- While the Covid-19 pandemic has certainly had a huge impact on our lives, it’s important to remember the positive aspects of the year
- From Joe Biden winning the US election, to quarantine pets, here’s what we appreciate most
It's been a tough old year, but not everything that happened in 2020 has been a complete bummer. It’s important to focus on the good, and express gratitude as it’s been proven to be good for your mental health.
As the year comes to a close, we took stock of some of the year’s events for which we are especially grateful – one serious piece of global news, one lighter piece of good news, and something positive that affected us personally.
The seriously good thing that happened this year was that nature continued to recover. We may not have been doing superbly well on our climate accord deals, but beavers have been reintroduced to Britain. It may not seem like much, but it’s just my chosen example of a greater movement called “rewilding”, which is allowing nature to reclaim areas, and the local wildlife to be reintroduced. It’s not solving all our problems but it’s a very good start.
My favourite band The Hu, ended up being stuck at home in Mongolia, and even though they are still putting out music – their latest release is a tribute to Metallica by covering Sad But True – I’m glad they got to have some rest, because the tour schedule was brutal. When all is well with the world, I hope they have an easier tour schedule, and of course they need to drop by Hong Kong.
At the risk of sounding boring, I’m grateful that I’m in Hong Kong, where things work.
The pandemic has opened the door to conversations about mental health. The world is experiencing this trauma together, and we’re learning to talk about our feelings and help each other get through this difficult time. We’re still finding ways to connect and show our support, and I’m grateful for that.
Props to streaming services like Netflix for delivering us some awesome content this year. How would I have got through 2020 without Dash and Lily, Tiger King, Ratched, The Haunting of Bly Manor, and all the other shows I can’t stop watching?
Personally, life got significantly better when I adopted my cat, Simba. You can get really lonely spending so much time at home, and having him around makes things easier. He was very shy when I first got him, but over the last couple of months he’s really warmed up to me and now we’re best buddies (except when I try to give him medicine).
Oh Netflix, how could we have gotten through this year without you?
Joe Biden winning the US presidential election was the highlight. I was sceptical of (and constantly mocking) Trump’s presidency throughout the last four years, and absolutely flabbergasted by how his administration handled the pandemic.
While the damage has been done, it’s a huge relief to know Biden is the next president-elect – finally someone with a good head on his shoulders who isn’t trying to accelerate the destruction of the world.
Lockdown led to restaurants and Michelin-starred chefs sharing their secret recipes so we can now make them at home. And thanks to Jose Andres’s #recipesforthepeople, I’ve learned how to whip up angel hair pasta with tomato sauce in less than five minutes.
I am very grateful to have the luxury to work from home during the pandemic, unlike many of our healthcare and essential workers. This has made me much more appreciative of the work they do every day to keep the rest of us safe and our pantries well stocked. Working from home has also allowed me to spend a lot more time with my perpetually grumpy pet rabbit, and I was thrilled when she started following me around the flat asking for head rubs and cuddles.
The wholesome news that 99-year-old Captain Sir Tom Moore walked 100 laps of his garden and raised £23 million (HK$238 million) for the NHS definitely cheered me up amongst all the negativity. What’s more, he received 150,000 birthday cards on his 100th birthday, which was the cherry on top.
The styling in Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit and Christopher Nolan’s movie Tenet made me so happy this year. Anya Taylor-Joy suited the period costumes from the 1950s through to the 1960s incredibly well, and I’ll be dressing shabby chic like Robert Pattinson from now on.
Although contracting Covid-19 earlier this year wasn’t the best thing that happened to me, I’m thankful to have fully recovered. Being on the other side of the pandemic, and seeing the lengths the doctors and nurses went to, to make sure I was okay, reassured me that we are lucky to have incredibly dedicated medical professionals in Hong Kong tackling this virus.
The “new normal” of life under the pandemic has forced people to truly see the world and live more consciously. We’ve learned to treasure life, and ask bigger questions, and realised that we should never take anything for granted, whether it be studying on campus with classmates, meeting up with friends, or having the ability to continue our studies or work, almost without hitch, from home.
There were lots of great movies and TV shows this year which helped me get through such difficult times. I particularly loved my now-favourite Korean drama, It’s Okay to Be Not Okay (such an apt title for the year). And local movie Beyond the Dream, a love story between a therapist and a patient with schizophrenia, had great aesthetics and celebrated Tuen Mun, making it look beautiful and dreamy.
I can never thank God enough for carrying me through the several Meniere’s disease attacks I had this year. Not knowing when it would strike put me under a lot of pressure. I’ve since fully recovered, and the experience was an important reminder of how crucial self-care and physical health are.
The 'new normal' of life during the pandemic has taught us not to take things for granted.
This year of unpredictability has highlighted just how important science and scientists are. The fact that Covid-19 vaccines have been developed in a matter of months is incredible, and humbling, and a reminder how much of our lives depends on trusting in scientific processes. The science of technology, too, proved invaluable; how would we have got through the year without WhatsApp calls, Zoom gatherings or Netflix?!
Lockdown inspired a lot of creativity, and this extended to one of my TV shows, MasterChef Australia. It was still filming as the virus hit the country, but every episode was a celebration of diversity and yumminess.
And I was meant to have big birthday celebrations this year. Luckily, my birthday weekend was between extreme social distancing restrictions. Being surrounded by friends and family is such a blessing, especially this year.