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  • Writer's pictureEmily Duke Hargan

Reflections on My Pandemic Year

Despite the enormous loss of life and livelihood many have endured this year, there is light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, as vaccine distribution kicks into high gear. And while so much has changed, this disruption presents an opportunity to take a step back and reflect.

Appreciate the moment

We always knew it, but the last year confirmed it. We are fundamentally social creatures at heart, relying on each other for support, motivation, appreciation. Pre-pandemic, we were rushing towards the future, anticipating our next moves, and having a hard time staying in the moment.

For all the challenges that working from home and home-schooling provided, we did spend more time together. For some, with very young families it was a precious year, with parents able to experience first steps, words and experiences that would otherwise have been missed. For those of us with older children, we have had time to really talk and listen to our kids. We showed them how to make their favorite meal and painted their room a new color.

COVID-19 placed our focus squarely on family and loved ones. Where possible, we have taken more time to be with family. Whether that is visiting someone at a distance, playing a game on-line, watching a movie together or simply using Zoom or Facetime to chat. We have tried to find a new rhythm, meaning, and balance in our lives.

Change is constant

Change is never easy. And we have been dealing with a lot of it over the past year.

Change challenges our minds because it creates uncertainty in our thoughts and the actions of our daily lives.

2020 was a year like none other. A pandemic. An election. Jobs lost. Lockdowns. Schools closed. Lives lost.

We’ve all struggled at times, trying to balance the demands of caring for others, increased stress, and professional duties. Despite how hard we’ve tried to be everything to everyone, the blur of responsibility and impersonal technology has left us feeling torn, distracted, and impatient.

We’ve had to hit pause on the way of life that we’d been living—and adapt.

Life after Covid

Family. This past year has shown me how desperately my kids need me (even if they say they don't) and how very little the rest of the world matters. I think most parents have realized this too and have seized the opportunity to spend these precious moments at home—and will continue to do so.

Plans for 2021 and beyond? I think we all did a lot of self-evaluating, and I finally put pen to paper. I'd always wanted to write and throughout the last year I have built up Bourbon & Politics. It's been challenging and I don't know where I will go next but I am still excited about it and can't wait to see it grow. To all of you that have been so loyal and supportive, I am deeply grateful.

There are signs of life that normal is returning. My kids are both back for in-person school and thriving—and both are playing spring sports. I am able to go back to the office and I meet friends out for drinks. We even took a family vacation to Florida at Christmas.

And both my parents have gotten vaccinated and can hug my kids. A year without hugs was one year too long.


In case you missed it!

Our March cocktail of the month was the Blackberry Bourbon Smash. Easy to make at home and perfect for your cocktail hour.

Check out our other cocktails here.

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Apr 05, 2021

Great post - thanks Emily - surreal year and time for America to be more like Texas and Florida.


Apr 01, 2021

Nice article. Thanks for posting this.

Where is that waterfall? Is it near NOVA?

Emily Duke Hargan
Emily Duke Hargan
Apr 02, 2021
Replying to

Thank you! Actually the photo is from Pisgah National Park in NC.

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