2020: A Survivor’s Tale in Extremely Strange Circumstances

I have made a gross and egregious error, one which, I think, is a sign of the times we are in. Last I wrote, I still had a few triathlons left on the calendar, the West Coast had not caught on fire, and we hadn’t all watched the summer of 2020 go up in smoke (literally/figuratively). The year has just gone from a toilet-paper-infused-frenzy into a political elect-the-least-worst-person-possible, with everything in between. And while we’re at it, certain groups have decided it’s cool and reasonable to burn private property, smash windows, etc. Great. That, and I’m REALLY FREAKING TIRED OF LOOKING AT OUR KITCHEN! >;[

People have varying opinions, but the 2020 approach seems to be “you don’t agree with me, I hate you.” At least for me, that’s not a reasonable approach. The people I spend time with don’t agree either. Humanity has lost its damn mind, and it’s sad. Why is it that many of the people I know have to choose between being angry or being depressed? That isn’t living. This heavy cost is being inflicted on everyone from every walk of life. Ahhhh, 2020. Never to be forgotten…but please, just go away.

Triathlons, and racing in general, has been obliterated. We couldn’t go outside for four weeks, because, you know, the world was (is) on fire and was sending its billowing, choking smoke swiftly into the basin around Reno, and everywhere you go, people have had vacations and fun plans and activities and BBQs scrapped, shredded, and trashed. Perfect.

That said, I have had some really fun and exciting wins this year! And look at us now, on the cusp of October. Where did that time go?

We put the finishing touches on the 2020 plan for our backyard (as well as a few other projects for friends/family). It started the weekend of Memorial Day and recently wrapped a week ago. We moved 12 cubic yards of boulders, pathway pebbles, volcanic rocks, and everything in between. I made seven trips to the local rock yard, and another 12 to the nursery. Lowe’s trapped us at least ten times, and Home Depot, ahh, good ol’ Home Depot just 1.2 miles down the road, had me for at least 50 trips in a four month period, with the all-time record being three trips in one day. BLECH! I planted a tree, installed one billion pavers, drilled 20 concrete anchors, setup two pergolas, ran 100 feet of string lights, broke a wheelbarrow, assembled patio furniture, dug, shoveled, and hauled, unloaded a one ton truck more times than I can remember, built out a home gym in the garage (love my 350 pounds of kettlebells and pullup bar), and replaced a microwave! Heck yea! No wonder I’m always tired…

On a very different side of the coin, I have been learning guitar (electric, duh!). I have played trumpet for 23 years, and while I will always love and enjoy the time with loud brass, I was feeling a bit burnt out and needed something to reinvest my musical energy in – enter the six string. I have always been drawn to the likes of Steppenwolf, Def Leppard, AC/DC, Mötley Crüe, etc. so it wasn’t a stretch for me to want to learn all of my favorite tunes. Ah man, and it’s just so freaking fun! The year has been spent reading articles and books, watching tons of YouTube (favorites below), and using guitar lesson and tab apps.

I post all of my attempts as I go, mostly so I can track my progress over time, and have gotten some online lessons with a dear friend who is 17 years ahead of me (and is a monster guitar player). In this sense, it’s been a great year. YouTube has truly been a treasure trove. There is so much great content. Lessons, techniques, crazy things that amazing musicians do, product reviews, tips and tricks, etc. It’s almost overwhelming!

  • Andy Guitar (epic YouTube channel and app)
  • Fender App
  • Ultimate Guitar tabs

My skills (lack thereof) have been progressing nicely, even speedily, and I can only thank my musical upbringing and deep musical experience (orchestra, jazz band, etc.) for bringing that along. I get the musical piece – just can’t get the fingers in check or in the correct place. So far, my most successful songs to date (~110 days on the axe). Enjoy!

Wrapping it up, here is my commitment, solely to myself. Two posts every week until we make it to 2021. Let’s see how I do… it’s been too long and too much has happened not to talk about it. That, and I still have 285 miles to run before reaching 1000 by December 31st. It’s going to happen.

Just because all of humanity apparently needs to be reminded of this:

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”

-F. Scott Fitzgerald

Lastly, how have the changes affected you this year? Too many to count for me, actually. So I’ll save that for next time.

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Picture credit.


  1. As per usual, great post. It’s a spot on perspective for this year. I’m glad to see that you’ve taken the situation and focused on growth instead of self-pity. Nice work on the guitar, and I want to see pics of that backyard!

    1. Hey, thanks! What kinds of self-improvement / new hobbies have you been working on? It’s tough because there’s a lot of free time that people aren’t used to this year. It’s easy to just fall into the blob on the couch mode :( I’ve beaten 12-13 video games this year. Fun, but not necessarily brag worthy.

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