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  • Writer's picturePhil Marsland

How was your 2020?

At the risk of asking a stupid question and needing to duck to take cover, I think that it is important to think about this.

The easy knee jerk reaction is that its been terrible. And indeed for many that will be all that there is. The loss of loved ones, of jobs or of businesses will be foremost in people’s minds, and there will be the obvious anger, disbelief and sorrow for such losses.

You may be trying to cope with these, and I truly empathise if you are. Bereavement is not just about loss of life, it can also be about loss of livelihood and life style. It is not a coincidence that all such phrases contain the word life, in some shape or form.

Our lives have never been affected more than this year (perhaps since WW2). collectively that is. And whilst we are not all in the same boat, we are all forced to endure the same storm.

I want to share with you the good for me, or the light, along with the dark. I am passionate in my belief that we shouldn’t share an air-brushed highlight reel of our lives on FaceTwit or similar. Nor should we only post misery, searching for sympathy. For me its about balance, sharing the dark and the light, because that’s real, human and honest.

This year my good things have been really good. I have never been around so much for my wife and kids, never spent so much time just talking, whilst walking the dog, or through shutting off the tv. And this has been a good and necessary thing. Not just in getting on with home improvements like digging out eight tonnes of driveway manually, and making a new drive, and in concerted mouse patrol duties, but in being there for serious health and life risks.

From the January sudden onset of pneumonia and pleurisy for my 22year old daughter followed by a life threatening blood clot (which all looks like Covid with the benefit of hindsight).

To the serious sudden and shocking mental health issue that my boy suffered. These shook our world and nothing else mattered in those weeks and months.

The fact that my business pipeline disappeared, along with the security it proved was shocking, but was a relative nothing.

And this loss has forced me to adapt my offering, to find new clients, to respond in highly flexible and innovative ways, to learn new skills and new technologies. This is all good stuff.

Health wise I have been lucky, and have focussed on fitness and weight loss, running 3 times further than in 2019, and much faster, losing much weight and fitting into long forgotten clothes.

But I miss people and just normal social interaction. Going to gigs, seeing mates for a pint, and travel to different places. I miss this so much that I got giddy with a trip to B&Q the other day as it broke upmy dog walk-running-Aldi cycle of being the only occasions I went outdoors. What a treat, buying paint and screws!

I already worked from home, but in this I have had to adapt to sharing my workspace, and to find ways to be tidier and more efficient. This is on going!

There have been regular darker days too. Worry about obtaining work, drifting into too much drink and comfort food, especially in the couple of weeks of a non Covid virus. This stopped be doing all the physical and mental well being activities that had been sustaining me, and I drifted downwards.

It has taken a concerted effort to get back to healthy eating, picking back up the running and eating and drinking more healthily. Now, I am happy to report that I am back on this good path.

So that’s my year. I have shared in such detail and so personally because I think it’s a healthy thing to do.

How often do we bury this stuff? Or have no-one to talk to? Or just focus on the dark and not the light? Or just need a bit of a sounding board, outside of the home or work.

I have been lucky to have just such a great sounding board and support through friends old and new in my #FridayNightMusicRoom.

There we Zoom every week and share great tunes, chat and a glass or two. We’ve kept this going since March with not only eclectic music tastes, but also a wide range of people from the UK, USA, Australia and Spain. It really has at times been a light in the dark for all of us. “The highlight of my week”, as Mr Smith said.

I am certain that you too will have your stories of how you have coped, well and less well at times. With your home and work situation, with the thoughts in your head, with your hopes and fears. You may need help, or just some support or perhaps just a few well chosen words.

If you do, just drop me a line. We should all be here for each other.

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