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A silver lining: The year no one wanted but everyone needed

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Brexit was all anyone could discuss at the very beginning of 2020. Despite global issues such as the Australian bushfires and the conflict between Iran and the US, the UKs main focus was having a Brexit plan suitable for all and in favour of the UK. However, now that is nothing but a distant memory. The conversation on everyone’s lips bounce between Coronavirus, a vaccine and when we can get back to what was once ‘normal’. More recently, light has shone on the Black Lives Matter moment and the injustice and politics surrounding one of the most talked about movements. 

This article is not to undermine the devastating impact 2020 has had on the world, issues including; 

  • Families living in poverty suffered from lack of financial support
  • Children who relied on free school meals were deprived of what was potentially the only hot meal they had
  • The mental health of many deteriorated – people began to become anxious of the unknown and depressed due to the loss of what was familiar
  • Domestic violent claims increased due to people remaining at home
  • Businesses closed; many lost their jobs (currently stands at 730,000 people who have become jobless due to the pandemic), self-employed individuals and freelancers also suffered from losing their businesses and jobs
  • The British economy took a hit 
  • And, most importantly, thousands lost their lives and millions put their lives at risk every day

The heartbreak and fatalities of this year should by no means be undermined. They are very much a problem which no one anticipated nor wished for. With the virus being at the forefront of everyone’s minds, people, especially those considered as ‘high risk’ of catching coronavirus, have lived in fear. It has not only weighed heavily on the country, but it has also been a bitter pill to swallow for the world. 

Nonetheless, in the midst of everything, the year 2020 has had a silver lining for some. The positivity which came from the year includes; 

An increase in productivity: as many are now working from home, they no longer have to spend a large portion of the week commuting. Both time and money are saved. By using online software for meetings and keeping in touch it enables businesses to monitor their employees whilst they remain safe. It also means employees have more time to spend with loved ones, sleep, exercise and more.

Keeping in touch with family and friends: life is constantly hectic and with everyone working we can lose sight of the most important thing. Loved ones. This pandemic has enabled us to spend more time with our loved ones whether it’s via social media or those in the same household. 

Fighting inner demons: therapists have stated that with all the time people have spent alone they have come face-to-face with their inner thoughts. Often, society ignores them by keeping themselves occupied. However, due to the vast amount of free time individuals have had in lockdown they tend to sit and confront these issues, creating a healthier mindset.

Ticking off a checklist: with busy day-to-day schedules it’s often complex to find time to do what you enjoy. Whether it be an old hobby or a new one you wish to learn. Lockdown has given people the time to do that. It has enabled them to have that extra time to do the big and little things, whether it’s self-care or to redecorate the house. Time is a virtue and with so much of it to spare during lockdown it was the perfect time to get going. 

The homeless were housed: thousands of homeless people were housed during the pandemic to help save lives. By getting them off the streets and into hotels and other vacant accommodations, not only have they been protected from the virus, they were also protected from harsh weather (in particular the storms which hit the UK over the past month) and they were protected from starvation. More recently the BBC have reported that several homeless people have now been able to purchase their own apartments due to the jobs they’ve received.

Clear air, and a healthier environment: the lockdown resulted in many factories and facilities closing, less drivers and litterers therefore emissions had reduced and roads, rivers etc were clear. The Earth needed a well-deserved break from mankind. 

Communities united: communities united together to help those who were at higher risk of the virus, they clapped for those front-line workers, they came together in support of aiding those suffering from domestic violence and opened their doors to any victims who needed help. Humanity shone through communities who came together to help fight a bigger cause.

Decreased Crime Rate: According to the police, the crime rate in the UK dropped by 28% when lockdown had begun. Fines implemented by the government to those who broke the strict lockdown rules were a good deterrent for many. Decreased crime related to the supply and usage of drugs, a 37% drop in burglary, a 27% drop in vehicle crime, serious assault and personal robbery, rape offences fell by 37% and shoplifting fell by 54% (mainly due to non-essential stores being closed).

Black Lives Matter Movement: Year after year, protestors come out to fight for one thing. To give the black community an equal voice. To fight prejudice, police brutality and enable black people to feel safe in a world which they should have never felt threatened. The mission of the group which was founded in 2013 is to ‘eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.’ They believe that ‘by combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centring Black joy, we are winning immediate improvements in our lives’. This message, although heard, was often silenced not long after. However, after the death of George Floyd the world refused to be silent. 

It’s been heavily stated that ‘Racism has always been around. Now it’s being recorded.’ This, alongside the constant news and injustice viewed in the media, has placed everything into perspective and now the people of the world have spoken louder than ever. Although this has no correlation to lockdown or coronavirus, the Black Lives Matter movement did show one thing. That in the year 2020 we only stand for change. Nothing less. To all those in power who try to silence the protesters it will not work anymore. 2020 is the year for change. 

Although the lockdown has now eased up, life has not, and potentially will never, go back to ‘normal’. The year 2020 was a year which has changed everything. From politics and international relations to general day to day living. It has become a moment in history which will be remembered in years to come. It was never the year anyone expected but it was the year the world needed. 

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