“2020 needs to be reinstalled, this version has a virus”. There are so many posts circulating social media about how 2020 is such a crazy year, we would probably be best cancelling it and starting afresh. I agree with these posts often, when I look back on the months that have gone by.

So many of us have had to cancel so much, we have had to cancel family get togethers, holidays, weekend breaks, concerts, festivals, sporting events, you name it, if it involves more than 6 people it’s probably been cancelled. I have had to postpone my wedding, I have had holidays cancelled, trips to Zambia cancelled. No one is safe from the dreaded c word (cancelled).

GCSEs, A levels, SATs, university lectures, graduations all have been cancelled. Students have been unable to prove what they can achieve when they knuckle down. Proms have been cancelled, GCSE and A level students unable to have that one last get together before they all go their separate ways.

Then there are more sombre things that have had to be cancelled. Sadly my Aunty passed away just before lockdown, it meant that there could be no flowers, no limousines, no more than 30 people at her funeral. I see in the news tragic stories of people who have died alone and people who have not been to able to see loved ones in their final days.

Cancellations have hit everyone, whether it’s a holiday that you’ve had to cancel or those precious days with family members. The tendency is to think that this year should just be written off and banished to the archives of history. Sometimes, I agree with that. Then I look at some of the other things that go on.

Regardless of your views on this the nation has united every Thursday to cheer, bang pots and set off fireworks in honour of the hardworking people slogging day and night to keep our health service running. There has been a national recognition of who the real ‘key workers’ are delivery drivers, shop workers, cleaners, bin men, teachers and so many more have finally been given the recognition they deserve.

The generosity that we have seen over this period has been immense, people sending each other gifts and sharing ideas on how to pass the time. CiCA UK has seen huge levels of generosity. People are looking at their own situations and moulding and changing them to see how they can best help those who may be less fortunate.

The Black Lives Matter movement has gained so much traction at this time. The fact that racism is still so rife is appalling but the fact that there is now so much attention on this movement fills me with confidence that we will see change.

The world is breathing again, dolphins in the canals of Venice and off the coast of England. Smog clouds dissipating and the air being fresher than it has been in living memory for most of us.

Families and workplaces organising quizzes and parties via video call. Doing all they can to stay in touch outside of the humdrum of everyday life. I know that personally my calls with friends and family are much more meaningful because I know that I can’t just pop out and see them.

So maybe, just maybe, 2020 isn’t the year that got cancelled. Maybe, it’s the year that we grew. It’s the year that we were reminded just how important our neighbours, our friends and our family are. It’s the year that we took a stand for things that are important. It’s the year that we remembered generosity isn’t an extravagant gift but rather those little things that show someone we are thinking of them. It’s the year when we stopped and said thank you to the people keeping the country going. The year we really cherished any time we have with our families.

So perhaps 2020 isn’t cancelled, perhaps it’s the year the world became a better place.

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