What I learned in 2021

Like everyone I thought that the year 2021 would turn out totally different than 2020. But as we now know, it was an exact repeat performance from last year except that we had higher infection rates, more deaths, and less solidarity. It’s absurd come to think of it.  Lock downs and curfews were our ‘new normal’, an expression I still hate, and we got used to all kids of restrictions. Nothing is normal about all of this and the question is, do we even want to get back to the ‘old normal’. Don’t we all deserve better after such an experience? One would that politicians have learned their lesson as well and start thinking about the future. But that this didn’t happen was clearly visible in Glasgow this year.

Nobody cares about anyone anymore. We as a society not for each other, otherwise we would have a higher vaccination rate. Neither for our children, otherwise the climate summit would have brought a result. Not the Austrian politicians for the people, otherwise Austria wouldn’t have managed to have three different chancellors this fall alone. Selfishness writes itself in capital letters and the world forgets that the problem at hand can only be solved together. But enough of me ranting here, I had also some good experiences during this year. In any case, I am just glad that you made it through it as well so that you can read this here. Yours, Pollybert

1.) I never knew how essential culture was to my well being. Visiting the Aztecs exhibition in February made me realize how important it is. After month of just watching TV and reading, going to an exhibition was amazing. Especially since soon after everything closed again.

2.) Solidarity is not a one-way street. I love this sentiment and it totally speaks to me. The society this year has frightened me. Are we really that egoistic that we only do what serves our own best interest? Unfortunately the gap widened between us, young and old, friends and enemies, city and countryside, supported by an ever more dividing government.

3.) For the first time in what feels like forever (actually since September 2019) I went on a rally to show solidarity with the nursing staff and remember the dead.

shine a light to remember the Covid dead @Vienna

4.) Champagne helps with anything. Especially when you have a standing arrangement with a friend to meet once a week. Both tested and healthy, and toasting to life, to enjoy as much as possible during an everlasting lock down.

5.) I have totally underrated the value of my balcony. It’s a little spot of freedom right here in my apartment.

6.) Wherever you go, either on vacation or at home, you need to bring your mask. That’s already such a familiar picture.

coffee and cake while in Siauliai @Lithuania

7.) After traveling though Lithuania Canéle are now my new favorite pastry (see above). They have the perfect size to not feel guilty and are super tasty! And you can get something else besides since they are so tiny.

8.) Masks! One can’t imagine life without them. I know it’s a repeat from above. But isn’t 2021 a repeat from 2020?

a masked up statue in the Republic of Užupis @Vilnius

9.) Vacation wise 2021 was rather a disaster. I made it to Syros for a week, had a weekend in Znojmo, travelled through Lithuania for another week, stayed on the beach of Tunesia, and spent a long weekend on the Orkney Islands. Listing it here seems like a lot suddenly. So why does it still feel as if I haven’t had a decent vacation in forever?

10.) One evening in spring time, we celebrated the birthday of a friend with a small get-together in the park. Music was coming from speakers other visitors have brought with them. Suddenly spontaneous dancing commenced. I have never felt more alive than in this moment during the last year.

11.) I can’t agree with the motto of 50 is the new 40, and 40 is the new 30 and so on, anymore. The only thing I know is that 50 means halftime, if you get lucky. So let’s hope we all get lucky!

12.) Last year I read 65 books which is more than the last two years. I wasted weeks on a really boring book called Helen of Troy but also finished the Bridgerton Family Series by Julia Quinn in about a week and didn’t even list it.

13.) Unexpected flowers which arrive by delivery are the best surprise! Especially for my birthday!

flowers for my birthday @Vienna

14.) The pandemic has ruined my figure. This has now been officially confirmed.

15.) While writing the list I noticed that my good experiences are few and far between. Most of all it was another year with a pandemic of which I have now grown tired. As much as I enjoy my new couch, which I already bought last year, I am now over being a home body. I need more traveling to feel alive!

16.) I also need to take up running again. Because I have run out of excuses and expandable wardrobe.

17.) Always be ready for a party. Sometimes all it takes is an evening with a couple of complete strangers, a few drinks, and buying more beer from a peddler.

after party in summer @Vienna

18.) A positive attitude helps in all situations. But even my cheerful disposition has its limits. It’s time to recharge the batteries.

19.) I feel as if I have walked the whole length of Vienna. Which is definitely not true since we mostly stayed in the same area. But I walked a lot this year and even started to enjoy the endless walks in the morning (more for the company than for the walking).

20.) I survived 2021. What more is there to say about this year?

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