2020… What a year. How is it possible for a period of time to have gone so slowly, and yet so fast?
At the start of the year we were all hearing about a mysterious virus circulating in China, without giving too much thought for the consequences here in the UK. Who could have anticipated what this year has brought us?
Thinking back to the early weeks of 2020, I was planning blog posts ready for the tourist season ahead. One such post that I put a lot of research work into quickly became redundant, as 2020 events evaporated overnight and I had to repeatedly paste line after line ‘Due to COVID-19, this event is cancelled‘. However, a separate post detailing the best places to eat and drink on the North Coast 500, became my most read post of the year (with 2000 views and counting) as the normal tourist ‘season’ became a shortened version lasting around two months. In lieu of overseas holidays, UK escapes to the countryside gave Highlanders cause for concern over July and August. I thoroughly recommend reading ‘The Summer of Discontent‘ for a realistic and honest account from fellow writer Gail over at Wellies on the School Run.
When the pandemic hit the UK proper in the middle of March, we were actually in Germany for a family wedding. We cut short our break, and just made back to Scotland before the world locked down. Looking back at our photos of deserted Bavarian villages seems quite bizarre now, and we feel fortunate to have travelled this year at all. Trips to visit family and friends were cancelled in favour of quiet Highland holidays (again, we do feel fortunate that we have had the opportunity to take any breaks in Scotland over the course of this year, and have always done so in accordance with the regulations and guidance available).
Regularly over the course of 2020, I’ve been amazed at the resilience and determination of small businesses. Businesses who have had to adapt quickly after reading and interpreting the governments advice and regulations. Of course some businesses have sadly found the challenges too much to contend with, but others have pivoted their offering and survived a very hard year. One such highlight has been the virtual Caithness Market where I have found new businesses to follow, engage with and support.
For me personally, 2020 has brought some changes. I took a cut in hours at my day job, and a big step out of my comfort zone to launch A Highland Blend as a business. I’m offering digital media and VA services for small businesses, and I’m looking forward to working with my first clients early in the new year. It was a big leap of faith to embark on this venture, and I could only have done it with the unwavering support of my husband who is always encouraging me.
I think it’s fair to say that for some, this year will have been the worst they have faced. We are ending 2020 supporting friends who are facing the most worrying of diagnosis, and in some respects, my reflections on this year seem very insignificant considering this. But, life is a big muddle of the significant with the insignificant, the hardships with the lighter, brighter moments. While I do shy away from hanging all my hopes on the start of a new year bringing prosperity and change, my hope and prayer is that you find 2021 to be a lighter, brighter year in whatever you face.