2020. To say ‘what a year’ seems a bit of an understatement. There are days (quite often) that I wake up and think ‘is this actually happening’.
I’m not sad to say goodbye to 2020 although I wouldn’t say this year has been all bad. I’m still working out the balance but maybe it doesn’t have to balance. Maybe it’s about acknowledging there have still been good moments in 2020 as well as the obvious negatives. I’m also under no illusion that 2021 will be an immediate return to ‘normality’ and I suspect I will be writing a few more blog posts with the words ‘lockdown’ ‘restrictions’ and ‘you’re on mute’.
So the negatives first. 9 months of little social contact. 9 months of people dying and hearing stories that are so sad, at times the sadness was overwhelming and I know how fortunate I am that I haven’t lost anybody close to me. I can’t imagine what those family and friends are going through who have lost somebody. Zoom calls and team calls will never be natural for me, I much prefer face to face contact and doing a training programme virtually has definitely been challenging.
Add to the above the divisions between those that follow the rules, those that don’t and those in between. The expectation that you have to choose which side to be on and condemn those on the opposite side. The constant barrage of news about the virus and Brexit this year. At times I have felt like screaming ‘more is happening’ but know that to do so might present the image (incorrectly) that I don’t care what is happening with the virus. I do.
This year I passed my first year of Masters and I’ve started seeing clients. With the knowledge that mental health is massively being impacted, I feel like I just want to be qualified and out there helping.
This year I connected with old friends. I speak more regularly to my relatives. I see one of my godsons growing up and, even though this hurts as I want to see him more, I am fortunate that I can see him virtually more often. I’m in a bubble with my other godson and his mum has made me remember normality.
And I’ve been fortunate. Not lucky, just fortunate that the job I have that little has changed for me work wise. I am still working, still getting paid. I still volunteer and my uni course has been largely uninterrupted. I still feel the effects but I’m not like many of the frontline workers in health and social care or education or retail or any of the hospitality industries that are constantly at risk of being overwhelmed or made redundant. I try to support as best I can but always feel like I can’t do enough.
And I’ve had a greater appreciation of my husband. At the time of the first lockdown, I felt like we wouldn’t make it through. We are fiercely independent and I felt like having him around more would just be a bit of a death knell but it hasn’t been. We still argue. There are days when I feel like the relationship is hard work and days when it feels like a breeze.
And 2021 will hopefully mean my dad has a pain free year. 11th January 2021 is the day when he will hopefully be undergoing brain surgery to reposition a nerve causing him pain. Like any operation there will be risks but the benefits…the benefits will give him his life back. And for that I am eager to welcome in 2021 and know that even though it’s all a little bit shit right now, it will have its flashes of light.