made plans for and made new Facebook Groups for social media, and Glenn and I were all set to monetize this blog. But nature had a different plan not only for us but for the world.

After receiving encouragement, I began writing my memoirs and dove deep into everything that entailed, classes, research, lots of reading how to’s. I got way ahead of myself in daydreams of success, book tours, and a place on the bestseller lists. Oprah even.

I started my writer’s blog Ria Talken Writes.

But then, I stopped short and put the brakes on, or at least I slowed down, purposefully. This was a surprising change for me.

Then COVID happened and I needed to regroup. Suss out the situation. Make a plan.

We had to place aside our previous plans for travel and writing the travel section of our blog with drones, photos, and how-tos. We had been planning the trip for months and this was a blow.

No one knew how long we would take part in this unknown world. Everything was thrown up in the air.

In “normal” times, and in such uncertainty, I would have been spinning on the hamster wheel and thrown against the wall, or stagnant in bed for a month. BUT, wow, that didn’t happen! I am deep down, happy in San Miguel, and healthier than any other time in my life. San Miguel was my best medicine.

Glenn and I looked around us, followed protocols, and figured out San Miguel was not an awful place to land in a time of global crisis. As a matter of fact, we were pretty damn lucky. San Miguel has no highrises where people are crammed together. We were not in a string of towns one after another like we were in the Bay Area. And we don’t have a huge population. This didn’t mean we didn’t have to be extremely careful. And we saw the disastrous results of those who weren’t later in the year.

But 2020 was a year I got introspective. There was a lot to think about. I started two new areas of our blog; Calls For Action and Musings.

I had a writing session today with a group I have recently joined.

Our focus was on the “glimmers we collect,” the inspirations for our stories and blogs. And I thought about my blog posts, the ones I have written since the beginning of COVID lockdowns.

I was sitting in the sun’s warmth on our terrace overlooking the town of San Miguel de Allende, a place that feeds my soul daily. Realizing I don’t have to do much to get inspired here. Thoughts pop up from nowhere and everywhere at all times during the day and night. Especially at night, when I reach for my phone in the darkness and jot down a word or phrase that has crept into my slumber, niggling at me until I can’t put it off anymore. I have turned the light down on my phone so I can sneak onto it without waking my more than patient husband.

So, here are a few of  the posts from 2020:

I changed my hair color, yippee. It has added a bit of an expense keeping the color up, but it is so worth it. I feel much freer with my new gray and have accumulated by shopping at thredUp, a more colorful wardrobe to go with it. And I wrote a post about that free feeling with Come On, Shake Your Boobies

My what to do during COVID posts offered lists of some fabulous free lectures, classes, and cultural events. We haven’t been able to do all of them, but we made a slight dent last year.

Our wonderful life in San Miguel was the subject of quite a few posts, starting with one about just how important “third places” are. We went to a winery lunch under an olive tree with friends that is how that post came about. Many of San Miguel’s third places were closed for 2020, but we are all looking forward to when we can mingle again.

I had a hankering for a childhood favorite, a fried egg sandwich. There is another blog post about lazy breakfasts on our terrace.

Masks, love them, or hate them, we all had to deal with them last year. Some people followed the protocols better than others, and we still need to use them well into the coming year. It amazed us the number of cottage industries that bloomed for mask making. There was one for every person and every interest.

Although we have lived in San Miguel for almost three years, we love it when we can still be surprised at what we see when taking a walk on a new path. When we stroll through the narrow streets, we can go at the same time every day, down the same street, and yet, every day we will experience something different. San Miguel lends itself to an exploration of the soul and mind, and I have never been as creative as I am here. I can write about everything, there are endless possibilities.

We pass by the Parroquia, the town’s main church, and I wrote about how it stands sentinel over our center square and is a beacon seen from all over town. I heard bells one afternoon after they had been absent for a while. I noted that the Parroquia is bored from this lack of people wandering, playing, and singing in front of it.

Living in a town that is conducive to getting out and taking that walk is brilliant, and we don’t take this for granted. Not everyone had an opportunity to do so last year.

In October, Glenn and I had to make our way up to California so he could take care of some family issues. Two weeks in expensive quarantine was more than enough for me, so I hightailed it home afterward while Glenn remains for a few more months. After making the trip and quarantining for two weeks when I returned to Mexico, I know I won’t be doing that again during COVID. And I still say, remain home if you can.

In a year of turmoil, I have actually remained pretty healthy, both mentally and physically. So a big Alleluia for that! Returning home after my California visit, I was once again struck by how beautiful and soulful San Miguel is for me.

Now, each morning we see hot air balloons overhead at sunrise, I feel a blog post coming on.

Glenn is coming home in a month after visiting his family in California. I think I will write a blog post about how I am self-sufficient in a foreign country.

Later today, I will add thought after thought onto my notes and throughout the month create posts that capture the beauty of San Miguel and my beauty in it.

And I ended the year saying this:

“If we need to stay in San Miguel the full year (2021), Glenn and I will wake up each morning to light-filled days and end with stunning sunsets, a lovely glass of wine, and the knowledge that COVID has strengthened us and as long as we have each other, life is solid and good. We are still here! We did not break!”

Both Glenn and I wish everyone a better year with 2021 and hope we can all get back to our lives of community and socializing soon. Whatever the year will bring, we will blog away and pursue Our Prime of Life.

Feliz Año Nuevo

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