I am writing this postcard in what has become my improvised home office over the past months. After a bit more than a week, I opened my laptop again. Up until December 23rd, I was really busy. It felt good to have a really busy Christmas time as a retail business and I also made sure to take a moment and be content with what I had achieved last year.
I consciously decided to take some days off during the holidays. Like so many of you, I did not really take leave in 2020. I took a few days off here and there. But unlike the years before, I did not have a whole week or two to relax. With all the lockdowns, social distancing measures and travel restrictions, I did not really feel like going on holidays. But the more I could see the end of the year in front of me, the more I felt that a break was needed – from work, social media and, despite the little chances of being social this year, I wanted to be anti-social at home. I also took a break from writing my Monday Postcards – a ritual I rarely break. I just did not feel like writing and I did not want to publish something just for the sake of having something online.
I find it difficult to put the last year in words. I usually do not like the “looking back at the past year and looking forward to the next one” articles. This year, I feel this way even more. Hence, you will not read any wisdom I acquired over the past year. (If there even was any I could share with you.) Furthermore, I do not have any New Year’s resolutions. As I mentioned in an earlier postcard, I think we change our life every day. We do not need the start of a new year.
The pandemic showed us that our lives cannot be planned. I find this very hard to accept most of the times. I am known as a master planner. I love to be in control and tick off the boxes on my checklists. I will make strategic plans for all my projects this year, of course. And I will also think about what I want to achieve or do in my personal life. But let’s be honest – I do not even know if I will really be able to do all that. “Go with the flow” – we all had to learn that the hard way.
I just have one thing I would like to remind you at the start of this new year: Get in touch with your loved ones. Lockdowns and travel bans may hinder us to see each other in real life. Many families have been separated for months. Partners have been forced into long-distance relationships practically overnight. Weddings, births, funerals were missed because of travel bans. For many, the holidays were very different this year. I am sending strength and love to all of you – I know what you have been through and how you have been feeling and I hope that 2021 will let you reunite with your loved ones!
No “like” or text message is as powerful as a conversation in person. We are more connected than ever before, but sometimes also more disconnected. Over the past days, I picked up the phone and called people. With some, I kept in touch at a regular basis. With others, we rarely spoke even though I thought a lot about them. I guess this is kind of normal – everybody lives their lives and with the pandemic everything turned upside down.
It felt really good to catch up and see how things are going at their end. Most importantly, they know that I really cared. If I just drop a quick “like” on their social media posts, does it really mean I care? A simple “How are you?” or “What’s new with you?” is enough if you make an effort to really listen to the answers.
If you have a friend or family member who may be in need of some kind words, do not wait and pick up the phone. As much as they appreciate it, it will also give you so much more joy than a Whatsapp chat or a string of emojis under a social media post.
Social distancing may hinder us and have us resort to virtual meet-ups. But let’s make 2021 as personal and real as we can.
Happy New Year to all of you!