blogging

2020 – the Year that Never Was

Hey all – how are you doing on this Monday? Me, well, although I write this a few days earlier, I’m not great at all. So much has happened already in 2020, and yet it’s the year that hasn’t even started and may not at all. Where will be in December? Today I wanted to do a bit of a personal update and reflection, if you’d be so good as to indulge me a little because sometimes you need to get stuff out.

I sit here at a table and bench in Karkarook Park writing. It’s nice I guess to get out of the house today, my day off (this is Saturday for reference). I was feeling incredibly unproductive at home, so I went out and walked around the lake, pretty beautiful at sunset I guess, a walk of two or three kilometres. It’s in the suburbs and is no sort of tourist spot, but these days, a sunny if windy autumn day with the temperature reaching around 18 degrees, it’s very popular with locals. In fact It would have to be as busy as it’s ever been I guess!

Will I start with Corona? I’m off writing about it to be honest.  But well, restrictions are sort of being eased here. I went to my parents’ house last night for the first time in three months for dinner. I’ve barely seen them in the last two months. Mum was rushed to hospital early March and is lucky to still be with us. Dad also was in hospital (not serious) in April, which was basically the only time I saw them in that month.

Monday (today I guess) is the first of June, and restaurants and cafes can now have up to 20 people inside. I’m not sure exactly of the rules. We’ve been able to visits family and friends for a couple of weeks, no more than five people though. People have been flocking to shopping centres in thousands, not sure why exactly because nothing’s changed there. Although it was supposedly only ‘essential services and shops’ that were supposed to be open, a lot remained open which raised an eyebrow or three.

A second wave is certainly a fear here too, as it is around the world. If we have to go back into lockdown again, well, I’m not sure what happens then.

I started the year with plans and goals. This was to be a year to achieve stuff. I was to have three trips, one or two overseas, not going that far including to the Philippines at the start of May. That isn’t how it’s happened. BUT – Kudos to SCOOT and Air Swift (read HERE) who have given me FULL refunds. Cebu Pacific have a travel fund for my $1000AUD and are suggesting I use it to buy a ticket for September to January. Bit ridiculous really because I doubt whether international travel will be possible for Australians in September and possibly until the end of the year, with the exception of New Zealand. Right now several states in Australia have closed borders and no plans to open them, so I can’t even head to Queensland in the foreseeable future.

I had a break last month though, took annual leave for a week and a bit. Got sick on the first day and was sick for basically all of it. I did buy and assemble an Ikea cabinet though, so it wasn’t a total loss. Also I have done well putting money aside for the dream of possibly buying a house one day in the future. But that’s part of a five-year plan that I have, which I am five months into right now. But to be comfortably ahead of my savings’ goals by the end of 2020 would be something positive. On top of that, my wife and I have now dabbled, ever so gently, in the stock market.

It’s probably silly to some, but I am now 45 years old as of late-April, and I have an eye to retirement. Presumably my dream is to travel loads once retired. But realistically how far away is that? I know that I don’t want to be still working at 70 years of age. If I want a house, the mortgage may well be 25 to 30 years. So that could put me paying it off until I’m potentially 75 to 80 years. Much as I love travel, financial security has to be a factor when you get to this sort of age. So I look to find a way that I can pay off a house substantially quicker than that.

And so, it’s been a stressful year. Work. I don’t and won’t talk much about work. I work in disability, and it’s an ‘essential service’. I have lost a couple of shifts per fortnight – community access, but generally I am on similar hours to before Covid-19. But it’s a heightened and more stressful environment. And work right now is a real stressor in my life.

We’re still in the mire at the moment. Will life EVER feel normal again?? What was normal, anyways?? It’s really bizarre looking forward to the rest of the year without ANY travel plans. The best I can hope for is a quick trip later in the year to New Zealand or more likely elsewhere in Australia. But when and where I don’t know. We could yet regress to more stringent lockdown.

And on top of all that’s happening to me personally, there is the whole world which right now is a state of madness. It’s scary. The blame-game for Covid-19 is not helping the world heal. The way politicians are trying to seek political gains in their own countries right now is disappointing but predictable. And in America the place looks from afar like it could explore in a thousand ways now.

How are you doing? Is it all too much for you?

Thanks for reading the ramblings of a somewhat-lost 45 year old.

May the Journey Never End.

13 replies »

  1. Sorry about your stresses and frustrations, Andy. I know it’s not much consolation, but so many people have had their year turned upside down, so there’s a tiny bit of solace in knowing we are all in this mess together. And look at the bright side: you don’t live in the tinderbox that is the U.S. right now! Ugh. I feel like we could have all managed the Covid crisis a lot better here if we’d just stuck together. And now we have even more intractable problems …

    • Well what effects the USA effects the rest of the world. and I think we’re all worried about what’s happening right now. and it relates here too – Indigenous Australians are times more likely than the rest of us to end up incarcerated and the numbers that die in custody is shameful. We have protests planned for this weekend. people have to register their intent to attend and I heard today 30,000 people registered! in support of #BlackLivesMatter

  2. I love your observations – we need to have some perspective and a “long view”, while not losing sight of the everyday issues, even though many of these are depressing, quite frankly.
    This is why I’ve started blogging more seriously than I did before, about my travels. Remembering and writing about them is almost as much fun as the original experience was.
    Keep it up!

  3. I think everyone having a tough year Andy, read an article recently that 50% of us are “depressed”. People don’t know where things are going and feel less confident about the future. I think hope and the feeling of hopelessness is a big psychological factor – with a loss of hope of life improving what’s the point?
    And agree with lexklein above. What a mess in the US which, as you say, affects us all.
    Nothing good so far about 2020

  4. I feel you! What a weird 2020 indeed. Glad to know your parents are better.
    I felt adventurous this week and submitted a 2 week leave end of October to November. Well if international travel wont be happening by then it’s time to take the long roadtrips.
    Here in Manila we are still stuck at home mostly except for some industries that provide essential services. Bikes and computers are high in demand here as commuters find ways to still be able to travel instead of taking the jeep or bus. Parents are buying computers as virtual classrooms become operational in August.

    • theres also the worry that you end up somewhere and lockdowns go into effect and as a result you get stuck there struggling to get home and then have to isolate again once home. But you never know and whatever you end up doing, I’m sure it will be a great, well-earned break!

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