2020: a year in review
While many of us are desperate for January to roll around for the wiping-clean-of-the-slate a new year represents, one thing is certain – 2020 won’t be forgotten in a hurry. It has been the most momentous year many of us have lived through and casting one’s mind back to January doesn’t just involve recalling the past 12 months – it feels like a history lesson; observing a completely different time when everything was altogether different.
2020 will forever be known as the year of the worst pandemic the world had seen for more than a century, but that was far from the only significant staging post in this most tumultuous of times. Brexit was relegated to a mere footnote for most of the year but has come roaring back with a vengeance as the transition deadline looms. George Floyd’s senseless killing in Minneapolis in May showed how far the planet still has to come on race relations and shone a much-needed light on the Black Lives Matter movement.
Politics became more petulant than ever before, with Donald Trump’s reluctance to accept defeat in the US presidential election an embarrassment for all concerned. Meanwhile the planet itself continues to display signs of ill health, with wildfires, hurricanes and an increasingly temperamental climate showing that all is not well on an environmental front either.
Hope springs eternal
The financial services sector hasn’t been immune to the wider suffering either, with the FTSE setting all sorts of unwanted records and job cuts and social distancing regulation playing havoc for companies trying to bravely display the business-as-usual signs.
There’s no denying we’ve all done it tough this year, but amid all the doom and gloom there have been moments that have reminded us of the more positive side of the human spirit. The NHS has received belated recognition for the sterling work it has done in caring for those affected by coronavirus, although would no doubt swap the proud plaudits for better funding.
Communities have pulled together to protect their vulnerable and help them feel less isolated. Working from home provided challenges at first – not least in the home-schooling era – but many people have now achieved an efficient balance and reported benefits to their work-life balance.
There have been success stories too. Companies that have been able to quickly adapt their models to a shifting society – such as those based online and less reliant on physical stores and interaction – have noticed little negative impact on their bottom lines and have pivoted themselves towards a brighter future.
As we approach the end of the year, many of us will savour the chance to start 2021 with a blank canvas, fortified by the knowledge that the trials and tribulations of 2020 have made us more resilient and grateful for our lot.