What has 2020 taught me? For one thing it has taught me that nothing is predictable alongside the importance of face to face human contact. But the most striking element is power of resilience and the strength of the human mind.
Wuhan, China. The epicentre of the virus ignited a global panic as plague like images surfaced all over social media. To many, we assumed that it would never reach close to home, let alone cause the extent of collateral damage over the globe.
5th March. The first coronavirus death in the UK. This led to the national lockdown announcement on 23rd March where we first heard the three words that would shape the course of the year: stay at home.
282 days, 2.38 million cases, 71,567 deaths and many lockdowns later and these three words still echo through us. Living in a country experiencing months of debt, setbacks with education and a general decline in mental well-being, you would think that all hope is lost. But we are fighting. Fighting for the dwindling hope that our pre-pandemic lives will return.
There is not a single person who hasn’t been affected in some form during the pandemic. Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, the cancellation of a built up event or even the struggle to find motivation in day to day life; everyone has suffered.
Out of the shared grief, communal resilience has risen. The often disliked cliché of ‘looking on the bright side’ has become a mantra in our society. This pandemic has posed the biggest mental battle many of us will ever experience in our lifetimes and finding the humour within such dark times has become a nationwide coping mechanism.
Many people will have ended the year by having a Christmas dinner for one and counting down the seconds to 2021 with only a bottle in hand for company. A fitting end to a year that nobody could have predicted. Looking back on it I am sure that everyone has regrets of what they could’ve done better. Whether it’s you wished you had hopped on the online fitness trends in April or ` used your time more productively rather than binge-watching mindless hours of Netflix. I, for one, wished that I had invested into Zoom stocks as they increased by 504% over the year!
However, the stronger question (if not dread) is of what the future could look like. Having recently turned 18, these next months were always going to be unpredictable, but never this unpredictable. Nonetheless, knowing that I am not battling this alone gives me hope. Knowing that the nation is prepared to do whatever it takes to beat the pandemic is what gives me motivation to get up each morning. Knowing that this will not be permanent is my resilience.
If you cannot take anything positive from this year, know that mental resilience has been forcibly mastered within us, and nothing can take that away from us. Well… a second pandemic may test it… But being only hours away from beating 2020, we can enter 2021 as survivors with bulletproof mindsets and a newfound appreciation for all that life throws at us.