2020 was certainly a year that no one would have anticipated. This time last year we were bringing in the New Year, having parties in person with family and friends. Coronavirus was still just a rumour thousands of miles away.
Fast-forward three months and we (the UK) were entering our first national lockdown, and still now, nine months after that, we continue to experience ever-increasing COVID cases daily and face even stricter lockdown restrictions.
It was a year that took a lot away from us and has been a very difficult time for many. Extended periods of isolation from the outside world, lack of financial security, and fear of an invisible killer have all been very taxing on our mental health.
On a personal level, this year has not been without it's challenges. Starting with the first lockdown in March, I was furloughed from my job for several months. Of course, I am very grateful for such a scheme that allowed me to continue living almost normally for those months, but it didn't help with the anxiety that I could be next in line to lose my job. Every unexpected call or meeting with company directors or managers sent my heart rate through the roof.
Then in summer, following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, we saw a global resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, with protests taking place all over the world. I was compelled to confront my own whiteness - my inherent privileges and biases that I have benefitted from simply due to the colour of my skin. It led to some very difficult conversations and confrontations with family and friends about their own racial biases - something that, in my privilege, I would have previously turned a blind eye to.
My fiancée and I had also planned to get married this year. While weddings were technically allowed the restrictions on guest numbers would have made it very difficult to invite everyone that we cared about. Furthermore, we felt that the lingering fear of spreading/catching the virus would mar the beauty of the day. Therefore, we made the difficult decision to postpone until after the pandemic. This in itself has been difficult to deal with as it has felt very much like we have had to put our lives and plans together on hold.
Despite the difficulties, this year has overwhelming been a year of learning and growth for me. In the job I was worried about losing, I have now been promoted and our department has never had so many clients buying new software. Having to look deep inside myself has made me more emotionally mature and socially responsible: I now have a much deeper compassion for injustices in the world, I have learnt not to keep negative influences in my life and to nurture those that build me up, and I have been freed from worrying excessively about what people think about me.
Looking forward to 2021, I hope to continue to grow in this community. I will continue writing these blog posts, as well as find new avenues to share my coding knowledge. I am looking to start recording videos for YouTube, so if there are any topics that you would like to see covered, please comment below.
Happy New Year to everyone, and I wish you all success in your own endeavours!