20-20 Vision (revisited)

I’ve been thinking about writing this blog for a few weeks now. I’ve been thinking a lot about the joke of setting a vision for 2020 – at the time it felt inspired, it felt like the world was my oyster, it felt like anything was possible. The reality is, that as much as it sounded great to set a 2020 vision, the reality is that the only time we have 20-20 vision is in hindsight.

This time last year, I was full of expectation – I had my tickets for Activate, Colour and Cherish (Christian women’s conferences and events), I was ready for Country2Country in London which Ellen was flying to the UK for. I bought tickets to see The Shires, Keith Urban and Elton John. I was ready to book more as the year went on. I was prepared for a great year.

Revisiting my blog – I honestly had forgotten how I felt this time last year. It sucked. But I revisited those feelings, those dark and scary, socially isolated feelings in March when we entered lockdown. I really struggled. This time last year I was off sick from work. Returning to work was really painful – I felt so isolated and struggled. It was hard work, and the reward was so little. Within 6 weeks of returning to work, we moved into lockdown. It all happened so fast and I hadn’t found my footing before the rug was swept out from under me.

As soon as I could I joined a social bubble with my parents, and little did I know at the time, I was going to move in with my parents about 6 months down the line. I enjoyed working out of the office – creating an office working space was something I had already done, but enhancing it with equipment from the office to maximise it, made it a great space to work in. As I am a low priority staff member, I wasn’t given a Zoom license, but I get invited to plenty of Zoom meetings and Skype meetings, and I found that the fact my work laptop didn’t have a camera to be a huge bonus.

I unconsciously followed my 2020 vision, and prioritised learning opportunities and started working with the planning team for my department. I’ve learnt a lot of new skills and I have now made the move to work with them exclusively. Although my contract is still due to end in 2021, it’s exciting to continue learning new practices supporting the planning team.

These little things – spending more time with my parents (eventually moving in with them), and changing my role slightly – have had a profound impact on my wellbeing. The most significant though, is the introduction of my bundle of joy. On 14 December, I brought home a Maltipoo named Dolly (after Dolly Parton). She’s a gorgeous puppy with a stinky butt, sharp teeth and snuggly nose. She’s the best thing that has happened to me in 2020.

Taking Dolly for a walk in my coat (she hasn’t had all her vaccinations yet!)

It might also be worth saying that I did not finish any of the books I started in 2019 (which is terrible) and I definitely haven’t switched off the TV in favour of more intentional pursuits. Instead of a year I’d intended to thrive, I have simply just survived, which in 2020 when over 71,000 people have lost their lives to COVID-19 feels like a win.

Although 2020 has been a hard year, where we all know someone who has lost someone due to the coronavirus, there have been pellets of great things too. Two of my closest friends have got engaged to their significant others, I’ve seen weddings happen despite the restrictions meaning I could no longer attend, and I’ve heard pregnancy news too – despite the overwhelming negativity, there is so much joy to be found in the world still.

So what of 2021? Am I no longer setting visions or New Year’s resolutions? No! My vision for 2021 is to see more of my family and friends – even if we have to wait until the weather is better and we can meet outside again. Lockdown has made me realise how much I value these groups of people, and being actively discouraged from seeing them has been really quite painful.

I’d also love to go on holiday again, and get Dolly a doggy passport and take her with me, but realistically I don’t think I’ll be leaving the UK in 2021. We might head up to Scotland (I’m desperate to go to Edinburgh again, as this New Year marks 2 years since I last went), but I don’t think we’ll be going abroad, at least not until late in 2021.

2020 has been tough, and 2021 isn’t looking to be any different, at least not the first half. We have an opportunity to make what we want of this year (just like any other year) – I’m choosing positivity and light, what choice are you making?

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