Kristin Emery is a meteorologist at KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh, an O-R columnist, and writer for Total Health magazine and other publications. Kristin is a Washington native and a graduate of Washington High School and West Virginia University.

I can’t decide whether 2020 seems like the slowest year ever or the fastest.

Everything is so different and messed up and upside down because of the pandemic that sometimes I even forget what month it is. I think my favorite phrase to come out of this entire experience is to “opt out” of something. I mostly heard this used referring to pro or college athletes who decided to “opt out” of their seasons this year.

It’s too bad we all just couldn’t opt out of 2020.

In some ways, though, I feel like that’s all we did. We had plans, tickets and hotel reservations for our annual trek to the Indianapolis 500 for Memorial Day weekend. When it was postponed, we changed the hotel dates. When they later ruled out fans entirely, we “opted out” of our hotel by cancelling it and pushing our tickets to next year.

A trip to Europe was canceled when borders were all sealed and planes quit flying.

A weather conference was canceled.

Everyone was “opting out” of everything from church services to picnics to weddings and graduations. Was there anything left to “opt in” to this year?

I’m certain this constant kicking the can down the road to the next month or season or year has taken a toll on people’s patience and mental health. I feel like all I did was cancel everything that I had so carefully planned for 2020.

At first, I was hopeful in just rescheduling.

But you can only reschedule and rearrange so much before you begin losing hope or just get tired and give up planning. I think the biggest thing I’ve noticed about this situation is that it’s not allowing us to have anything to look forward to since we can’t plan anything just yet. That eventually causes you to lose your sense of hope for the future.

I haven’t lost all hope yet and my sense of adventure and addiction to travel just won’t let me go without planning something for very long. I’m still going to try – now armed with the knowledge that I can cancel or change flights and hotel reservations without penalty. We’re ready with our 2021 Indy 500 reservations and we just booked a long weekend away for later next summer.

What will the situation be by then, I wonder?

I guess the one thing that we can all be hopeful about and grateful for is that this presidential election will be over and maybe people can quit fighting about it. One of my friends posted something on social media recently that made me laugh, smile and inspired a little bit of hope as the year draws to a close.

She said, “2020 was a bust, so 2021 is a must!” Here’s to opting out of 2020 and all of its woes and opting in to a better 2021!

Kristin Emery can be reached at

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