To the People Who Got Me Through This Year

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by Kevin Schaefer |

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If 2020 were a movie, it would have the aesthetic of David Lynch and the shocking twists and horrors of a Stephen King novel, and it would run the length of an unedited Peter Jackson epic. Viewers would yearn for a filmmaker like Wes Anderson to sweep in and inject some quirky humor into an otherwise grim narrative, and maybe even a Bill Murray cameo.

And yet, it would be a movie too compelling to turn one’s attention away from. Audiences would have to stay until the very end to see how it all plays out. 

Alas, we’re finally nearing the light at the end of the 2020 tunnel. Hopefully, that light isn’t a blazing ring of fire on top of Mount Doom. Yet, whatever future awaits us, we are all characters who have played a part in the story of this bizarre and unpredictable year. We may feel drained and beaten down, but we can all say that we’ve made it this far. That alone is a reason to celebrate. 

I generally don’t like writing sentimental, reflective pieces. Particularly around the holidays, bloggers and columnists around the globe write about gratitude. I prefer to write and read content that’s more story-driven; but in a year as wild as this one, reflection is essential. If it weren’t for the people in my life, my sanity would most certainly be in jeopardy. 

First off, I would like to thank every Postmates and DoorDash driver who has delivered food to me this year. While I can’t wait to freely go to restaurants again, I’m grateful for the simple pleasure of having steak tacos delivered to my front door. These drivers are the true 2020 MVPs. 

Secondly, I have to give a big shoutout to both of my parents. This goes without saying, but they’ve had to go above and beyond this year. My mom underwent knee replacement surgery in June, which required my dad and me to adjust our schedules so we could tend to her needs. I had to make arrangements for my care and had friends and family members drive me to appointments. Overall, I became more self-reliant during her recovery. 

Mom just had her second surgery a few weeks ago and is doing well. She’s now able to assist me with certain tasks, including getting me set up to eat and adjusting my laptop, which can be a bit slapstick. When an injured person assists a disabled person, it’s like something out of a retirement home where all the employees quit. Nevertheless, our ability to poke fun at these situations is one of my family’s greatest strengths.

Thirdly, I definitely wouldn’t have made it through this year without the support of others in the SMA and disability communities. From co-workers to friends I’ve met through conferences and online, I’ve depended on these people more than ever before. Between lockdowns and intense anxiety amid a global health crisis, we’ve had to lean on one another, even virtually. I’ve lost track of how many Zoom socials I’ve participated in since March. And while I long for in-person gatherings to resume, I’ve treasured every virtual meeting I’ve attended. 

Speaking of, my fourth shoutout goes to a special individual who I met at past SMA conferences. Jaclyn and I were already friends before this year, but we’ve become significantly closer since the world spiraled out of control. Once stay-at-home orders commenced, we started talking a lot more. Both of us were trying to deal with the isolation and uncertainty we were experiencing. 

We live at opposite ends of the country, but I feel a closer connection with her than I do with most people. As all of us have adjusted to this “new normal,” Jaclyn and I have developed creative ways to hang out. We’ve had lengthy video chats, virtual movie nights, and we’ve texted each other an endless supply of 2020 memes. Screw it if I sound sappy, but my conversations with her have been the highlight of my year. 

I could go on, but there’d be too many people to thank. This year came with numerous hardships and losses, but I am blessed to have an immeasurable support system of family and friends. I may have had to physically distance myself from people this year, but I was never alone.

Oh, I almost forgot. Thank you, Disney and Jon Favreau, for ensuring that season two of “The Mandalorian” came out on time! This is the way.


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