Looking back to 2020
Ricky Stevenson looks back at the last year and shares his experience of lockdowns and the pandemic.
2020. What else can you say? If your glasses provide 20/20 vision, then it might be a good time to throw them away. I do not ever want to think about 2020 again, so I have decided to dump all my thoughts into this article in hopes they will magically disappear.
I don't think I'm alone in thinking that 2020 felt like the longest year in history. Hey, maybe it's still 2020, and we've slipped into some space-time continuum where one year lasts an eternity. All I wanted last Christmas was a box of memories that I could kick into a river, allowing me to pretend the year had never occurred; a leap year, if you will. Or maybe a magical watch that would let me rewind time and warn the world of Covid-19. Nobody would believe me, but it'd be worth a try.
How I found the lockdowns
Being an introvert, I was one of those weirdos who was enjoying lockdown at the start of the year, but that started to change when it struck me I was stuck in the cycle of Groundhog Day. Breakfast, lunch, news, sleep. Breakfast, lunch, news, sleep. Breakfast...
As with the film, one thing that annoyed me last year was the radio. We weren't the greatest of friends before Covid-19 but last year was the final straw (speaking of straws, I don't remember voting for that straw ban). Seriously, I'm fed up with radio stations. The presenters are always relentlessly happy in spite of reality, but I think that's because they're locked up in a room and forced to play the same ten songs every day.
Every station hopped onto the bandwagon of a 'Happy Hour' of 'happy songs'. It is like they were saying, "Sure we're living in a dystopian nightmare and the world's on fire, but we know what will cheer you up - Despacito by Justin Bieber."
The pressure to be productive
That was a big theme throughout the year. Everyone told us to "just cheer up", politicians telling us to "pull ourselves up by our bootstraps" while compulsively tripping over their own. There was story after story of people claiming 2020 as the most productive year of their lives after using lockdown to learn every language in existence while also finding time to knit enough scarves to clothe the entire population of the UK.
I am not having a go at these productive people. If lockdown led you to take up a new skill or hobby, then that is fantastic. I personally became a slave to Zoom as I realised the importance of contact and communication (albeit virtual and distant.) But regardless of the cheery radio presenters and the barrage of inspirational stories on TV breakfast shows, 2020 was a tough year for everyone, I promise. Just watch that Imagine video again and look closely into Sarah Silverman's cold, dead eyes. Whoever agreed to that video abandoned all sense of dignity a long time ago.
Looking back on the last year
However, you look back on 2020, your experiences and emotions are valid. On the one hand, I embraced being stuck indoors. Despite being deemed 'medium risk' for some reason, I did not fancy taking any chances. Lockdown was an intense mix of deep, deep introspection as well as a rare opportunity to slow down in this fast-moving world. And walks never felt so freeing, little gifts to be embraced and enjoyed.
2020 was a tragic year in so many ways. Still, it's over now (or at least I think it is!). 2021 has already dealt its own fair share of blows, and I'm not pretending everything is better; we are still living through a pretty challenging point in history.