Sunday, January 3, 2021

Looking ahead to 2021

Writing some expectations for 2021 feels both more difficult and more important than usual. I have some new categories that I couldn't have predicted a year ago. 


I don't think we'll get the vaccine until the second half of 2021 at the earliest. We're relatively young, without preexisting conditions, and have very low exposure risk. We are appropriately low on the vaccination list. Based on how slowly the vaccine rollout is starting, I'll be surprised if we get it before September. If we do, it will be thanks to effective organization of our local government.

Given our current circumstances, our risk of contracting the virus and developing covid-19 is low. Our low-risk points of possible exposure are carryout delivery, grocery or other store pickup, occasional (~1x/mo) and brief (<10 min) in-person grocery or other store trips, unlucky outdoor transmission from strangers while walking/hiking/running, outdoor transmission from friends while hiking and talking (masked) for up to 2 hours (up to 1x/mo), or extremely unlucky outdoor transmission from masked, distanced conversations with friends or family (~3x/mo, up to 30 min at a time). When it's nice enough outside to open all the windows for ventilation (for her protection and ours), I'll ask our housekeeper to return. She wears a mask and we close ourselves off in rooms that she doesn't enter. The Neighbors spend about an hour at a doctor's office once a month for a recurring treatment. Otherwise, their points of exposure are very similar to ours, with less carryout delivery and possibly more time in the grocery store. Right now I can't think of any other known exposure risks. If the kids return to school in person, that will unquestionably be the biggest exposure risk. If we can succeed in renovating the basement, workers in the basement would be another risk.

All things considered, I think it's unlikely for either us or The Neighbors to pick up the covid. But, if one of us gets it, probably all seven of us will get it. This is why we all take the bubble so seriously. 

I am definitely concerned about our parents staying safe. I really hope that they are all able to be vaccinated soon. It will be a relief once they've all had two doses.


I don't think Adele will return to school in her building until the next school year. However, there's a possibility that they'll start a hybrid schedule in the spring. I'm not optimistic though. Thankfully we've got our shared arrangement with The Neighbors. I do hope they can return in person in August/September. I'm not optimistic about summer camps being a viable option so we'll probably maintain the arrangement with The Neighbors for the next 8 months. 


I hope that by the end of the year, I will have at least a couple of new colleagues because we've been able to grow the team. Hopefully, that would mean a bit of change in my scope of work that would leave me slightly less stressed. However, that involves convincing my boss that it's a good idea (his idea) to grow the team. I've been trying unsuccessfully for almost 3 years, so this might be a fool's errand. I also hope my salary will at least be restored to its pre-pandemic cut level. 

If I travel for work, I'd be surprised if it happens before September. 

Jon's work might have more changes this year because he found out on Dec 31 that his boss (whom he loves) is leaving. At this point it's too early to tell. I think he'll work from home for all of 2021.


We want to renovate the basement. For real. We've been talking about it for years. I think we can do it this year. We probably also have to find a separate shop space for Jon's tools. 

I spent the first few days of 2021 organizing a lot of my stuff in our room. It was a mess. I don't think I had really tried to tackle it in a big way in over a year. I semi-organized a lot of papers into boxes that are still meant to be further organized (and more importantly, purged). So this isn't complete but rather a first step. But it's a big one that I feel good about. 


I normally travel 2x/year for my volunteer responsibility, but now it's all virtual through the end of my term. I am a little sad to end a 9 year commitment without seeing folks in person one last time, but mostly I will feel relieved to be finished. It's a very tough time for the organization and I will still be involved, but no longer in a leadership capacity. Because of changes over the last several years, I have the longest institutional memory in the group, and I also have copies of some documents that were otherwise lost. One of the boxes I need to go through is meeting documents from the last 9 years to decide what to share for the group's archival purposes. 

Regional travel

There are some neat parks within a couple hour's drive that we haven't visited recently or ever that I'd like to see in 2021. I also have a tiny glimmer of hope that we might be able to spend a few days with my good friend and her family at their family cabin this summer (we'd sleep separately in a tent and nearly all our time would be spent outdoors). We didn't do it last year, but I hope maybe we can this year. We went in 2018 and 2019 and it's magical. 


I hope to see my parents again by the end of summer, hopefully after they are fully vaccinated. Adele would love to go fishing with Jon's dad, once we're comfortable that's a mutually safe activity. Hopefully we'll be able to host Thanksgiving this year for Jon's family! 


I hope by the end of the year we'll be able to have friends over again (not just The Neighbors). I won't be terribly surprised if we have another stretch of time where a friend lives with us again, though at this point we don't know. I plan to continue the monthly calls with college friends and grad school friends. 

The World

I hesitate to speculate much, but I want to hope that the new administration will be well on the path of undoing what damage can be undone in a year. It's going to be a tough few years ahead.

Monthly goals

I want to try these again after having some success with them last year.


Find a contractor for renovating our basement. We can't do much else until we do this.


Read about how other people organize memorabilia to come up with a sustainable system that I will start implementing.  

Other ideas for future months:

  • Exercise every day (like last July)
  • Get better at ping pong (might be easier once the basement is renovated)
  • Stay on top of our finances on a weekly basis
  • Read a book (there's so many on my shelf and new ones coming out that I need to make some progress, other than the family book club)
  • Plan the big 2022 trip
  • Unsubscribe from 30 email things
Hopefully I'll post again in March or April with an update on monthly goals. I write that only half- expecting it to materialize. We'll see!

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