IT'S a tradition for many of us to make resolutions at the start of each new year.
We look back at the year that has gone and forward to the year to come, trying to learn lessons from what happened in the twelve months that have just come to an end and make plans for the twelve that lie ahead.
Even though I have done this every year for as long as I can remember, I am not doing it in exactly the same way this year.
My perspective has changed, and 2020 is what changed it.
Usually, the final days of December and the first days of January see me focusing on all that I have failed to achieve in the previous year.
It might be that I had gained weight instead of losing it. Or that I hadn’t made as much progress as I had hoped in my career.
Whatever it was, it always had a negative slant and would make me feel bad as a result.
I did not go down that rabbit hole this year. 2020 was difficult for us all.
Some of us lost jobs and many experienced a loss in income.
Worse still, some of us lost people we loved to the virus and others are still dealing with health problems caused by Covid-19.
When a person – or in this case, an entire community – is dealt such a heavy blow, it can shift their perspective on what matters in life.
This year, as I look back on 2020 and forward to 2021, I can only see all that I have to be grateful for.
Instead of my mind being drawn to the things that are missing from my life, I have suddenly understood just how lucky I am for all that I have.
I have realised just how much there it to celebrate in life.
I am fortunate to have a job I enjoy and can build upon.
I have my health, which is something to truly be thankful for.
Some of you will know that I have multiple sclerosis, which is a serious condition. Until now, it has not really affected my life, but I know that I cannot take that for granted forever.
Like many people, I am lazy when it comes to exercising.
Sometimes, when I am under pressure or anxious about something, I can eat badly and drink one too many glasses of wine.
This affects me more negatively than it does other people so I have decided to double down on healthy eating and exercise habits this year.
If we have learned anything from the pandemic, it is how valuable it is to have your health.
My body is healthy and strong right now and I want it to stay that way for many more years to come.
This Christmas also taught me that I had one more thing to be grateful for and that’s my family and friends.
Both my parents are still alive as well as my four sisters and two brothers. Each of my siblings has partners and most have children.
We are all very close and because we were not all able to come together for Christmas, I missed them. I realised just how blessed I was to have them in my life.
None of us knows how many Christmases, summers, or occasions to gather with family and friends we will have in our lives.
Even if we are lucky enough to live for many decades, there is no guarantee that our friends and family will live as long as we do.
This is a lesson some of us had to learn all too harshly in 2020, and with the number of coronavirus cases rising daily, it’s a lesson more of us are likely to learn this year.
So, along with looking after my health, my one New Year’s resolution is to try to enjoy every moment I get to spend with my loved ones this year and in the years to come.
May we all have a happy and healthy 2021.