This is the time of the year where I set my new years resolutions, take stock of everything I’ve learnt and experienced the year before and get motivated and productive for a fresh start.
This year is actually no different for me. I still want to set resolutions, I still want to reflect over the past year and I do feel productive. I don’t usually like the last year coming to an end but I’ve realised that I felt that way because there was always so much going on I want to stand still in time and continue to enjoy all the fun festive activities and spending time with friends and family. Of course, we haven’t been able to really see anyone or do anything, so the need to hold onto this period of time is absent, which has left me with a very forward thinking mindset. I’m not hung up reminiscing about all the fun times of 2020 and all the great things I did because, to be honest, there weren’t any.
I struggled so much last year with the physical distance between myself and my friends and family because it was impossible to see each other pretty much at all. When rules were lifted and we had the opportunity to meet with people, even just for a walk outside, everyone was too far away and more recently, we’ve all been in different tiers so it makes it even more impossible to travel into different areas and see the people you really miss.
I take a lot of comfort in knowing that I’m not alone in this and that there are lots of people in the same position and far worse situations too. What it has taught me though, is to change my mindset and that everything can be made so much better with a simple change of outlook.
The reason why 2021 is already better than 2020 is because we have knowledge and experience. The hardest thing last year for me was constantly having cancellations and disappointment, so this year I’m not going to let that be an option. Last year we thought lockdown was going to be a month, then it was extended, Toby’s birthday was cancelled, our trip to Devon was cancelled, my birthday was cancelled, our trip to New York was cancelled and the list goes on and on and on. It was just thing, after thing, after thing and every time we had a little freedom, I made plans which were then ultimately cancelled due to the changes in tiers and a further lockdown. I don’t mind lockdown at all, I wish that we could lockdown for a longer period and have stricter rules so that we can be in a position like New Zealand and other countries who have completely moved on and are living our old normal! However, it was the disappointment that I realised was causing me to feel as bad as I was feeling and not necessarily what was physically happening.
This is one of the most important things I noticed and what will help going forward. I’m going to make all my plans between now and May online and socially distanced, knowing that anything I plan can’t be ruined, changed or cancelled by rule changes and development in COVID.
Realistically nothing is going back to anything like normal until a lot later in the year, but I thought May was a good amount of time to focus on. 5 months is long, but it’s not too long. Everyones birthdays from now until May I will plan online, all social events, coffee chats, everything will be online and over the phone for me and this way none of my plans can be cancelled. I’m really lucky that one of my best friends lives down the road so we’re able to socially distance walk together which is something I’m so grateful for. We aren’t planning anything too far ahead so as not to have to cancel anything, but instead were trying to be more spontaneous and just getting outside and walking and talking when we need to.
I feel like I have a foolproof plan! Like I’ve unlocked the ultimate coping mechanism that was missing from 2020. Of course, there’s a lot more to staying motivated, managing depression and anxiety and getting through day-to-day living with this pandemic, but finding something that helps a little is a win, no matter how big or small.
We’re all in different situations and I know people from every step along the spectrum: some who have found 2020 enjoyable and have managed to save lots of money and have far more time off work to spend on hobbies and their homes than they could have ever imagined, those who live close to family and friends so have been able to see everyone outside and still maintain a relatively physical relationship with loved ones. I know others who have had to continue working through the pandemic and have struggled, some who have continued working which has meant that nothing much has really changed which has helped them continue almost like nothing has happened, and others who are completely lost and broken. Everyone has a different tolerance, different perspective, different coping mechanisms and different measures of normal to begin with.
For the first time ever we’re entering a new year knowing exactly how the first couple of months are going to go. It’s lockdown but at least we know what to expect haha! That’s not something we’ve really had before so we can accept it and work with it.
Knowledge is power and that’s something 2021 has over 2020.