What I learned in 2020

What a year! There is no need to hash through all the pandemic stuff again. I think we have heard it all before and I am sure there is no one out there who isn’t tired of it all. In the end though this year also brought some good stuff, at least for me. I managed a couple of vacations (like Malaysia and Greece) and a road trip with a friend. Lock down showed me that I detest home office and that I love going to work. My friends became my life line while I was sitting alone at home and the daily zoom calls were the highlight of my day.

Lock down 2 (and I guess 3 will be the same) made me appreciate TV and all the new and old series which I had missed before. My couch took its last breath and was exchanged for a new one, just in time for the second stay-at-home order. All of a sudden the word home was taking on a new meaning for me. It’s not just the place where my friends are who I meet in between my trips. It’s also a place where I apparently have to spend a lot of time in exceptional circumstances.

Anyway, here is what I learned during this special year. I am sure some of you had similar experiences. Yours, Pollybert

1.) Baking is not like cycling. You have to actually practice for a bit to get the feeling for it back. I had a couple of misses before I aced a cake again.

2.) During a pandemic it’s sh*t to be single. At least for the first three weeks. After that I turned into a slob and was happy not to share my couch with anyone.

3.) Home office sounds great until your home is your office. I was back in the office as soon as possible.

4.) During my reduced hours I managed to achieve nothing. How did everyone else go about the de-cluttering part?

5.) There is only so much TV I can watch for days on end until I need to pick up a book again. Yes, first I thought as well that it was sports that would get me going again. But in the end I just needed a book (this was during lock down 1).

6.) Don’t wait with a trip. Go while you have a chance. I felt lucky that I managed my week in Malaysia in February.

7.) A pandemic brings out the best and the worst in people. Like the discussion in Vienna if the parks should be open or not. Which should be a no-brainer when you live in a city and the population needs a lot of green areas to disperse. Not so for our national government though, it was up to the city of Vienna to insist on it.

opened by the Emperor in 1775 but closed by a minister in 2020 @Vienna

8.) A face mask is supposed to cover your mouth and nose. It still seems impossible for some people to know where their nose is. Or that some just leave the mask underneath their mouth. And everybody else pays the price for that.

9.) When your travel plans implode, being spontaneous works out well. I didn’t know that I had it in me, but when Lithuania closed it’s border for Austrians I changed my focus to Greece. Okay ‘closed’ is maybe too strong, but a 14 day quarantine felt like closure to me when the vacation was only for a week.

10.) Looking back I notice that I have to work less and travel more. My shoulders feel permanently tense.

11.) Weekend trips in your own country are a godsend for travelers. Also walking around your hometown helps to get a new perspective on everything.

12.) Have small achievable goals. For years I have set my minimum on Duolingo to three lessons per day. Never managed more than three days in a row. Since my friend convinced me to reduce it to one per day I have a streak now of 172 days.

13.) Wearing a mask has one big advantage besides being a safeguard against Covid-19. I can cry without shame when I read a sad book on the metro. Also it keeps me nice and warm in winter.

14.) With the start of lock down 2 I took up running again. I have noticed that it’s the perfect antidote against the grey weather and closed restaurants. It leaves me happy and breathless, which is a great combination.

15.) It’s possible to feel at home in a high-end restaurant when the personnel is absolutely charming and makes you feel welcome every single time. Even if you just come for drinks. The Hausbar has become my favorite place in Vienna and their ascent into culinary stratosphere is more than earned.

16.) For a year now we had discussions about COVID-19, its consequences, how to behave, to wear a mask or not, to follow the regulations or not, the long-term ramifications, vaccine -yes or no, etc. All of these topics have divided the country. Mostly so because Austria doesn’t have an expert who is leading us through the pandemic. But a panel of four politicians who like nothing better than to give a press conference. This self-display was a 101 course on how to loose the trust of your constituents.

17.) As much as I dislike Vienna when its full of tourists, to see it without them makes the city feel empty. Vienna is a cosmopolitan place, always was and always will be. Without the tourists and our fellow citizen from all over the world, we would just be a provincial town.

18.) My friends kept me sane this year. During 2020 I established a routine to meet friends on regular basis for breakfast. This one hour before going to work is like a really short party where you hang out in the kitchen and talk to your best friends.

19.) When everything closes and life feels like it has come to a standstill, get moving. Meet your friends for walks. In the morning and on weekends or whenever possible. I tried to keep my routines by changing them to what was and is possible. Exercising outside is always allowed, so it’s best to combine it and meet your friends at the same time.

20.) Living to the fullest is the name of my blog. And in 2020 this was more than ever the motto to live by.

21.) I can’t wait for the new year and to return to the way things were. But the question is, will it ever be the same?

Let me know what you think

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