A review of the year and lessons learned in 2020

It’s become a bit of a tradition for me to end each year with some lessons learned, and start the new year with some hopes for the year ahead. It’s been really interesting to read back through my hopes for 2020. Unsurprisingly, the things I was certain would happen are those that didn’t, or not as easily as we expected. However, there were certain things on my list such as spending more time doing creative pursuits and having weekends without plans which were definitely able to go ahead. Starting the year on the Isle of Bute riding a horse made 2020 feel like it would be full of possibilities, and ending the year now it feels like a lifetime ago.

I know there are many people who’ll be glad to see the back of 2020 and I don’t really blame them. This year has been touch. At the time of writing this I feel exhausted. Not because I’ve been busy but just because this year has been emotionally draining. I’m hoping by the time that this is published I’ll feel a bit more relaxed and recharged having had some time off work. It almost seems ridiculous having spent so much of the year doing so little that time off is what I’ve craved this holiday season, but it’s a bit different when the year has felt like such a rollercoaster. I’ve felt so many emotions this year; many have been unexplained or in reaction to things that feel trivial.

I’ve also had a fairly regular feeling of anxiety over every single decision I’ve made. The rules say I can see people, but does that mean I should? Everyone else is doing X, but should I? It’s interesting the number of people I’ve spoken to who reckon that this year has been wasted or they’ve not done anything. Yet these are the same people who went on holiday in the summer, have been out to restaurants and pubs (tier levels permitting) and have had barbecues with friends. Other than some quiet sunny days spent reading on a picnic blanket, and going for walks in the local area, I’m not actually sure what my summer consisted of. Part of me regrets that to an extent, but this year more than ever we’ve all had to make the choices which felt right to us.

However, although I will remember 2020 for many reasons, I also want to remember the positive things that have happened this year, or the opportunities that I’ve been grateful for.

What I’ve been grateful for this year

  • Getting married! Not how we’d planned, but we did it and it was definitely my highlight of the year.
  • My wonderful husband who has been my rock throughout this year (and every year we’ve been together).
  • Seeing my friends get married – one couple had the wedding they planned, the other did not but they all had wonderful days.
  • Getting a promotion at work – something I feel very lucky for but has also made me feel very valued.
  • Getting to see family and friends when able. In a year when social interactions have been few and far between, every moment has been more precious.
  • Food. If you’ve read any of my lockdown posts you’ll know that food features very heavily.
  • Where I live. Having a green space right on our doorstep has been invaluable this year.
  • Technology. I won’t lie, there have been times where I’ve hated it but technology has allowed me to work safely from home, have shared zoom dinners with my family and connect to friends around the world.
  • Health. I don’t think there’s ever been a year where I’ve felt more grateful for my health.
  • Books. I always love books and reading, but this year they’ve felt like even more of an escape.

So you see, it hasn’t been all bad! And even if there have been fewer opportunities for new experiences, there has been plenty of time to reflect.

Lessons Learned in 2020

  1. There’s something quite magical about watching the seasons change.
  2. Sometimes other people know what you need better than you do. The skill is working out when and then giving up gracefully.
  3. Roasted broccoli tastes a little bit like seaweed.
  4. Humans are able to adapt much more easily than they expect. It doesn’t mean it’s easy, but they can do it.
  5. Disconnecting from the news can be really healthy.
  6. Jam making is a joy.
  7. The post is an underrated method of communication.
  8. Sunny days make everything feel better.
  9. You actually need a lot less than you think.
  10. It’s surprisingly difficult to walk 10000 steps when you cut out your walking commute.
  11. It’s better late than never to get to know your local area better.
  12. I can sleep in and sometimes I need to.
  13. Communication in person is a lot easier than via Zoom, but feels really awkward having not done it for a while.
  14. Simple pleasures are pleasures for a reason – enjoy them.
  15. Wedding dresses and wet weather shouldn’t really mix.
  16. You don’t have to have achieved something to have a good day.
  17. People often care an awful lot more than you think they might.
  18. It is possible to avoid Amazon for Christmas shopping, and to avoid going to any shops. Definitely one of my achievements for this year!
  19. You don’t have to go far to be able to explore or have an adventure.
  20. Living through a pandemic will have ups and downs and twists and turns, but it doesn’t have to all be negative or scary.

How will you remember 2020?

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