Youth voice – 20 lessons from 2020

As we wrap up the year, it only feels natural to conclude with a reflection on 2020. The other day I attended a community meeting where we were asked about our aspirations for 2021. While the common response was “no more lockdowns”, I was struck by one particular aspiration. This was that we do not forget the lessons learnt from this year.

It is fair to say there have been lessons learned across the board. Whether it is politicians navigating unchartered territory of public health, businesses adapting to contactless service or handling day-to-day life wearing a claustrophobic face mask.

This got me thinking, what are the lessons of 2020 to carry forward into the New Year? Here is a starting list for 20 lessons from 2020:

1    We are human beings not human doings – 2020 gave a lot of us the opportunity to encounter new rhythms, slow down and identify with more than just what we do.

2    Love your local – this includes local beaches, businesses and people.

3    We are better together – we need to be placed in community to thrive.

4    Have an emergency toilet paper pack!

5    Freedom should not be taken for granted – let’s appreciate the peace and stability of our South Pacific nation.

6    Life is unpredictable – be flexible and adaptable but also demonstrate extra care, both to self and others during trying times.

7    Don’t take the simple things of life for granted such as handshakes and hugs.

8    Ramp up your resilience – safeguarding our mental health is paramount.

9    Look out for your neighbour – our society could benefit from a return to village style living and the organic connections that come at a neighbourhood level.

10    It is possible to have meetings in your pyjama pants and slippers – thanks Zoom!

I have purposefully left lessons 11-20 for you to contemplate and complete yourselves!

The Christmas and holiday period is an opportunity for reflection. It is very easy to get consumed by the culture of consumerism and busyness, but it is important to process the lessons of the year and step into a slower rhythm, embracing what really matters in life.

Furthermore, at this time of year, a special shout out is due to the locals who foot a decent power bill to give us the delight of Christmas lights, churches who put on carols and plays to remind us of the hope, peace and joy that comes with the Christmas season, and all the organisations that are preparing packs to ensure that those doing it tough this Christmas are well cared for.

We have a great community on the Coast, and I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to a paper that commends and celebrates the great happenings and people in this place.

Merry Christmas Coasties, and all the very, very best for the New Year.