Molly Zacher's Portfolio

2020 recap

Well January is already almost over, and here I am finally writing the annual year recap blog post that no one reads.

This public journal is necessary for my future self to gauge how far she’s (hopefully) come so … here goes.


2020 was … strange to say the least.
I started the year optimistic, I had big plans for my professional life, travel plans, running/race plans, and I was on top of it all. Brooke and I flew to California mid-january to surprise Leanna for her birthday, which was a blast. I spent almost every day in January and February getting up at the butt crack of dawn to run in central park, taking full advantage of my fancy gym membership, and taking pilates classes to ensure that this 2020 marathon training year went off without a hitch. In mid-February I ran one of the longest runs at my fastest pace (12mi, 8:44 pace), and then very suddenly became sick.
I took a week off from exercising to recover and enjoyed Vada visiting from SF, but wasn’t long after that COVID-19 had made its way to nyc and the hysteria began. The first couple weeks in March were strange. We started working from home, and for the most part, I was perfectly fine with sitting at home in my sweatpants. It very soon became apparent that this was not going to be a short term problem. As the hospitals in the city filled and tensions rose, I was furloughed from my job, and made my way back to Illinois to escape the chaos.


The following five months were a bizarre blur. I felt like I was back in high school living with my parents, while also feeling like I was living the nightmare version of my life that would have been moving home after college with no job. I tried to continue running, but after the mystery sickness in February, I never fully regained my endurance, and found running one or two miles harder than the 10 to 12 I was running just a few months earlier. 
I spent a lot of time alone, I watched more shows and movies than I can even remember (every season of The L Word, including the reboot, all of the X-Men and Avengers/Marvel movies, in chronological order, Sex Education, Schitt’s Creek, so many more), I read some books, I went grocery shopping and cooked for my parents. A lot of the days seemed to pass very easily, which was mildly concerning, with how little I was doing/accomplishing.
I still can’t really wrap my head around the fact that I spent almost half of 2020 doing virtually nothing productive, but at the same time, the quiet and the slowness and the nothingness helped me to reset.


In August, I decided it was time to move forward, or really in any direction. When my boss called to offer me my job back, I told him that I had decided I needed to make moves outside of a 9-to-5 and would be happy to freelance, but was no longer interested in a full-time position. At the start of the year, I had planned on quitting in May or June, and had saved quite a bit of money. So after living at home for several months, I had saved even more and felt (mostly) comfortable rejecting the comfort of a job that was no longer fulfilling, and moving forward with my plans, however terrifying.

Meanwhile, college friends of mine had a room available in their apartment in Brooklyn, so as my lease was up September 1st, I decided that this move was another step in my plan, and I would be back in the city in August to pack up my things and move boroughs.

All of that went according to plan; I managed to drive a U-Haul down FDR without crashing, and with the help of Russell and Andrea, we managed to get all of my things from what felt like one end of the city to the other on one of the hottest days in August. (Remind me to never move in the summer ever again)


After the move, I left the city once more for a small family reunion in Hilton Head, SC. We may not have followed all of the COVID restrictions, but it was nice to be on the beach all together and try to forget all of the madness, even for just a few days.

By September 1st, I was back in nyc, ready to take on the rest of my life (that was terrifyingly unknown). I immediately got to work trying to reach out to people, reconnect with anyone I could think of, and find work wherever possible. It was (and for the most part, still is) a slow process, and anxiety-inducing most days, but I knew that this would be the case when I originally made this plan, so I’m in it for the long haul. All the little steps I take are leading me somewhere, and as long as I keep moving, it’ll all work out one way or another. (I say this to myself on a daily basis, but tbh I’m still working on believing it)


The latter part of this year was filled with ups and downs: 
My parents had to put down Wilson, our family dog, and while it was so heartbreaking, I was so glad to have gotten to spend all summer with him. 
I continued shooting self portraits, and started a new personal project that has taken me all over the city and introduced me to so many new people.
I’ve started to find my way around Brooklyn, exploring a new borough from the bagel shops to the plant stores and farmers’ markets, finding new running routes, biking everywhere, and seeing friends that I used to have to take the subway for an hour to see.
I registered an LLC and I’m still trying to figure out all of the in’s and out’s and being a “small business owner” (lol who am i)
I watched the leaves change, and got to see so much more daylight, as I wasn’t cooped up all day inside an office with no windows five days a week. 
I started working semi-consistently with some shoots, some assisting, some retouching, and remembered how exhausting being on set can be, but so rewarding.
Andrea and I flew to Guatemala to meet Luisa and Yve and stay with Andrea’s wonderful family for ten days. We got to see so many beautiful places, and I even picked up a little bit of spanish along the way.
When I returned to the city, it was somehow already December, and holiday season was well on its way. I spent a day walking around in the snow, enjoying the city in all of its winter glory, and even managed to sneak in a big snow day before leaving for Illinois once again.
I flew back to Chicago, celebrated Christmas with my parents and Megan, and then Megan and I took a little trip up to a tiny house airbnb in Wisconsin as a gift to each other.
Right after, we all ended up traveling down to my grandparents house to say goodbye to my aunt Sherri. The whole family got together and did what we could to be there for her and for one another. The two weeks I spent there are still heavy on my heart, but I am glad that we were able to all be together, despite the circumstances.


I got back to the city a little over a week ago and I’m still coming to terms with the new year. 
Time, as always, but somehow even moreso, feels strange, and I still find myself saying “the other day” about things that happened two months ago. 
I hope for more light in 2021, I hope that things slowly start moving again, and life feels less fragmented. I know that a lot of good came from the pause and the slowness of last year, but I am ready to move again.

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