We don’t need to tell you how devastating and traumatic this year has been—too many of you have experienced that firsthand. Instead, we asked our colleagues to reflect on some of their personal high points of 2020. We hope that our experiences will resonate with you, our readers—or remind you of your own silver linings. 

Sarah Edwards, Arts & Culture Editor

It’s not very original to fall in love with a dog during a pandemic, but that’s my story. When I met Penny this August, she was sleeping in a dirt corner while all the other dogs roughhoused. “What a cute chiller,” I thought, innocently, as we drove home from the rescue. It soon became clear that, while she is very cute—she has white socks, a slouchy beanbag pit face, breath like old Wheaties, and the delicate trot of a Disney deer—what I’d mistaken for natural serenity was lethargy and a bad case of kennel cough. 

Now recovered, the dog that I’ve come to know is a total punk and anything but chill. (Edit: As I wrote this, she sprinted past with two baked potatoes stolen from the counter.) She’s scared of skateboards, addicted to squirrels, and sucks at fetch. She’s also perfect and has brought me immeasurable joy during a solitary time. Walking her for miles every day has become my key to the world—one brimming with new neighbors and routes and discarded chicken wings. Penny’s belief that she belongs in the world, and will be loved by everyone in it, is unfettered. She makes me want to belong more fully to the world, too. 

Twitter | sedwards@indyweek.com

Jon Fuller, Graphic Designer

The phrase I heard the most at the beginning of 2020 was, “This is going to be our year.” Unfortunately, many of our goals and dreams were redirected by a pandemic. Even with COVID-19, civil unrest, and the uncertainty of the world, we still pushed on. We looked at our situation, planned how we could keep rolling safely, and supported each other to strive to keep going. There is always more work to be done, but the way the community has shown up for each other, I feel we’ve all seen we don’t have to go at it alone. My/our silver lining is unity and resilience. 

Instagram | jfuller@indyweek.com

Eric Ginsburg, Interim News Editor 

Like all of you, I’ve had a challenging 2020, but this year hasn’t been without its glimmers of hope. After a dozen years in Greensboro and a short stint in New York, I moved to Durham this spring. At 33, I’m ready to put down roots in the Triangle, a process I started in earnest when I joined the scrappy INDY Week team on an interim basis this fall (another silver lining!). More than anything though, I’ll fondly remember eloping with the love of my life this August, exchanging vows in a tiny, distanced ceremony in our friends’ backyard in Raleigh.

Twitter | eginsburg@indyweek.com.

Susan Harper, Publisher 

My favorite thing over the past nine months has been connecting in new ways with friends and family. My mom and stepdad live in central Florida, and we haven’t felt comfortable traveling that far. She and I set up a plan where she texts me by 8 a.m., letting me know she’s OK, so I don’t bug her every day. The fun part has been the crazy GIFs she finds to send to me daily. I’ve also enjoyed Zoom calls with friends from North Carolina School of Science & Math, some of whom I haven’t seen in person for years.


Annie Maynard, Creative Director 

Rounding out the tail-end of a sardonic and at times grueling year, my silver lining came to me in the form of a 3.5-pound, golden-eyed ball of grey and white fluff. There seemed like no better time to realize a lifelong dream of cat ownership, and on December 6, Laszlo made me a “cat mom.” I now spend my days curled up on the couch for snuggles, or watching him drag every spring toy, stuffed sloth, and bird wand we own back and forth between his cat cave and carrier. While I’m still approaching the new year with moderate apprehension, one thing’s for sure: My days in 2021 will be full of more joy because he is here.

Twitter | amaynard@indyweek.com

Thomasi McDonald, Staff Writer  

The best thing about this year is the return of something like old Durham, before all these damn people showed up. I appreciate everyone having to sit their collective asses down. 

I like to think that now that we have briefly returned to old Durham, people are talking to each other a little more often. Intimate, meaningful conversations. Thinking more clearly without the noise. Shoot, man, now you can get from one side of town to the other in 10 minutes or less—just like in old Durham. Before, I’d get home after waiting in all that lousy traffic and trudge out of the car to my front door. My only consolation was, “It could be worse, yo. I could live in Raleigh.” 

Because when things get back to normal, that’s what the new Durham will feel like again: the Raleigh of the West. So appreciate the hundred-year pandemic in your life, because this, too, shall pass.

Twitter | tmcdonald@indyweek.com

Sara Pequeño, Staff Writer

What a way to spend your first calendar year out of school. I don’t feel like any description of the college-to-“real-world”-transition does it justice, even in normal times. You take your eye off the telescope, only to realize that losing focus on the moon means you have to confront the endless night sky. It is liberating. It is suffocating. While I’m overwhelmed by the vastness of the rest of my life, I’m content with right now: moving to Durham, being at the INDY, buying a car with working headlights, finally starting ADHD medicine, and learning to give myself some grace after years of self-deprecation. I’m overwhelmed, but I’m doing okay. Even if I don’t feel like an adult quite yet.

Twitter | spequeno@indyweek.com

Leigh Tauss, Interim Editor-in-Chief

While not exactly something I’m grateful for: I no longer fetishize the idea of watching TV for days in my pajamas while mainlining ice cream out of the container. Probably filled my life-quota on that one—tenfold—this year. 

 Twitter | ltauss@indyweek.com

Jade Wilson, Staff Photographer

For the entire month of May, I lived with my best friend, and it was the most enjoyable experience I had during the pandemic and the best roommate situation I could ask for. We shared many meals and laughs while our dogs struggled to get along. We also worked extensively on our labor of love film, Brainchild. I have a deeper love for her as a result and will always remember that as the most blissful month I’ve had this year.

Instagram | jwilson@indyweek.com

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