2020, with one day left, is with out a doubt, the most difficult year I can remember. Although I have had some more personally challenging years, whether due to loss, finances or employment, this is beyond anything of a global scale that I have lived through. I do not intend to dwell on COVID as enough words and energy have been expended on it already with plenty more to more to come. Rather this entry is a reflection of a more compassionate tone. I am sure a better write up on COVID generally will be published by writers of proper talent and depth. This is simply a personal exercise in gratitude with the purpose to put down thoughts on the year that was, with a description on each month about the best it had to offer, and some ideas to hold onto for 2021.
As it’s often best do, if I was pushed to surmise the situation an overall lesson for 2020 then it would be a relinquishing a life lived in selfishness spontaneity. Since 2014 (at the least), well since I moved to London, I have lived the most extraordinary life. Without almost no barriers I have been able to travel wherever, do almost whatever London had to offer, and at the drop of a hat take any opportunity that presented itself. An actual cornucopia of choice. It’s been a magnificent. I am fully aware of how lucky I am and celebrate it regularly. I do not want to make anyone feel envious or inadequate because of this lifestyle but I also do not apologise for the sacrifice and hard work it took to get me to this position.
The lesson, which I did not enrol or ask for, is to let go of what you preserve as a right you are owed, and to accept restrictions and barriers are part of the natural order.
In order to not dwell on the negative, which there are many, I wanted to list out the positives that occurred during 2020 on a month by month basis. the idea is to document moments or events that require reflection in order to extrapolate the good that was. Nothing will take 2020 out of my life, it’s there, a permeant chapter in my life that will be there forever. So it is essential to write the story as it happened and remember the full spectrum of its experience.
Although a road trip up the west coast of Australia was called off due to the bushfires that ravaged huge tracks of NSW and Victoria, the time spent with Jonty and Nash in Sydney and Melbourne was amazing. Hannah and I’s decision to drive to Sydney gifted a fantastic new years eve with Ben’s family and our friends, amazing walks and even some surf. Mid January involved a couple of great house parties, Colour Club and the Australian Open.
A second trip to Bali with Hannah was spontaneous and fun. Snorkelling with sea turtles and getting a wicked sun burn whilst surfing in Lombok were the high and low lights.
The wedding month. Cannot describe how much fun it was to be able to get to Sol’s, Chris’s and finally, my brothers weddings. Beautiful times with friends and family and been able to criss-cross New Zealand at the same time.
Also, surfing in Mt Maunganui was bliss.
Sneaking back into London just before lockdown was exhausting. However, I also got to celebrate two birthdays in one night, a visit to Mick’s Garage, and a the last big night before been part of the group wide coronavirus infection.
In the depths of sickness I was thrown a life jacket in the form of a new job at Kubrick Group — I am forever grateful for this. It has also been one of the most challenging but rewarding roles of my career so far.
the world shrunk to a microscopic level. The fences erected by the guidelines even resulted in Victoria Park being closed. However, we found solace in small routines. Weeks and weekends were differentiated by pizza, beer and (recorded) live music. Bike rides with friends broke up the monotony along with a few sneaky park beers. I am grateful that great friendships were there to fall back on.
The shrunken life and routine of lockdown soon allowed for some growing freedoms. Amazing weather and the parks gave us an ability to socialise again. Rather than parties, holidays and events we grew to enjoy devolved into simpler moments around finska, BBQs and park beers.
Like a caveman walking into civilisation I arrived in Berlin a month into full recovery. Spending a birthday with friends at a bar and a sweet summer week that was lost in London. Elfie’s birthday was a mushroom filled adventure.
Greek island beckoned. Hannah’s 30th birthday was rescued. Hikes, dinners and drinks in welcoming Crete.
with gyms and hospitality reopen we could regain some of what was lost. Hannah’s 30th birthday in London.
probably hands down the biggest highlight of 2020 was the wedding of Julia and Aron in Berlin. This also included their fantastic roof-top party before hand. A true ray of a sunshine through an otherwise challenging year. The barge down the Spree was
Starting the Oxford university Intellectual Property course and spending a fortnight with new friends in a beautiful part of the world. The step towards this new academic journey is a mark of making lemonade and moving forward towards the goal of merging my interest in the creative world with technology practice in law.
The start of autumn saw a long trip to Lanzarote, Spain and then Naples and Amalfi, Italy. Not only was it a welcome chance to see Hannah and explore new destinations but also to take a break after a long summer of work and study. There was something also quite intimate and welcoming in being in Amalfi during this period with slightly less of a crowd then what there would usually be.
Efforts at work were beginning to pay dividends. the business itself as succeeding beyond 2020 expectations. However, more importantly for my personal experience, shifts were emerging to allow a more nuanced management structure and opportunities to work on the US project and preparing for an eventual private equity deal.
against all odds we managed to plan and throw a Christmas party for friends. Smaller in numbers and stature than other years it was still a success. More than any other year it was needed too — weary veterans of the past year gathered together to celebrate the end of the year together.
Christmas in Berlin was another chance to be with Hannah and her family. Also, been grounded by two cancelled flights meant I got to also spend time with their family friends in the German countryside.
- to learn to stop acting like I am trying to arrive at a destination, and instead welcome the moments and challenges like the tide washing over the foreshore.
- to use the phone a lot less. Interact with people in other ways. Particularly once the lockdown tapers off. Find new ways to find community and participate in more meaningful ways minus the phones.
- try some new way to exercise and look to improve my health, especially my relationship and attitude towards partying.
- spend more quality time with Hannah
- continue to working towards future financial stability and save (potentially) for a place in Australia.
- be kinder, gentle and more compassionate with those around me even if I do not know them at all