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2020: What We Can Learn From and Take Away

53 Weeks. 366 Days.
8784 Hours. 527040 Minutes.

To say 2020 was a tough year would be a slight understatement. Stating the most obvious – and the situation that is still ongoing and constantly evolving – we went through a global pandemic and in response the lockdowns and restrictions countries around the world would implement and reinstate almost one year later. We watched on in horror as things seemingly went from bad to worse, a long list of instances and occurrences had us question our very existence. 2020 was not done and she was not afraid to make a statement. She was in competition with no one but herself and was constantly raising the bar, exceeding even her own expectations. Yet throughout all of this it appears we each went through a journey of our own. While everyone is quick to dismiss the previous 12 months as a ‘wasted year’ or ‘bad experience’ I do not want to look back with such a negative perspective. I truly believe the experiences we have went through, both together and individually, the past year was some of the most important in our lifetime. A true time to reflect, recharge, discover, work and connect with ourselves and each other on a much deeper level. I am very much looking forward to the year ahead and utilizing the tools, strategies and coping mechanisms I have spent the previous year working on. I am also looking forward to accomplishing some goals: both personally and professionally that I have set and will be reviewing several times throughout the year to keep myself on target. I want you, beautiful people reading this, to give yourselves a round of applause for making it through 2020. It was not easy but it was necessary. Now take a few moments to reflect; think of the lessons you have learnt, the battles you have won and fears you have overcome. How can we build and improve for the year ahead? What are your new goals that you have set over the next twelve months?

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We Moved Back To Ireland

The biggest adjustment for myself and my partner Ricky was our working holiday visa in Canada ending during a global pandemic and being forced to return to our home country of Ireland. We tried everything we possibly could to extend our time in Toronto – but with government restrictions, intentional borders being closed and limited resources at our disposal we had no other option. If you have followed my blog journey for any length of time, particularly over on my Instagram @theinfeature, you might know we immigrated on a two year work visa in June 2018 and only planned to stay one year. Fast forward two years later and we were doing everything we possibly could to try and stay a little longer. There is a possibility our visa issue will be resolved once things are back to ‘normal’ (a term I will use very loosely) and we will be able to return to Toronto, but for now we are incredibly thankful for the experience and opportunity Canada has provided us. We miss our friends, co-workers and the life we were able to build for ourselves out there. For now we are enjoying our time being back home – while it is an adjustment and a transition period is needed – it is great reconnecting with family and hopefully seeing our friends soon when local lockdown restrictions have lifted.

There Was Some Good

Monumental moments also happened amongst the chaos of 2020.

  1. Air quality improved around the world due to international movement restrictions and reduced social and economic activities.
  2. We had important conversations and continue to learn crucial lessons about the ongoing impact of institutional racism and oppression.
  3. The UK Government announced that blood donation rules for gay and bisexual men would become more relaxed across the country.
  4. Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to prison for sex crimes – giving some sense of justice to his victims.
  5. Musicians, Poets, Dancers, Drag Queens and Entertainers used social media to give us personal concerts from home.
  6. For the first time ever the Oscar for Best Picture went to an international feature film.
  7. We actually had the time to do the things we enjoy and try our hand at something new! Gardening, cooking, painting, daily yoga practice.
  8. Our priorities were completely re-established. We were no longer so intensely ‘work orientated’ and found time to properly connect with our loved ones and ourself.
  9. Vaccines for Covid-19 were created and approved in record time.
  10. Comfy clothes reigned supreme in 2020 – as did taking time to put ourselves and our needs first.

Personal Growth and Development

Until we moved back home to Ireland in December, myself and my partner Ricky lived together in a one bedroom apartment in Toronto. Our vastly different work schedules before then usually made it difficult for us to spend as much time together as we would like. The initial lockdown, which lasted from March until June, really allowed us time to further strengthen our relationship and determine what we want for the future and the steps we need to take to achieve those goals.

I also opted to make 2020 the year I fully applied myself to the hair industry. I was working in one of the top hair salons in Toronto, with some of the most talented and creative people the city has to offer and I could only feel my passion grow with each day I got to work with the team. As my work ethic soared so did my confidence and ability and I continue to apply myself and learn new techniques and ways to further progress myself.

Since I was 17 years old I have struggled with anxiety – there is times it is more intense than others. I have been able to spend the last year working on strategies to cope and overcome my anxiety – thus learning to live with it as oppose to trying to distract myself and make the problem much worse later on which has been my go to coping mechanism the past few years.

Let me know in the comment section below what 2020 has taught you and if you are able to put any of the lessons learnt into effect to achieve the most for your goals set in 2021. Wishing everyone a very happy and healthy year ahead! X

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