It has become a tradition to make an assessment of my year on the blog. After the year that has just passed it is so important to take a look at what we have lived to try to draw some positives but also because my blog is the archives of almost 7 years of life and it is impossible for me to pass this year 2020 under silence. My way to say welcome 2021.
2020 what can be said about you that hasn’t been said a million times. Everybody was looking forward to saying goodbye to you. We are all aware that the counters don’t really go back to 0 at midnight and that our lives are not going to magically change on January 1st, but I think we all need a little dose of positivity after this more than trying year and the beginning of the year has that gift.
Everyone starts the year the way they want, by making a list of resolutions, choosing a theme for the year, cleaning up and getting rid of unnecessary things (I’ve already thrown away 2 bags, how can I accumulate so much?). No matter how you transition from one year to the next, we can’t ignore the effect the change of year has on us. It makes you want to start a new notebook and get back into sports (or not! Maybe I’m getting carried away.).
I’ve heard several people talk about erasing this year, as if it didn’t exist. I don’t agree, I know terrible things have happened but we have also grown together a lot, we have learned a lot, we have started conversations about racism like never before, we have learned like never before, we have had more resources under our noses in a few weeks than in a lifetime. This year opened my eyes to many issues that I didn’t see, helped me understand my privileges and that not being racist wasn’t enough, the importance of representation, that I should no longer cut off the conversation when an opinion was opposed to mine but that I should contribute to the education of the person in front of me.
More personally, 2020 sent me one of the most painful ordeals to live through: the death of my grandmother and the impossibility of jumping on the first plane to say one last goodbye. Never in my life as an immigrant had I imagined such a scenario. I was always aware that death could happen while I was away, of course, but I was “only” a few hours away by plane. Not locked up at home during a global pandemic watching the funeral of one of the most important people in my life through my computer screen alone on my couch and living in denial for months on end. I will talk to you about grief from a distance and especially in this new context.
This year has been very painful for many people, it has put our nerves and patience to the test. We questioned ourselves, we were afraid, we doubted, we laughed, we cried, we looked for hope everywhere. We broke our face. We got up each other. We used our imagination to stay connected. We felt more alone than ever. But we also felt more connected than ever.
When I look back I feel like this year lasted 10 years. The last thing I remember from my life before was my birthday at home at the end of February surrounded by my friends. Then the weekend before the lockdown, we were in Montreal with Alison. I remember the weeks leading up to this historic turning point in our lives. The conversations about the covid were half-joking about it, not really realizing how this new virus was going to change our lives. How could we have imagined such a scenario? I remember the first information “Schools will be closed 2 more weeks after spring break to slow down the contamination”. 2 weeks, you said? 6 months later the students were finally returning to school. I remember every piece of information that came in we said to each other “it’s not possible” and then finally it became our daily routine.
I was very lucky to be able to spend a month in France in October despite the circumstances and to be able to live in my family bubble. Limit my travels. Concentrate on the essential. The first years I ran around to see everyone when I came back, I even prepared Excel visit tables. I might as well tell you that you don’t really take advantage of the moment when time is counted and that I appreciated this year not counting my time with my family.
A very important thing that I remember and that I would like to share with you. This year even more than in previous years I have selected with even more attention what I consume mentally. I have cut off the too negative conversations that lead nowhere, I have stopped following people on social networks that don’t do me any good. We often talk about what we consume on our plates, but what we consume on our phones is also very important. So don’t hesitate to sort out, delete or mute people who don’t do you any good. Social networks are very present and this year it’s difficult to get too far away from them since they were often our only link with the outside world, so take care of your digital consumption. I had already talked about social networks here and here if you’re interested. And I’m sure I’ll talk about it again.
Another thing that goes a little bit together: the verification of information. Social networks have the power to circulate information around the world at an incredible speed. The problem, even more so this year, is that anything and everything has the power to circulate. If you have to be careful what you consume digitally I would also advise you to check the information. Do not relay unverified information. I have felt the fear around me for information that turns out to be false. Bad information can do so much damage. I am very careful when I share on my networks, I always verify information that is sent to me, I cross-check the sources. Because you trust me and I wouldn’t want to bring you wrong information.
For this year 2021 I wish us all to take care of ourselves and each other. I wish us to take care of our health, both physical and mental. To succeed in getting back on our feet. Difficult for us still in full confinement in January 2021 to make too many plans but I have some ideas, I think about the future, I draw it in my head to help me keep moving forward. I make to-do lists with even small tasks to do to feel like I’m doing something when I feel like I’m stuck and there’s no way out of it. I try to be lenient with myself, I allow myself some moments off to bounce back. And I dream of the future. Trips that we will be able to make but especially to the small pleasures of everyday life that we have always taken for granted and to which 2020 has given a real taste of happiness. I am also thinking of my lover without whom this year 2020 would not have been the same. I think of all those who could not return to France to see their families for professional reasons (not easy to have vacations + 14 days of quarantine), financial or other. I am thinking of all those who have been hit hard this year 2020 and who will take time to recover. I think of all those who have helped others, who have made a difference.
Take care & Happy New Year 2021.