It’s no hard task to see how many will view 2020 as a negative year. Initially I would have whole heartedly agreed. However, several things happened before the end of it that cemented the idea in my mind that it was a year of grabbing onto gratitude.
These are my reasons:
Despite the fact my mental health showed itself to have the fragility of mouse bones between the jaws of a skilful neighbourhood cat; I’ve come away from the experience feeling supported, cherished and unashamed of owning my brittle mental status. It was not an easy route by any means. But COVID forced me to accept that while I know how to be alone, I’m not exactly a happy camper about this fact. Owning this to dear friends and family has eased a burden I didn’t even realise I was carrying. Particular thanks for helping me through this time go to my homeopath Veronica, my cousin Michelle and my wonderful friends Chantal and Bev. There are also people I must apologise to. I flipped out and blamed them for how I was feeling. But that will be done in private when I get the necessary courage – Dutch or otherwise.
Next is the fact that my financial fears were swept away by the protection of the Universe in the form of generous friends, Airbnd bookings, Going Wide and, believe it or not, HMRC. For years I’ve felt a certain resentment for paying taxes and not really seeing where the cash was going or feeling my taxes were funding programmes I didn’t agree with. But the introduction of the self-employment grants came at precisely the point when I very much needed them. Additionally, according to my 5 year business plan for creatives (thanks Melissa Addey) I was always set to GO WIDE in 2020. Doing so reaped unexpected rewards in the form of payments through my Paypal account which I initially thought were an online scam. Thankfully I checked before consigning the emails to my chunk mail and reporting them to the fraud department. They are tiny amounts, but every penny adds up does it not.
Then there is the time spent in my much neglected garden. It was my mother’s joy and remains the bane of my existence until I find a suitable gardener to take it on. While I loathe gardening (no exaggeration) there was the immense pleasure I gained from treating it like another room in my house which required decorating. I approached it accordingly and have an album of photos on my personal Facebook page to attest to the joy it gave me. I will never be a gardener. But while the good weather lasted I at least gave the semblance of being a passable one.
Finally there are the new friendships I gained. My tranquil Airbnb spare room has become a refuge for those relocating at one of the most difficult times for travelling across continents. Thank you to Erin, Kit, Hannes, Madeleine and Amy for trusting me to help them navigate their way into the UK and for sticking to rules and routines which ensured we stayed safe during the pandemic.
I sense 2021 has even more good things to be thankful for and I can't wait to find out what they will be.