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Goodbye to 2021

by Ben Shelley 8 months ago in review
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Was it a 'better' year than 2020?

Goodbye to 2021
Photo by Dominik Scythe on Unsplash

As we begin to wind down for the festive season, to spend time with our loved ones and bid farewell to 2021, it's time to look back and reflect. 

From a personal and then world perspective (as much as I can guess here). It has been a year of great lows, ending very much as it began but through all of this, we have seen bright spots. The vaccine programme, a new President in America and for myself, marriage.

As a decade, the 20s will go down as troubled. A decade of change and death, all spurred on by the pandemic that seems to have no end in sight. A continuing nightmare for the world as a whole when all we really want to do is put our feet up, grab a mince pie and hug our loved ones. 

It is a decade that was built for change but not in the way that it has occurred and I wonder what future generations will think when they look back on our actions?

I will be happy to say goodbye to 2021 as I am looking forward to going on holiday again. Something that makes me sound a little spoilt and I will admit to that. Holidays are a luxury for many and a consideration that I never want to take for granted. 

I am lucky in where I am at in life but as it is something that was instilled in me at a young age and I have worked hard to get where I am, I do not feel the need to apologise. I am aware of society's inequalities and in my own way try to help as best I can and part of that is travelling, meeting other cultures and gaining increased awareness of the world's issues.

Personnal Reflections

A day that was perfect in almost every aspect and one that I still smile about today.

2021 has been a year of change. A continued shift in thought to fully embrace working from home and be as productive as possible. It was a year of two halves. The first offering continued restrictions and challenges ahead of our wedding…with the second half seeing changes at work/the return of some of the restrictions that we wanted to leave behind. 

On the 28th of August 2021, I was married to the woman of my dreams. Someone who never ceases to make me smile and never falters in her ability to provide a positive to my negative. She is the yin to my yang, my wife and I am so happy and thankful that we were able to get married in front of all of our friends and family. A day that was perfect in almost every aspect and one that I still smile about today. 

Once we were married it was off to Wales for a short trip, which was followed by the return to the grindstone, a new Manager and the slow descent into uncertainty that we have today with the Omnicron variant.

Work-Based Reflections

2020 was the big shift. The move away from the office to prove that we could all be trusted to work on our own, without management oversight.

I thought that as soon as the restrictions were removed in the United Kingdom that we would be brought back into the office but we were not. As the 19th of July landed and all legal restrictions removed, we were allowed to continue at home, with the hope that we would begin to return via our own choice.

Something that turned into a polite request and later want to get people back once a week, but that is an acceptable compromise. I know of many businesses that simply demanded their staff return…which has resulted in many open vacancies.

2020 was the big shift. The move away from the office to prove that we could all be trusted to work on our own, without management oversight. Even the most steadfast managers had to admit here that it was working and people were more productive. 

The caveat here is that after nearly two years at home, most people wish for a hybrid existence, one which provides a couple of days in the office and the rest of the time where we choose. The underlying principle here is that as long as we are doing our jobs, then does it matter where we are working?

The World as a Whole

We have constantly been looking for hope since the first minute of 2021 and 2022 will be no different.

Continued to suffer under the umbrella of the pandemic but it was provided with hope in the form of the vaccination programme. A way and means of which to return to something of a normal footing.

Whilst we are all in agreement that we cannot simply switch back the clock and go back to 2019, we do want to return to the freedoms (who is really free in this world?) that we once had. To blend the lessons of the last two years with what we all had and the ability to see our loved ones as we chose is the goal. We want to create a new normal.

The world as a whole is living through a difficult Winter or at least we are at this point in time. We have constantly been looking for hope since the first minute of 2021 and 2022 will be no different. 

Hope For 2022

We want to be able to plan for the future again.

People are fed up. They have had enough and are looking forward to the moment when we are on a safer footing and can get through a Winter without needing to rely on restrictions. 

We want to be able to plan for the future again. Something that we all took for granted in 2019…the ability to plan months ahead and create memories that will last a lifetime. Something that I mainly associated with holidays, planning around the world trips and seeing what is out there, rather than being forced to turn around halfway through your trip.

It is something that I selfishly hope goes back to a more stable footing as I have not left the United Kingdom since February of 2020. Something that may sound a little spoilt but for those that are able to, I believe that travelling is essential to development. In order to become a better person, we should be able to meet other cultures, races and people with different beliefs to our own in order to appreciate the views of others.

Travelling is not a pre-requisite for this but it does help. Ever since I saw The Long Way Round and The Long Way Down I was hooked. I needed to see the world as it simply looked fascinating. I wanted to see beyond the confines of what is around the corner. 

A Final Thought

…my only hope to end this year is that we have learnt what is truly important.

2021 continues to challenge us and 2022 will start us off on a similar footing. We are further on in this fight and it is simply unfortunate that we have the collision of two variants, Delta and Omnicron. Without this collision, I have no doubt that the NHS and other health services would have continued to keep things at a manageable level.

Hope has been restored, we simply need to sprinkle a little realism on top of this. Governments cannot say for sure that there will never be any restrictions again. Changes will occur such as that which has been seen with the Omnicron variant. Changes have required scepticism but this is merely due to the behaviour of our leaders.

2022 will mark the point in which the world is two years further on in the battle. Many lives have been lost but for every day that goes past, we develop more potential treatments and learn more about the virus as a whole. It has changed humanity and my only hope to end this year is that we have learnt what is truly important. Not the presents under the tree but those we spend our time with.


About the author

Ben Shelley

Someone who has no idea about where their place is in this world, yet for the love of content, must continue writing.

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