Travel is on hold, parties are postponed, concerts are online and even exercise classes are virtual. The rhythm of life has changed drastically in the past year and there has been a devastating effect on jobs and health. It’s so easy to focus on what we’ve lost when it has been such a tumultuous year – but with a little effort it is possible to appreciate some unexpected benefits of the slower pace of life.
For many of us, 2020 was the year we learned not to take things for granted, whether that was a holiday, dinner with friends, visiting an art gallery, going to a football match or simply giving someone a hug. In their absence, as a nation we’ve discovered local walks, baked up a storm (banana bread again, anyone?), listened to bird song and gone jigsaw puzzle crazy.
The pandemic has without doubt changed – and challenged – us all. For some, the changes have been small – discovering a new hobby or interest – and for others more profound – perhaps a change in priorities has led to a big decision being made.
2020 was a year of such upheaval that it altered our perspective and made many of us value what we have. By and large it has given us a renewed sense of togetherness as we work towards a shared goal. Collective kindness has never been more important: neighbourhood WhatsApp groups have been a lifeline for many, shown by the 40% increase in WhatsApp usage since March 2020. In a world in a state of flux, our shared experiences are powerful reminders that we simply cannot survive on our own. One positive outcome of the last year surely has been accepting the importance of social and shared responsibility.
Put simply, we are all in it together, sometimes simple really is enough – and it’s always cool to be kind. Here’s to a simpler and happier 2021 for us all.