Reflections on the Strangest Year

2020, it’s time to go home,  you’re drunk.
This year has been one of the weirdest I’m sure many of us will ever have lived. As we go in to Christmas week, facing a Yuletide that certainly wasn’t one we planned for and living the lockdown life once again, I thought I would try to take stock and remember of the things I have been grateful for this year.

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2020 will always be the year that:

I saw some of the most wonderful places in the world (albeit briefly). From NYC to Tongariro National Park, I managed to squeeze in a lot of travelling in the first 4 months of this year and getting locked down on the other side of the world while challenging, certainly means we will have a pretty cool Covid-19 story to tell for years to come. So ‘the quitting my job and travelling the globe for a year’ plan has been put on ice for now, just for now though, and you better believe as soon the world is safe and open again, adventure is calling. For now, I’ll have to make do with looking back at us recreating scenes from Lord of the Rings in actual Middle Earth and pics of me and my mum in the city that never sleeps.

2020 will always be the year that:

We bought a bloody campervan! Our beautiful Bongo with her surprisingly comfortable pull out bed, pop top roof and roaring diesel engine came into our lives in the summer.

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While there have been some hairy moments (oh hi RAC!), battery weaning problems and the occasional expensive mechanical mishap, she now runs like a dream and can’t really remember life without her. She was the first proper grown up thing NK and I have purchased together and I am beyond excited for some more road trips in the UK in 2021.

2020 will always be the year that:

I actually followed through on my annual new years resolution to read more books. I have loved discovering and reading a greater variety of tomes this year than ever before.

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Wellington reading spot.

I have made conscious effort to read before bed, putting the phone firmly down and escaping off for a bit, even if just ten minutes, that I have found it has made such a difference. I am really hoping to carry on this good habit going forward to and have asked old Saint Nick for a list as long as my arm of new books for Christmas this year. If anyone needs me in the next few months, I am very much hoping you’ll find me with my head in a book.

2020 will always be the year that:

I discovered my love for reality TV when sometimes only some trashy escapism will do. While in the first lockdown, we worked our way through numerous perhaps more high-brow Netflix box sets (Better Call Saul, Breaking Bad etc etc) and as this year has gone by, I have well and truly fallen down the hay-u subscription rabbit hole; namely with Below Deck.

If you haven’t seen this show, you really must. Yes, it’s awful but there is so much drama to be had on the high seas with the crew of luxury super yachts. Sometimes you just want to see beautiful scenery, nice food and beyond sassy put downs. Highly recommend the company of the one and only Captain Lee and chief stewardess extraordinaire Kate if you’re at a loose end.

2020 will always be the year that:

I jumped out of a plane.

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Yep, it happened and I’ll just leave this picture that perfect encapsulates the utter euphoria and complete terror here for your enjoyment.

2020 will always be the year that:

I started a new job in the middle of a global pandemic. Looking back in years to come, I’m sure I will think how crazy that actually is. Adapting to home working, zoom interviews, meeting colleagues over the phone and on a screen, not knowing when you’ll actually be together in person, and leaving the comfort of the one job you’ve been doing for the past four years is pretty scary.
But onwards and upwards to the next challenge and I’m already excited about what I can do with my new role and this new chapter. Bring it on.

2020 will always be the year that:

I learned that admitting you’re not doing so great and getting some help is OK. It’s been a rollercoaster of a year where the effects of heightened anxiety, poor body image days and trying to re-program your brain’s way of thinking about food, appearance and well-being has certainly meant that my own mental equilibrium hasn’t always been where I want it and deserve it to be.

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A big part of this year for me has been accepting that bodies, appearances and feelings can change. Being kind to oneself is something however that should never change. Realising that feelings shouldn’t be dismissed as silly or stupid and sometimes the best you can do is sit with them and know that those thoughts, however mean and unpleasant, shall pass. This too shall pass has been thrown around a lot this year but I am going to keep trying to remember it.

2020 will always be the year that:

I consolidated the importance of moving my body to help me feel good. Whether it’s been a super sweaty fitness challenge, a slow run or yoga sesh, getting my wiggle on and working with my body to feel stronger has really helped me feel better about myself. I know, I know, this blog is only one small step away from becoming a fan page for my gal Adrienne and her wonderful yogi leadership through her Yoga with Adrienne YouTube channel but keeping up with a daily stretch and trying to breathe lots of love in an out has truly been a god-send. A little really goes go a long way and shifting my focus to be on what I feel like doing, rather than what I think I should be doing, has been a really helpful focal point.

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Sweaty, happy lady.

2020 will always be the year that:

I fell back in love with singing. Now don’t get me wrong, I always love blasting a tune and, much to my partner’s dismay,  belting out any ditty that happens to be in my head at the time without a moment’s notice. I also struggle to sing quietly. But in the autumn, I joined my mum’s local community choir and it has been so so so nice to have a weekly practice that for an hour just brings a heck of a lot of joy.
The power of singing cannot be underestimated. Music just lifts the soul and after a decade, last week I performed my first solo in a concert which I won’t lie, felt really bloody good. The only downside was that I didn’t have time to get on my nun’s habit for the Climb Every Mountain rendition but I’ll be ready for next time!

2020 will always be the year that:

I am so thankful for my health and that of my loved ones. Zoom quizzes, WhatsApp calls socially distanced waves from a distance and elbow pumps have become part and parcel of life now but as this year comes to close, this is definitely what I’m feeling most grateful for. Oh and the dog, always the dog.

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Wouldn’t be a blog post without a photo of the woof.

It’s OK to be sad, disappointed, angry and pissed off for everything that has or hasn’t happened this year. It’s hard to be optimistic right now with the Christmas disappointment so fresh but as we passed winter solstice yesterday, the lighter days are ahead of us.

Lighter days will be coming, better and brighter and whether this post helps you a bit or not, I feel a bit more cheery for writing this, or maybe it’s just the slice of Yule Log and gallon of Bucks Fizz I have on ice as we speak.

I hope you manage to find something to be grateful for, big or small, from this year. Wishing you a peaceful end to this bizarre 365 days and here’s to a brighter 2021.

Nadolig Llawn, pawb x

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