Farewell to 2020

Photo by Deleece Cook on Unsplash

Well, well, well, here we are, on the eve of a brand new year. How’re you holding up?

This year feels a little different doesn’t it? What a bizarre, stressful year 2020 has been. But we made it! It’s almost over. I write a post every New Year’s Eve, because it’s my favourite day of the entire year, and that’s still the case in this awful year. It was interesting to review last year’s post (which you can see here), and 2018’s post (here), mainly because as I wrote, I was heading out to celebrate with friends and completely taking for granted the ability to be doing so.

For me, 2020 has only been as awful as it has been for many other people. It’s been a year of loss, uncertainty, stress, suffering, cancellations, inconvenience and depression. I can’t lie, I’m glad to see the back of it, but in terms of the colossal global trauma and pain experienced by millions, I am very fortunate to be coming out of this year fairly unscathed. I yearn for normality, and I’m grateful that that’s all I have to yearn for right now.

When the year began, so many loved ones around me were already suffering. The start of the new year brought family illness, loss, spouse betrayals, job losses and general devastation, and that was before there was even mention of a global pandemic. I remember thinking, ‘wow, 2020 is off to a terrible start’, little did I know what was to come. For many people, 2020 is a year that will haunt them forever, and my heart goes out to each and every person suffering right now as a result of this pandemic, or just life in general.

Every year, I focus on seeing the good, but you know what? I can’t hide the fact that I’m feeling a little jaded with the world after this year, and there’s no polishing a turd. Sometimes, things are just really shit. It can be really difficult to see the positives in a year that has left millions without loved ones, homes, businesses, on the receiving end of absolutely shocking leadership and to top it all off, there’s the looming shitshow that is Brexit. Things seem really bleak and it can be hard to find the light when the entire world feels dark. That being said, I do believe there is always light to be found, and that it’s important to do so and find solace in whatever lights you up, no matter how small that may be. It might be that you survived this year, and that in itself is an achievement. Well done you!

Every year I count my blessings that I’ve survived another lap around the sun, and the same applies to this year. I am grateful for all that I still have, and all that I have still managed to do this year. Besides the chaos, I’ve spent time with friends and family, spent time outdoors in nature, and even managed to get away a few times. I’ve created memories that I’ll look back on fondly, and enjoyed many experiences this year. I even got to celebrate my 30th birthday camping in Snowdonia National Park, on what was one of the hottest, sunniest weekends of the entire year! Someone was clearly looking out for me! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reliving my year via the creation of my 2020 Insta highlights (you can see the fun I’ve got up to this year here) and I’m leaving the year on a positive note! What more could you want from a year as bizarre and chaotic as 2020?

At the start of the year, I was in a job that I detested and collecting job rejections like fridge magnets. I was downtrodden and tired of having to continue trudging on in a job that made me so miserable. I managed to secure a part-time job writing for a podcast production company just as the world went into lockdown, and I wasn’t quite sure how I’d juggle a full-time and part-time job, but I followed my gut instinct and went along with it because it was a step in the right direction to a full-time writing career. The first lockdown shattered the status quo for me, and completely flipped my life on its head. It helped me muster some sort of strength that I still, to this day, don’t know where it came from, to say ‘enough is enough’. If nobody else will have me, then I’ll make it work for myself, no more self-pity and victim mentality. In June, I handed in my 3 months notice, took a leap of faith with no idea what would happen, and 6 months on I can confirm that it would be the best decision I ever made. Please excuse the fact that I’m about to say possibly the cheesiest thing I’ve ever said (you’ve been warned!) but when you obliterate the shackles you put yourself in and get rid of the thing that creates a fog in your brain and a tiredness in your soul, you regain aspects of yourself you thought you’d lost forever and slowly, you rebuild the ability to focus on how to move forward, and most importantly, dream big. You were warned!!!

I know that Corona isn’t going away anytime soon, but for me, a new year brings a renewed sense of hope that maybe next year will be brighter than this one. The future is uncertain, but then isn’t it always? We never know what the next year will bring, and this year’s no different. But there is one thing I’m certain of. No longer will I take for granted the ability to see my friends and family whenever I want, have them over to my house, or nip to the pub, or go out to eat together. No longer will I take for granted the ability to hug people I love, and no longer will I take for granted the ability to go and do pretty much whatever the hell I want, without anybody telling me what I can and can’t do. I’m usually pretty good at appreciating what I have, but I definitely forgot to appreciate those things.

The loss felt by so many this year has been cataclysmic. Lost loved ones, lost lives, lost plans, jobs, businesses, homes, holidays, time, sanity – you name it, it’s probably been lost. Furthermore, ‘existential’ or perceived ‘small’ losses are still losses, and people are allowed to grieve the life they would have had this year – regardless of how tough somebody else has had it. If this year has taught us anything, it’s that people need to be kinder to one another, it’s really not that difficult.

As we bid farewell to 2020, remember to be thankful for what you do have, no matter how hard it may seem. People are suffering, and you can always choose to be kind. Whether you are struggling tonight, mourning something you’ve lost, celebrating the year being wonderful, or simply happy that you have just made it through. If this year was the last time you saw somebody you love, or you are terrified of what next year will bring, I’ll be toasting you at midnight, and wishing you a 2021 filled with health, happiness and hope. If you’re planning for 2021 to be ‘your year’, I really hope it delivers. And if you are in a dark place, keep in mind that everything is temporary and nothing is permanent. A vaccine is on the horizon, and normal life will hopefully resume soon. You got this! Take care, stay safe, and be kind to yourself and others.

Happy New Year, and I’ll see you in 2021!

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