2020: Looking back on a year of change


As we’re wrapping up the year, I’m sure most of us will be looking back on this year with the words: “what a strange year..”

But I’ll also be looking back on 2020 as a year full of change, personal growth, and challenges, and most importantly, as the year that taught me about gratitude and respect for life itself.

Exactly one year ago, I had just returned to Edinburgh in Scotland after one of my firsts visits in Denmark after I had left my own country to live abroad. I was embracing Scottish culture by celebrating the beginning of a new decade while dancing Scottish ceilidh under the Edinburgh castle with hundreds of other people. I remember all the smiles, the laughs, the music, the singing, the dancing. But most of all, I remember the excitement and joy of the beginning of a new decade which would soon be welcomed by astonishing fireworks across the sky that would leave us all in awe. And while people were standing close to each other side-by-side while looking at the countdown on the screen unaware of the struggles and challenges that we would all collectively be facing this year, I was overwhelmed by a feeling of gratitude. I was looking back on a decade in which I had grown from being a teenager to becoming an adult, and I felt grateful for the lessons that it had taught me, the experiences that I had been given, and the adventures that was laying ahead of me.

Today, I’m looking back on 2020 as a strange but also a defining year that taught me so much more than I had ever thought was possible in just one year.

I began this year in another country which now holds a very special place in my heart and memories. I’ve said goodbye to old friendships, reconnected with people I hadn’t spoken to for years, but also welcomed a lot of new inspiring people into my life. I’ve lived in two different countries, three different cities, and I’ve had four different homes. I got an amazing job, I lost my job, I got everything wanted, I lost it all again. Sometimes, I thought I was about to lose my mind when I hadn’t seen one single human being for way too long though I also learned to appreciate my own company, even for weeks at a time. I experienced both fear, love, joy, loss, self-fulfilment, loneliness, social deprivation, victories, frustrations, longing, stir-craziness, challenges, strength, appreciation, journeys, and travels. And though, all of it definitely didn’t turned out as I thought it would, nor I had wished for, I learned so much about myself, other people, society, and the world we live in.

We stayed apart, together. At times, it sucked! But it also made us think differently and be appreciative of one another and the little things that we otherwise took for granted.

2020 will be mentioned in the history books as the year of a global pandemic. And 2021 has already been defined as ‘the year of the vaccine’. But no matter what lies ahead of us, I’m hoping that 2021 will be the year that slowly and safely let us end social distancing and bring people together to let us reconnect.

So, this year, 2021… I only wish for one thing: appreciation of the life we live and the people we come across. Appreciate the little things in life and each and every adventure that we get to explore and experience, and meet people with a smile, respect, and curiosity – because once in a while, we all need it.

2021, please be kind to us.

Happy New Years, everyone!