When we think of 2020, many of us will immediately think of words like lockdown, pandemic, covid-19, coronavirus,
My personal pandemic journey began a year ago on 4 March 2020, that is when the old “normal life” came to an end for me. I flew to Gran Canaria for a five night holiday, and returned via London to visit a friend and to see my favourite band play live at the London Palladium theatre.
During my time in Gran Canaria, panic buying and chaos broke out across the UK as rumours of a looming lockdown were rife. I felt very far away from it at the time, sat by the pool having a much needed all inclusive relaxation holiday. Sipping a Pina Colada, I read about the chaos back home. Even then, I knew when I returned home it would be quite different to how things were before.
I did take additional precautions when preparing the trip. I wore a mask on the train to the airport, during the flight and in the airport. This was before wearing a mask became common place, I certainly did receive a few strange looks. I even spent quite a bit of time weighing up if I should go ahead with the holiday. I am very glad I did, I had an amazing time – I was traveling alone, spending time in total relaxation.
My return to the UK was a two night visit to a friend in London, and a gig which was purely amazing. When most people think of March 2020 it is full of memories of fear, pain, anguish and lockdown. I had all of those feelings too, but I am choosing to focus on the positive memories – travel, sun, Gran Canaria, the hotel and a few too many cocktails.
We all have our pandemic story, there will be high points and there will be our low points too. It is very easy to focus on the negatives, I wanted to share the positives, even though that may be hard for us when we think of the last year.
At times the last year has felt like a blur, some days merged together in my memory. Weeks of the same routine. I actually love working from home, but I miss travel – getting away for a weekend, a holiday or a day trip.
When I think of the last 12 months, I think of spending my birthday with friends in Gibraltar. I think of a boat trip in October whale spotting in the bay of Gibraltar and taking up running in the autumn. I think of the positivity wellbeing group, how it has thrived from a class room based session with six people to a group of 1700 people. I remember the sheer joy of my first post lockdown holiday to Bridlington, to escape from home and spend time away. That is one of the highest moments of joy from the last year.
My pandemic journey is full of pain, anxiety, depression and loss. But I choose not to focus on those. I choose to remember the good times, those moments of joy and happiness. Maybe these memories are fewer and further between than a “normal” year. But these moments shine a lot brighter in 2020 than they would have in nearly any other year of my life.
Life is hard, yes. The pandemic is tough. Lockdown life is tricky. I get it, I experienced all of that too.
But I also lived.
Life is short, I choose to look to every moment of joy.