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Pandemic Diaries, Reflections

Happ(ier) 2021!

We are a few days into 2021, and I, in true caffeineberry fashion, am late to the game, but still want to spend some time reflecting on the past year.

I, along with so many others, went into 2020 thinking that this was going to be ~my~ year. In 2019, I experienced a job loss which changed my life dramatically, as it required me to leave the UK, where I was living for 5 years. I was there on a tier 2 visa, so when you are no longer employed by your sponsor, the UK gives you 60 days to GTFO. Needless to say, I had to move internationally. I chose to move to Spain to be with my then-boyfriend (now husband). After a few months of getting my documents in order, and job hunting, I was able to land a job as a student life coordinator for the same organization I studied abroad with as a college student. For once, I had what I thought was some stability. At the start of 2020, I finally had a job, in a place I love, with people I love.

That initial period of the shutdown in Spain was such a nerve-wracking time for me. One of the primary responsibilities I had in my previous role was to make sure that our students were safe and happy. It was so hard to do when there was so much uncertainty. Not only was the media and government reporting differing recommendations almost daily, but I was also starting to realize that I was most likely going to be made redundant. How was I supposed to console people who were about to have their study abroad experience cut short when I was facing losing my livelihood? It was an impossible situation for everyone. At that time, I could not imagine how we’d ever get out of this mess. It felt like it was the end of the world as we knew it.

I don’t want to be dramatic, but these were the thoughts going through my head. Anxiety, worry, and frantic job-hunting ensued. While my personal situation was stressful, I recognize how privileged and even lucky that I came out of this year fairly unaffected. I do not take for granted, and thank God every day, for all my loved ones being healthy and safe. And I do not take for granted how my white privilege has improved my chances of coming out of this pandemic/political climate, relatively unscathed. I don’t take that for granted and have been reading, learning, and finding ways to help those who are not as lucky as I am.

Fast forward to now, (because let’s face it, do any of us remember anything that happened to us after March?) and I’m in a better place. I am cautiously hopeful for this year. While I know that COVID-19 hasn’t been miraculously cured overnight and that we have a long battle ahead of us this year, and politicians/decision all over the globe have royally failed us (and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future), I feel that there is a slight glimmer of hope. The idea is that once 70% of the globe is vaccinated, we can start to resume our normal lives. How long that will take is still so uncertain (1 year seems a bit too optimistic). But I believe in God, Science, and Progress, and can only hope that we move onward and upwards, on an individual level as well as on a global level.

Traditionally, I like to do resolutions around this time of the year. This NYE, I couldn’t be bothered to write anything down. This year, the only thing I want to ‘resolve’ to do, is to do all things with intention. I want to be intentional with things I consume, ranging from what social media, to things that I buy (and where I buy them from!). I want my moments, my relationships, and things to be filled with meaning. If this last year taught me anything, it’s that we need to cherish the people in our lives, nourish and take care of our bodies like never before, spend more time outdoors, and buy less stuff.

What are you doing differently or looking forward to in 2021? I’d love to read your comments below!

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