2020 has been challenging for all. Work has been sparse for some and non-existent for others. Loneliness for many has become a real issue. There have been constant challenges thrown our way that has meant we have had to adapt and adopt new ways of thinking, working, socialising and exercising.
For me, 2020 has given me time to reflect and reevaluate how I see myself, my work and my surroundings. I think I have become calmer as things have spiralled beyond my control. I have learnt to let things go and not try and change what can’t be changed. Why stress over the stuff that is out of your control, right? It’s just wasted energy.
Watching the news I see all the negative stuff that 2020 has thrown at us. Deaths, Covid and Brexit. As much as these news items have of course been newsworthy they sometimes add to mental health issues for many including myself. It got me thinking about what was good about this past year. What positive things will I take away from 2020? Well, I will tell you.
1. Moving House
Steve and I moved house between lockdowns and despite the stresses in the build-up to moving day, I couldn’t be happier. It feels like I have lived here forever. It’s bigger with more outdoor space in an area that is virtually free of noisy neighbours. By virtually free, does a barking dog count? I thought I would never feel so settled after living in my previous house for 14 years. I guess it was the right time and the right place.
Since moving we have gradually started putting our stamp on the place with soft furnishings, a new paint job and some swanky lighting. Steve has even converted the shed into an amazing pub! As with anything, it will take time until we are completely satisfied but we have started the process and I am liking the way it is looking.
A few rooms are looking a little empty but over time we can gather furniture. I love vintage and second-hand pieces so it takes a while to find the perfect thing. I am happy to wait.
2. Being Outdoors
Probably the best part of 2020 for me has been the opportunity to explore the city on my daily walks. In the first UK lockdown, the government permitted one form of outdoor exercise per day so I got out in the glorious summer sun and walked, walked and walked. In fact, I found my new house on one of my daily walks. See above.
I have walked through all seasons. Spring when the first lockdown started in March, through the glorious summer months and on into autumn and winter.
3. Adapting to Zoom
On the 17th March, my ballet classes stopped due to the national lockdown and I honestly was beside myself. I thought my world was ending. I love my job and the thought of not being able to teach was heart-wrenching. I remember walking home from my last classes biting my lip to stop the tears and then finally getting home and sobbing doubled up in my kitchen.
A few terrible days followed but with the help of my colleagues and friends I taught myself how to Zoom and then how to teach on Zoom. You may think to yourself why did I have to teach myself to teach on Zoom, but let me tell you, there is a knack. It’s a skill in itself.
I felt pleased that I could reconnect with the children because I hadn’t been able to say goodbye to them as the lockdown happened so suddenly.
I created online fitness classes and started adult ballet classes all from my lounge and couldn’t be more proud of myself. I adapted and overcame what I thought was the end of my working life and am so pleased that I have created a little online dance and fitness community. Some clients I have never met personally but feel I know them so well. We have been through the pandemic together and supported each other through it. I genuinely have a soft spot for them all. They make me laugh, they make me feel a sense of purpose and I am so, so proud of what they have achieved and how far they have come. I feel so lucky to have these wonderful people in my life.
My adult Zoom classes saved me through the lockdown. I had a focus and I am forever grateful for the connection with other humans daily albeit via a computer.
4. Friends And Outdoor Socialising
I have been so thankful to be able to see my friends outdoors for a weekly dose of laughter. It’s amazing how we have all adapted to socialising outdoors. I actually love it despite some cold days and challenging wet days!
Nothing can stop us having fun in a safe manner and if it means having wine from cans on a park bench then I’ll do it to keep seeing my lovely chums.
5. Dustin – A Naughty (But So Very Cute) Kitten
Dustin is my lockdown baby! A naughty dirty nosed boy who has captured my heart. He’s so soft and has the longest tail I have ever seen on a cat. He’s an oddball, a scamp and often a pain in the butt but I wouldn’t change him for the world. Steve may think differently!
6. Spending Time Cooking & Baking
I spent my free time alongside my online work making and creating in the kitchen. Having that extra time gave me the opportunity to make recipes and dishes that I may never have made.
I made pizzas from scratch and experimented with toppings, baked numerous cakes and had the opportunity to work for a bunch of wonderful companies. HECK, Peter’s Yard, Sharpham Cheese and The Postal Pantry to name a few. I have felt very fortunate.
I love spending time in my kitchen pottering and making and enjoy sharing my creations with you via Tara’s Busy Kitchen.
For all my recipes head to the recipe tab on the homepage. You will find a fab selection of savoury and sweet recipes to choose from.
7. Doorstep Birthday
I am pretty sure that most of us have had some kind of lockdown birthday this year. Mine felt really special. The first time I had seen friends and family in months due to lockdown. The rules were eased just before the middle of May which meant that I could see my chums in an outside setting. That meant that my birthday celebrations moved street side and the pavement became the best birthday venue in town.
I had initially thought that my birthday would have been a dull affair but it couldn’t have been more different. My friend Serena made me the most exquisite raspberry cake which we ate alongside English sparkling wine before Steve and I headed out for a walk. The weather was outstanding which helped.
We finished the day with fish and chips. My favourite takeaway. In fact, it was all very overwhelming after months of not seeing anyone or doing anything but can I just say, I will never forget it.
8. Day Trip To London
Holidays were cancelled this year but I did manage to get to London to visit my family for the day once the first lockdown was lifted. My stepdad drove Steve and myself up and back in a day as no overnight stays were allowed at that point. It was so wonderful leaving Exeter to spend time with my sisters, eat and drink and explore the local area walking.
9. Eating Out – A Novelty
I haven’t been out much to sit in restaurants or cafes apart from the odd coffee date but I did get a wonderful lunch date in with Steve at The Bull Inn it Totnes.
We made a day trip of it on the train, explored the town and had the most wonderful summer lunch out in the courtyard. The weather was astounding and it couldn’t have been any more blissful sitting out in the sunshine eating and drinking in such a wonderful space.
On top of that, we celebrated Steve’s birthday at Harry’s. My favourite restaurant in Exeter. In fact, because we felt so safe there sitting inside we have been back since then for a little Christmas celebration.
So, there you have it. My top 9 of 2020. It’s been a year of learning, a year of adapting and a year of realising that some things are beyond your control so there’s no point fretting.
I actually feel like 2020 has made me a better individual. I am probably more fit than I have ever been via the walking and online fitness I have been doing and I finally have arm definition!! Woo hoo!
In all seriousness though, I think it’s important to think about the positives that have come out of 2020 and not dwell on the sadness. I’d love to know what positives you have personally discovered have come out of 2020 so feel free to leave a comment below and tell me.
Happy New Year friends. I wonder what 2021 will have in store for us?