Reflecting on 2020 – The Year That Was

As the year comes to a close, we’re taking a look back and reflecting on the good that came of 2020 and what we’ll take with us into a new year like no other. A surreal year, and whilst it has burdened most with exceptional challenges, here we take a look at the positives that made up our year. Instead of looking back at all the things we’ve lost, we consider what we have gained.

Working from Home Worked

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When many of us first told to ‘work from home if you can’ by the Prime Minister in March, we were unsure when we’d return. Nine months down the line, and there’s still uncertainty on the return to office.

Whilst the switch from office to home working was quick, it provided a new level of flexibility. Parents were able to save cost on childcare, the stress of the daily commute (particularly in London) was eliminated, and by being at home, we were able to make our work day work around ourselves.

From making our own lunches (rather than purchasing yet another Pret A Manger), to fitting in a home workout on our break or in our hours usually otherwise devoted to commuting, the flexibility of working from home has bestowed us with newfound time and shown us all that working from home really works.

Comfort and Style Collided as One

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In the year where everything changed, so too, did our style. As we all began to spend more time in the same four walls, the need to dress up (and frankly, to wear jeans) became less and less. Sales of loungewear surged over 50%, and conversely interest in occasionwear dropped rather dramatically.

Over time, brands were able to tailor their own offerings to the trend. Comfort was considered when it came to dressing smart, ensuring we were set to look our best on Zoom calls, and, eventually for when we’re able to go to the pub again.

Our Relationships were Re-evaluated

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We’ve all been torn apart from our loved ones this year, whether near or far, and even had to unexpectedly spend Christmas apart. There’s no doubt it’s been difficult, but this year has also gifted us strengthened relationships, and for some, the people we have become closest with have revealed perhaps not to have been the ones we expected.

Geography played a part in that, as our friendships with local friends flourished. Scheduled video calls also gave us the chance to reconnect with those further afield. As conversations around mental health remained prevalent, the chance to talk about our feelings strengthened rapport, too.

The Power of Technology Triumphed

Although we may have physically spent our milestones and celebrations throughout the year apart, the power of technology was able to keep us connected. ‘Zoom’ became part of our everyday discourse, and our Saturday nights often spent in front of a computer screen (with a glass of wine in tow, of course).

Without tech we would be even more disconnected, so although our screen time may be up, we’ll feel forever grateful for this lifeline.

We Got Inventive with Our Spaces

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Whether living alone, in a houseshare, or with our families, it’s safe to assume at some point we’ve grown tired of our surroundings. To remedy it? By making our spaces a haven, of course.

Millennials have invested in plants, homeowners have decorated their rooms, and we’ve crafted our home office to the best it can be. Even once we start to go out more, we’ll be able to return to the solace of a carefully curated space we’ve spent many months in.

We Took More Time for Ourselves

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One of the biggest things 2020 has gifted to us all? Time. BC (before Covid), there was almost an immeasurable pressure to constantly appear busy, with that being considered a marker of success, heroed somewhat as a trophy.

Whilst the loss of our social calendar initially affected us all, instead, we were able to almost step back in time, and embrace the simpler things. People played their favourite board games, and picked up lost literature that had been left on the bookshelf. Money spent on outings was instead saved or spent on at home self indulgence, as we remembered that sometimes, we still do need to treat ourselves.

Science Worked Faster Than Ever

As we fast learnt that the vaccine would be the only light at the end of a seemingly vast tunnel, the pressure was laid on for scientists around the world. Fortunately, after much hard work and dedication, there are now four approved vaccines, with our own UK Oxford University-developed vaccine coming through just today.

We Explored our Localities

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At the start of the first lockdown, we were limited to just one hour of exercise a day. With this becoming a lifeline for so many of us, we explored our local areas like never before.

As many were able to go on country walks, city-dwellers discovered local parks, and quaint corners of their surroundings. Over the summer our social lives revolved around visiting the park and meeting friends, and with one of the hottest summers on record, we were able to get a tan without even leaving blighty.

We Realised How Fortunate We Are

Overall, 2020 has afforded us the opportunity to consider just how lucky we are. In a year where there has been such loss and tragedy, we’re fortunate to simply have a roof over our heads, food to eat and our, for most, our health intact.

As we look forward to the year ahead, it’s important to not solely consider the negatives of the one passed, but to take with us those lessons learned. It’s been a tough time for us all, but we leave it with an end in sight, and a whole new, positive way of living.

Words: Maria Loizou