Posted on December 21, 2020

20 Reasons to Smile in 2020


Finding the positives in a year of Covid-19 pandemic

2020 the year most want to forget yet most will remember is finally drawing to a close.

It’s been a year of shock, of science fiction, of rapid readjustments and feelings of living in a parallel universe, a year rife with conspiracy theories, mistrust, disbelief and distancing.

But it’s also been a year of courage, of solidarity, of reinvention and creativity. A year that has drawn people together in new ways as much as it has isolated others. A year that has highlighted how precious are some of the things we used to take for granted. A year of discovery, of never befores and never agains.

Life is a journey

Because that’s life. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes not. Good days or bad, pandemic years or not, we can’t avoid one or the other. Life is life and here we are living it, experiencing it, for everything that it is, making of it the best we can, taking from it what lessons we need. That’s not to say we are merely passengers on the journey, watching the world unfold and flash by as we gaze out of the train window of life – that would suggest that we and the world are separate, that life is happening “to” us, rather than us being part of it, part of this flow of energy that connects and shapes all living things. We are life, and we are experiencing it as it happens, in all its guises, good or bad, we can’t change that. What we can choose though, is how to react to the information as we receive it, on a mental, physical, and subliminal level, and how to make the most of life's ups and downs.

Choosing to be positive

And so when I look back on 2020, I choose to remember the good parts, the things that brought a smile to my face, warmth to my heart, the things that remind me that life is precious and joyful, that in every day there is some good to be found. Here are 20 things from 2020 that I am grateful for and will cherish as good memories from this unusual year:

  1. Being back in closer contact with some friends & family; for one reason or another due to our busy lives we’d stopped taking the time to check in on each other. This year made us realise it was important to do so.
  2. I've also really appreciated how many friends new and old I have who will go out of their way to show kindness and support.
  3. Teaching yoga outdoors, particularly by the river, with an ever growing number of pupils, who seem happy to put up with my own version of portuglês.
  4. Learning to paddleboard (thanks to Inés, Isabelinha and Paulo’s superb shopping skills!)
  5. A summer of hosting interesting Portuguese B&B guests (albeit at half the room capacity due to the Covid restrictions, and yes, even despite having to camp out in the garage and the neverending churn of washing, cleaning and preparing breakfasts!)
  6. Mars glowing so bright and close in October and the excitement of Jupiter and Saturn aligning for us to see. The night sky has been incredible this year, with planets shining and stars sparkling more than ever.
  7. Launching a whole new online business offering – a Taste of Relaxscape – and The Art of Relaxscaping ikigai journal.
  8. My mum appointing herself my personal book agent in her part of the UK and selling a whole pile of them on my behalf.
  9. My dad & stepmum joining my Zoom yoga classes.
  10. My new outdoor kitchen.
  11. Olive picking was in the sunshine this year, and gave me more olives than expected, in a year where few people had any.
  12. More people getting used to working & doing business online has given me the opportunity to work with more coaching clients.
  13. Having more time to pause and reflect, and be in nature.
  14. Learning to trust my intuition.
  15. The 2nd hand Eco Loja is growing, every day getting busier and more well known.
  16. The enormous, beautiful full moons.
  17. Sushi with Helena, Gustavo & Leo.
  18. Yoga, smoothies & bike rides with Aline and Camila.
  19. Two crazy ladies who like to laugh and bring a smile to people's faces developing into exciting plans ahead.
  20. Finding my home here, among the warm and welcoming Portuguese. I know I am luckier than some, but I have also worked hard for this and followed my gut and my heart when my head was trying to find reasons for me not to take the leap.

I'm looking forward to 2021, it's going to be a good year too! What have you found to be grateful for in 2020?

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