Ways to Make the Most of a New Year After 2020 and COVIDby Jodie Keith
Well, what can I say: we’ve finally done it! If you’re reading this: well done. You’ve nearly completed 2020 and it’ll soon be time to level up. What a bloody year, eh?!
Looking back on 2020
If you’d have told me at the beginning of the year that we’d be spending most of our time indoors hiding away during a global pandemic, that masks would become the norm and I wouldn’t be able to hug my friends, I’d have laughed it off and told you to calm down on the Youtube conspiracy videos. Heck, if you had even said in March when the lockdown was announced that COVID would still be such a serious threat at Christmas, I probably still wouldn’t have believed you. Let’s speak freely for a second: COVID has been an absolute fucking nightmare. It has ripped our lives apart and touched every single one of us. For some of us, COVID has torn our family apart and stolen life too soon. For others, the second-hand effects have been devastating. This shit has been tough – tougher than any of us imagined – but the fact that you’re sat here reading this is a good sign, because guess what – I’m still here to tell the tale, and you’re still here to read it. This’ll be in history books one day, so you best be stashing any lockdown memorabilia for your grandchildren to take in for show and tell. Now go pour yourself a wine.
What has 2020 taught us?
I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’ve learnt a lot during 2020. All that time indoors sure left plenty of space for personal reflection (and procrastination…). I think the most important thing I’ve learned, is that family truly is everything. Sure, travelling is great. Shopping is fun. Getting drunk and partying is an excellent release and boy do I miss a strawberry daiquiri and shaking what my mama gave me. But the only thing that truly matters in a world of chaos is that my family are healthy, safe, and so very loved.
I’ve learned to appreciate the little things in life, so much more so than before. When you’re stuck indoors, something as little as a cup of tea in bed, ten minutes of undivided attention with your loved one or taking a moment to just breathe and enjoy the scent of a new candle can make your day. I think I finally learned the art of relaxation.
I’ve also learned that connection is so much more than seeing family at a gathering or popping round for a Sunday roast. A connection can exist in places we least expect. A heartfelt thank you to service workers. My son waving at the bin men. A facetime catchup. A glass of wine and a text marathon with your bestie.
How to make the most of a New Year
After the chaos of 2020 and everything that COVID brought, a New Year feels like a fresh start. The truth is, COVID isn’t going to miraculously disappear the second the clock hits 12 (don’t we all wish that would be true!), but a New Year does allow a great opportunity to reflect on this last year and decide on what changes we want to make going forward, and how to make the most of this new year that is soon upon us.
So, how exactly do we do that – make the most of a new year, that is? For me, I think it’s quite simple: let’s stop setting unachievable goals. Let’s concentrate on the pure basis of survival and stop beating ourselves up if we didn’t spend lockdown learning a new language or perfecting our sourdough recipe. Let’s applaud ourselves on the basics: just getting through the day and fucking surviving. Let’s aim to be outside more. Let’s aim to reconnect with things that we’ve lost as a society over the years: reconnecting with nature, with our belief systems (whatever they may be), with each other and with ourselves.
2021 isn’t going to be easy, and life isn’t just going to bounce back to the normal we once knew. Whether you decide to ring in the new year snuggled on the sofa with your loved ones, drinking prosecco alone in your kitchen or on a Zoom family quiz, let’s all vow to make the most of this New Year. Let’s vow to slow down, enjoy every moment as it comes and spend this New Year spreading kindness and compassion, cos boy oh boy do we all deserve it.
I’m going to end by leaving you with one of my favourite quotes – it hangs above my living room sofa and is my mantra whenever I’m feeling misaligned within myself: “A secret to happiness is letting every situation be what it is, instead of what you think it should be.”
Happy New Year