Well, that’s 365 days that I couldn’t have predicted! Never has so much happened to so many that resulted in them doing so little!
I wanted to write a little post about my 2020 thoughts – I know it’s a bit cliche at the moment, but I’m jumping on that bandwagon.
I remember driving up to work in Liverpool in January, and listening to a podcast talking about the new virus in China – and how it was making people seriously ill. I had one of those “oh crap” moments where it hit me that this could be bad – but it passed quite quickly. The scientists on the Podcast were talking about how quickly it could spread and how the world needs to be on standby. If only we (Boris) had listened back then. But this post isn’t about politics – so I’ll move on quickly!
Just after the Podcast finished, I noticed the moon sitting low in the sky – this was about 4am (I would often leave home at 2am to get to Liverpool for breakfast). For a brief moment, I questioned everything.
Is the moon even real? What if it’s someones job to put it in the sky each night? What if we’re all living in a massive lie, a world put together by a greater power that we’re unaware of. I quickly snapped out of it – it’s amazing how your mind can create these things from the smallest worry – the worry for me at the time I guess being how this virus could change our lives. I never thought about how much this would materialise.
I’ll be honest – I forget about it after that. A few weeks of 2020 went by and I didn’t think about Coronavirus again. Until March. Seems like Boris did the same 😉
I was sitting at Anfield watching Liverpool lose to Atletico Madrid – 54,000 people crammed in to a stadium – 3000 from Spain, where the virus was quickly spiralling out of control. Again, it didn’t overly bother me, but I was very aware of every cough, sniff and sneeze I heard. The next morning, it was announced that there could be a lockdown. We were all working from a hotel room, and it was very strange indeed.
My brother and his partner had just welcomed their new son to the world – so we made an effort to meet him ASAP before anything happened lockdown wise. Thankfully, we got to see him, only a couple of days before we were plunged in to the life changing lockdown. Unfortunately for my bro and his partner, other family members weren’t so lucky, and they didn’t get to meet the baby for a few more months.
We knew it was coming, most people knew it was coming. So without much thought, we just went in to autopilot. Working from home anyway, life didn’t change that much for us. We both switched to working from home and combined Childcare around that – sitting on the sofa with our laptops whilst we worked and looked after G. We’re lucky because he hadn’t started nursery, he didn’t really have to change his lifestyle.
I had gotten in to a good Gym routine – so the biggest upset for me was having to stop that. Exercise had become a key part of managing my own wellbeing, both physically and mentally, so for that to stop, was a bit rubbish. I serviced my bike, and started riding around town every other night. We live on the coast, so riding the coastal path for a few KM was quite nice. It was also incredibly strange – this was getting towards the height of summer, in a coastal town – Normally I’d avoid the seafront because of the crowds – but now, I was the only person in sight most evenings. It was blissful, but strange. I got in to the habit of listening to the radio as I would ride, the presenters working from their makeshift studios under duvets in the closet – keeping the nations spirits high.
I wrote an open letter about how incredible Greg James has been on the breakfast show earlier in January – how he puts a smile on everyones face. When lockdown started, you could sense the feeling of unity through his shows. He was doing all he could to pull people through this – it was that sense of togetherness that really helped me through at times – that feeling of “shit, this is bad, but at least we’re all together, even if we’re not together“. He was open and honest about how it made him feel – again simply being relatable, understanding, and doing all he could to help the nation.
Maybe when all this is over, we’ll get that pint that we spoke about on Twitter, I think I owe him (and many other DJs, Phil Taggart, Annie Mac, Ken Bruce and Jack Saunders to name but a few – all of whom have helped me get through this!) a few pints!
There were times when I’d be riding when that wave of fear, that deep bedded sense of realism would hit me. What if this never goes away? What if we can’t get back to “normal”? What if I get it? What if someone near to me gets it? IS THIS THE END OF HUMANITY!
I’ll be honest – we adapted quite quickly – the new normal. We didn’t do online food shopping – it was hard to get a delivery slot and we really didn’t need to use one when those in need would benefit from them more – so I’d make the trip to the supermarket once a week. The first time was strange wasn’t it? Queueing up to get in, apologising if you even looked at someone else – one way systems – never finding loo roll or pasta (did you bulk buy, did you????)
What I’ve missed in 2020
The biggest thing we missed was simply seeing friends and family – something we can all relate to. We’d often go to the city at the weekend – and because my family live in Norwich, we’d sometimes see them for a coffee if our paths crossed. The freedom to just do these things is something I’ll never take for granted again. I’ll also never pass up on the opportunity to get a good hair cut when needed!
We’d started going to Soft Play with G too – he was always shy around other children but this was helping him learn to interact with others, and be a bit braver on his own – so that stopped. He also stopped seeing his Grandparents – we told him that they’d all gone on Holiday – a 4 month holiday – when he’s older and remembers that, he’ll think how lavish his Grandparents were 😉
We also loved a good National Trust visit at the weekends – ever since Grayson was born we’d take him for walks around the buildings and grounds, have some lunch and just make a day of it – but of course that stopped too.
I’ve missed the gym – the exercise, the escape from my desk. I found comfort in using Zwift and doing rides with my friends every week – that made a huge difference to my own mental health and wellbeing, so again, it wasn’t so bad. I won’t renew my Gym membership when it re-opens – it’s an expense that I can do without now I’ve found ways of “managing” at home.
What I’ve learned from 2020
Quite simply – the importance of making the most of what you have. We’re extremely lucky that lockdown for us didn’t add any tension or stress to our every day lives – work carried on as normal – and with the exception of not seeing people we love – we managed to enjoy what we could do. We found new places to go for walks – new parts of the beach, new woodland areas – things that are free to do, and good for us all. We got a lot of DIY done, re done the bathroom, lots of painting and so on.
We’ve found comfort in simply being together – at a time when people are feeling so alone, so isolated, so distant – we were (and are) extremely lucky to have each other. It goes without saying that we’ve also made some lifelong friends online – the Instagram community has been a rock (mostly) – and I’ve met some amazing people – who one day, we will meet in real life!
2020 has really opened my eyes to everyones situation – pre-covid it was all too easy to overlook someone in need, the signs may have been there but I’d be too caught up in my own world to notice – or people didn’t feel like they could, or should, speak out. Now, I often hear people saying they’re struggling, or they feel alone, and I watch (and help where I can) as a swarm of people step to help others. It’s heartwarming – it’s a sense of togetherness that humanity had lacked for a while. A situation that forced us to avoid each other has simply driven so many people together.
All in all – 2020 has been an absolute game changer for us all. We’ll look back in years to come and hope that we never have another year like it in our lifetime, or our children’s lifetime. But deep down, there have been some strong positives we can take away from it – and I hope that, once we’re Covid “safe” and can get normality back, we look back at the lessons we learned in 2020 and carry them with us in the future.
So, goodbye 2020, and here’s to 2021 – a year that for us, has started pretty bad (Grayson now has a broken Wrist) – but we’re keeping positive – and looking forward to meeting some faces that we’ve only seen on the end of Zoom!