Reflections on 2020
This year has been one for the history books.
We are living through a universal human experience, and, despite the difficulties, this year has brought us together, raised some big questions and given us time to reflect.
This year we learnt to adapt, accept and be grateful. When everything we took for granted was taken away from us, it gave us the opportunity to realise just how much we had. We realised how lucky we were to ever have the friends, family and freedom that we missed so dearly.
This year we played on the same team. We stayed home to look after our parents, and we wore masks to look after strangers. We celebrated our doctors, cleaners, postmen, policemen, teachers, and train drivers. We realised just how many people we rely on in our day-to-day lives. We turned the spotlight from movie screens to behind-the-scenes as our key workers cared for, sacrificed for, and inspired us.
This year we talked openly and loudly about the big issues. We challenged global governments to do more for diversity, more for mental health and more to combat climate change. We reiterated what we want to see in our future, and we made it clear what we won’t tolerate.
This year we were patient. We watched three weeks of lockdown stretch into 3 months and we watched a second wave lap into a third. We accepted uncertainty and learnt to be flexible. We made plans, we changed plans. Sometimes it was frustrating, many times disappointing, but we sat tight.
This year we slowed down. We picked up the paintbrush and watercolours we never got around to getting rid of and now never will. We baked, we danced, we decorated, we read, we gardened, and we baked some more. We suddenly had time. And we found life in forgotten hobbies and found time to discover new ones.
This year we made-do. We knew this year our graduations, holidays, proms, birthdays, and Christmas wouldn’t look like they did other years. And, maybe they wouldn’t look how we had once imagined them. But, we made do. We swapped house parties for 6-foot-apart-in-the-park parties and we swapped a big family Christmas for a small family Christmas. We understood that we needed to change how we did things and so we changed how we did things.
This year has been a tough year. The economic, social and human disruption and loss has been undeniably overwhelming and understandably upsetting. But we did our best and we learnt a lot. We continued to show up even when showing up changed from leaving home to logging on. We started asking “How are you, really?” and learning that it was okay if the answer wasn’t “Okay.”. We filled our year with Zoom with family and walks with friends. Sometimes, we may have felt lonely, but we knew, in what we were feeling, we weren’t alone.
As we move into 2021, we are going to have to keep up our very best efforts for the time being. But, I hope we have all been able to reap some positive moments and lessons from the past year and can find comfort in knowing: this is temporary.