10 unexpected ways 2020 brought us together

Posted: January 8th, 2021

Words: Daniel Paylor

It’s 2021 now. The year we never thought would end has ended. We crawled through Christmas, hobbled our way through Hogmanay, and now we’re back at work – rejuvenated, yet raring to get back in the office (it’s just not the same sneaking out to steal your own teabags).

Now that it’s behind us, we can look back at 2020 with hindsight and little bitterness.

We won’t go into the gory details (you were there), suffice to say last year wasn’t the showstopper we’d hoped for. It wasn’t all bad though, was it? Here at Union Direct, we believe that some of the stranger aspects of 2020 actually brought us all closer together in a weird way.

With another lockdown looming, we thought we’d take a Direct look at last year and see what positives we could drag with us to Lockdown 3: Rise of the Vaccines and see how we can do better in 2021.

1. We all took ‘dressing down’ to new lows

Remember the days when you’d chat confidently to your boss about the Finnemore numbers wearing an ill-tied bathrobe? No, we never thought that’d be a thing either. Yet, we all agreed that it was somehow OK to go from smart-casual wear at work to clocking in wearing clothes you’d have been embarrassed to wear to a hangover six months prior.

How to do it better in 2021: Ever heard of a tuxedo t-shirt? Seriously though, there’s nothing wrong with a nice wee jumper and a pair of joggies (nobody has seen anyone else’s legs since last March anyway).

2.We all thought Zoom quizzes held the answers

You sigh as the quizmaster asks for the tenth time if everyone can see their screen. There’s another question about Dancing on Ice as you lose your only pen. Your gran tilts the camera to a direct shot of her nostril hair. The worst part? This will be the highlight of your weekend. We all became obsessed with Zoom quizzes for about two weeks before realising they’re too complicated, too long, and simply not quite as much fun as sitting alone.

How to do it better in 2021: You don’t have to become a one-man renaissance, but maybe give other things a shot? Make cheese, get a darts board, or simply sit back and enjoy the golden age of television (who’d have ever thought we’d see so many stars on the small screen?)

3. We all discovered ‘Imperishables’ wasn’t a Sly Stallone film

In hindsight, was it short-sighted of us all to hoard green lentils, tinned chicken, and stacks of dried lasagne sheets like we were doomsday preppers in the Alaskan wilderness? Considering we didn’t even use them before lockdown, when they were widely available...yes. It was an unpredictable time. Let’s all agree to forgive ourselves and move on.

How to do it better in 2021: While most of us learned our lesson on this one, there are always going to be a few wildcards in the pack. What produce will the hoarders hit next? Will there be a Weetabix shortage? Scratchcards? Yo-yo’s? We’re not sure, but we can’t wait to find out!

4. We all thought toilet paper had a roll two ply

The national obsession with toilet paper hoarding quickly got out of hand. Did we think a couple of rolls of Charmin could stop the virus? Did we think a TP fort would hold off the dreaded ‘Rona? Who knows. All we know is that when we replaced the Pound with Andrex, we took things that little bit too far.

How to do it better in 2021: This one actually worked out fairly well – for the TP peasants, normal order hath resumed and for the Kings and Queens of Quilted Comfort, their luxury paper palaces are probably still stacked in their bathrooms, getting massively in the way (hopefully).

5. We all showed face when it came to masks

It used to be ‘wallet, keys, phone’ before you popped to the shops, but we learned quickly that we had to add ‘mask’ to the mantra. We all really pulled together to try to stop the spread, and wearing masks was a big part of that. It also meant that almost everyone got ID’d buying booze, which made us feel young.

How to do it better in 2021: We don’t know about you, but we’re carrying two now! By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.

6. We all sweated over our fitness

Without the gym or the daily walk to work, we all lived with the shared fear of becoming Christmas puddings before the festive season. No gyms and closer proximity to the fridge = a nation of pigs in blankets. Lockdown had us all doing laps of the box room and using the cats as dumbbells, but at least we were in it together.

How to do it better in 2021: The variety of free and paid-for virtual PTs and group exercise sessions has skyrocketed in both quality and quantity, so let’s make sure we’re regularly getting sweaty!

7. We all completed Netflix

We were the Kings of Tiger King, the Queens of the Queen’s Gambit, and the Lords of the Last Dance. Were you even properly locked down if you didn’t spend every waking, not-working minute bingeing quality televisual action? There wasn’t a watercooler to discuss the best shows around, but we made it work.

How to do it better in 2021: Let’s face it, they’ve got us right where they want us – and we love it. Here’s to streaming more top-quality entertainment in 2021.

8. We all saw the crop of lockdown locks

Freestyle faux-hawks, man-made mullets, off-the-cuff curtains, highly improvised perms – 2020 saw an unprecedented number of bad hair days. With no barbers or salons to make us beautiful, we had to resort to cutting our own and cutting down anyone who had the audacity to speak our collective shame out loud.

How to do it better in 2021: With our precious barbers and hairdressers closed once again, our only hope is that we’ve all picked up some styling tips from last time, or at least lost the ability to care how our neglected locks look.

9. We all got the (baby) fever

With more time on our hands, and more time with our nearest and dearest, it’s not surprising that we spent 2020 surrounded by baby bumps, brand new bundles of joy, and many many new furbabies, too.

How to do it better in 2021: 2021’s slightly bigger kittens, puppies, and little ‘uns of all species might be just about our only saving grace – all we can do is hug them a little tighter and keep feeding them until they’re all cute with fat rolls.

10. We all knew, ultimately, that it was for the greater good

Yes, 2020 had some silver linings. But, all things considered, I think we’re all glad to see the back of it. Hopefully, with the new vaccine starting to roll out, things will change sooner rather than later but, if not, at least we all know how to cut our own fringes a little straighter and we know that by having a little less freedom for ourselves, that we may have saved the lives of others more vulnerable.

So let’s hope that the rest of 2021 is more roaring twenties and less boring twenties. We look forward to continuing our work together this year and beyond.

Have a healthy, happy year,

Team Direct.

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