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This year was supposed to be the best year yet. My boyfriend and I were finally looking at houses together, going to Las Vegas for the first time, finishing my pre requisite classes for my program, going to baseball games or out to eat with our friends, paying off my car. So many good things were in store this year, but it took a turn for the worst quickly. Don’t get me wrong I do have a few happy memories from this year like getting the keys to our first home, first trip to Las Vegas was successful, and I did get to surprise my niece (who I haven’t seen in over a year) by driving down to see her for her 5th birthday! But this year has also been filled with so many hard lessons, tears, and full of anxiety and depression. Being forced to take my classes online even though I didn’t feel confident doing so, forced to work full time during a pandemic in a medical office, not being able to go out with friends and family, having to wear a mask anytime I leave the house even though I have asthma and feel like I am suffocating. I know these all seem like small things, and I do realize that the masks are necessary due to the pandemic. But this is a year that I will never get back. All of the things that were supposed to be so exciting turned into stress. Paying off my car feels impossible with the amount of money I am making as an “essential worker” compared to what someone on unemployment may be making. We have been required to work 40+ hours a week putting ourselves and our loved ones at risk and not getting any type of extra compensation. Buying our first house seemed so exciting, and it is to a certain extent, but we couldn’t have anyone over to share the excitement. Again, these may seem like small things but they are milestones that most people look forward to. So if there is anything I have learned throughout this pandemic it is to try to keep hope. As hard as it may seem in the moment, this is only temporary.