On the evening of 31st December 2019 I spent New Year’s Eve the same as all previous ones – surrounded by pals and merrily mooching from pub to pub. Beer flowed, jokes and laughter were abound, and hugs and handshakes were everywhere. Little did I know that would be a luxury I’d take for granted.
Face masks were alien to me – something people in smoggy countries wore. Social distancing was non-existent as I shuffled through crowds to the bar. And a curfew was something given to disruptive children. Never in a million years did I think things would develop the way they did. I left 2019 thinking I was in for a great year. My book cover design business was getting busier, and a welcome warm holiday was but a few months away.
Yet twelve months on, things are much much different, having given way to a more quieter, sombre affair.
When writing my last post in May, I never expected things to be carrying on until now and beyond. It’s easy to see why many cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel as we forever revolve from lockdown to relaxed rules. People around the world are still terrified and afraid about their uncertain futures.
2020 has been a bizarre year for everyone, one filled with sadness and despair, loss and loneliness, poverty and illness. We had always prayed that Christmas would be the time all returns to even a small sense of normality, but recent regulations has destroyed any possibility of a happy family get together with friends and family.
And yet even during these dark times, there is always hope and happiness, and great lessons to be learned.
We must learn be more kind and understanding of the situations and predicaments of other people. We must not judge others for not doing as we do. As many began to flee London, having been given mere hours before Tier 4 hit, we must not judge them for packing trains and buses. We have no idea what is happening in their lives, or where they need to get to.
Those who have gone and and met family and friends, against the rules – we cannot judge either. We have no idea what frames of mind people have. Many are doing what is necessary to literally survive.
Anti-vaxxers cannot condemn and laugh at those desperate for the vaccine. Many people are terrified, and just want to protect themselves and their families.
Likewise – people who want the vaccine cannot roll their eyes at those who refuse it. With the wealth of information and arguments on both sides, it’s understandable many may not trust what is being thrust upon them.
We are all fighting our own individual battles, and are coping the best we can during a time none of us has ever experienced before.
It’s easy to lose faith, and to write off 2020 as a complete miserable disaster.
By looking for the silver linings of this very strange year, maybe we can use this experience to better ourselves, and turn it our advantage. Be kinder, be more grateful of the things we have, and always look for the wins.
Maybe you used this year to learn new skills, found ways to expand your job online, reconnected with friends and family, appreciated the things in life you have, or in my case – watched how many people decided to write the book they’ve been putting off.
Or maybe you just looked at the world with brand new eyes.
There is always much wonder, beauty, awe, and possibility around us, even during the darkest times.
Life can be unpredictable, and knock us sideways at a moment’s notice. But it’s how we react to these events that really matter.
Never give up, ever.
Please have a wonderful Christmas (or whatever you celebrate at this time of year), and have an amazing New Year.
Keep smiling in the knowledge it cannot rain forever.
The night is always darkest before the dawn.
Be safe, be happy, and do whatever it takes to keep your mental and physical health in top form.
See you in 2021.
Much love always!