Another year over …

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Are you ready to:

  • draw a line under 2020?
  • bring the curtain down on 2020?
  • close the door on 2020?
  • turn your back on 2020? or
  • all of the above?

It’s a rhetorical question, of course, because there is only one correct answer – (e) all of the above.

Yes …

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter … ~ George Harrison (1969) [1]

And before that, it was a long, hot, devastating summer.

Bushfires. State of emergency. Evacuation. Victim relief. Wildlife recovery. COVID-19. Social distancing. Isolation. Lockdown. Household bubbles. 5km zones. Night-time curfew. Face masks. PPE. Hand sanitiser. Clusters. Confirmed cases. Active cases. Contact-tracing. Hotel quarantine. These terms have insinuated themselves into our vernacular, triggering all manner of negative emotions. Become synonymous with 2020 – a year like no other.

All around our sunburnt country, physical and mental wellbeing has been tested, livelihoods and financial security threatened, personal freedoms and liberties restricted. First, we were ravaged by fire, then by a virus.

Here in Melbourne, life often resembled Groundhog Day. Through two COVID-19 waves and more than five months, we endured some of the world’s strictest lockdown measures.

For many, work and home-schooling commitments signposted the hours between Monday a.m. and Friday p.m. I didn’t have to juggle these competing demands, so the clocks and calendars at my place went the way of makeup and clothing other than activewear. They became redundant.

Time lost its relevance. Slowed to a crawl, became fluid, reminiscent of the clocks in Salvador Dali’s iconic 1931 work Persistence of Memory. What could be done at 9.00 a.m. could also be done at 4.00 p.m. or sometime tomorrow or anytime next week.

For a while, it felt luxurious and indulgent to put things off until mañana. A perfectly acceptable delaying tactic in the absence of any urgency or imperative to do ‘the thing’ now. A legitimate form of self-care and a way to ensure I had something to occupy me later. Important, when many of the things I’d typically do were off-limits.

But mañana has a downside.

What may be done at any time will be done at no time. ~ Scottish proverb

As 2020 rolled on, lethargy and lack of focus took hold. The decline in my energy levels was inversely proportional to the increasing number of tasks on the mañana list.

Many of those list items were supposed to make me happier in 2020, to energise and motivate me. Yet, by procrastinating and postponing them, I succeeded only in exacerbating feelings of languor and gloom, exemplifying the truth in one of Gretchen Rubin’s Secrets of Adulthood:

Nothing is more exhausting than the task that’s never started.

I became my own worst enemy. Fell victim to the very self-limiting habits and tendencies I was trying to avoid this year by adopting the mantra: Just. Do. It.

But while it’s tempting to self-flagellate for all the time and opportunities wasted during the lockdown, my 20 for 2020 scorecard is not totally devoid of achievements:

If I give myself a leave pass for goals that were ‘Thwarted by Circumstance’, then my strike rate is 70% – a surprising improvement on 2019.

In truth, it was the frantic activity late in November and December, driven by a desire to appear somewhat accountable, that bore most of the fruit. Things were looking rather pathetic before then.

Yes, I’ve fallen short of expectations this year – some, my own; some, other people’s. Haven’t we all?

🙄

2020 has been a year marred by struggle, trauma, fear, heartbreak, isolation, deprivation and disappointment. Many have suffered far more than me, and that suffering has been both indiscriminate and, at times, profoundly unfair. But that’s life. Sometimes it sucks. Sometimes a disproportionate amount of s#%! happens to good people.

All the more reason to pause and acknowledge when we are privileged, or when Lady Luck has smiled upon us. To actively look for the good and the positives in our lives and be grateful.

Let’s face it. We’ve been incredibly fortunate to live in a free and democratic island nation. With access to high-quality health care and financial support via a robust social security network. To experience love in the time of COVID-19 and learn many important lessons from the School of Life in lockdown. And, after a long year of separation and isolation, to celebrate Christmas with our family and/or friends.

I saw a verse on social media the other day that resonated with me. I’m unsure of its origins, but I think it perfectly encapsulates 2020. In part, it read:

A year of challenges and change

three hundred and sixty-five days to reflect

fifty-two weeks of human and community spirit

twelve months to truly understand what is important.

To be sure, a positive spin, yet one with foundations in truth and the promise of a simpler, more mindful and connected approach to the new year.

So, with a spring in my step and optimism in my heart, I channel my inner Von Trapps, and to 2020 I sing:

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodnight … ~ Rodgers & Hammerstein (1959) [3]

How will you remember 2020?

 

References:
[1] Harrison, G., 1969. Here Comes the Sun. London: Apple.
[2] Kirchmair, P., 2012. Jesus. [Cartoon].
[3] Rodgers, R. and Hammerstein II, O., 1959. So Long, Farewell. [from the Broadway stage musical, The Sound of Music] New York.