2020: Awful or Epic?

2020: Awful or Epic?

Posted on December 10 by Erin Ruddy in Fiction, Mystery, Recent Releases
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Most people will remember 2020 as the year of COVID-19; a year that was downright awful. And for good reason, of course — the pandemic wreaked havoc on the world, ruining lives, shuttering businesses, and crippling the economy. A year ago, nobody could have predicted we’d all be donning face masks or lining up for groceries; that stadiums and playgrounds would be closed, office towers vacated. Travelling abroad? Forget about it. The risks of catching and spreading COVID were not worth the reduced price of airfare. In fact, the only place that felt safe was in the closed comfort of home.

I suppose I could go on and on about all the reasons I personally wish 2020 never happened, but the truth is, I’d be lying if I did. In fact, it may end up being one of the most important years of my life.

Here’s why:

1. 2020 is the year my thriller debuted.

Set in Ontario cottage country, Tell Me My Name was supposed to come out on June 6th, a date I’d spent untold hours dreaming about and preparing for. Then, suddenly, BOOM! COVID reared its ugly head and Dundurn had to make the difficult call to postpone all its spring and summer releases. Did the delay hurt? Yes — as did the subsequent cancellation of my trip to New York and my meticulously planned month-long getaway in Greece. But the disappointment came and went as each unmemorable day drifted into the next. July turned to August, then came September, and suddenly there I was, alone in the quiet of my kitchen. No fanfare, no raucous celebration. Just me, holding my debut book, in a moment I’ll never forget.

2. 2020 is the year I got to know my kids.

Of course, I knew my kids before 2020, but I can honestly say, I haven’t spent this much time with them since they were chubby-legged toddlers in diapers. As a working mom, every morning (pre-COVID) was a mad dash to get out the door. Evenings were spent enforcing homework, whipping up uninspired meals, and racing off to a ballpark before wrangling them into bed. “How was your day?” I’d ask, flicking out the lights. “Fine,” they’d always tell me. This year, I’ve been present for everything, and I mean everything. At lunchtime, I’m flipping grillies and bantering about the NBA. After school, I’m giggling about schoolyard shenanigans and struggling to re-learn Grade 9 math. I know all their favourite memes and R-rated rap songs. I know what makes them laugh and which sappy movies make them cry. I know them deeply and it’s such a privilege.

3. 2020 is the year I learned to relax and get over myself.

It wasn’t easy at first, dragging myself out of bed and straight down to the TV, where I’d catch the morning news before jumping on the computer. My husband would always come down next. We’d make breakfast and walk the dog, then we’d wake the kids and lay down the law: “School begins at 9, lunch is at noon, you can play video games once your assignments are done.” By May, our efforts to maintain a strict schedule had waned. If COVID taught us anything, it was that we couldn’t control everything. My roots were beginning to show; I’d learn to love my natural hair. Another Goodreads reviewer hated my book; there’d be plenty more where that came from. All out of toilet paper? Nothing wrong with Kleenex. After months of learning to let go of the things I couldn’t control, something began to happen... an unwinding. An appreciation for all I had. A sense of inner calm. A rebirth.

Erin Ruddy

Posted by Kendra on July 24, 2019
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Erin Ruddy

Erin Ruddy is a writer, editor, and award-winning journalist. She is currently the executive editor at MediaEdge Communications. She lives in Toronto.