50 Things That Improved My Life In 2020, The Year of Chaos

They’ll probably improve yours too

Todd Brison
14 min readDec 7, 2020


Image by the author. #15 (drawing) is shown above. Drawing helps the brain make connections it otherwise wouldn’t.

The brain is designed to answer questions.

For most of the year, the question I asked was: “How could it get any worse??” I found answers to that. Then, I asked “what made this year good?” I also found answers to that.

My guess is that you could make a list just like this. You can steal some from my personal list of 50 things that improved my life in 2020.

50. Cutting out critically acclaimed films

After 18 months of watching off Best Picture-winning films, Kate and I have turn to a steady diet of Rom Coms this year. We even watched Emily in Paris, awful as it was. Why? Because apparently, awards go to only super depressing work.

Entertainment should make you feel better, not worse.

49. Writing poetry on wine corks

“Poetry” is a stretch here, but I’m still using that word.

Every time we finish off a bottle of wine, I grab a Sharpie and write something that will remind me of the night.

Each note takes me back in time.

Image by the author. These say (from left to right) “Well, red wine season is finally upon us,” “Jack’s lemon broke,” “Dermot [Kennedy] Day!”, “Just a Wednesday,” and “One year ago we were in Paris.”

48. Kiwis

More potassium than bananas. More vitamin C than oranges. More fiber than cereal. Step aside, kale. Kiwi is the real superfood.

47. Answering Phone Calls

Almost the entire decade BC (before COVID) I avoided phone calls like the plague. Now, they are salve for my soul. Some are productive. Some aren’t. Frankly, I don’t care.

Talking to humans makes you feel human. That’s a good thing.

46. Coach Tony’s Guide to Configuring Your iPhone

Speaking of phones — this guide from Tony Stubblevine might be the only online, long-form piece I’ve ever been patient enough to read.

It’s practical and helpful.

45. Buying More Physical…