2020: A Year to Stay in the Moment. And Wear a Watch.

Nordgreen watchI’m hearing it everywhere, especially from middle-aged people and seniors: 2020 is a year unlike any they’ve ever experienced. Sure, some years are really difficult, while others seem to fly by. But 2020? How can it even be described? And how can we keep up with the ever-evolving daily news, let alone get anything else done? And this year is far from over.

New Year’s is the number one holiday celebrated around the globe because of its universal and non-denominational nature. All you need to celebrate New Year’s is a belief in the calendar and a little hope for the future. And since 2020 also began a new decade, this past New Year’s Eve seemed particularly significant. If you raised a glass and declared that 2020 would be filled with lots of change, well, you were correct.

But who could’ve predicted the types of change? And the speed at which those changes would occur? Who thought as they rang in the new year that our world would be united again in just a few months, not in celebration, but by a global pandemic that would sicken and kill millions? Or that the people gathering, cheering, and enjoying firework displays in iconic locations would soon find themselves locked down in their homes, afraid to venture out in fear of contracting the deadly virus? Or worse, mourning the loss of loved ones to COVID-19?

Who could’ve imagined on January 1st, as they kissed, called, and texted friends with wishes of health, peace, and prosperity, that in late May, the world—now wearing facemasks, social distancing, washing hands as often as possible, and accepting lots of new normals—would once again be shaken to the core by the horrific murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer? And that this would be the year when America would finally, finally begin to actively acknowledge—as a nation—the existence of systemic racism in our culture? That we’d finally, finally begin to listen—as a nation—intently to the millions of voices of people of color in our country and finally, finally begin working for real, structural change.

Emotions, are, understandably, all over the place. Speaking on a personal level, I find myself in desperate tears one moment, only to be crying tears of joy at images of the thousands of peaceful Black Lives Matter protests all over the world and believing in my heart that this could be the year everything changes for the better. Nothing can ever make up for the unspeakable injustice the U.S. has inflicted on people of color for centuries, and nothing can ever right the wrongs of lives lost and destroyed, but the hope that the future will be brighter is truly encouraging.

Hope alone, however, won’t bring about change. Change only happens when humans dedicate time and energy to it, and that’s where we all come in. I don’t need to mention the names of the appalling, disgraceful American leaders—one in particular—who must be removed from power in order for systemic change to happen. And in the months leading up to the November election, every moment will be critical. This time around, no American can say, “it doesn’t really matter who wins,” or “both parties are essentially the same.” These statements are categorically untrue, and it’s critical that all Americans are allowed to vote and vote safely. Unfortunately, even this fundamental American right is being challenged right now. In other words, before we get to celebrate New Year’s Eve again—perhaps in a less racist world, with a vaccine for COVID available or right around the corner, and a new American president—we’ll need to stay in the moment, prepared to work.

So I’m going back to wearing a wristwatch. That’s right. Because I’ve recently realized that I spend a ridiculous amount of time out of the moment, primarily on my smartphone. Ever since embracing cellphone culture, I stopped wearing a watch, because who needs two timepieces when one will suffice? Me, apparently. I pull out the phone to check the time and end up scrolling through social media, responding to non-urgent texts, reading non-urgent email, or going down some other unfulfilling path seductively offered by my smartphone. Don’t get me wrong: humans absolutely need to take breaks, but the number of smartphone detours I allow myself on a daily basis is excessive.

I was actually in the process of looking at watches online when Nordgreen, a Danish watch company approached me to ask if I’d write an honest review of their product in exchange for a free timepiece. I did a bit of research and agreed. And I’m glad I did. For starters, the watch is lovely. Nordgreen allowed me to choose from their extensive collection of styles and colors, so I was able to find exactly what I’d been hoping for: a good-sized face (the watch I chose is actually recommended for a man, but I’ve always favored large, chunky jewelry, and my eyesight isn’t what it used to be either) and a clean, minimalist design. I’m no fashionista, but since I plan to wear the watch a lot, I wanted something I really like. This one fills the bill. The chief designer at Nordgreen is Jakob Wagner, who’s well-known for collaborating with brands like Bang & Olufsen, and has a fixed collection at the MoMa in NYC. At the top of this post is a photo of me wearing my choice, The Pioneer Chronograph, a recent winner of the prestigious Red Dot design award.

As for functionality, the watch works great, it’s very lightweight, and I really like the chronograph (stopwatch) feature. It feels smooth on my wrist, and the leather strap is soft and comfortable. I also like that it’s water resistant up to 3ATM, and rain resistant. And the strap is removable/replaceable, so I hope to be able to wear it for years to come, even if the strap breaks or I want a change in the future. It comes with a limited 24-month warranty.

Also, as someone who does her best to preserve our environment and buy responsibly, I admire Nordgreen’s commitment to sustainability in both its packaging and products. They use cardboard paper from responsibly managed forests, and felt cushioning made from upcycled plastic bottles. They also claim to plant enough trees (thousands) to offset carbon emissions from their offices in Copenhagen, as well as their global shipments. In addition, they partner with overseas manufacturers (the watches are made in Asia) to ensure that all production facilities adhere to high standards and Danish labor practices.

Finally, Nordgreen has established a Giving Back Program, which partners with three reputable NGOs: Water for Good, Pratham, UK, and Cool Earth. You can read more about these excellent NGOs by following their links, but here’s the bottom line: After you receive a Nordgreen watch, you enter its unique serial number on Nordgreen online form, and choose the NGO that speaks most to you. Then Nordgreen makes a donation to that NGO.

What’s not to like? As a new Nordgreen aficionado, I’m giving this watch 5 out of 5 stars, and hope to enjoy it for years to come. I also hope it helps me become a more productive, “in the moment” person as 2020 inevitably presents the world with new and important challenges.

Wishing you peace,


About Mary Rowen

My three published novels, LEAVING THE BEACH (a 2016 IPPY Award winner), LIVING BY EAR, and IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY focus on women figuring out who they are and what they want from life. Music and musicians have a way of finding their way into the stories. I live in the Boston area with my family and pets.
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11 Responses to 2020: A Year to Stay in the Moment. And Wear a Watch.

  1. Great post, Mary. This year. So much sadness. So much cruelty. I hope it at least brings about the long overdue changes we need in this country. And maybe I’ll start wearing a wrist watch too! Sending you love.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mary Rowen says:

    Thank you, dear Meredith. I hope you’re staying well and safe, and I’m so glad to hear you’re getting writing done. Sending love to you too, and looking forward to your new novel. XXO


  3. Hi Mary – so great to see a post from you! Such times we are in – I don’t even know how to describe them. I relate to everything you say. Plus that watch is nice! Take care. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Rowen says:

      Thank you, Barb. I agree; there are no adequate words to describe this time in our lives. I’m glad that you’re still reading a lot, though, and doing some writing too. I’m really enjoying your prose, and always find interesting new reading material on your blog, Book Club Mom.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh you’re so nice, Mary. I hope you and your family are doing well. BTW we just added Leaving the Beach to our library ebook collection and there’s a wait list for it! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mary Rowen says:

        I hope your family’s doing well also, Barb. And thank you for adding LTB to your library ebook collection! That’s very exciting. I don’t know if you have audiobooks in your library, but I have some coupon codes for free Audible copies of LTB, and the audiobook for Living by Ear is almost complete. If you think your readers would be interested, I’d be most happy to send you the coupon codes.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Mary – I don’t know how that would work, but let me ask and I’ll let you know. I buy ebooks and audiobooks on OverDrive…

        Liked by 1 person

  4. JT Twissel says:

    I’m old enough to remember the rioting after the death of Martin Luther King and that was pretty bad. Of course, there was no pandemic. Then about four years later Watergate. Hang in there. Lovely watch!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mary Rowen says:

    Thanks, Jan, and I hope you’re hanging in there as well. I definitely remember Watergate, but wasn’t old enough to truly understand it. Lots of hearings on the TV during the summer of 74, and celebrating on the beach with my friends (we were on vacation when Nixon resigned in August). I’d just turned 10, and do recall some of the adults at the beach seeming really irritated at these children running around screaming “Nixon resigned! Nixon resigned!” It felt like a great thing to yell about–but a lot of people were clearly upset and hurting.


    • JT Twissel says:

      People like my father didn’t particularly like Nixon but they did think he was strong enough to handle the then Communist threat. MAGA folks have the same feeling about Trump. He’s a bully but we need a bully. Don’t understand it but ….

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mary Rowen says:

        Interesting, Jan. I should talk to more MAGA folks, but honestly don’t have many friends who support Trump. I know of a couple, but when I encounter them, we talk about other topics. If our country survives this “presidency” and becomes an actual democracy again (preferably with T. in jail) I bet about a thousand books, movies, and TV shows will be written about the hows and whys of this national disaster. Will make Watergate look like a quaint morality tale or something. Fingers crossed….



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