2020 will be a year nobody will forget. The past twelve months have been hard. Living through a global pandemic and numerous lockdowns has taken its toll on a lot of people. As the year draws to a close, despite all the doom and gloom, we should also remember there were at least some positive things to come out of 2020.
New appreciation for normal life
Before this year began, simple activities such as visiting friends and family, going out for a meal or going to the cinema were all things we took for granted. However, in 2020 most of these things were either impossible for us to do or extremely limited. Although this seems like a bad thing, we have now got a whole new perspective on our normal day to day lives. Many people found a new appreciation for simple things such as walking and nature and reaped the benefits of this on both their physical and mental health. Activities that we once saw as mundane are now little luxuries that we will have a newfound appreciation for when things finally return to normal.
Spending more time with the family or friends we live with
Lockdown separated many of us from family and friends, but it also allowed us to bond with those we live with. Often families and friends that live together are busy doing day to day things and don’t spend a large amount of time together. However, during lockdown those that live together had nothing but time to spend with one another, time that they would not have had if there had not been a lockdown.
No longer taking family and friends for granted
Although lockdown has allowed us more time to bond with family and friends we live with, it has also separated us from those in different households. Normal visits with friends and family have been significantly if not entirely reduced for most of 2020. However, despite this families and friends have found new ways to bond throughout the year. Online quizzes, gaming sites and zoom calls have all become vital in how we socialise. This has allowed us to get a new perspective on just how lucky we are to be able to see friends and family regularly. When the pandemic is finally over, we will have a newfound appreciation for seeing family and friends, what once seemed like a normal visit will become extra special.
Exploring new hobbies and interests
Usually, with everyday work and responsibilities, we don’t have time to explore our different hobbies; many people lose touch with the things they enjoy. However, during lockdown, we had the time to pursue a range of different interests. We rekindled our love of music, gardening and baking (who could forget the iconic Banana bread craze of 2020?). Having so much new time to spend exploring hobbies and interests (even if it was from the comfort of our own home) was a massive positive aspect of this year and one that helped a lot of people get through 2020.
New fun ways to enjoy our old hobbies
Although this year we were unable to enjoy our usual activities and hobbies in the traditional way, people found new and exciting ways to do them while still abiding by lockdown restrictions. Drive-in cinemas made a comeback so film lovers didn’t miss out on a full year without the big screen. Restaurants and bars began to do food and pint delivery services throughout the summer months so we could still enjoy our favourite foods with a nice cold beer. There was also a large spike in open sea swimming as people could no longer use swimming pools. Although it was hard to face restrictions on some of our favourite activities, the new and exciting ways that we found to do them were fun and refreshing.
A new sense of togetherness
2020 was a hard year for nearly everyone, with many in different countries and continents across the world facing similar issues in relation to the pandemic. This connection and mutual understanding people had for each other throughout the year showed itself in large acts of appreciation and kindness. There was a new sense of togetherness shown in towns and cities that were now able to be shared online to a global community too. People somehow found a way to be together while also being apart, from socially distanced sing-alongs and concerts on balconies to nationwide applause for health workers. At a time when people were advised to physically distance themselves from others, we found new ways to be connected.
2020 was also a year for guilt free binge watching if ever there was one. People were confined to their houses, so often everyone was watching the same releases at the same time. Aside from the fact absolutely nobody was spoiling the (now non existent) TV series you’d kept meaning to get around to watching but never had the time for, it also opened up a large conversation for people to talk about the things they’d watched. Take for example, two of the most successful and talked about series this year Tiger King and Normal People. Social media platforms, television and radio talk shows were all discussing both of these series’ and it seemed like everybody was talking about them at the same time. This may seem insignificant, but it brought people together and connected them with each other in one of the loneliest years to date. Surely a year that gave us Connell’s iconic chain has to be good for something?
Less air pollution and harm to the environment
The pandemic meant that many people in the world were forced to stay inside and work from home. Travelling long distances to work or anywhere else was prohibited for months on end. This led to less air pollution and had a profound impact on the environment. Recent data released by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and ESA (European Space Agency) indicates that air pollution had reduced by up to 30% due to the lockdown measures imposed on a number of countries during the pandemic.
Universities and jobs found new innovative ways to work and study from home
Sometimes it can be hard working away from the office, not seeing co-workers or fellow students, but working/studying from home does at least have some upsides. No early morning commute, no waiting for buses or unfreezing the windows of the car, being able to work and study in the comfort of our own home with whatever pyjamas and slippers we’ve picked for the day…it hasn’t been all bad!
Although this year has been a hard for us all there has no doubt been a lot of positive things to also come out of 2020!
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