I was thinking of saying good riddance to 2020, but I’ve had a rethink. And I’ve changed my wording to “farewell”: a leave taking; an expression of good wishes at parting…
This year has been so difficult for us all. Harder for some, I know, and there has been a lot of suffering. But I want to extract the positive from the grief and fear.
Looking back on just a few of my photos, I realise it is the little things that I will take from 2020. The little things that have turned into big things for me.
I fully realise that I am writing this from the position of somebody fortunate: being retired, without mortgage or work worries. But it has still been very hard not to be together with friends or to help with family. There was a brief interlude while we were in Italy, during August, when the Covid-19 numbers went down dramatically and we were able to be with some of our family for a short while. (Always sensibly… hugs were off limits ☹).
On one hand, I will count the “little things” that are now “big things”:
- The members of my family and friends whom we haven’t been able to see. They mean far more to me now than before the epidemic. I love them so much. They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but it’s much more than that. How I miss sharing food and conversation round the table with them and taking them in my arms for a cuddle. As I write this on New Year’s Eve, we should have been celebrating our youngest daughter’s wedding, but that has been postponed until the end of this year. ☹
2. The slower pace of life that isolation and lockdown enforced on us has been a revelation. There’s been time to bake, to discover new interests, to take long walks and to try out new recipes. Time to stop and literally smell the roses, gaze on the countryside both here and in Tuscany. Time to research and to write. It has been precious and I don’t want to forget about slowing down when all this is over.
3. Social media has been a lifeline. I think about what my Italian mother-in-law told me about her early life in England as a young war bride. How homesick and lonely she felt. How her letters took ten days to get to Italy and how she then had to wait ten further days for an answer. She had no access to a phone – or the internet as we do now. This summer I have taken part in several Zoom talks and caught up with family and fellow writers through this medium. I was able to share the amazing day when my books reached the hitherto-dreamed-of target of 100,000 sales. I celebrated by plunging into the April sea, fully clothed.
I wish you all a far happier new year. Keep safe, hold onto your dreams and keep appreciating the little things. And look forwards to when you can hug and kiss your loved ones again.