People and Places
25/11/2020
What this year has taught us

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As much as this year feels like a blur and that we’ve been in limbo since March, it’s important to reflect on what the turbulent 2020 has taught us about who we are as we approach 2021. 

We’ve discovered how to be patient – especially as parents while home-schooling our kids – and how to take the changes in our lives in our stride. Together we’ve learnt to appreciate that only with time will we return to a new ‘normal’. Our compassion and empathy have been amplified, and our hearts have gone out to those who have lost loved ones, lost their homes during catastrophic bushfires, been locked down without creature comforts overseas, or lost their source of income. 

We have been taught about our health and that of those around us while making sure everyone’s mental health isn’t left by the wayside. Ascertaining the truth and encouraging our loved ones to tell us how they were really feeling became pivotal. Navigating the wave of emotions that came with lockdown was a healing experience, and we acknowledged that some days you just had to ride it out. We’ve learnt how to slow down and be still in our once-hectic lives. For some this came as a relief as we began projects, launched businesses, de-cluttered our homes or restyled our outdoor spaces. 

We’ve seen the freedoms we took for granted taken away. Curfews were imposed on us probably for the first time since we were teenagers, and restrictions on grocery shopping became the new norm. Seemingly trivial things like hairdressing appointments, retail therapy and seeing loved ones became the highlights of our weeks once restrictions were finally lifted. Thus we’ve learnt to appreciate the smaller things in life while also being present in the moment. 

Frontline workers have gained even more respect from us, and we’ve all become focused on doing what we could for the greater good. A model citizen was someone who stayed home on the couch watching Netflix – but that was the reality. We’ve been taught to appreciate what we have and acknowledge that we’re safe at home where we still have access to our luxuries. Throughout the year, lockdown trends including banana bread, puzzles, online shopping and Zoom video parties kept us plodding along. We’ve had extra time to walk our dogs, teach older family members how to use video chats and complete home maintenance. It’s not been all bad.

As a community we’ve all yearned for some human connection and hoped for a smile behind the mask or a wave during our one-hour of daily exercise within a 5km radius. We’ve become involved in our communities like never before, offering help to those in need and supporting our small businesses with enthusiasm. If you’d told us at the start of the year that we’d be doing a good deed by ordering an extra takeaway meal during the week, we’d have said: “Pull the other one!” 

At a time when we’ve never felt more disconnected from the world, we’ve become more connected by shared circumstances. We’re now reaping the rewards of our hard work and it’s a beautiful thing. From all of us at Mornington Peninsula Magazine, have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year – you’ve earned it! 

KATE SEARS

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