Close the Door on Your Way Out, 2020

Tess Martin
7 min readDec 31, 2020
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What can I say about 2020 that hasn’t already been growled between gritted teeth by someone, somewhere on this planet? It’s certainly been a year that defies simplistic definitions. A time warp. A lengthy, shimmering interlude between one moment and the next. A dumpster fire. An extended period of forced, yet not altogether unpleasant calm. A struggle. A hazy, indeterminate dream state. A nightmare. Never ending. Lightning fast. Upheaval incarnate.

In other words, it’s been one hell of a year.

Living through a global pandemic wasn’t something I had on my Bingo card last New Year’s Eve, and the year I thought I was strutting into on January 1st, 2020 didn’t even begin to resemble the year I’m looking back on during this final day of December. But the one thing I’m left with at the end of this strange 12 months is just how damned lucky I am. I did more than live through a year that saw close to 350,000 Americans die and millions more lose their livelihoods. I was able to spend 2020 quarantining with the people I care about most in the world while working full time in the safe, comfy cocoon of my own home. I didn’t struggle with food insecurity. I didn’t worry about being evicted in the middle of a health crisis. I kept my medical insurance and was able to seek care whenever I needed it.

This year has been horrible in so many ways, but I can’t deny how fortunate I am. So instead of shooting 2020 a double bird as it rides off into the blazing sunset, I’m going to give thanks. It just seems warranted, doesn’t it? And it’s an extension of the practice I began at the beginning of the year whenever I started to lament at how awful and uncertain things seemed.

I had all my people with me

At the end of December, I like to write out a list of my goals for the upcoming year, and then I read over them every morning to keep myself focused as the months pass. I did this for 2020 as well. Why am I telling you this? Well, my job is the type that normally keeps me on the move. Florida’s a big state and I’m often driving hundreds of miles every week for meetings, events, and conferences. So, in January, one of my goals was to prioritize spending quality time with my family. Remember that old adage: be careful what you wish for? Seems 2020 came equipped with jokes and thought…



Tess Martin

I’m a writer, runner, functional introvert, and herder of cats. Find me at or on Facebook @ theundercoverintrovert.