2020 is drawing to a close. Phew. What a year. For the first time in our lives, we have witnessed a pandemic, but more than anything all our certainties have vanished in a few months. Generations who believed that anything was possible, have seen empty shelves and all their freedoms gone for the first time. And this is not over.
We will be able to evaluate the full impact of this event only in the years to come. The effect will not only be felt on the economy and livelihoods and education but also on a certain blind faith in progress, opportunities, that have characterised the last 60 years.
While we prepare for our New Year's celebrations, we look ahead, very much hoping that 2021 will bring more positive surprises. We brace ourselves for New Year's resolutions; we hatch new plans, ideas and promises. We are looking ahead desperate for new beginnings. In the run to new goals and achievements, we risk forgetting what we have learnt these past few months. Let's take a look back and let's ask ourselves: what have I learned in 2020?
I have heard people say that they enjoyed the pleasure of baking bread; discovered hairdresser's skills and become a DIY master. Some mentioned they had reorganised values (who needs a new pair of shoes if there is nowhere to go), reevaluated friendship and found new, unexpected connections. Others decided that it was the right time to share their life with a cat or a dog.
All well. While we can all share stories of our newfound pleasures, I would like to dig a little deeper and look at how all these experiences have changed each of us. Mucking with sourdough starters and helping our partner look less of Yeti means that we were able to react positively to a situation that, unknown to us, took us by surprise.
We didn't wait for shops to open to make lives easier for us. We rolled up our sleeves, and we gave it a try. We practised resilience, the art of bouncing back and making the best of a bad situation. Sometimes with results that surprised even us. We could, for once experiment free from the pressure of performance. We felt happy just learning, knowing that, because we operated outside of our profession, we would not be judged if our loaves didn't rise to perfection. Who can forget the feeling of pride when we tasted our slices of bread or finally managed to put that shelf up. We felt invincible ready to move on to brioche rolls or a whole bookcase.
Those hit harder by the pandemic may find this exploration superficial and insensitive. Still, I believe that pain and despair carry a story of courage, bravery, and resilience within.
Most of us will not open a bakery or a hairdresser's or abandon our careers to become entrepreneurs. But before celebrating the end of the year, let's not forget that 2020 showed us that we can be resourceful, resilient and if we have the space to express ourselves, accomplish everything we put our minds to it. This is part of who we are. Next time we feel that those goals are out within our reach or that there is no way we can get that better position, we can feel confident that we have within in us all that is needed to achieve what we want most.
Happy New Year.