My Holiday Letter 2020 — A Good Year For Therapists

(Note: I have a tradition of writing an end of year letter to family and friends. This is my 35th. And this year, I thought I would include you, too, my little chickadees. Welcome to my world.)

Selfie in 2020

Dearest Friends, Family, and Fans (otherwise known as bloggEEs),

I don’t need to tell you what an expletive year this has been. In fact, maybe this year doesn’t even deserve acknowledgment. Perhaps this ought to be The Year of the unHoliday nonLetter or maybe The Year Everyone Finally Realized They Needed Therapy Because the Shadow Side of Humanity was Unequivocally Apparent.

It was a good year for therapists.

And for consultants who guide dear rainforest-minded souls along their paths to self-love, awakening, and purpose-on-the-planet even as humans are running amok, a pandemic is exploding, and hope for the future is not particularly easily accessible.

So. I did OK.

I am an introvert. I could see all of my clients online. Thus, my finances remained stable and I did not miss rock concerts. Because I have no children, partners, or pets, there was nothing to disturb my practice and my writing. No one was barking at an important emotional moment. No kitties were strolling across my keyboard. And, luckily, people were still wanting me to share my knowledge. I joined this conversation with The G Word Film and will be presenting at this online conference in France end of January. Merci.

I continued on my personal quest for self-healing and cosmic consciousness, working with my various practitioners (with COVID protections in place) such as my almost-too-pretty acupuncturist and a new bodyworker who channels Quan Yin and various angelic beings. (I live in Eugene, Oregon, USA, after all, the hippie dippy capital of the world.) I am wondering if I should start writing a new book, a memoir, The Journey of the Tango Dancing Geek Psychotherapist as She Guides Evolving Humans Through their Beautiful Rainforest Minds in Order to Save the Planet and Raise the Consciousness of, Oh, Everyone. It could be a best seller. Meryl Streep would play me in the movie.

And just when I thought I might have met my maximum cosmic capacity, I found this phenomenon through the book Evolutionary Relationships by Patricia Albere and am exploring realities at a whole new level. I am not making this up. It is mind blowing. You might want to check it out. There is a free two hour talk on January 1, 2021 where you can find out more. It presents a beautiful and hopeful view of our future.

And speaking of hope, my amazing friend Tina, gathered children around the world online and has created The World Hope Project. Here is their short, moving, sweet video. You will cry. Happy hope-filled tears.

So, my dearest family, friends, and fans, I am so grateful to all of you. So grateful. May 2021 bring you self-love, awakening, purpose, lucrative movie deals for your memoirs, and happy tears.

So much love,



To my bloggEEs: Hope you liked this slightly different post. Let us know how you are doing and your plans for 2021. I hope you and those you love are all healthy, safe, cozy, and emotionally, mentally, and spiritually thriving. Did I mention how grateful I am for you?

(Note to friends and family: Not to worry. You will receive your letter, as usual, in your email.)

Author: Paula Prober

I’m a psychotherapist and consultant in private practice based in Eugene, Oregon. I specialize in international consulting with gifted adults and parents of gifted children. I’ve been a teacher and an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon and a frequent guest presenter at Oregon State University and Pacific University. I’ve written articles on giftedness for the Eugene Register-Guard, the Psychotherapy Networker, Advanced Development Journal and online for psychotherapy dot net, Rebelle Society, Thrive, Introvert Dear, and Highly Sensitive Refuge. My first book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth, is a collection of case studies of gifted clients along with many strategies and resources for gifted adults and teens. My second book, Journey Into Your Rainforest Mind: A Field Guide for Gifted Adults and Teens, Book Lovers, Overthinkers, Geeks, Sensitives, Brainiacs, Intuitives, Procrastinators, and Perfectionists is a collection of my most popular blog posts along with writing exercises for self-exploration and insight.

15 responses to “My Holiday Letter 2020 — A Good Year For Therapists”

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  1. monstero2006 Avatar

    Well reflected and said on not-my-favorite year. I joined the unemployed in 2020 and watched our country spasm in it’s efforts to form a more perfect union, 2 of the lesser lights of the year, not even mentioning the pandemic.


    We also learned that human beings can build rockets that we can land and reuse. We can send other rockets to asteroids millions of miles off into space and grab asteroid dirt AND BRING IT BACK to Earth ! We can get 3 different countries to put landers on Mars….so many things we can do together that just wash away the limitations caused by the Shadow of Humanity.

    2021 is going to be tough – see items 1 and 2 for me above – but it is us ! We do not always make the right choice the first time (or 2nd, 3rd can be a challenge, 4th is well represented…) but we are here as the product of hundreds of generations before us who figured it out.

    Thank you for your annual letter and maintaining the Rainforest for/with us. Well done and Happy New Year to us !


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thank you, Brett. Here’s to a better 2021, eventually.

  2. Sonia Smith (@SoniaKSmith) Avatar
    Sonia Smith (@SoniaKSmith)

    Hello Paula, I saw your website for the first time today. It was a great start to 2021. I am a retired psychologist, I have been living in the USA for 13 years and I have worked with gifted adults for 35 years in Brazil. I never stopped watching the news about these incredible people. I bought your book and I’m looking forward to learning more about your ideas.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      So glad you found me, Sonia! Welcome. I also just connected with you on LInkedIn. Thank you for buying my book!

  3. Marcia Hines-Colvin Avatar
    Marcia Hines-Colvin

    Yes! Write the memoir so far!

  4. Dr. Dad Avatar
    Dr. Dad

    We are also among the few to whom this year has been good. Let me start with the best part, because it’s so rare and may bring good cheer to your blogands. We made a new friend. Yes, it’s not only possible to make a new friend in your fifties, which I am, but apparently it’s also possible to make a new friend in your seventies, which he is.

    How did we meet our wonderful new friend? We moved in across the street from him. We’ve lived a lot of places, but we never had a friend like him pop up among our neighbors. We exchange books with him, we have him over for drinks or dinner, he has us over for drinks or dinner, we enjoy his humor and his stories, he’s kind and tolerant towards our children. When I planned the planting of fruit trees in our new yard for the spring, I carefully measured the sight angles from his windows to ensure that I wouldn’t put any where they might block his view of the reservoir we abut. I had already removed the decrepit pines that blocked his view almost completely and made our yard so dark, for which he was very grateful. He hated those pines more than I did.

    We had him over for Christmas dinner, for which I pulled out all the stops (multiple champagnes, a deboned and lamb pilaf-stuffed turkey, dressing, two gravies, braised red cabbage, cranberry relish…) He sent us a Christmas card saying that meeting us is the best thing that happened in 2020. We have added him to our small collection of friends, and this is a wonderful thing to happen in any given year.

    Otherwise, things happened this year at convenient times for us, or we acted at the right moment. The shutdown hit our family at a point where our son was again becoming disengaged from school. The kids took their normal March break, but after the break the school they both attended switched to remote education. Our daughter missed seeing her school friends in person every day, but the teachers did a remarkable job with the transition, and she continued to be engaged with school for most of the day. I was already a stay-at-home parent, so it wasn’t a big deal for me to have them both home all day. My wife transitioned to working from home easily, and the worst thing that happened for us in March was the ski mountain closing two days before our planned vacation.

    My son decided to apply to college early, and was accepted. We bought a bigger house in a coveted location, and started renovations on it. That kept me busy running back and forth to supervise contractors and to work myself, but because my wife was working from home the kids were sufficiently supervised and fed. My son found it easier to attend school remotely, because he was getting tired of his classmates and realizing the school wasn’t really meeting his needs. He was also getting tired of some of the lessons and ensembles he had, so he wasn’t too upset to have to stop going to the conservatory every week. My daughter started getting outside more on her own, because she realized that other parents would never schedule playdates so she and her friends had to scheme online to “accidentally” run into each other.

    In June, we moved into our new house, shorn of raggedy old pines and decrepit, runaway plantings, interiors painted and polished, with a large terrace overlooking the reservoir, and began a tradition of having coffee in the mornings, and cocktails in the evenings, outside. Our old house was never quite so pleasant in that way. Our old house also didn’t have a room dedicated to be my wife’s office, a room dedicated to my daughter’s art, a huge room for my son that can fit all his instruments, or quite such a good stove for me. If you’ve never heard of an American Crown, look it up.

    Nor was our old house a block away from my daughter’s “boyfriend.” The two of them passed the summer thick as thieves, in and out of both houses, around the reservoir, up to the shopping areas, belonging to both and neither house. The cancellation of all the normal camps and vacations was compensated. The young man in question is brilliant, flaky, idiosyncratic, and utterly beloved. I hung a porch swing for them from the old oak in front, and they spent many an afternoon there.

    My son left for college in August, and because of the pandemic we were not allowed to visit and he was not not allowed to see us until Thanksgiving, after which he finished the term from home. His college’s lockdown was so strict that there was zero transmission of COVID. He almost got thrown out for necking with a young lady, and he didn’t do most of his homework on time, but the pandemic brought a greater appreciation of student stress, and his work was accepted late. He had found one of the few places where he could actually play in an ensemble in person, and as the students were not allowed to visit each other’s rooms, they spent a lot of time outside. He came home looking healthier. I’ve come to believe that a little distance from his parents is good for a sixteen year old boy.

    My daughter’s school reopened for in-person classes, although many of them were in tents outside, and masks were worn all day. She was thrilled to be able to spend more time with her school friends, and even got to have her favorite teacher ever for the second year in a row. She started voice lessons – the teacher, who knew her already, made an exception for her, starting a year earlier than normal – and she finally seems to have really taken to a form of musical expression (after half-heartedly spending a year avoiding practicing, in order: piano, guitar, saxophone, and flute). She only agreed to the voice lessons because I could assure her that she would not be required to perform in front of people. So thanks again, COVID. She ended up giving a performance, a semester early, over zoom, and it brought my wife to tears. I was stunned at the depth and support her voice has so quickly developed.

    The pandemic not only made it possible for more people to work from home, but it also caused many companies to spread the net farther than before for new employees: if they’re all going to work from home, it no longer matters where they are. That’s why my wife got a great new job with a company from England: it no longer matters at all that she’s not there, and can’t go there. This has been a good year to work in biotech.

    The pandemic meant I haven’t had to put up with my in-laws all year. I used to enjoy their company, but they became, in my view, politically deranged during the oughts, and I find it hard to talk to them anymore. Thanksgiving was spent with good friends only: my daughter’s best friend, my wife’s best friend, and the latter’s boyfriend and brother. We became closer to these friends this year because you only get to have so many people ‘inside your bubble.’ Our new house is like their second home now, and we have spent many evenings together having “quarantinis” on the terrace or, when the weather turned, in the living room by a cheerful fire.

    I usually cook a lot, but this year even more so because we haven’t wanted to eat inside a restaurant at all. So I have tried new dishes and perfected old ones, and we have a freezer full of three kinds of stock. I find deboning a turkey very convenient: you can do that the day before you serve the turkey, make the stock that day, and cleanup on the day you eat the turkey becomes much faster. It also makes for a lovely presentation: you cut into the plump, brown turkey deeper and deeper until the filling spills right out, and you don’t have to wrestle to get the legs off.

    We have only very little left to look forward to this year, mostly just a week of preparation so that on the first we can go up to the mountain and ski with our bubble friends. Of course, preparations this year will involve long swabs up the schnoz for everybody. This year our friends bought a quarter-share in the same building as ours so we can all ski together until New England runs out of snow. We will also see some of our daughter’s school friends there. It’s a good way to start the new year, which we hope will bring a reopening of society in general, following the new vaccine. We will see more people again, but we won’t lose our closeness to the people with whom we bubbled in 2020.

    (And yes, I just employed your blog as a way to make me write a yearly letter)

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Um. Dr. Dad. This is a loooong comment. 🙂 But since you are a regular contributor, well, yes, you can leave your yearly letter here! 🙂

  5. Someti Avatar

    This year the Christmas and New Year period is being unusually quiet. (so quiet it is even scary at times). But I am not complaining. That is something I also appreciate: it is being quite healthy too (I have time to exercise a bit every day and eat healthy meals as opposed to past end-of-the-year dates full of “sugary luncheon” 😂), there is much less stress, mall shopping, urgent-last-minute stuff… and much more time for introspection, calmness, peace, breathing, appreciation of the persons with whom I spend these days, awareness of the beauty of being alive… and the list goes on. Isn’t that what this period was supposed to be for after all? Wasn’t that the initial purpose of a break at the end of the year? No pressure, no hurries, a few days off…

    Nice to see you and read you all. I wish you a happy holiday season and a lovely year 2021!

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Happy new year, Someti! All things wonderful for you in 2021.

  6. cmd1122 Avatar

    Happy holidays, dear Paula. Thanks for sharing the video of the World Hope Project 😀
    Wishing you a very bright and hopeful 2021 and beyond. Sending long-distance hugs your way!

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Always appreciate your hugs, cmd1122. Happy holidays to you!

  7. Tanya Avatar

    Thank you Paula! I really enjoyed this blog, and I’m excited to check out Evolutionary Relationships and read more about Quan Yin. Happy holidays to you!! 🙂

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thank you, Tanya. Happy holidays.

  8. Avatar

    Wishing you peace and hope in the new year. Thank you for getting in touch this year. I look forward to your movie😉. And I do think Meryl Streep would be a good choice to play you. The video of World Hope Project was very touching; a good way to start this next year.

    Take care of you.

    Sent from my iPad


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      If there is a scene in the movie from high school, we will have to include you, Sue… Now who will play the younger you?? 🙂