When we look back at this time last year, our memories are defined by the start of the pandemic. The end of March to early April 2020 is when people began working remotely, the stay-at-home order was in effect, non-essential businesses were closing and face masks, while not yet mandated, were becoming a common sighting. 

Some of us took up DIY projects to pass the time at home. Others adopted dogs, baked bread, bought puzzles and board games, binge-watched “Tiger King” on Netflix, downloaded TikTok or tried to make whipped coffee. 

I started watching “Grey’s Anatomy.” 

With 16 seasons on Netflix, I knew getting through the entire medical drama would be a huge undertaking. The show, which focuses on the fictional lives of surgical interns and residents, originally aired on ABC in 2005 and is still in production today. It is the longest running drama ever for the network.

I was a little intimidated, overwhelmed and unsure if I’d actually stick with it. With so many shows and movies available to stream, it’s easy to lose interest in one and jump to the next. But that never happened with “Grey’s.” 

The storyline sucked me in and I became attached to the characters, especially Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), Alex Karev (Justin Chambers) and Derek Shepherd, AKA “McDreamy” (Patrick Dempsey). I grew to love new faces as they came and went throughout the series and cried when their characters reached major milestones in life. I never grew tired of the plot or felt the writing went downhill, like some shows I used to love. I also never wished the series would end or thought it dragged on too long (like AMC’s “The Walking Dead” or the CW’s “Riverdale”).

The night before writing this column I finished episode 365, which means I’ve watched “Grey’s Anatomy” every day for a year. 

Now you’re probably thinking, “Seriously, Karie? There are better things to do in life than watch TV.” And you’re right. Trust me – there were days when I had to stop myself from binging too many episodes and go do something else. Anything else. 

At times, I wondered if I had a problem. But the reality of my obsession is that with so many ups and down over the past year – from new information about COVID-19 to the polarizing presidential election and ever-changing local and state regulations – watching “Grey’s Anatomy” has been a comforting constant. No matter what’s going on or how hopeless or optimistic I’m feeling about the pandemic, I can turn on the TV, revel in the scripted drama and forget about it all … at least for about 43 minutes.

Watching this show has kept me sane over the past year and I’m proud that I’ve stuck with it. I think we all need a “Grey’s Anatomy” – something that brings us joy and comfort – and we shouldn’t be embarrassed by it. So, whether you’re baking your 365th loaf of bread, placing the last piece of your 365th puzzle or tackling your 365th Pinterest project, I want you to know I’m proud of you.

It’s been a crazy year and we’re all just doing our best. Just think about how far we’ve come and look at me – I’m pretty sure I’ve watched enough “Grey’s Anatomy” to be a doctor. Well, almost. 

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