2020- The Unexpected Layover (Not a Dumpster Fire)

Lisa Olsen
7 min readDec 31, 2020

reflections on a year that took us all by surprise

Photo by Jana Sabeth on Unsplash

Usually, as a year draws to a close, I look back on what we did that year, and go through my memento jar. In a normal year, that jar holds tickets, baby shower invitations, wedding invitations etc.

This year, my jar is empty.

Literally empty.

Yet, it doesn’t tell the true story of the year.

We saw movies, we just saw them streamed at home. We attended virtual holidays and a virtual baby shower. Our friends got married, but just had a small family ceremony. In short, good things happened in spite of everything.

I hate the common depiction of 2020 as a dumpster fire, because for our family, it wasn’t.

A dumpster fire assumes that there was nothing of worth, a year that was trash set on fire, inside a stinky, gross container.

That’s not 2020 to me.

This year was one of letting go of expectations, with every holiday changed in some way, and of a lot more time together at home. It was a year that we expected to be filled with sports, family gatherings and “normal” life, but instead we got handed a year without most of that.

But it wasn’t all bad. There were many moments of joy, new hobbies discovered, and our family became closer in the void of “normal.”

I choose to look back on 2020 as an unexpected layover.

When people book trips, they either choose to fly direct, or for whatever reason choose a flight with layovers. Most of the time, they are satisfied with whichever they chose, because they chose it.

But what if you were forced to have a layover, when you didn’t choose it.

It wasn’t part of the plan, it delayed the trip, and it would really throw you for a loop.

Eventually, you would wrap your head around the fact that you were, in fact, stuck in this airport until your plane is ready to take off.

Welcome to 2020.

It is safe to say that no one in 2019 thought to themselves, “I think it would be nice to experience a pandemic next…



Lisa Olsen

I am a teacher, with two kids, recently diagnosed with Lupus, and possibly other auto-immune conditions, living life to the fullest, while managing symptoms.