2020 // The Year of Upheaval

5.2.21


It all started off so well. 

2020 dawned surrounded by family on a hopeful and positive note. The first months were full of fun: we saw KT Tunstall, Cameron Barnes, Tom Walker, Twin Atlantic and Lewis Capaldi live; we explored Scotland's chilly winter scenes; and we paid a fast-paced visit to the city of Berlin.

And then Covid hit, with a vengeance our naivety never would have predicted. 

March came and the country went into lockdown. Businesses closed; schools shut; supermarket shelves were emptied. Work in the cafĂ© had to stop; visitors got banned from my supported accommodation building; I moved into my partner's teeny studio flat as the only way I could spend any time with him. Months passed, cooped up together in a small space trying not to drive each other mad, with Zoom-meets and phone calls my only contact with the outside world. 

At the end of May, with lockdown still in full-force, the Council got in touch. They offered me a property; I accepted. After three years in supported accommodation, I moved into my own, independent flat, just as June arrived and restrictions began to lift.

There was a stressful period of redecoration; of trying to buy furniture with shops barely open; of living out of boxes and counting down the days until the arrival of a mattress. Anxiety ran high for a time, but things eventually fell into place and I ended up with a home I'm delighted with. 

Just to add more stress into the mix, I applied for a new job around this time, but didn't get it. I was recruited to the relief pool, but then told there were no shifts. I was dejected and got stuck in a negative spiral for a short while, hopeless that I would ever move forwards with work. 

In May, the cafe finally reopened. I worked two shifts before Aberdeen was sent into local lockdown and we had to close again. 

We reopened three weeks later and began to get used to a whole new way of doing things: a new norm of face-masks and endless hand-washing.

The weeks muddled along. We cancelled trips; rearranged them; finally managed visits to Glasgow and Inverness for a couple of days. We reconnected - tentatively paying visits to people we hadn't been allowed to see.  We learned to live with a strange sort of uncertainty hanging over us: an awareness that, at the shortest of notice, everything might once again change. 

September came and I started an online course: Thursday nights now welcoming the voices of strangers - classmates - into my living room. 

In October, I finally plucked up the courage to apply for another position. It turned out not to be the role I thought from the job description and I withdrew my application. 

In November, I applied for another and was finally successful in gaining a full-time job. I started at the end of the month - part-time to begin with, while I wound things up at the cafe, saying goodbye to a job that I loved.  

Christmas was a strange yet pleasant one - different to our normal celebrations but managing to be lovely in all the ways that it could. 

And then, festivities been and gone, I began working full-time in my new job: ending the year with a whole new way of life to get acquainted with. 

The world was a very different place by the end of 2020 than the one we'd seen the year in with. My life, too, looked very different. It was a year of upheaval, of challenge and, in some ways, of sadness, but also of change and opportunity, of pauses and reflection, and of gratitude for the little things we sometimes take for granted. 

Who knows what 2021 has in store for us, but if 2020 has taught us anything it's that we're more resilient than we realise - that with kindness and gratitude and a sense of together-ness, I can get through more than I think. 

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