Jan 2, 2021

The Year That Was. The Years That Will Be Because of It.

Where do I even begin with this year that shall not be named? 

2020 had the unusual distinction of being one of those years for all of us.  

Bushfires and the devastation they left in their wake.  

A little virus that brought the world to its knees.  

Bad things happening to good people. Bad things happening repeatedly to good people.  

2020, you were the gift that kept on giving.  

There's a part of me that wants to take that 2020 calendar off my wall right now and burn it because putting it in the recycling bin or the shredder just wouldn't be symbolic or cathartic enough.  However, 2020 like all the trying years of my life so far, has made me.  Albeit after almost breaking me in order to do so but I'm here.  I'm standing (even after a few lunchtime sangrias).  I have a roof over my head with running water and electricity, a roadworthy car in the driveway,  food in the pantry and fridge, the health of those I love, my job and financial stability.  

So while I'm glad that 2020 is behind us, I'd also like to take a moment to reflect on what it didn't take away from me and even gave me to bring with me into a new year I know will be better and happier for us all.  We've had ample opportunity on each of the 366 days of this year to endure and process the loss, frustration and anger of the various disasters of this year.  Today, on the last day of the year that was, I'd like to take some time to celebrate the joys - big and small.

If nothing else, I'd like to thank you, 2020 for the gift of time.  Another full year in the comforting presence of those I love most.  I've not been able to hold and touch them for your entirety but it has been enough to hear their voices on the phone, seen them on Facetime and receive their messages on my phone.

Your periods of lockdown have given me the opportunity to try new things in the comfort of my own home.  Yes, I baked bread.  

No, I'm no good at it and no, the shops never sold out of bread.

Toilet paper?  I don't need to say a word more....

Having crossed breadmaking off my pandemic bucket list, I was free to discover a new hobby I really enjoyed (after killing a few potted herbs along the way).  

Crafting with yarn.  

The structure, the meditative quality to repeating stitches, turning your work and sewing in ends - sitting with my work for an hour or so soon became my favourite thing to do of an evening.  

Initially, with a clunky loom and chunky wool before I found my groove with a crochet hook, some excellent YouTube tutorials as well as some newfound patience as I worked away with yarns from Bendigo, Spotlight and everywhere in between.

Imperfect and with uneven tension, often miles away from the initial vision I had for each project, I've managed to complete every project I started this year.

There isn't a surface of the house that hasn't benefited from my energetic crochet hook.

Being the recipient of the kindness and generosity of strangers throughout the strange times of this year is the one feeling I've held onto as the abiding good memory of 2020.  

The friends of friends who stepped in to help me juggle care for Master SSG so that I could continue working, the support of my colleagues at work and the staff at Master SSG's school.

The circle of giving and sharing around me only grew as the situation with the pandemic worsened.  To somehow express my gratitude in a more practical way, I paid it forward and made more of an effort to support local businesses in my neighbourhood and to shop more locally in general.

There were so many small things that became big things.

The celebration of religious holidays like Easter were small and more meaningful because of it.

The fact that Master SSG was able to lead as normal a life as possible within the restrictions imposed on his life gave the long weeks of this year shape and shade and moments for me to just be present and share his joy and enthusiasm.

Our travels this year featured such destinations as

our literal backyard

and the stunning 'backyard' of one of our city's most iconic buildings.

Wherever we went, the slower pace of life that comes with a city that's alternated between lockdown and slowdown for the better part of a year saw me experience my world from a new perspective.

It became a treat to be out doors and this saw us biking and scootering more than we normally would.

My weekly long outdoor run became more than exercise, it was practically a morning out.

And through it all, there was work.

'Crazy, back to front to the rest of the world' work.

2020 was the year of the scrubs for me, it's made getting ready for work such a breeze.  Might never go back to normal work clothes and a face full of makeup....  Ever.

'Doing the best with what you've got and who you're working with each shift' work.

That moment when you get to walk down the road for some coffee and not much else at work.  Love those.

'Keep on keeping on and not forgetting to stop to smell the roses every once in a while' work.

Smile, smile as hard and as wide as a plushie / stuffie / stuffed toy!!!!

And through it all, 'remembering to smile extra hard to that smile reaches your eyes because your mask hides your lips' work.

With the end of 2020, we've reached the end of a tunnel that seemed endless when this all began.

We're not out of the woods yet and that elusive rainbow after all of this is still a way off.

But what choice do we have but to accept this?  Because if there's one thing that's stood out about 2020 for me it's been the fact that it's taught me to live my life as best I can while I accept the things I cannot change in the bigger scheme of things.

2021, I'm ready for you.  I've learned important lessons through the year just gone and I fully intend to continue applying this knowledge through all the years ahead.

May 2021 be kinder and better to all of us!  

If it doesn't pan out that way, we've got the resilience, grit, optimism and hope of this year to carry us through all the same.

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