Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Miscellaneous, Thinking Thoughts on a Thursday

2020 – What the hell was that?

As a self-imposed tradition, I have at the end of each year done a series of posts called For the Geek in me 20XX was awesome. This was further split into three sub-catergories of Movies, Comics and TV, my holy trinity of pop-culture interests. I had planned to do the same this year, but then I realised something, I have been the cinema once this year and have bought precisely one newly produced comic this year. So I wanted to do something a little different and just look at the year in general, rather than look at it solely through a pop culture lense. Kind of hard to do when the world is looking more and more dystopian as things go along.

January was as always a cold and long month, with being paid before X-Mas the paycheque has to go a little further than normal an it can be a tight period, so you tend to go out and to do less. The news was about the horrific wildfires in Australia and over in the states there was impeachment proceedings for Trump and our PM fresh from a snap election victory moved towards Brexit with enthusiasm which didn’t match his capability. February came and went with it’s usual mix of cold and miserable and when March began all the shit hit the fan.

The Corona virus first seen in the Wuhan area of China started spreading overseas at a drastic rate and One by one, many countries in Europe started to go into an enforced lockdown and in late March, so did England. Schools closed, non-essential shops, restaurants, hair and beauty places, venues and airports all closed down immediately. Food shops and financial services remained open, which meant that while the MIGHTY Rosie and SuperSam stayed at home, I went into work as usual.

Work became more difficult than ever before with financial assistance being a really bit thing and this affected my job on a huge scale. It hasn’t really let up since and it is now 9 months later, but I digress. So many people were trapped at home, online sales of food went up since no one dared go outside, we had online pub quizzes, lots of facetime/zoom meetings and we all went out and clapped for the NHS once a week as they manned the front lines as the number of Corona virus (or Covid) sky rocketed. Thousands infected and hundreds dying as NHS workers were compelled to put anyone over a particular age as DNR (do not resucitate) meaning so many more died. People worked from home and we all sort of just watched the news waiting for something positive to start happening.

I don’t know if the Black Lives Matter movement was that, but it certainly saw the majority of the western world acknowledge the disparity in the way people of colour were treated by police compared to white people and it was upsetting viewing as the need for change was highlighted, as was the violence that stemmed from clashes between police and protesters. It was a moment in history and they never seem to be pleasant things at the time.

In the summer, the rise in cases seemed to slow down and restrictions lifted somewhat, some restaurants opened, some non-essential shops did and there was talk about schools opening, giving hw hard this lockdown had been on SuperSam and the MIGHTY Rosie, this was reason to feel optimistic. But that optimism wouldn’t really last.

In September the team added a new member (joining me, Giselle and Disney Princes) is CheekyMrsJ who has the filthiest sense of humour of any woman I know with the clear exception of the MIGHTY Rosie. She has also suffered with her mental health and more than that isn’t mine to tell. Between her humour and history we had enough common ground to get on and have become good work-friends in the last three months. There has been also inter-departmental strife over the recent furlough and job retention scheme shenannigans and more than a couple of times were there have been tellings off, including complaints to the directors regarding management. But in that there were victories. After years of animosity, myself and Gisele have got to a good place and we made the complaint together. In the end little came of it, but we stood up for ourselves and one another and I see that as a victory.

Also in September, SuperSam went back to school and got new teachers, new restrictions, but seemed to be having a better time and that lasted a few weeks, but with a greater sense of isolation and a little bit of bullying, we have had to deal with some old problems, but there were staff at school that helped and he ended the term in a much better place.

After a couple of weekends away fell to Covid, we planned to take advantage of the lessening of restrictions to book a week away at Christmas to a cottage in the west-f***ing-nowhere section of Wales, with a long year already we felt we needed a win for the end of the year and could relax and enjoy from a distance the theatrical fiasco that was the 2020 US election. It did not disappoint. There was a high voter turn out, despite covid having killed over 250,000 americans, there was a lot of mail-in voting and so many accusations of fraud and bad-faith actions on both sides. Ultimately the incumbent was defeated and after 4 long years, Donald Trump was beaten, not that he accepted or conceded this fact. There was lawsuits, unsubstantiated accusations and twitter tantrums and some of this is still going on. But the outcome is clear the 70+ old man with a questionable record with women that wasn’t Trump won. I mean congratulations to Joe Biden and his running mate/former rival Kamala Harris and it’s great to see the end of Trump’s reign, but things over there are going to get worse before they get better and I don’t think better will be much better, but I will be glad to see him leave the White House or be dragged out.

Work got harder, the rules kept changing and Christmas seemed both so far away and also appearing out of nowhere, we were going away, then we weren’t and then came a second lockdown and when it ended there was mass-testing and even a period when SuperSam’s school finished for a fortnight over a couple of cases in his school year. It was okay though, because no matter what we had a couple of weeks off together. Then on Thursday 17 December we learned that we were on, a  week in the countryside, no neighbours and no work related stress. We started panic-packing and getting things ready to spend Christmas away from home and then 2 days later it was completely cancelled. So with few gifts for one another (the holiday was the main present) and no great amout of food in the house we were faced with a lacklustre Christmas period.

But we didn’t get that, we had time with each other, time with my parents, time with her sister and her kids and lots of time together and ultimately it was one of our better X-Mas periods and now as I write this, we are near the end of 2020.

The reason I wanted to write something was that I was looking at my FaceBook feed and it shows you the stuff you wrote in previous years and most of mine for today pointed out how I was looking forward to a better year and it seems that this better year never actually happened. Maybe it’s time to look back at the positives of the year rather than the crapfest that 2020 so with that it’s time to find your 5.

1: I finally sorted my teeth out, at least getting the bad ones removed, a task I have procrastinated for a decade.

2: After several visits we were able to sort LoopyLottie’s tail and our dog is happier for it, no longer being in pain with it has made walking her easier and her training is going better?

3: Work has been better, not easier, but having another person there has made a difference and the whole vibe of the office is better than it ever was and when I had management problems I was able to deal with it in a better manner than I have before.

4: This  has been a bit of a crucible year, burning off all the unnecessary bits and forging tighter bonds inside our family. I feel closer to the MIGHTY Rosie than I have in a while and that’s helped deal with many of the challenges that we have faced this year.

5: I made it, after my relapse last May I have had many concerns that my depression and anxiety would flare up and cause many problems as mental health problems have been exacerbated by the lockdown and the endless Doomscrolling. But it hasn’t. Have I struggled? Yes, buy hasn’t everyone? Haven’t you internet people? But we got here. Not all of us and not easily, but we did. I still have all of the things I need, I have my family and my job, meaning a roof over my head. I have had 4 or so covid tests as part of the city’s mass-testing and all clear each time. This could have gone so differently,  but I got where I wanted to get to, safe at home with those who love me and whom I love.

 

In closing dear people, this rant/ramble was a way of saying that it’s going to be alright. Vaccines have been developed (maybe a good thing, maybe not) and I genuinely believe we will get through this. I do, because as bad as 2020 was, it could have been worse and there were some shining moments, I have seen smiles, laughter rainbows and the simple joy of a 10 year old at Christmas. It’s been a rough year, but after having a few of them already, I thing I am going to get through this one too. The important thing to remember is although we are socially distant from one another, we are not alone. We have overcome miraculous odds just to get this far and we are not giving up yet.

I think the reason we do the new year/new me thing is that this time of year gives us a chance to start again, to write a new tale in the new year. Maybe our resolutions and goals pan out, maybe they don’t but let us try.

The words I have ingrained into my boy about adversity are two fold. One is that you always get back up. The other is The only time you ever fail is when you give up, everything else is a set-back.

This is going to be a HAPPY new year and if it isn’t, I’m going to make it one.

Who’s with me?

Author:

Liverpool based family man and unrepentant geek, trying to understand what's going on in my own head, which is not always being a good place to be. Remember always, we live in a world of wonders.

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