Instead of getting the things I wanted I was grateful for the things I got.
2020 was a peculiar year. January saw my first holiday in years when I took a trip to Oslo. Doing minimal research beforehand so I could live in the moment there saw me visit sculpture parks, cat museums and pinball arcades. It was amazing, and finding myself in a situation to travel only made my hunger for it grow. I was set to interview for a job in Japan starting in September, it would see me in one of my most sought after countries but would limit me there for at least a year whilst I worked. So I planned to travel to a different country each month each month this year, or each month till September if I was successful.
February I travelled to Belgium for literally a day, it was my only day off and all I had money for, but it didn’t stop me. I took in a brewery tour, visited Bruges and Ghent and realised that 24 hours is a long time, having one day off a week did not have to be limiting, the only limits were myself and my own restrictions. I planned a week holiday to Poland in March with my longest and closest friends, I opted to go a day earlier than everyone else, flying on my own, staying in a hostel for a night and doing things I wanted to do for that first day alone, it wouldn’t be easy, but I wanted to challenge myself. That’s when things started to change.
I woke up swimming in sweat but freezing cold, migraines and coughing for hours. people were getting ill in China, but that was a million miles away, I don’t know what I had, but i have never been that ill in my life. International travel was banned and trips were being cancelled, literally the week of our trip. Friends for 15-28 years and our first trip cancelled. Although I was grateful we weren’t trapped out there I was heartbroken. I visited my mum that week, it was the weekend of Mother’s Day so tied in perfectly, we had an amazing weekend but I couldn’t hide my disappointment.
Reluctantly I got back in my car and travelled south, I remember hearing Italy was in a two week lockdown. “A free two week holiday, sign me up!” Oh how we were naive. I headed to work and immediately was told I had to go home, I wasn’t allowed in the building but no one had informed me, I was to work from home, and that week was when the first lockdown was announced.
I tried to carry on, but things weren’t the same for anyone, I realised my life wasn’t headed in the direction I wanted it to be. I knew I needed some time to figure this out. I needed a clear separation between work and personal life, to figure out who I was and what I wanted. Throughout all of this I just wanted to make it through, I’d spent years scared to leave the house, trapped in my bedroom, and now, more than ever I felt comfortable enough to be outside and was being told I couldn’t be, it was a lot, but at least I found little comfort in knowing everyone was going through this.
Throughout this time I was reached out to by someone I’d barely worked with before but they were looking for staff to produce and edit videos for new products, I think myself and my current job had both reached a mutual ending so I took it up, in a time where millions were loosing work I was incredibly greatful to find a new one, something exciting, something I was good at and something people trusted me to do and do well.
After accepting my new job I found out I was actually successful at getting a job in Japan, I accepted the once in a lifetime opportunity but knew it wouldn’t be easy, I’d settled into a job I absolutely loved, something I studied for, and had to work hard to prove I could do well. Do I sacrifice a fully funded year somewhere I’ve always wanted to go, creating stories I would remember forever, for a job that yes, is in my dream industry, but are more common and easy to get into? I accepted, only later to be told it would be deferred by a year anyway due to the pandemic, I guess that’s a job for 2021.
The last few months of the year were simple, but what I needed, I felt so incredibly lucky to be safe, healthy and unencumbered by worries of money. I had a roof over my head, the ability to provide for myself both necessities and the occasional treat and I’d built good relationships with colleagues who I now wholly consider friends ( something which is incredibly hard to naturally achieve as an adult)
2021 may not start how I want, it may not even end how I want. 12 countries in 12 months? That clearly isn’t going to happen but who says it needs to be January to January? I’ve been lucky enough to get what I need to start new hobbies I’ve been interested in for a while, 2021 will be my year of self motivation, saving and learning. I think it’s important to concentrate on self-development and I think 2020 is the skeleton of my self-development, I’ve set myself up nicely for my future, I have equipped myself with the tools I need to learn new skills and to become the person I’ve been restricted of being for so long.
2020 hasn’t been easy for anyone, but there are silver linings in even the darkest clouds, don’t let it get you to a point where hope has cheated you, because there is so much more out there, and this is just a blip we all have to live through.
What was a surprisingly happy moment of your 2020?
What are your hopes and goals for 2021?
Thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings of this year, stay safe, and adventure when you can.