Not only has 2020 been tough getting to know the rules of the lockdown and the tier system but it has been strange in many other ways. Some may have had to get used to working from home, learning virtually for school or college, moving to university or having to balance work load and looking after children. There has been an increase in unemployment and a sad rise in domestic abuse. Everyone has faced their own battle through 2020, some have inevitably had it worse than others. Although this year has given us more challenges than any other in recent history it has brought with it many positives.
This blog is to focus on the positives that have come from 2020! Everyone’s reflections on this year are different so I have asked a variety of people what their own positives of the past year have been and hopefully you, as the reader, will be able to relate to one or more of them. When reading through the personal memories, perhaps it will prompt you to reflect on similar memories to have come from your 2020 in your own life.
The main positive that many people have felt through 2020 is the fact it has brought many families back together. It has brought children home from university for a large proportion of the year, children who have been unable to go and meet friends have returned to playing board games or being creative with family and this has meant some families have grown a stronger bond and shared some more special time together that they would otherwise not have had. As this stressful year has unfolded, many found themselves turning to family to wipe their tears and care for them a little more than usual when everything got a bit too much and they needed to vent frustration or sadness.
Social media and technology has allowed people to connect for many years with just a simple text or phone call. Networking online has been such a lifeline through lockdown and people have appreciated those who have contacted them and make the effort to see if they are okay. Those who have made the effort to keep in touch through this strange time with everything else going on have played a big part in some people’s lockdown. People have reached out more perhaps to colleagues at work or neighbours who live along, improving relationships with those we often spend little time with. A massive positive to having technology in 2020 is the ability to communicate with friends and family in alternative ways to usual, through zoom or other platforms. It offers a chance to see each other rather than just engage on the telephone. Many people have taken part in quiz nights via zoom and it has allowed family and friends to continue meeting, just in a virtual setting.
Through the pandemic a massive thank you is to be said to many NHS workers, care workers and key workers for working through the year despite the risk they put themselves at. When appreciating the key workers many people stood on their doorsteps to join in with the clap on a Thursday evening, this not only showed appreciation but it also allowed neighbours to wave to each other and put a smile on many peoples face. The strength and determination to help others has been immense and has been an eye opener to many and increased the public appreciation. The vaccine is a massive positive at the end of a dark tunnel. The pandemic is not over yet but the vaccine has given everyone a bit of hope that in the coming months it will improve. A huge thank you is to be said to all those who have contributed to keeping people safe, well and happy during the pandemic and to all the scientists who have worked long hours to try and understand the virus, develop effective treatment plans and create a suitable vaccine. Some people I spoke to have said that they have a renewed appreciation for the work of teachers. They have been in schools for key worker children throughout and have returned to classrooms from September with anxious children who have missed a lot of education. Not all super heroes wear capes!!
Taking the time away from normal busy lives has allowed us to appreciate time. Time to think and reflect, time to spend with loved ones, and time to start something new. This was a perfect time to learn a new skill for lots of people. Some people learnt to cook or a new craft whilst others started a new hobby, perhaps going for bike rides or walks exploring their local area. Others have just had the time to get on top of jobs at home that would otherwise not have been completed. With restrictions on where you could go and what you could do some people fell back in love with old hobbies like reading and gardening!
As this year has taken away so much for people, they have learnt to appreciate things more. The little things in life that get taken for granted or the things in life that people grumble at from week to week no longer feel significant. The fact that even going to get your weekly shop was putting you at risk of becoming ill was something no one thought would happen and when food deliveries arrived short of many items people had to get more creative with their menu planning, or the memories of dancing around when the food order arrived when it hadn’t been in ages.
Some people managed to experience some positives before lockdown even started in 2020. Some of those who I spoke to had great starts to 2020, one went to Greece on a school trip which turned out to be just before she prematurely left school, two others got married and moved into their first ever home and I myself passed my driving test!
As the virus gets under control and our lives get increasingly busy again let’s not forget the lessons from this year! Let us continue to care more, to pause more and to love more.