The year it's been- 2020- All the emotions, struggles and wins from the Year of the Pandemic

3 March 2021

Too late to do a year in review? Better late than never I say. 2020 deserves to be reviewed because it’s such a highlight year for my generation of people.

The year the pandemic started. The year that will be written about in books in the future. We’ll look back and say yeah kids! I lived through that. What a year it was. Glad to have made out alive.

I'll discuss my Coronavirus woes later in this post but firstly, for me personally, it was my most successful year yet. I’ve felt a lot of satisfaction and contentment over what I do. I’ve kinda sorta found my purpose. Every year I make some big goals on New Years. Who would have thought the curveballs 2020 will bring along but despite all the bumps on the way, I actually managed to smash all my personal and financial goals for 2020 (minus the travel ones of course).

The most sacred goal has been spending quality time with Aiza. I’m not the best at it, but keeping my phone away has made this possible for me. With my full-time job and side hustles, I’m not there with her for many waking hours, hence I try to make it up over weekends and holidays. This has meant less time for this Instagram account of mine resulting in not much growth in my account this year. I’ve actually lost some followers. I have absolutely no qualms over it though. I've accepted that I just can’t win it all. Being present on both phone and real life isn’t possible for me, hence I’ve kinda let this account slide.

I think this has also come from my 'Time is Money’ mentality. In 2020 I learned that time (not money) is my most precious asset. I could always make more money but I can’t go back in time and create those moments again. Time is my most valuable asset, hence in 2020, I learned to guard my time like a hawk. And it’s paid off really. Not in ways people can decipher. But for my own personal contentment. I did the absolute best I could to honour my time and balance commitments.

Pandemic has not been a joyous time for many but it’s been a bit kinder to introverts like myself. We have found our groove. Restrictions on socialising have meant less social anxiety and more time at home. More of just me in my head. Just the way I like it.

2020 was also a year of fear and worry. Waking up at odd hours of the night, worrying about my mum & other family members in India. The saga continues. I’ve felt pangs of loneliness for family, for travel, for just being up in the air. I have not seen my family for over a year and a half now. It’s been really hard for my sanity and mental health. Sometimes I find myself mulling over the fact that Aiza is 2.5 years old and has only met her maternal grandparents once for 2 weeks of her life. She’s literally growing up sans any influence from them. Add our non-existent screen time for her into the mix and there’s not much I can do about it really. Except hoping that the world will be vaccinated soon and she will be on a flight to India to see another half of her family.

As I type this on the 2nd of March 2021, I can’t believe it’s been a year of pandemic already. Most of us are still processing last March when the first lockdowns happened. It’s been a year marked by a roller coaster of emotions. The crippling fear of lockdowns, virus anxiety when out shopping, also a sense of quiet, calm & peace. A mixed bag really.

The general mood of the population has changed too. I remember being clueless about the virus at the start of 2020. I knew it was spreading elsewhere but I just didn’t think it’ll become a pandemic. I probably didn’t even know what a pandemic was back then. I was too busy shortlisting places for our upcoming Europe trip in April/May 2020. As we started looking at places to visit and sorting through our leave at work, more virus talk crept into our lives. Until it was evident that more of Europe was getting shut one day at a time (Italy was faring the worst back then). Everything was cancelled. And then March came and lockdowns happened. Goodbye travel dreams. What a time to be alive! The social media frenzy around virus, anti-contamination measures, getting to know more about the contagion each day, sanitising groceries, learning to wear a mask every day and sticking to our family bubble. It was all too much. The social media highlight would be Dalgona Coffee, Irish Soda bread and Banana bread. Well everyone was practically sitting on their phones all day long (Side note: Come March 2021, the latest Tiktok trend is baked feta).

The virus novelty faded away after a few months and the weariness kicked in mid-2020. The first wave of the virus was gone and all seemed to come back to normal. In NZ that is. Back to work, back to ze life. Though life didn’t really come back to normal in many other countries. I’m thinking UK which has been in lockdown for what seems like an entire year. My birth country India seems to ignore and downplay the virus each day and hence no one even knows how many have died there because if you don’t acknowledge the virus and don't test people, you don’t really know if they have it or are spreading it. Problem solved. Indian govt even had the resolve to pass some monumental Farming Bills during this time forcing millions to come out on the streets to protest against them. What a way to kill your own people!

By September 2020, positive news from vaccine trials started coming in and it felt like the world will be back to normal. Well until we all realised what a massive undertaking it is to vaccinate 7 billion+ people. The inequality in this world has never shone brighter. The fact that the rich countries were securing millions of doses of vaccines from the manufactures left, right and centre and leaving nothing on the table for developing/poorer countries has been a kick in the gut in terms of the amount of privilege I have. United Nations can do all it can but if the nations don’t up their game, it’s a losing battle for the not-so-privileged.

By the end of 2020, as the first vaccines were injected into people (the UK being the first), the news of virus mutations rocked the world. The more contagious UK and South African strains were out in full force and lockdowns & border closures followed all around the world. The third wave of the deadly virus. But as of now, it seems like the vaccines will still play a big part in containing this virus. If we all get it that is. The more unvaccinated people, the higher the chances of more Coronavirus mutations. This is where we are at in March 2021. Positive news of vaccinations happening all around. Exactly a year after the doom and the gloom began.

I hope to be vaccinated in the third quarter of 2021 and I’m bledy excited about it. What a momentous feat for science.

Coronavirus has changed the face of the earth. It has changed us all in one way or another. It has also changed our economic and financial climate. It has highlighted the vulnerability of human lives. It has disrupted businesses and industries that were once booming. Travel was once NZ's top earner. With no overseas visitors in the country for over a year, it's slid way down the list. We have just come back from a 2-week road trip through the South Island of NZ and the effects of Coronavirus on the travel industry has been an eye-opener. Empty streets, closed businesses, loss of jobs. It is a very sad situation for those directly impacted by closed borders.

We all long for things to go back to normal but honestly after a year of this, I think I’ve forgotten what normal was once. Work from home is a reality for many of our generation and that has altered our work-life balance and changed us all for better or worse.

This past year hasn’t been easy for most but it’s still a highlight of my life. I’m just hoping for a better 2021 for others now. Losing millions of people in a year has changed our world in ways that will be felt for years to come. We will be talking about this unusual period for decades. And hence it was worth my time to pen/type this ode to 2020. I want to look back into what a time it was. How I felt and fared! I’m sure my kid will find some insights too.

How has 2020 been for you? Talk to me in the comments below



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