Ever since I started this blog, back in 2015, I’ve posted a sort of ‘review of the year’ on the 31st of December. It’s the kind of innovative idea that has made James Proclaims the ‘go-to’ blog for literally tens of people the world over for several years now. I’m surprised nobody else does it to be honest, but after absolutely no research I can confidently claim that I am the only person who writes retrospectives of the year on the final day of said year.
This year I’m looking back on 2020, what with that being the year that is currently about to end. Some people say that 2020 has been a really bad year, but most people are much less positive about it. I personally feel it is a little bit harsh to blame 2020 for the worldwide pandemic. After all, it was 2019 that provided us with the disease in question – it’s even named after 2019, unless the ’19’ bit of ‘Covid 19’ means something else. Which it might. As I say, research is not really my strong point, but if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that facts are significantly less important to how we function as a society than ill-informed opinion. Although maybe we already knew that, so perhaps 2020 can’t take credit for that either. In any case, it is very important not to let facts get in the way of strongly held views, no matter how inaccurate those views are, otherwise civilisation as we understand it will crumble. Some people may well feel that that particular horse has already bolted.
Anyway, although the disease du jour is called Covid 19, it was only given that name in February 2020. Before that we were all calling it coronavirus. But then all the other coronaviruses complained and said that it was unfair that they were all being tarred with the same brush. Apparently some coronaviruses are really nice and do lots of work for charity but they were being treated unfairly because of the negative public perceptions about this coronavirus. So some science people decided to call this one Covid 19 and the rest is history. Or not, because Covid 19 still seems to be hanging around despite the fact that we were all told, quite confidently, by Boris Johnson that it would be over by Christmas. In fact, as it turns out, the only thing that was actually over by Christmas was Christmas.
But like I say, I feel it’s a little harsh to blame 2020 for the pandemic, partly because I’m not sure an arbitrary measure of time can really be responsible for anything, but also because it seems highly likely that there will still be a pandemic tomorrow when 2021 begins. Indeed we are now being told, quite confidently, by Boris Johnson, that it will all be over by Easter. And just because he has been wrong at just about every step of this particular journey is no reason to doubt him now. Although I probably won’t be making any plans for the summer just yet.
Whether it really is 2020’s fault or not, I think we can all agree that it has not been a particularly brilliant twelve months. I do recall there being something doing the rounds on the internet about how this was going to be humanity’s ‘great awakening’ and we were all going to realise how stupid we’d been in recent years with our consumer-driven culture and that we were going to emerge from this crisis to a more enlightened society. But I don’t think most people got that memo. Probably because they were too busy stocking up on toilet paper.
Some other stuff happened in 2020. After four brutal years, Brexit finally ended on the 31st of January 2020 when a last-minute withdrawal agreement was concluded between the UK and the EU. And Brexit will end for a second time this evening, after a last minute trade deal was finally agreed between the UK and the EU. I expect there will be more Brexit endings (Brendings?) to come, but after dominating the UK news since 2016, it has been largely overshadowed by the pandemic this year. I have no idea if Brexit will be a success or a failure, but I expect that it will leave people on both sides of the argument feeling short-changed. Given that any economic consequences can now be blamed on Covid 19, it all seems largely irrelevant, and does make the toxic debate of recent times all seem a bit stupid.
2020 also saw the beginning of the end of Donald Trump’s presidency. This seems like too big a thing not to mention in a retrospective post about 2020, but I live in the UK, and while ‘who the US President is’ is not inconsequential to us here, it’s much less consequential than the ongoing pandemic. Still, it would hardly come as a surprise that I was not a Trump fan. Although I do enjoy the movie Home Alone 2, and his cameo in that is quite tolerable so credit where credit is due.
On a personal level, 2020 hasn’t been a complete write off for me if you ignore the fact that I haven’t been able to see lots of people that I would like to see and do any of the things that I would like to do. I have been able to see a lot more of my two-year-old daughter than might otherwise have been the case, and I like spending time with my daughter. Even though she does lack certain boundaries. And likes to jump on my head.
I also seem to have become quite a lot fitter this year. Indeed I’m probably fitter at the moment than I have been for the last fifteen years. Which is a good thing, although I find that doing lots of exercise mostly means I feel quite tired. I’ve also answered the question about whether it is possible to lose lots of weight through exercise alone, without changing your diet. I can categorically state that it is not. Although it is possible that my, already poor, dietary choices have become even more irresponsible during the pandemic. And certainly all the exercise has meant I haven’t really gained any weight either. So that’s something.
Anyway, whether 2020 was a good year, a bad year or just, in fact, an inconsequential measure of time passing, it will shortly be over, and whether 2021 is a better year, a worse year or an equally inconsequential measure of time passing, it will soon be upon us. And in the absence of anything better to do, I’ll drink to that.