Its been an odd year, and BumblesJungle has sort of materialised out of that. I have, like many others, been rolling with the punches, following my nose, and letting things evolve at a natural pace. This is so far removed from my normal control freak nature but it has also been liberating. I’ve been trying really hard not to panic, especially about money, and keep calm and see what happens; trying to trust that things will work out in the end, somehow. It has been really hard at times to keep a positive outlook. I have watched as friends and family have lost their livelihoods and seen my loved ones missing out on huge life events, paralysed with fear, not living, only passing the time as they desperately wait for a way out.
Now it seems there is some light at the end of the tunnel at last. I desperately want the vaccine to work, to be safe, and to allow people to return to the lives they want to lead. At the same time, I personally have found some positives in this years change of pace; I have had time to reflect and learned a lot about what I need, where I draw my energy from and what is important to me. I want to keep hold of those things, to build on them in 2021 as we return to ‘normal’.
2020 – Pivot is an understatement!
In February 2020 I was pretty miserable, and possibly having a tiny mid life crisis! I resigned from my old job just before I turned 40, having secured a place to study for an MSc in Environmental Management. I had no idea what was about to happen with Covid of course. I found a part-time admin job, which, along with the postgraduate loan and a bit of support from my husband would pay my university fees and keep the wolf from the door while I studied. I was priviliaged to have the option and the choice, I realise that more than ever now.
Then Covid happened! My husband (a full time self employed musician) was now totally unemployed and I had just slashed my income to a quarter of what it was. Massive mortgage, young child etc etc. We are one of the very very lucky ones to find a route through that has, so far, allowed us to keep going. I deferred the course and asked for more hours in the part time job, which luckily I got. My husband was also one of the lucky ones in his line of work and has managed to get a delivery driver job at a supermarket. Money is a worry, we have tightened our belts, and looked to build our ‘side hustles’. The need to be flexible and adapt was never more real than this year. We are just about keeping afloat, and we have been very lucky so far and we know it.
Its one of those sliding doors moments in life. If I had waited for a couple more months, I am in no doubt that I wouldnt have embarked on this journey, I would have stayed with the devil I knew. Its only now, looking back, that I realise to what extent my old ways of being were just not sustainable. I was carrying too much responsibility and I was buckling under the weight of it – but I really did not realise the scale of it at the time. Work is work, it can be fun and exciting and it has been for me many times in the past, but I have also found there is a price to pay, for me, that was in emotional energy. I put so much into my work that there wasn’t much left over at the end of the day. But I was compensated in many other ways, my career gave me my self esteem, my sense of worth and a comfortable income and I am grateful for that.
Now, in December of the same year I feel like a different me. The dynamic in our home is completely different, I am spending more time with my son, I feel like I am being more rounded parent, and I am spending more time in the garden and on self care. My husband says the difference is tangible, its like living with a different person. My family and friends comment on it, my energy levels are up, I look better, I am no longer taking antidepressants and most importantly, my relationship with my young son is blossoming into what I hoped it would be when he was an infant.
I am telling you this not to gloat or show off, but hopefully to reassure. I know there are people exactly like I was, teetering on the cusp of making a change, weighing up the options, trying to reduce the risks. But if there is one thing I have learned, its that you cant remove the risk. Its sensible to have a contingency, and plans B and C, but even if you think you have planned for every eventuality, there might be a global pandemic around the corner waiting to throw you the biggest curved ball ever! But you will roll with it!
So, for me 2020 has been momentous. I started it wanting to make a change and learn new things. I have done a lot of both of those things – but not at all in the way i had planned maybe I didn’t need to do that Masters after all!
I genuinely hope that you too have found some positives and opportunities in the wierdness that has been 2021. But, if its been a long, dark slog, then I send as many positive vibes your way as I can to hopefully make 2021 bring you opportunities to make a difference in your corner of the world.
I would really love to hear about your experience of 2020. How have you had to adapt and change and has it brought you any unexpected positives? If you want to comment below please do, or send me private message or email if you prefer, it would be great to hear from you!
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