Our Year in Artifacts

There are many adjectives that could be used to describe the century that was 2020. As we close this chapter and head into the New Year, “unforgettable” is the one that feels most characteristic to us. Whether it was pandemic, protest or toilet-paper related pandemonium – we’ve never been quite so certain that we’re witnessing history. 

We felt less alone after reading Kevin Beaty’s Denverite article, “How Denver’s historians are preserving this year for future generations.” Aware of the significance of the year, the staff at History Colorado have been safely scouring the streets collecting artifacts to tell 2020’s story from as many perspectives as possible. We were inspired by this method of documentation, so we wanted to give it a try ourselves. 

Unfortunately, we don’t have a cool museum to house all of our relics, but we have this blog! We pitched this question to our team to get our anthropological wheels turning: 

When you look back on this year, is there anything that defines 2020 for you? What is your 2020 artifact?

Here’s what we found… 


This may be a little cliché, but my 2020 artifact is my engagement ring. I’ve never been much of a jewelry wearer and the exorbitant expense and never-ending options pretty much overwhelmed me from the start. But I’ve always appreciated the idea of having a universally understood symbolization of the journey that begins when two people choose to spend their lives together. In a year filled with many dark moments, this ring – and what it represents – gives me hope for a bright future of possibilities with the one I love.


Two of my 2020 artifacts are definitely my KitchenAid Standmixer and my pasta maker attachment. 🙂 And if I were to give 2020 a quote it would have to be “Just keep swimming…”.


While 2020 has undoubtedly been an epic dumpster fire in so many ways, I tend to see the glass as half full. For me, the year has also been full of moments of discovery and acceptance – discovering who I am in the tough times and the good, and accepting the present moment for what it is. Through it all, it’s been nice to have my trusty keyboard to serve as a reminder of the healing power of music – and inspire some epic solo dance parties.


My 2020 artifact is an experience. We visited the North Rim of the Grand Canyon a few days after it opened back up to the public. The silence was unsettling, as was its beauty. We ran into fewer than 10 people at what is typically peak tourist season. While my family hiked around, I chose to sit and look over the rim. I was struck by the path the Colorado River cut through the sedimentary rock. While the rock had formed here billions of years ago, it was just a few million years ago the river began to carve its way through. 

When we reflect on 2020 years from now, I think its legacy will be like the Colorado River. Our collective problems – from racism and climate change to mental health and food insecurity – have been here for hundreds of years. I choose to see 2020 as an act of erosion that began to cut through these rocks and expose their layers to many for the first time. Rivers work slowly, deepening and widening a canyon over time. I hope years from now, I can stand at the edge of this river and see the silt, sand and slate of a revolution.


I got a new journal this year and it has been fun to rediscover documenting big and small moments in time that I can look back on. It is a guided journal that gives a new prompt each week that correlates with the cycles of the moon. The good part about this year is that I’ve really checked in with myself and determined what is most important in life to me and that is one thing I am really grateful for. 


I completed my bachelors degree in June of this year and they gave me a diploma! While it’s sad my time at school was cut short because of the pandemic, I am so grateful for those four years. When I look at my diploma, I’ll always remember how much I learned about myself and the world in this past year. I graduated amid pandemic, protest and a shift in public consciousness. My 2020 artifact, my diploma, represents my dedication to learning – something that’s extra important after such a significant year. 


A regular gym-goer, when they were closed shortly after the pandemic hit, I turned to the Peloton app for great fitness classes right from the palm of my hand. No, I’m not lucky enough to have a Peloton bike; you don’t need one to use the app. Since March, I’ve used the app to complete various fitness challenges, more than 100 classes, including strength, cardio, stretching, yoga and even meditation. Being able to access classes and even participate in some live classes was a real lifesaver for me and it’s even become part of my regular routine all these months later.

The end of the year is a great time for reflection. In years like this it feels especially important. So, what about you? What did you learn about yourself this year? What’s your 2020 artifact?

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