I didn’t start 2020 with a list of good intentions. I started it with a list of Worries for the New Year. I also didn’t celebrate New Year’s Eve. Instead, I was sedated by sleeping medication and woke up at 00.08 with a panic attack thanks to the fireworks.
This year wasn’t off to a great start. And frankly, I thought it could only get better from there on. I was wrong. Instead, 2020 hit me the hardest a year ever has. Besides the obvious c-word cunt that I won’t call by its name, it was the year I ended up in psych wards and clinics and hospitals.
It was a year of insecurity like we have never experienced it before. Of wondering when, and if, everything will go back to normal. Of hoping we’ll be able to live the way we were used to. And of anticipating when we can make plans for our futures again.
With me, the Class of 2020 graduated into the unknown. What was supposed to be a new beginning seemed more like a dead end. With no graduation ceremony, it barely even felt like we were ready to be launched into the real world. And with most activities paused and places closed, it appeared finding a job was for the lucky ones.
As John Lennon said, life is what happens while you’re making plans. And as we planned out our academic year, our graduation and our summer full of festivals, life had another planning.
We all experienced the same emotions. Fear and frustration. What this virus would mean to our lives, and why it had to be this way. Anxiety and anger. About how we would make a living, and about our roaring twenties being stolen from us. Love and loss. Because we were further apart, but closer than ever.
In a year that we hoped would give us everything we wanted, we instead learnt to appreciate everything we have. And in retrospect, no matter how bad this year has been, we should indeed be grateful. Because after all, look at us: we’re still here.
In the midst of uncertainty, we grow. We adapt. We adjust. And we flourish. Because what fun is life if everything goes according to plan? What would we learn if it wasn’t for dealing with catastrophe?
On 1 January 2020, the start of a year beyond my imagination, my List of Worries included:
Will I graduate this year?
Will I stay in Malta?
Where am I at home?
What am I going to do after this?
Where do I find stability?
How am I going to take care of myself financially?
Where are my boundaries?
And how do I make sure I don’t cross them?
Not one of these worries could predict the actual disaster 2020 brought us. And I’m glad to say that none of these things worry me anymore. That’s not to say I have an answer for all of them, or that everything is solved. It means that I am at peace with the fact that I’m just not sure. And there is one thing I learnt this year: in the face of uncertainty, choose hope over fear.