Every New Year’s Eve, as the clock strikes 12, my husband always says to me “This is the year Deb, I can feel it!”. We have been married 30 years so this is now a standing joke and especially this year, after everything that has happened in 2020. But this got me thinking, maybe despite everything, this year really was the year. So I decided to pull out the good things, the positive messages and the growth opportunities from the year, that way I would always be able to look back on it, if not with fondness but at least with gratitude, and if you can I would encourage you do the same – so here is my 2020.
Lessons from the Lockdown
January – Full of optimism, my diary is full, I have a nice job in Florida booked and got confirmation of being shortlisted for a life changing contract with a major airline that I busted a gut to tender for just before Christmas. Lesson – Be in the moment and enjoy the small freedoms you never know when you might lose them. February – Busy start to the month with a trip to Hong Kong to present to a panel for the contract and at this point there was only a sniff of corona virus. Then a conference in Barcelona and off to South Africa for a couple of days work followed by my little sisters beautiful wedding in Cape Town. Lesson – family is everything be grateful for special relationships and special celebrations. March – In the beginning the corona virus was just a bit of a worry, the trip to Florida happened and we laughed at people wearing masks at the airport and touched elbow’s instead of shaking hands and my hands were dry and sore from all the washing but that was it – then LOCKDOWN ONE – All the business in my diary was cancelled, the book I had spent several years writing which was about to be published was put on hold. I got told the new contract with the airline was cancelled – it looked bleak. But the sun shone in the most glorious of springs, the daily exercise (walks with my dogs for me) were quiet and peaceful, you could hear the birds sing instead of the roar of the M1 and for the first time in 10 years I had spare time for me. Lesson – find time to slow down and appreciate the small things in life. April – Reality started to kick in as I realised this was not going to be over quickly, I felt aimless, anxious and full of dread – was this the end of my business. I needed to do something so I reached out to my long standing customers and gave away sessions on Zoom, I watched every tutorial on how to use video conferencing to deliver engaging sessions that would help people stay in touch and learn new skills to help them through these challenging times and surprisingly I loved it and it worked. Lesson – I can be amazingly resilient and if I put my mind to it, I can learn to do anything. May/June – I did my first paid for training on Zoom with some amazing customers that wanted to support me, and I felt a real sense of achievement when they went well. I also found myself on a roller-coaster ride of moods and emotions, one day up and then another not able to stop the tears and yet I also felt extremely lucky to still have a sense of purpose. Lesson – The downs help you to really appreciate the ups, without the dark you can’t appreciate the light. July/August/September/October – Moved out of my office and into a beautiful log cabin in the garden built by my amazing husband. Still working virtually along with a large percentage of you I guess but it almost felt normal. I went camping several times including an amazing trip to Scotland to celebrate my 30th wedding anniversary, sat in pub gardens, ate food in my favourite restaurant and enjoyed old familiar freedoms. Even visiting Tesco’s stopped feeling like a prison camp! Lesson - Make the most of every opportunity to enjoy life. November – LOCKDOWN 2 – Here we go again; masks are no longer a laughing matter they are a way of life; tiers are not cake’s they are the difference between opening for business and losing your business. This time it feels darker and scarier, will it ever end. A bounce back loan is needed after all to give us breathing space and then we hear news of the vaccine – I don’t know about you, but I cried there was hope, finally light at the end of the tunnel. Lesson – Hope is the most important thing it is what moves us forward. December – Christmas lights up early everywhere as we all found ways to cheer ourselves up in the shorter days and colder nights. I had some lovely Friday evening drinks at our local pub by the fire and I felt a real sense of excitement that I would spend Christmas with the people I love the most. Then Tier 4 and plans must change, and I am gutted but resigned it is what it is, and I am so lucky as all my children and granddaughter are already in my home.
The Final Lesson
This brings me up to date its New Year’s Eve, normally a time for resolutions, resolve and goals, but looking back at this year I am not doing that this time, this year I am not going to tell myself what I should be doing, I am going to congratulate myself for fighting hard to survive, learning new skills, facing my demons, staying positive through waves and waves of bad news and still having hope.
Happy New Year to all of you and may you find some positives from this year!