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Feeling inspired in an uninspiring world by Emma L McGeown

For the most part, 2020 is a year most people will be glad to see the back of and for good reason. A global pandemic, on top of irreversible climate change mixed with political unrest and thrown together with a helping of Trump has left us all feeling a little hopeless. What’s funny too is that everyone is so geared up for 2021, as if at the stroke of midnight 31st December, all of our problems suddenly disappear. They’re only just starting…ever heard of Brexit?

This is usually my favourite time of year as well. Autumn weaving its way into Winter. I love the parties, watching romcoms with my mum and going for a ‘nosy around’ the Belfast Christmas market, but even that’s all been taken away from us this year. My home place of Northern Ireland also has one of the highest transmission rates for COVID-19 in Europe and people have the cheek to ask me why I’m not writing lately? I can only speak for myself but writing comes easier when I’m relaxed, at ease and in a good mood. That’s a little bit hard this year. But I’m not unique; so many people are suffering in 2020 and there’s a long road ahead.

This year has taught me that we have to take joy in the simple things and in some cases insignificant wins. Sometimes that’s just getting out of bed in the morning, maybe it’s cooking a new dish from scratch or maybe it’s just having a good chat with a friend.

I try to focus on the good and that is helping to inspire me. For me, this year appears to be ending better (though anything can happen in 2020). I will become an aunt for the first time with both of my sisters announcing their pregnancies, and their due dates are just four days apart. Biden was elected, I became a homeowner and my first book was published.

If you’re still waiting on these wise words of inspiration, you might be disappointed to learn that feeling inspired is dependent almost entirely on your mental outlook and positive frame of mind. As a “glass half-empty kinda gal” that creates some friction for me, and not the good kind of friction. But I’m learning to take a beat each day and say three things I’m grateful for.

The first is almost always my wife-to-be (should have been wife by now but 2020 happened). Though if my beautiful better half is in a mood, she gets bumped to third and our dog takes the No 1 prize. Number 2 was witnessing the tremendous support for my book launch on social media; a place where I normally share very little of myself. And third, was knowing that every sacrifice I’ve made to socially distance myself from others was not only protecting my loved ones but also so many people I don’t even know.

I try to take as much inspiration as I can from that, and I think everyone else playing their part in stopping the spread of the virus should count it as their daily win too. And what do you get when you win? A prize! Go and treat yourself to a glass of wine, a bowl of ice-cream, a nice bath or all of the above. You’ve earned it.     

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