The Beat Goes On

Photo by Warren Wong on Unsplash

As we drift out of 2020, music has been tickling my ears. It may have been a mostly trash year, but the music was golden. My Spotify Top Songs of 2020 playlist says so.

Early on, after my virtual birthday dance party in March, I was stuck on upbeat, contemporary R&B and pop music. As the new pandemic reality set in, I drifted to jazz and classical tunes. By summer, I got nostalgic and jettisoned myself back to the 90’s (think Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey) and was hypnotized for weeks by Rascal Flatts’ catalog, the only country group I mysteriously love.

Then, on long Sunday drives, I dived deeper into Tiny Desk concerts, a longtime delight, because that is where you go to hear the artists who can really sing. No studio magic, just pure, stunning voices in the wild.

I went on to movie soundtracks, world music, sound spas, gospel and whatever category James Arthur fits into. Everything was on the table.

If I had a dollar for all the Spotify wormholes I’ve fallen into. Sigh. Something has always been in my ear. As a distraction, but also as a timeless portal to better moods, better times.

As I leaned into music, I veered away from other things with serious Matrix moves. The news. Social media. Returning random texts and calls to “catastrophize” with others. Many days began and ended with WiFi off, Do Not Disturb on.

That gave me more time to watch Disney movies and make headway on my adult coloring books. Too, I committed to audiobook stories for bedtime. I adapted to Zoom and Duo and sent more pictures and emojis than my family and friends have ever seen from me.

I took virtual Roller coaster rides, field trips to Machu Pichu, the Taj Mahal,  Carnival in Rio de Janeiro (circa 2019).and a scenic railway trip through Sri Lanka. Google and YouTube were besties that also helped me master home organizing, DIY projects and home workout routines.

I cooked everything and took a virtual wine tasting class.

So, I’d be lying if I said 2020 was a wash. I grew. I played. I rested. I took care of myself. I let go of some of the fluff and a few bad habits. I held onto the people I love. I now know what really matters.

It hasn’t been perfect. Through a collage of uncertainty, I’ve seen that everything can disappear. Everything can appear too. I will remember 2020 as a year that I had an unprecedented opportunity to create, cultivate more meaningful conversations, savor life’s small joys and refine boundaries guarding my sacred spaces. I will remember it as a year I learned to be nimbler and to keep my gaze from roaming too far into the future. I have not yet mastered grey space, but it is easier to sit with it for longer periods of time without spiraling.

My word for 2020 was “unstoppable.” I got stopped. We all did. The gift in that is that there was ample time to practice resilience. Always resilience.

We’re still standing. We still have s**t to do. We can still take a deep breath and choose joy.

I don’t say this lightly, but I’m quietly excited about 2021, although I can’t really say why. A magical melody is growing louder and truer like the music I’ve been enjoying.

I hope your sense of purpose and adventure are bubbling to the surface too. Whatever you really, really, really want, you can still have. Dream them dreams. Follow your heart, follow your path, follow the beat to a peaceful, joy-filled, healthy new year. I’ll see you there.

Much love,


10 thoughts on “The Beat Goes On

  1. I really loved this post and…needed it. Thank you for sharing. This part–spot on: “We’re still standing. We still have s**t to do. We can still take a deep breath and choose joy.” Happy New Year. Be unstoppable, resilient. (I’ll see you there, too.)

    • Thank you. I’m glad it resonated. Writing it made me feel a lot better about the year. When I actually looked back on it, 2020 was different, but sprinkled with gems. Much joy in 2021 M. Jane!

  2. This is the healthiest survival strategy I’ve read so far, Nailah. 2020 taught us a lot, and there were many silver linings. Going forward in strength and resilience, wishing you all the best. ❤

    • Happy New Year Kathy! Hope all is well. Yes, for the virtual wine tasting, a group I belong to individually purchased sets of single-glass wines through
      Then, we met on Zoom where a member of the company walked us through each wine. It was a lot of fun and I learned many things. It was especially useful because I don’t drink much and knew almost nothing about choosing good wine. I had a favorite. They all have affirmative names, so if you do it, we’ll compare notes! Also, you can order the entire set of mini-wines and do your own private tasting.

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