A look back at 2020 and what I’ve learned

The new year’s almost here. In a few days, we’ll all be rolling into 2021 together.

My original topic this week was to take a look back at 2020. The more I thought about it and browsed online; I noticed that others beat me to it. Also, let’s face it, 2020 was pretty challenging, particularly for people with disabilities. Unfortunately, many of our concerns will still exist in 2021.

This week, I’d like to share some of my thoughts on 2020, as well as some of what I’ve learned over the past year. Due to the pandemic, I’ve had a lot of alone time, which is both a blessing and a curse.

On the good side, I’ve been practicing more self-care. I’ve always believed that self-care was important, but I never seemed to have time for it, or perhaps made time for it. I’ve used the time to read, write, discover new bands, rearrange my living space to suit me better, and to take breaks when I need to. Those are just a few things regarding self-care.

Another good thing about the pandemic has been a stronger sense of community and connection. I’ve found that people seemed to come together and wanted to help others, including strangers. Often, I’ve read posts on Social Media where a person needed help with groceries or something similar, and within moments, someone was reaching out to assist them.

I think that’s beautiful, and I hope it continues long after the pandemic’s over.

Personally speaking, I’ve had friends and strangers reaching out asking if I’m doing ok and if I needed anything.

I also make it a point to virtually check on people and gently remind them that I’m always around to chat if they need to or want to. To me, it’s the least that I can do. Also, if I can make at least one person’s day a little better, my day becomes better as well.

Unfortunately, I need to mention the bad side now. I’m not going to talk about anti-maskers or the selfishness of others during this.

I do want to talk about Mental Health.

I’ve written here several times about how the pandemic has affected my mental health and others.

As a person with anxiety, my brain has a pretty easy time coming up with “what if” scenarios instead of “what is”. Watching the news, even in passing, doesn’t help matters. The same thing goes with social media. I sometimes get bombarded with news or people arguing, that I often feel overwhelmed.

I miss my friends. For most of them, I haven’t seen them for almost a year. That’s saying a lot because I enjoy being sociable, and I’m an active member of the community. Before this started, most weeks, I’d be out almost every day, except during the Winter.

While, on the one hand, I miss my friends dearly, I’ve also become more at ease with having alone time. I’ve been able to focus on myself more and what makes me happy.

This is not to say that I want to spend the rest of my life alone, far from it. As soon as this is over, I plan on having a big party, and I’m looking forward to continuing my regularly scheduled programs, but with a few changes.

Before I wrap up my last column for 2020, I want to say a few thank yous.

Thank you to all of my PSW for continuing to help me during the pandemic. Some days have been tough, but you’ve all been understanding during these challenging times.

I also want to thank my friends and neighbours for checking on me and helping me out in 2020. You know who you are.

Thank you to my mom for getting me household supplies, and yes, that includes toilet paper.

Last but not least, a very special Thank you to Ottawa Life Magazine for bringing me on board. It has been an absolute pleasure being a part of a fantastic team. I look forward to continuing to work here in 2021.

A very special thank you to everyone that voted for me during OLA 2020. I appreciate it, and I’m genuinely thrilled to be able to speak up for those that may not be able to.

I hope you all have a good 2021. Thank YOU for reading, and I’ll be back again next week.