2020… It can’t be denied it has a certain ring to it, wouldn’t you say? Surely one of the cruellest ironies of 2020 is that the very sound of the word 2020 (its wonderful pseudo-symmetry) tricked many of us into believing it would be a good year, a great year actually. THE year of all years, MY year, YOUR year… Who could have predicted what was to come? So dear reader, given the sheer shittiness of the 2020 shitshow, the horribleness of this annus most horribilis, I can’t help wondering if there’s been a worse year to write about. Am I out of my mind even considering doing an end of year/2020 lookback post? I mean honestly, where the duck do I start?! There is so much to say that I’m tempted to curl up in a ball and say nothing.
I could of course address the Covid situation. But how do I cover the many aspects of the pandemic and its fallout? Shall I discuss the British and American government’s astoundingly slow response to scientists’ (and Italian doctors’) grave warnings about the virus back in March? Shall I voice my opinions on how large sections of the UK population carried on with their lives in 2020 as if no virus existed, with the justification that there were no clear rules from the government (as if they didn’t have the alternative option of simply being guided by their own compass of common sense)? Do I talk about people’s petulant behaviour in response to being told to stay home? Shall I air my incredulity (and my thoughts) over the anti-mask demonstrations?
And then Trump. (Again, where do I start?) And then George Floyd, a man nobody had heard of til this year. And then the American elections. And oh so much in between.
No. For the sake of my own sanity, I’ve decided to set the social commentary aside and instead focus on my personal journey this year.
Even here, I could talk about disappointments with so-called friends and the continuing realisation that there’s no point spending energy trying to nurture relationships with certain people when it becomes clear it’s a one-way effort. I could moan about how rubbish my husband and I (well actually it’s him) are at the romantic side of marriage and how we didn’t have a single date night in 2020, apart from for our anniversary, since last Christmas.
But no…that’s where I’ll leave the negativity. My 2020 look back is more of a focus (mainly) on the good bits (with a few of this year’s favourite photos thrown in for good measure).
The older you get, the more you think of friendship and love in terms of quality not quantity. I didn’t go mad contacting everyone I know as soon as lockdown started and wondered if I was the only person who had zero desire or need to line up constant zoom calls with friends. Far from it, I was happy to hole up at home and revelled in having the family around me, online-schooling and working from home, for the first time ever. And of course, there was ALL the baking and wine drinking. I did more of that in 2020 than I have my whole life. Fact.
The memories I do have with friends and family from 2020 may be few but they’re oh so good.
2020 was the year I thought I’d continue to build on my return to running form, thanks to brand new shoes and a renewed mental resilience…only to be thrown off course by a two week obligatory quarantine mid March, covid-agrophobia during lockdown and then, to top things off, being advised by an endocrinologist to stop running altogether due to suspected arthritis.
You read that right: 2020 is the year where my body started ‘breaking down’ and reminding me of my age: hello sudden left knee misalignment, hip ache, shoulder strain and osteopenia. Osteo what now? Yes, apparently I’m bordering on osteoporosis as well as possible arthritis. Groan.
On the bright side, despite issues with my body, ironically 2020 was the year I tried more new ways to stay fit and active than ever.
After solely doing yoga on and off over the years via paid classes in a studio, I finally wrapped my head around practising yoga from home. It is no exaggeration to state that the YouTube channel Yoga with Adriene has had a life-altering effect on me. I mean I actually (hold the front page!) enjoy practising yoga from home and no longer require the niceties and frills of a dedicated yoga studio and/or physical instructor. Never in a million years did I think I’d be lighting candles and incense sticks (yes even though I’m Indian), playing Tibetan bowl music and starting my day with yoga. I still can’t believe I’ve got to the stage where I don’t necessarily need to watch the videos and am in fact able to practise the correct sequence of asanas independently myself. I even got the 11yo into it (at one point). Result.
I went back to pilates, this time not at a professional studio or gym but via the physiotherapist who’s treated me for various issues. Doing pilates with someone who tailors the class to the physical conditions of each student rather than using a one size fits all approach, is a game changer.
I actually committed to meditation for a month and loved it. And I swam the longest I’ve ever managed in the sea (700m) and actually swam in November, thanks to two of the best discoveries: Wied il Ghasri in Gozo and Wied iz Zurrieq, Malta.
In fact, I think the thing I’m the most proud of with regards to 2020 is getting off my backside and making the effort to go off the beaten track to explore Malta’s hidden beach gems. 15 years on this island and we’d pretty much been going to Golden Bay, Ghan Tuffieha and Gnejna as well as our local beach all this time! There is so much more to Malta’s coastline; slaving over a full picnic prep and the trek down were worth it for the views and the waters that awaited us. I honestly think the fact of not having a Summer holiday abroad this year really drove home how lucky we are to live in Malta. A stay at Urban Valley Hotel as well as a Gozo farmhouse this year led to memories I’ll keep forever.
I may have failed dismally in getting my family hooked on daily walks but still managed to drag two of the kids out on hikes under blue skies along the sea.
2020 was the year we finally started chipping away at the daunting mountain of home improvement tasks we’ve faced since moving into our home years ago. The terraces have been plastered, painted and tiled and a small amount of outdoor furniture put in. Plant pots, parasols, new railings, lighting and goodness what else still need to go in but at least we made a start. No I’m not going to show you a picture as we’re a long way off from it being photo-worthy!
While I may not have used lockdown to start playing an instrument, learn Japanese or paint the house, I did manage to build this site and return to blogging, after two years of dithering. Frankly, the site still isn’t properly finished and there is a lot that I feel needs amending and adding but it was a question of launch now or never launch.
I’ve also started making inroads into getting freelance writing work; it’s been a slow start as 2020 was obviously not the best of years to start a business but I’m slowly getting there.
2020 was the year I became the mother of a 16 year old and spent more time than you’d think humanly possible on decorating three children’s birthday cakes. The effort nearly killed me (and I’d have nearly killed them if they hadn’t been grateful!).
I won’t pretend 2020 was a totally positive successful year because the fact is I struggled in parts of my personal and professional life and menopausal symptoms. It’s definitely been a mixed bag, I can tell you.
It’s not just our house that is undergoing improvement. I’m also a work in progress!
The truth is I only broke off the tip of the iceberg in terms of turning my daily routine around and attempting to achieve a respectable level of productivity and effectiveness. But there is no way I’m going to claim my struggles are epic when I still have my family around me, when I haven’t endured the trauma of seeing my business go down or losing my job or being bereaved due to Covid 19.
Who knows what 2021 has in store? For now, I’ll take these (and many other) memories with me like best friends into the new year and hope for the best.