Last year, as an act of defiance against the phrase “New Year. New You,” I titled my end of year reflection as “New Year. Same you.” Now, as I try to condense an entire year of change into a readable post, I no longer believe in the latter statement. As humans, we are bound to fundamentally change with each lap around the sun. And perhaps, as flawed as the new year’s resolution ideal may be, it’s not so bad to aim to be better, and do better, than the year before.
The beginning of 2020 was a great one for me. The end of the winter season brought with it a lot of happy memories. I celebrated Chinese New Year / Burn’s Night with my favourite people in the city, seeing lanterns in St Giles’ Cathedral and getting excited about the year ahead. I visited my sister in Oxford, and finally got to see “Dear Evan Hansen” and “Six” in the West End. My mum and sister came to visit for a girls’ weekend and we got to see “The Lion King,” just as we’d always planned. I went on dates with some lovely people (some of whom I now consider friends), but ultimately embraced being single and had the best Valentine’s Day celebrating a friend’s 30th birthday. I got to see the inspiring and all around hilarious founder of CoppaFeel, Kris Hallenga, speak at my university – An experience that profoundly impacted the way I now view my life. I had countless movie nights with my flat 17 and uni gals, tarot readings, makeshift zumba and yoga classes on our kitchen floor. I climbed Arthur’s Seat, and saw my first sunset and sunrise at Calton Hill. I went on all of the canal walks, started to really enjoy photography, designed my own magazine, and achieved my masters in publishing. I was happy before the pandemic became our new normal, and somehow, I was still able to find joy after too.
The pandemic and lockdown definitely brought it’s own set of challenges. In march, I made the decision to return home to wait out the first wave. What was supposed to be a month turned into three, and I found myself getting upset about missing out on the best year of my life. In many ways, Edinburgh and flat 17 always felt too good to be true, and this seemed to prove that as I watched time slip away. Despite this, when I did finally make it back to Scotland for those final seven weeks, I managed to make the best of the time I was given. Summer was simpler than we had expected it to be, but wine chats in Princes Street gardens, last minute beer garden trips, the discovery of some of my favourite places in the city, and all of the (socially distant)catch-ups/reunions made up for it in the end.
As we get ready to enter this new year, with the promise of a vaccine and the end of the pandemic somewhat in sight, I want to carry this newfound outlook with me. 2020 was the year of growth and change. A time when the world stopped, life slowed down, and we were forced to stay at home. 2020 was the year of perspective and stark realisations. A time for both virtual connections and a need to disconnect. 2020 was exhausting. A time to simply keep going rather than ‘Keep Calm and Carry On.’ Most of all, 2020 taught us to never plan too far or expect too much, but to always be grateful. It forced us to cherish the good times when the news outlets only reported the bad. So, here’s to a new year and all of the possibilities it holds. It’s time to let go of everything, and everyone, who has ever held you back. The future is only ever what you make it, so let’s make it a great one.
Happy New Year,