2020… What a year!

This time last year when we were raising a glass to the “roaring twenties” I don’t think any of us could have imagined even in our wildest dreams that 12 months down the line we would all be in the middle of an international pandemic!
It has certainly been a funny year, a confusing year, a very different year. In January I could hug my friends and family, by the end of March to do so was to risk potential death.
But for me it hasn’t been an entirely bad year. One of the things that lockdown taught me was the need to be grateful for what I have got. I’ve learned that it’s very easy to focus on what you cannot do, what you don’t have. I was taught from a young age that if things do not go according to plan then you don’t stew over what didn’t happen, you dust yourself off, pick yourself up, learn from your mistakes and start again.
This pandemic has made me realise that perhaps some things in life were not as important as I had thought, so I thought that I would end 2020 by making a list of things that I have been grateful for this year:
My husband, Gareth. He might drive me mad sometimes, and on occasion I have considered strangling him with my bare hands, but I definitely could not have got through this year without him. His faith in me and my ability to do anything I set my mind to never waivers and I feel very lucky to have him by my side.
My pet lizard, Boris and my two dogs, Rupert and Honey. Without the pets lockdown would definitely not have been as much fun. They are always a constant source of joy and entertainment. The dogs have helped me make many videos, accompanied me on many walks, and Boris stays by my side every evening, running round the house when he’s feeling active and terrorising the dogs.
Having a garden. Before lockdown I had never truly appreciated my garden. It seemed quite nice, but not particularly exciting. This year though I have spent a lot of time in it, enjoying the sunshine early on, and have been very grateful for it, especially when thinking about people like my cousin and his partner who live in a one-bedroom flat in London with no outside space at all, I count myself as incredibly lucky.
The internet. How very different lock-down would have been, even 20 years ago when most of us were either still on dial-up, or just switching over. Video calls didn’t really exist, and not everyone had a mobile phone! While it has been very hard not being with friends and family, having the ability to make video calls has let me stay connected with so many people.
Where I live. I am incredibly fortunate to live on the edge of the Peak District, and it has been really nice this year to spend more time enjoying the countryside where I live. We always explore when we’re on holiday, but it is so easy to overlook what is on your own doorstep, and this year I have discovered some lovely places on our walks.
Staying healthy. As a clinically-vulnerable person I have been very careful throughout the pandemic, and I feel very fortunate not to have contracted covid – fingers crossed this stays the case until the vaccine is available (I believe I am in group six!)
Taking on fauxPlay. This has been a huge highlight of the year for me. Spending a lot of the  year furloughed it has given me a real focus, and I feel that I’m building up a really strong brand now.
My friends and family. While I might not have been able to physically see them as much, the powers of modern technology means that they have never felt far away, and I have still been able to share all the ups and downs of the year with them enjoying belly-aching laughter, reconnecting with old friends, even making new.
I could continue on with the list as there is an awful lot that I have to be grateful for. I know that this year has not been so kind to everyone and that for an awful lot of people this year has been one of loss, and my heart goes out to them. Yes we are all traversing the same sea, but in many different types of boats!
As with Christmas, this New Year’s will be very different for all of us. Normally, we would be hosting a party, filled with food and drink and laughter. It will seem strange not to be in a room full of people. We will still host a party, but this year it will have to be a virtual one. On the plus side, at least I will only need to tidy one half of one room in the house, the food and drink bill will probably only be half what it is normally – maybe a virtual party isn’t so bad after all!
And I think there are an awful lot of virtual parties happening – several friends are only coming to either the later or earlier Zoom sessions we’re hosting as they already have other commitments, and indeed I too have been invited to a couple of other New Year’s Eve events online myself!
I’m sure that myself and the dogs will enjoy putting on our party outfits (not sure about Gareth, he prefers to be more casual, and Boris definitely won’t!), and it will be great fun raising a toast to our friends and family online.
All that I need to really think about now is New Year resolutions, and I think for 2021 it will be to continue to look for the positive in everything, to continue to grow fauxPlay, and when it is safe to do so to hug my friends and family.
I wish you all a healthy, prosperous and positive 2021. The pandemic may not be over yet, but there is light at the end of the tunnel, and if we support each other then we’ll all come out the other side.
And, just to end on a lighter note, to kick us off to a great 2021, fauxPlay is having a HUGE sale for the whole of January, so if there’s something you fancy – check it out from 1st January 2021!


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