A 2020 Wrap Up: Here’s To Next Year

Well, it’s been quite a year. So much has happened over the past 12 months that it seems almost impossible to recap it in a single post, from personal changes to universal problems that never seem to end. It’s been a hard year for many, and whilst there is a small glimmer of hope for 2021, in this post I wanted to recap some of the highs and lows of 2020.

A Professional Wrap Up

Highs:

For me, some of my high points of this year have been exploring an entirely new side of my business: branding. With work dropping at the start of lockdown, I found myself with more time than I knew what to do with. So I started sharing some branding concepts online, experimenting with different colour palettes and font styles, and teaching myself how to create a cohesive brand package. Eventually, that work was picked up by a local artist who needed some new branding for her socials and print designs, and I was more than happy to help her out. From there, it seemed to snowball, and I got to work on some fantastic branding projects for some incredible small businesses, helping them to define their company and their goals through some simple brand strategy. I’ve loved working on branding projects this year, and it’s something I am so excited to continue into the new year.

Lows:

Like many freelancers, the start of lockdown was a tough time. Many clients paused their projects, with their marketing budgets rapidly dwindling, and it was a scary time to be so suddenly without work. Although I was lucky enough to receive all three government grants, the unexpected downtime was difficult to navigate, and I would find myself simply scrolling through news headlines, each as upsetting as the next. Work has not been easy for any of us this year, and I’ve found my focus slipping with each new bout of bad news that comes in, letting myself get distracted with thoughts of what I could be doing instead. Working from home full time presented its own set of challenges too, with a new unexpected officemate in the form of my boyfriend, and the unsettling nostalgia of coffee shops and co-working spaces slowing creeping in.

Learning to navigate this new way of working seems to have taken up so much of my time this year, that I rarely got the chance to stop and plan ahead – but I do have some projects I’d like to continue into 2021.

Next Year:

Next year I want to deliver my brand new website. It’s a project I’ve been working on behind the scenes for the past couple of months, and it’s the most aesthetically challenging branding concept I’ve ever dealt with. Who knew that my most difficult client would end up being myself?! I want to prioritise my branding services over my socials and continue writing in-depth blogs to help people learn more about inclusive and diverse marketing in 2021. I want to highlight my creative abilities at their peak, using more colours than ‘white’ to demonstrate my personal style, adding intentional warmth and aesthetic to my online persona. I want to continue my podcast too, sharing more intimate stories and experiences, alongside blog-heavy content – describing the journeys and pitfalls that come with being a freelancer. Finally, I want to keep my Instagram up to date. This might seem like a small task, but for someone who has scarcely left their flat over the past 8 months, finding interesting things to snap and share has been a real struggle for me to do. I’ve fallen out of love with Instagram and found it harder and harder to want to create on there, but with the hope of more adventures and excitement in the new year, here’s hoping for a fresh start in 2021.

A Personal Wrap Up

Highs

Personally, I like to think I’ve had quite a good year…which ultimately feels entirely selfish and disloyal to even write. It seems strange to admit that, in the midst of all of this heartbreak, loss and disaster, I’ve found myself feeling more comfortable and happier than I have in a long time. Space away from work and social commitments gave me time to work on my own mental health and to have some incredible personal breakthroughs that have really changed how I feel about things. I’ve been able to take on some new hobbies, and tackle some impressive DIY challenges around the house that I would never have found time for before. I’ve found comfort in the idea that I don’t need a jam-packed schedule to feel productive, and I don’t need an ever-growing circle of friends to feel loved. Without the pressures of expectation, everyday life and social media, I’ve felt better about myself than I have in years, and I’m constantly surprising myself with how ok that feels. More importantly, I’ve found time to work on some projects that really are just for me, rather than for my business or for someone else, and that’s been incredible to explore.

Lows

Of course, this year has no come without its fair share of problems, disappointment, and heartache. Several members of my family have contracted COVID, and it’s been a worrying time trying to keep everyone safe. I’ve spent less time with my parents this year than ever before, and a birthday spent in lockdown wasn’t quite how I’d imagined my 24th to go. There have also been so many canceled trips and plans this year that have gone by unexperienced – from tickets to musicals and gigs to a festive break in Bath, the question marks over those unfinished adventures still burn a hole in my diary. Our budgie, Buddy, also got really sick this winter and it was heartbreaking to watch him in pain and suffering.

Christmas, too, has come with its own fair share of sacrifices. Having to forgo seeing one side of the family to see another is a difficult situation to navigate, and even with the knowledge that you’re making the safest move, it still doesn’t feel any better. For me, some of my lowest points have been in moments where others have spent days alone when we should have been together. It’s been heartbreaking to cancel trip after trip with each new set of restrictions announced, and in those dark times, it felt hard to feel optimistic about the future.

Next Year:

Next year. Well, who knows what might happen. I have my hopes up for a successful programme of vaccinations and some national lessons learned from the events of this year. I want to see more changes and progress made to help improve inclusion, diversity and equality in the UK. I want to see more support being offered to those still struggling with the aftermath of COVID. I want to be able to go and visit my family without the fear that I might be infecting them, and I want to feel safe enough to sit in a coffee shop with my laptop any day of the week. I know that this might be a little too much to ask for, but with the efforts made by communities, key workers, the public and organisations so far this year, I’d like to think we might just make it work.

My Wrap Up Highlights

Finally, I wanted to share some of the small things that have made me smile, laugh, cry and cheer this year:

  • Joe Biden winning the US presidential election for 2021
  • Captain Tom becoming a Sir
  • Discovering just how much Taylor Swift is on my Spotify Wrapped
  • Binging new Nextflix releases like Selling Sunset, Tiger King, and Enola Holmes
  • Ant & Dec finally doing a trial on I’m A Celeb
  • The delight of both Folklore & Evermore being released
  • The new Christmas Lidl advert
  • The incredible onslaught of Barnard Castle memes
  • Giovanna Fletcher winning I’m A Celebrity 2020
  • Bill Murray actually being good on Strictly Come Dancing
  • People believing that 5G caused COVID
  • Trump trying to ban TikTok in the US
  • The rumours of Putins resignation
  • Bad Zoom calls gone wrong

2020 has seen it all, and it’s been a year like no other. We’ll have finally made the history books for something other than Brexit! But 2021 is coming up fast, and there’s so much good we can do in the meantime. What are your goals and plans for 2021? What do you want to achieve next year?

We survived 2020. So bring on 2021.

Thank you so much for reading all of my posts, articles and rambles this year. See you in the next one.

Nikki.