2020: The Year of Thanks

At the end of each year I always write a handful of blog posts about the year. Our travels over the last 12 months and how we’ve done with our annual bucket list. They’re all about the things we’ve achieved, everything we’ve done and all our plans for next year too.

But this year is different. This year has been one of reflection, one of simple things and a year that I know we’ll definitely remember for a long time.

And so this year I’m not writing any of those posts – only one about the books I’ve read – and I’m not planning any big challenges or goals for 2021.

The thing is, 2020 has felt like it’s been about survival. About just getting through. And, now, in Tier 4 with no end in sight, it shows that the pandemic is far from over.

We’re somewhere I never thought we’d be when this all started back in March and it means that 2021 will be much of the same. Surviving, getting through.

But, this year has taught me to much, that I wrote about in another blog post. And the one main thing that has come out of this year is how much we have to truly be thankful for.

So I thought I would take a moment to write about all the things I am thankful for this year.

I am so thankful for our health. Our immediately family have all been pretty healthy this year. In fact, the children have had less colds than they usually do and, touch wood, none of us have had Coronavirus.

We did lose our family dog, Jasmine, very recently and a man who was like a Grandad to me for a good chunk of years died. It hasn’t been a year free of sadness and loss but that makes our health so much more important and not something we will ever take for granted.

I am thankful for our loft conversion. Luckily, we agreed the finance for our loft conversion and had everything in place long before the pandemic kicked off. It all went ahead and was completely really smoothly. It’s turned our house into a home we can live in forever and it’s made me so happy this year.

I am thankful for having enough money. Aside from the loft conversion we have had to rein in our spending this year, cut back and really watch the pennies. My work has reduced massively since before the pandemic and our finances are in a completely different position to where they were this time last year.

But, having very few days out, not really driving anywhere so using less petrol and not having holidays has helped reduce our spending massively.

I am thankful that Dave has a secure job. I don’t think anyone has been able to take job security for granted this year but, as a police officer, Dave’s job is pretty secure. Having that guaranteed income each month has made me being self employed easier to cope with.

But, Dave has had to do a hideous Covid related job role this year which he may have to start up again next year. And, being a keyworker, he has been travelling to work each day throughout the pandemic. I’d much rather he’d been able to stay at home.

I am thankful that we always have enough food. Going hand in hand with the above, I’m so glad we have enough food as so many don’t this year. We have groceries delivered every 10 days ish and always donate to the food bank where we can.

I am thankful that I work from home. This year has been so hard with trying to juggle work and homeschooling. All families have felt that. But, through it all, I’ve been so glad that I already worked from home and could shuffle my work around the children’s needs. It’s made life so much easier.

I am thankful for schools. I hated homeschooling. I found it so stressful and so constant. It was relentless and I was so glad the children could go back to school in September. Their school has done so well to stay open, to keep teaching and to keep the children engaged this term. They all need gold stars.

I am thankful that the children love learning. This year has been much easier because the children really do love to learn. They love to read, love facts and love finding out new things and telling us about them. Because of that, whether they’ve been learning at school or at home, they’ve been happy. Knowledge makes them happy.

I am thankful that we get to celebrate Christmas. We can’t see anyone outside of our household for Christmas. We’ll be spending our first Christmas as just our little family. And Dave’s parents will be spending their first by themselves in probably over 40+ years. It’s rubbish. But, I am glad we still get to have Christmas, that Santa can still come and that the children will have a great time still despite it being so far from the Christmas we had been hoping for.

I am thankful that the cat has coped ok this year. Leia is 14 now, getting older, which I often forget as she still looks so young. But, she’s had a big year. She had to go into a cattery for a month whilst the bulk of the building work was done. And then having to get used to our house, with everything different. It’s been a lot of upheaval for her.

But, she’s done really well. She hasn’t scratched carpets or furniture that we’d expected and she’s got used to sleeping wherever she likes again rather than being locked downstairs overnight. It’s our gift to her in her old age – and I quite like her sleeping in the crook of my arm overnight.

I am thankful for birthdays. All four of us have had our birthdays during the pandemic. They’ve been mostly low key, quiet and ones that we could have easily passed by. But, with each one I was thankful for the privilege of getting older, being able to share another birthday with those around us. It’s something denied to many.

I am thankful for friends and family. This year has been so hard but, the one constant has been the friends and family who are always in my phone. My bestie checking up on me, friends popping up on Facebook to say hello and ask how things are, my lovely Mother in Law always asking if we need anything from the shops or popping round to drop off treats.

I am not someone surrounded by people. I have a very small network of people in real life but I value each and every one of them. And this year has made those relationships even more important and cherished. I really value, and really miss, the people in my life.

I know it sounds really cliche but, this year, I give thanks for family, friends, health and happiness. I always need to remind myself to find the happy in smaller things and not just focus on the big things. But, overall, it hasn’t been a bad year, and it’s had so much for our family to be thankful for. It’s just been much quieter than we are used to.


  • Donna Wishart

    Donna Wishart is married to Dave and they have two children, Athena (12) and Troy (11). They live in Surrey with their two cats, Fred and George. Once a Bank Manager, Donna has been writing about everything from family finance to days out, travel and her favourite recipes since 2012. Donna is happiest either exploring somewhere new, with her camera in her hand and family by her side or snuggled up with a cat on her lap, reading a book and enjoying a nice cup of tea. She firmly believes that tea and cake can fix most things.

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