• Elliott

The Struggle Has Been Real

So this is the fourth time I've gone to start writing a new post on here lately. It's obviously been a while since my last entry, and the longer I leave it, the harder it becomes to get back into the "swing of things". With all the chaos, suffering and injustice of this year, I've often felt like whatever I have to say is...unimportant? Unworthy, somehow? I didn't give my blog a particular theme or focus, so I've sometimes felt this year that a hot take on, say, Star Wars or Pokémon might not be what the world needs right now. And that may be so, but you know what? Fuck it. This is my blog. I have a habit of endlessly re-editing things because I'm never happy with them, but I've promised myself that I will just release this one into the wild and not over-edit myself and end up canning it. If you're reading this now then presumably you care enough to at least make it through to the end of this article. And for that - I am grateful.

It's obviously been an "unprecedented year", and I'm not here to bore you with the intricacies of what 2020 has brought. I'm sure you're absolutely sick of both the negativity, and the repetitive one-note "we're all in this together" messages from companies that quite frankly couldn't care less about you.

And...I'm sure you're about to get sick of the floods of reflective social media posts, an obnoxious mixture of self-pity and self-congratulatory content. Well, in the hope that you're not yet sick of said content, I'd like to take a moment to reflect on the year. Perhaps I'll throw some self-pity in there, or some self-congratulating - who knows?

It goes without saying that this year threw a spanner in the works for pretty much everyone. Almost all of the plans I had made for this year have been cancelled, refunded, postponed indefinitely or ended up having to be miniaturised, modest versions of their once-grander original concepts. In any other year, a long weekend away, a concert, a party, a holiday or even just a trip down to the pub every now and then are the much-needed respite that act not only as breakers between the mundane, but also as milestones to look forward to, and as markers to gauge the passage of time. This year, almost none of the above listed festivities have been possible; and as a result, much of 2020 has felt like an un-ending grind. If I cast my mind back, March feels somehow both very recent and like a distant memory. And I think this is due, in large part, to the absolute lack of any of these aforementioned substantial milestones that I can attribute to having achieved or experienced this year. And instead of holidays, weekends away and so on - we've instead had to become much more closely acquainted with the same set of four walls and entertain ourselves for the most part. But hey, the good news is that the value for money on my monthly Netflix and Spotify subscriptions skyrocketed this year...!

If I look back and reflect upon this year as I usually do around December - I've precious little to show for it. No holidays, no parties, no visits to family, one break-up, one lost job and one Groundhog Day-esque loop that seemed to last about 9 months. I've spent the vast majority of this year alone, and although I would like to think that I am content in my own company; I didn't envision it would be for quite so long. I've taken a grand total of six days of annual leave, and it's felt like I have spent the overwhelming majority of my time sat at my desk in my flat, working. In my spare time I've felt restless, claustrophobic, frustrated and upset. I've not learned any new skills or taken up any exciting new hobbies in my downtime, and I've barely seen any of my friends or family for months. For much of my time, I've felt like I have been simply existing. In other words; the struggle has been real this year. (Oh my god you guys, he said the thing!)

It's not all doom and gloom though. I was fortunate enough to find another job - in fact, the very first one that I applied for. I am very lucky to have landed on my feet like this, as I know that unemployment is crippling many during this pandemic. And in other aspects of my life I have tried to find solace and accomplishment in the smaller victories. Get out as often as I can for a run or a late night walk, for example. On the rare occasion that I do get to go into the office, I try to appreciate little things like catching the morning sunrise, and wishing people a nice day that I cross paths with. Check in on friends for a phone call or hang out on Discord for a bit of socialising. Make myself a hot drink and take the time to just sit down, chill out, and truly relax. By scaling down my expectations and redefining my "normal", I've just about managed to power through. And to be honest, I think making it this far still in one piece is an achievement worth celebrating. We're just shy of a week away from the New Year - so give yourself a pat on the back, if you're reading this then you, too, have made it through one of the most challenging years in modern history.

I'm not going to pretend that the 1st of January 2021 is going to be all sunshine and rainbows. Much of the shit that 2020 brought upon us will no doubt spill into next year; a new calendar unfortunately isn't enough to stop a pandemic or revive the economy. I'm sure that there are still going to be plenty of challenges ahead - but I am hoping that the worst of it is now behind us.

* * *

It will be all right in the end. And if it's not all right, then it's not the end.

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