Okay, so 2020 was a bit of a rough ride. From health and finances to growing uncertainty and ever-changing restrictions—there was a lot to get our heads around. But actually, a lot of good came out of that somewhat catastrophic year too. Whether it was spending time with loved ones at home or reducing our carbon footprint as a result of less travel, the last 12 months have been full of little reminders to stop, scale back, keep the faith and appreciate the little things.
Now that we’re in 2021—despite further lockdowns and new virus strains—there are many reasons to be cheerful. Nobody could have predicted what happened last year, but we navigated it. And we’ll continue to do so.
Here are five reasons to be hopeful this year.
We have a vaccine
Last year, we reduced our social contact and made drastic changes to our lifestyle to keep everyone safe and protect our health services. We did this without knowing really how long this was all going to go on for. Scary, huh? Yes, but we managed it.
This time, however, we know that there’s an end in sight. We have a vaccine! At the time of writing, hundreds of thousands of people in the UK have been given the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine rolling out as we type. And a little over two weeks ago, the EU officially approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for use in its 27 states. Granted, we don’t know how long it’ll take for things to get back to normal, but there’s certainly a lot more hope that it could be relatively soon.
Resilience? We’ve got it
Let’s just remind ourselves of what exactly happened last year. The Covid-19 pandemic quickly swept through many parts of the world, causing much destruction to people’s livelihoods, health and wellbeing. Many of us unfortunately suffered with the virus itself, or watched loved ones battle to overcome it. Some of us lost our jobs or struggled to juggle working from home and homeschooling children. We all, in some way, had our battles going on.
But if you’re reading this, you managed it. You survived it. And with not much notice either. It doesn’t matter if your coping mechanism was a nightly glass of wine, a cry in private or a rant to your friend after spending all day pretending you had it together. And while things are far from over, you got there. And you’ve got this.
Everybody’s doing their bit
When the pandemic hit last year, most of us hadn’t even heard of ‘social distancing’, ‘Covid-safe’ or ‘self-isolation’. But today, they are as much a part of our everyday behaviour as they are our vocabulary.
Everybody knows to wear masks and keep their 2-metre distance in public spaces (or they should do). If one of us displays symptoms, we immediately self-isolate and hopefully get tested. When Covid-19 first struck, this wasn’t even a thing. Now, these general rules and guidelines (although restrictive) help to keep us safe and will continue to do so in 2021. In fact, hand sanitising, wearing masks and keeping your distance is old news. Been there, doing that. Next, please.
The world will come together (hopefully)
The last few decades have seen increasing polarisation across many Western countries, with divisive politics playing a huge role in society. But with Covid-19, we’ve seen people come together in one way or another. In the run-up to the vaccine news we’d all been working for, 172 economies were working together on a vaccine and scientists were collaborating across the globe. All of them had the same goal: bringing the pandemic under control.
In addition, we’ve also seen a drop in problematic anti-migrant headlines in the UK press. Granted, Covid-19 has dominated the news and there’s still a long way to go, but the cut-back in hateful ‘drip-drip’ stories can only be a good thing. In addition, more light is being shone on existing racism thanks to campaigns like #BlackLivesMatter and #StopHateForProfit, and more and more global companies are paying attention to social issues and using their platforms to speak up and speak out. Last year also marked the launch of the Conscious Advertising Network (CAN), which aims to avoid funding media outlets that fuel hate and misinformation.
Spring is on its way
And when all else fails, rest assured that brighter days are on their way (literally). In the Northern Hemisphere, we have spring and summer waiting on our doorstep. And we all know that warmer weather and lighter mornings and evenings make everything better and put a spring in our step (no pun intended). Plus, it’s a lot easier to catch up with friends outdoors when you’re not blue in the face and shivering at the end of their footpaths.
All we need to do is get through the next couple of months. But we’re already a week into January and February is a short month (hey, that matters). In the meantime, let’s look after one another and keep the faith. Come on 2021, there’s hope in the air.