We celebrated our next door neighbor’s front yard bat mitzvah, outside in 2020.

I spent a lot of time outside this year. We all did, right? At the outset of the global pandemic while following the rules (I’m a rule follower!) to flatten the curve and slow the spread of COVID-19, I found myself feeling quite isolated at home. We all felt that way, right? And so in order to keep my sanity and see the people I love, I went outside. I did new things, outside. I did old things which I used to do inside, outside, and I got creative – by necessity. Here is a list (in no particular order) of some of the things I did outside, in 2020.

Took a walk (almost) every day.

Had my nails painted by my daughter’s friend. The polish lasted for over two weeks.

Listened to podcasts.

Listened to audiobooks.

Got to know my neighbors (and their dogs.)

Ate bagels, nova and noodle pudding as I broke the fast with my extended family on our back deck with hope for a sweet, healthy new year.

Ate potato latkes cooked on a camping stovetop on my friend’s driveway while wearing a fleece jacket, a wool hat and fur lined boots.

Picked strawberries, tomatillos, edamame and basil.

Drank hot coffee on my cold front porch with a rotating gaggle of friends.

This is my walking look for 2020, not shown the high wool socks pulled up over the leggings.

Drank iced coffee on my hot front porch with a similar rotating gaggle.

Drank wine on that same front (and back) porch in the heat, the cold, the rain and everything else in between with whichever friend(s) showed up.

Dove headfirst into the ocean.

Ate soft serve ice cream on a bench outside a general store with my daughter and her friends.

Sat in a sukkah.

Explored a covered bridge.

I teared up when my close friend first came to visit in my driveway in 2020. I hadn’t seen her in months, the longest stretch of time we had ever gone without an in person visit.

Celebrated my father’s 80th birthday on my brother’s back patio blowing birthday kisses and good wishes from well over six feet away.

Played HORSE on my driveway.

Hiked on a snowy trail in a park, wearing knee high wool socks pulled over two pairs of leggings.

Rode my bike.

Stood on my head (yoga.)

Discovered my favorite snack of 2020 on my son’s friend’s front porch swing while said son and friend rode bicycles down the street.

Read a blessing to my next door neighbor’s daughter as she became a bat mitzvah in her front yard.

Watched my cousin’s daughter read from the same Torah that many family members (myself included) had read from at their own bar/bat mitzvahs in my cousin’s back yard as my cousin asked the guy mowing his lawn during the service to please come back another day.

We celebrated my father’s 80th birthday outside on my brother’s back patio in 2020.

Watched my husband and kids work together to put together a trampoline over the course of 2.5 long days. The trampoline almost won, until it didn’t.

Roasted marshmallows over a firepit with the same skills I first developed in 1983 at summer camp.

Ate Chinese food on Christmas Eve.

Ate pumpkin soup on Thanksgiving.

Lost a tennis match to my daughter.

Teared up at the site of an old friend who showed up one early evening on my driveway.

Read a book.

We hiked to this covered bridge in 2020.

Wrote (the beginning of) a book.

Made a bracelet out of string.

Released a balloon to heaven on my late mother’s birthday with my husband and kids.

Used my daughter as a human blanket on a friend’s back deck after the sun went down one evening.

Drank decaf Starbucks on my aunt’s back deck one sunny, brisk morning.

Rode shotgun in a golf cart while my son drove.

Ran (one time.)

Had a conversation I won’t soon forget with a friend as we ate cookies together on my back porch in ski parkas.

Cried out loud while smiling on a solo walk a week after election day.

Planted purple mums.