2020 has been such a year. It is hardly conceivable to imagine this time last year that we would be sat where we are right now. Unprecedented is the word on everyone’s lips and it is the only word really which seems to fit. I have written a lot about how this experience has affected me and, in many ways, it has been a real struggle. However, I try to see difficulties as opportunities to learn and grow and so growth has been one of the silver linings of this period. This post is about the ways I have grown, the things I have learnt, and the reasons I have to be thankful.
Family and friends have been the saviours really. I have certainly taken stock during this past year of the things which matter and those which really don’t. I feel that in some ways I was a bit lost in terms of direction and so the opportunity to stop and regroup has allowed me to make some welcome changes in terms of how I do things. Life has felt a bit insular and I have reacted to that by focussing on those who are important to me. I am trying to take a much more relaxed approach to those who aren’t and that has been helpful so far.
There have been contrasts in how things are done which has been really stark. I have pulled back from some of my kinky social media as it seems to be punctuated by bullying, bitching and backstabbing. On the other hand, I have seen some of the most selfless and socially focussed behaviour from people in other areas of my life. I am not sure whether this is to do with the fact that some people have been bored due to the government imposed restrictions but it has been really noticeable.
Often they say that it takes a crisis to bring out the best in people and I feel lucky to be surrounded by people who will work hard to try to improve things for others, not because it is their job to do so, or because they are doing it for reward or recognition, but because they care. This is inspiring, and although I have complained about the circumstances we have to work in, I am in awe of the way that teachers and young people have risen to the challenges and the changing circumstances.
In the wider community, it has been the small kindnesses and acts of humanity which have stood out. People going out of their way to check in on others, to offer help or support, and to give something of themselves way beyond what is being asked. I have never understood those who seek to undermine or criticise and find fault and it has been refreshing to be able to focus on the positives and see the silver linings in a world which has felt quite selfish at times.
Although it has been incredibly busy since august, I am grateful for the slightly slower pace of life during the main national lockdown. This afforded us time to do some of the things we had always meant to do around the house, and also some of the self-care changes we had meant to put in place. We are fortunate to have such a rich online life and so the isolation didn’t really touch us the same as it might have for some other people.
Our friends have been virtual for years, so amongst silver linings was the fact that not too much changed for us day to day or month to month. We socialise a couple of times a week at The SafeworD/s Club and that continued, with the added bonus of some really nice new members to get to know. We were also lucky to manage a couple of days away with friends and I am so thankful that we were able to fit that in before the new term started and everything went a bit crazy again.
A huge silver lining would be our D/s which has bubbled along nicely all year. We have been lucky enough to try some new things and this has fueled it at points and been really helpful. We have worked on the sites we run and made changes to them and really this has all been thanks to those who read, comment, support and engage with us through them. Having a hobby like this has kept our perspective at a time when many are losing theirs and I am grateful for that.
In terms of growth I have learnt a lot about inequalities. It has been a year of change in many ways and the events of 2020 have meant that I had the time and resources to educate myself in a number of different areas, including race and gender. This is always helpful for my role at work as well as life in general and while I can never be thankful that these things are issues, it is good that they are highlighted and that we are thinking about them and trying to do better.
All in all, I am going to apply the silver linings to a year which has been extremely difficult in so many ways. I am not going to wish it on its way with a glad to be rid of you approach but more of a did I make the most of that opportunity one. I do feel immensely fortunate to have the life that I do and to be surrounded by positive people, many of whom are the radiators of this world. So although we don’t celebrate thanksgiving, I would like to give thanks for all the reasons above.