2020 recap: the year that was about social distancing, self-isolating and home-staying. I’ve been pondering whether to write this post or just let it slide. I decided to write one anyway as I wanted to capture my thoughts and reflection on the year that was simply just about surviving and staying home to save the world. Like literally. If there was any year that you could sit at home and save the world, 2020 was definitely it! When I say simply, I don’t mean it’s a simple thing to do. As it was definitely not an easy year for anybody. Lives were lost; hearts were broken and isolation was felt by every living soul. Regardless of whether you lived alone, with a partner or with your family. The solution from everyone outside your household was real. Certainly even harder if you lived alone!
Equally, heroes/heroines were everywhere. From the front-line medical staff to other NHS workers to just you and I by staying home, wore masks to not spread the virus without even realising it. And then there’s that sense of community, that we’re all in this together. The silent solace and understanding formed with our neighbours as we peeped out the windows to clap for NHS staff every Thursday night at 8 pm throughout the first lockdown. I can proudly say, I did my bit and I survived 2020! We survived 2020!
However, in my 2020 recap: the year was not just about merely surviving. I certainly wasn’t thriving but I must admit, my 2020 wasn’t all bad. I had plenty of small wins and lots to be grateful for. Firstly and foremost, all my nearest and dearest (all over the world) are healthy and well, which is all I can ask for and I am very grateful for that. On a personal level, I had a lot of me-time and got to know myself at a deeper level.
Unsurprisingly, my 2020 was all about slowing down (read about it here). Self-care and self (re)discovery was the theme. When you are not on the go all the time, you will have more time and headspace to reflect on yourself, reevaluate what’s important to you and reignite those passions that have been buried under layers and layers of errands, to-do lists and “life”. And you know what that means, you can now prioritise doing things that give you the most joy. This is going to be my focus for 2021 and I will be sharing my self-rediscovery journey with you here on the blog.
My 2020 recap: the year that was by month…
We went to Tromso in Northern Norway, just above the Arctic Circle, for a few days. Yes, it was the coldest place I’ve ever experienced but the landscape is absolutely out of this world. Imagine a day with only a few hours of daylight! Have you experienced a 10 am sunrise and 2 pm sunset? It was surreal. Little did I know that was our last overseas trip… until who knows when!
News about the Coronavirus was spreading vastly and rapidly all over the world. As my in-laws are in China, we were getting first-hand news and live updates on how dangerous this virus is; and how quickly and discreetly it can spread. The cases in the UK were starting to increase but we carried on with life as normal at this point. We were erring on the cautionary side though and reducing our contact with the outside world where possible.
Covid-19 escalated quickly. Every media was reporting the latest infection rates, and death tolls and each country were calling their own city lockdown. I can’t believe we were living through a “world pandemic”. Within days, the whole world came to a standstill. The UK came to a standstill. London came to a standstill. On March 17th, we were ordered by the office to pack our bags and go home. All the office blocks were shut and we were to work from home… indefinitely. My second biggest gratefulness is that both my husband and I were able to continue to work from home without too many challenges. A lot of people were being furloughed. I am forever grateful that we weren’t impacted by it.
For the first time in our London lives, we were home for Easter, of course owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. We were supposed to fly back to Melbourne for my best friend’s wedding. Obviously, that didn’t happen. She had to cancel her wedding! We stayed home, continued to work and I watched the silent world go by through my little kitchen window.
I had an isolation/lockdown birthday with me, myself and I. We usually travel somewhere so I’ve not worked on my birthday for as long as I’ve been in the UK. No pandemic nor lockdown was not going to make me work on my birthday! The husband was too busy at work to take the day off. So I had an isolation-self-birthday-portraiting session at home. It was actually quite fun! I think this might have to be my favourite isolation activity when I look back to my 2020 recap of the year that was.
JUNE & JULY
The lockdown slowly eased. We were finally able to meet up with people outdoors. The mister and I got a bit more comfortable about going outside. We made time to go for walkies around the neighbourhood on the weekends, covered in masks of course. One day we walked from our home to central London via Regent’s Park. It took us 3 hours to get there, but curiosity got the better of us and we wanted to see what the city was like. One of my most vivid memory was seeing a deserted Piccadilly Circus and Chinatown!
By now, most things were allowed to reopen, including hairdressers (have I mentioned part of my monthly lockdown activity was giving the husband a haircut?) with strict social distancing & hygiene measures. August is also my husband’s birthday month, so we went out and dined in a restaurant for the first in time 6 months! We also managed to squeeze in a staycation to York with our friends (aka London family) and their dog and had a lovely birthday dinner for the mister at York’s finest restaurant, Le Cochen Aveugle. It was exquisite. It made it even more special because we all shared that sense of free-from-jail at last! haha
SEPTEMBER, OCTOBER & NOVEMBER
I’ve lost track of which day is which by now. All my days, nights and weekends were a blur. Alan and I were ridiculously busy with work during these months. We were literally chained to our desks (aka one end of for dining table for me) first thing in the morning till the last thing at night and then on the weekends. It was crazy! London also announced Lockdown No. 2 at some point during these months. But unlike the first lockdown, there were more people out and about this time. I’ve also been reading and hearing about how lockdowns and self-isolation are impacting people’s mental health. We literally had no time to think about the lockdown which was probably a blessing in disguise.
Just as we have chosen our Christmas “bubble” (we were allowed up to 6 people gathering indoors for Christmas), and had planned our Christmas menu, London announced another lockdown! And so, Christmas 2020 was just me, my husband and Netflix. Thankfully we all have access Houseparty, Zoom, Google Meet, We Chat, WhatsApp… to stay connected, socialise and celebrate the festivities with our family and friends during this crazy time.
Sadly it is not over yet… Stay safe! Please wear a mask! And happy 2021!