Active retirement politics Well-being

“That’s so 2020!”

Thanks for practising social distancing

Unprecedented. Social distancing. Self-isolating.
Bubbles. Lockdown. Furlough.
The Oxford Dictionary decided that no single word could ever sum up 2020 so they have nominated quite a few.
Let’s add: Staycation. New-normal. Reset.

Covid-19 or coronavirus has made us think about our behaviour carefully and to take action – and to think about others in ways we usually dispell. “It’s not always about me” and this brought it home to us. We heard fairly early on about two unconnected friends who had been abroad and returned with the virus. One had mild but long-term effects. The other, who was fit and the last person we might have worried about, but has a ‘seriously at risk’ partner, was hospitalised in an induced coma for two weeks with a low percentage chance of survial. Thankfully, he did.

News about care homes was a serious concern but we had been reassured by the measures in place for my Mother. Her care home did a fantastic job, staying safe and keeping us informed. We even managed a few visits under strict controls.

What did you do during lockdown?

cream tea in the garden
Cream tea selfie in the garden

We kept a planner and a diary to organise and reflect. In the first lockdown we raised ourselves to be ready at 9.00 for Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin and the Self-isolating Bird Club live-broadcast on Facebook. The planner was useful to gain routine and useful tasks to tick off. Many people recognised that the garden and the changing season was a real boon to having to stay at home. We took a local walk everyday. I did some serious sorting and clearing-out of archived papers.

2020 The year your wheelie bin goes out more than you.

Don't do this...

You’re “On mute”!
I fear there has been a deafness caused by Covid-19 and that is the failure to take news from around the world – a parochialism led by fear, if you like. Susie Dent put it this way:

The effects of the pandemic alone make the choice of a single word to summarise the year a near-impossibility, and Oxford Dictionaries’ decision is surely entirely justified. But there was more: for all its overwhelming force, the virus wasn’t the only driver of language change. This year we have seen bushfires, a savage economic recession, acute racial injustice and protest, and a pivotal election that continues to drag its feet. All of them have left indelible footprints upon our language.

Susie Dent, The i Newspaper

So, in addition to Covidiots, there’s the catastrophe (or the neoligism with a four-letter suffix: catastrof*ck) of Trump and the American election, our very own brexitshambles and the ruination of the economy heading towards global recession. Here’s looking forward to 2021.

Trump #POTUS

The USA presidential election was unavoidable for the whole year. Despite his pathetic denials, the result went the right way and it was a huge relief. I hadn’t realised how stressed I had been feeling about the situation until the results has been gradually confirmed. The plain silliness of Trump and the cleverness of satire has provided some light relief. I enjoyed the hashtag which said TRE45ON about the 45th POTUS.

There is much that is shocking about how Trump, his family and close acolytes behaved in office. However, there is a deeper concern about the level of support, and turning a blind-eye, for what he represented for the general population. The media also needs to take a hard look at itself as it has been played by President Trump. And it’s not just his reference to “fake-news” and his dependence on FoxNews. The United States has a serious task to work their way through what happened in 2016-2020. We will be watching.

The UK leaves the EU

The Brexit scenario is another civic tragedy in the long-term making. As predicted by those in-the-know, the negotiations went to the wire. It avoided the worse circumstances of a”no-deal” crash out. Not much about the process seemed to reflect well on the UK government. The Christmas-period farce of lorries banned from France until Covid tests were conducted gave the world a view of what Kent’s motorways and roads look like through any disruption in the Channel. There’s been room for some humour there, too, but more a case of if you don’t laugh you would cry.

I do not expect to see UK businesses giving clear indications of grasping their new opportunities as suggested by the Prime Minister. I’d like to hear a few examples of what has been achieved that couldn’t have been done before. I am sure it will not out-balance the reports of how Brexit has made it more difficult for industry and services.

The vile Michael Gove has been on BBC Radio 4 this morning saying that the EU is “responsible for injustice and inequality in the UK” – and that goes beyond a monstrous lie. It is one of so many untruths about Brexit it makes me angry.


The final quarter, with schools going back and the poor deal handed university students, made the likelihood of a worse wave of CoVid19 inevitable. This third lockdown, or “tiers“, seems to have been much harder. Maybe it’s the weather, or just the ennui, but the signs of stress remain. The farce of short-notice Tier 4 and Christmas week lockdown again showed government incompetence. It is clear that the Covid pandemic will dominate the first three months of the year, at the very least. I have every sympathy for teachers in schools organising Covid19 tests and am really glad to not be working anymore.

There is assurance that a vaccination programme might provide a gradual return to some safer human interaction, perhaps, by mid-year. Let’s hope it is not more of “it’s so 2020!” Here’s looking forward to 2021.

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