2020 was a year, a year like no other but still just a year.
For many it was a struggle just to get through each day, the toil of lockdown on the mental health of many is something we won’t fully appreciate for some time, and tragically many didn’t survive at all. I don’t think we will really know the full impact of the coronavirus for a few years at least, as the effects on society will linger long in the memory. What an awful awful time.
Whilst there is much to say about the horrors of 2020, for now I want to turn and look at some of positive things that came out of the last few months, they may be harder to see amongst the onslaught of bad news but there was good news and good things were happening.
It’s been well reported that, for some, the enforced lockdowns and stay-at-home orders let them explore new hobbies and get to know themselves better and, by and large, I include myself in that category whilst acknowledging all the privilege that I have at the same time. I know not everyone was tuned in to Joe Wicks, or perfecting their sourdough.
Personally there was a lot of good in my 2020 so I’m going to focus on that, and I already have reasons to believe that 2021 will be a better year for me, even though I will need some patience as some of the things will only happen when they happen!
First things first then, and I have to start with how grateful I am for my partner. I think this year has brought us even closer, made us even stronger, and although we have been tested in many different ways we’ve come through it supporting each other and spent a lot of time smiling and laughing (at each other). She is a constant source of calm and understanding, and her patience and compassion are things that still catch me.
Sticking close to home, as we all had to, I definitely have to mention the fur babies. Walks with Dave and snuggles with Sasha have made even the worst days tolerable.
As a family, we had to deal with the sudden passing of my Dad, and the love and support we all gave each other is something I will cherish.
Other things stick in my mind, with a lot of the year spent at a slower pace it meant I was able to question my approaches and attitudes to some things; being more mindful with what I bought and where I shopped (I’m not Amazon free yet but a lot closer), checking in on friends more than normal, and taking time to sit quietly and enjoy the silence are small changes that will sit long in my memory, things I will take forward into the coming years.
I also managed more time to read and while it took a while for my concentration levels to return I managed to read 41 books last year. Highlights were:
- The Water Cure
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
- Goodnight Mister Tom
- The Binding
- Things I Learned From Falling
- My Sister, The Serial Killer
- Magpie Lane
Music-wise I didn’t really spend much time listening to much other than the radio and some tried and tested playlists, I’m hoping in 2021 to find a bit more energy to seek out new artists.
I also watched some great TV, including the wonderful Ted Lasso, sci-fi in the shape of The Expanse and The Mandalorian, and more recently the increasingly lovely and funny Schitt’s Creek.
Add in climbing Ben Lomond, many glorious walks, long cycles, embedding a meditation routine into my day, and many other small moments of happiness and I can quickly start to build a picture of 2020 that isn’t dominated by COVID.
And I’m not alone, there were many other good things that happened around the world last year, many reasons to be cheerful.
On balance, despite the world shifting around us, and with a lot of luck and privilege, I can look back on 2020 with some level of happiness. It will, of course, be the year of lockdowns and of a shambolic Prime Minister, but at least Trump is on his way out and a vaccine is coming.
I think 2021 will be a year of adjusting to a new normal but I’m hopeful that there will continue to be good things around, we may need to seek them out or carve space in our lives to allow them in, but I think it’s worth reflecting back and carrying what positivity we can into the coming months.