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Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The pandemic year came with anxiety, fear, isolation, sadness and frustration. But we are close to making it to the other side.

  • In the second installment of our COVID reflections project, we wanted to know how you survived — what brought you light and joy during a dark and difficult year.

What we learned: Your answers were filled with love, resilience and ingenuity.

Many of you mentioned loved ones, near and far.

  • "I was diagnosed with cancer the same week Colorado started shutting down and my workplace sent us to work from home. If it wasn't for my partner and his caring and cautious spirit, I wouldn't have gotten through this past year." — Jovanka
  • "Weekly Zoom meetings with my family in Oregon, California and Pennsylvania. The best part is that the younger generation is getting to know relatives much better." — Loretta

Getting outside and exercising also helped so many.

  • "I walk for an hour every morning ... getting out and experiencing the natural world and sunshine has changed my life." — Lynn
  • "Peloton helped me survive!" — Jeff
    • John Frank's take: Peloton has kicked my butt.

Some of you challenged yourself to learn a new skill or take up a new hobby.

  • "Estoy aprendiendo español! For the past year, I have spent a minimum of 30 minutes every morning studying Spanish on Duolingo!" — Austin
  • "I got into playing pickleball. As a tennis player it's an easy game to learn, but it turns out to be surprisingly challenging to get good at it." — Joe

And a few of you have really taken to working from home:

  • "I love it and have no plans to return to the office on a full-time basis. My workspace is better than any office I have ever worked in." — Jim
  • "I'm just so excited to have had no need to wear a bra for the past year. It's the longest I've gone without a bra since I started wearing one, and it's going to be the worst thing — yes, even worse than the traffic — about returning to the office." — Dee
    • My thought bubble: Amen to that, sister.

This story first appeared in the Axios Denver newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

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Go deeper

What we know about the victims of the Indianapolis mass shooting

Officials load a body into a vehicle at the site of the mass shooting in Indianapolis. Photo:

Eight people who were killed along with several others who were injured in a Thursday evening shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis have been identified by local law enforcement.

The big picture: The Sikh Coalition said at least four of the eight victims were members of the Indianapolis Sikh community.

Pompeo, wife misused State Dept. resources, federal watchdog finds

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The State Department's independent watchdog found that former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo violated federal ethics rules when he and his wife asked department employees to perform personal tasks on more than 100 occasions, including picking up their dog and making private dinner reservations.

Why it matters: The report comes as Pompeo pours money into a new political group amid speculation about a possible 2024 presidential run.