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2020. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

Updated: Apr 27, 2021

We are coming up to the anniversary when we had the very first inkling that something wasn’t quite right with the world, and it’s difficult not to reflect on the year we’ve had. Looking back at 2020, I wonder what we’ll say about it? How it affected every one of us in different ways from home-schooling to lost jobs and loved ones and, not being able to see friends and family? To be sure it was a difficult year but in saying that, for me, a lot of positives also came out of it. My life, to put it dramatically, changed dramatically. Perhaps yours did too?

2020 was the start of what many would class as an awful year. It was certainly that but looking back, it was also one that I can be very proud of. I have a completed book that’s almost ready to be published. I’ve got a website. I’ve got a blog. I’ve got a great business partner and a very good friend.

As I sat preparing to write the blog for this week, I thought back to exactly one year ago today. I was in Sydney, lining up outside a Covid-19 testing clinic at the Royal North Shore Hospital. I had arrived back in Oz after a quick trip to New Zealand visiting my sick mother and I was sneezing and coughing with a very sore throat. Was it the dreaded Covid that was hitting headlines around the world or was it just some bug I’d picked up on the flight? I was about to find out. Little did I or the rest of the world know what the year was going to bring. Australia and New Zealand had already gone into lockdown. The UK would soon follow and Boris was about to make his big lock-down announcement. With a husband still in the UK, I was watching all the world news very closely.

It was a year that very few of us can look back on with happy memories. Or can we? It started well for me. I’d flown down to Sydney to begin a new job and what my husband and I thought, a new life. After almost 15 years away, we had decided to return to a life Down-under. Mid-January, I packed my bags and was off, ready to start teaching at a great little school with a very good friend at the start of the new school year. The universe had other plans. Mum became unwell in mid-February and my siblings and I flew to New Zealand to be with her. Her health improved and I returned to Sydney just as Covid kicked off. This was the beginning of four crazy months; alone. Drinking too much and wallowing in a big pity party. What were you doing? How did the pandemic impact your drinking? Our thoughts of a new life had turned to custard and at the end of May, I was back on another plane, returning to the UK.

Now while I was in Oz, the alcohol had flowed. From the minute I touched down when the champagne corks flew, the celebrations of spending more time with our daughter, to the countless deliveries from the wine merchants as I endured lockdown and, finally to even more fizz as it was ‘wheels up’ on my Qatar flight back. By then I was in such a pit of despair, that no amount of fizz could get me out of my funk.

Being back in England raised my spirits slightly but Covid wasn’t going away anytime soon and in August, my beloved Mum died. I was a mess. Alcohol Reconsidered entered my life in a roundabout way when Lesley reached out to offer her condolences. We caught up and she explained to me what she’d been working on since leaving the classroom at the beginning of 2020, the seed of the idea behind Alcohol Reconsidered. Corny as it sounds, it was these frequent chats with Lesley that I needed to give me the proverbial kick up my rear-end. Once Lesley had explained the concept behind AR and I started thinking more about my drinking; the why, what, how, and when, I realised over time that I didn’t need to be ‘that party-girl’, throwing alcohol down my throat at any given opportunity to be liked. I was just as likable sober.

When my grandkids or maybe perhaps, if I’m lucky, even my great-grandkids ask about 2020, and what it was like, I can tell them that while it was unbelievably awful, it was the year I started writing a book, and thinking about my life choices and it was the year I began to really like myself. What 2021 will bring is anyone’s guess but I know this, I’m going to keep on aiming high, keep loving myself silly and, looking for the best in everything. My positive pants are well and truly pulled up tight under my armpits. I wonder how has your life changed in the past year? Was there anything positive to take away? Was it a year to write-off completely? I hope not. We’d love to hear about your 2020 experiences.


Stay safe everyone. We will get through this.

Cate


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