I remember when I thought that my hangover on January 1st would be the worst day of 2020 – I honestly couldn’t have been more wrong. The year has flown by and I am ready to leave it behind. On many days the feeling of wasting a year of my life has been upfront in my head. If I learned one thing this year it is to appreciate the little things in life; nothing can be taken for granted. Coming close to the end of the year, I now want to look back and be grateful for the moments that made me happy. Some moments listed here might seem very small but considering the year we have all been through those have had a special meaning to me. All activities listed took place in a safe environment adhering to government restrictions.
Spending time around horses
Festina Lente, County Wicklow in February 2020. Photo by Joshua Teoh.
Being stuck at home during the semester break has definitely been the biggest struggle for me. Having no daily routine has led to me sleeping until noon and the TV being my best friend. To create a little but much-needed daily routine in my life I made it a habit to go for a walk every evening and see the horses in my village. This has had a huge positive impact on my overall being and sleeping quality. I could have spent hours just looking at the horses, it made me calm and allowed me to forget everything that was going on – it was just me and the horses in those moments. Being recognised by the horses after a couple of days and them seeking my attention felt so rewarding, it really made me happy.
Taking portraits of my friends in my home town. Photo by Alessa Freiberg.
Not being able to just go and meet friends as I would have in normal circumstances has certainly been one of the worst imposed restrictions for me. Therefore, when it was permitted to meet people from other households such have become very precious occasions. More so it has given me something to look forward to which I felt has been so important this year. Taking portraits of my friends has not only given me the chance to improve my work but it also gave me a purpose and responsibility that I had been missing so much. Taking pictures my main goal always is to provide shots in which my subject, in such cases my friends, like what they see. Especially in those 2020 circumstances making my friends happy with my work has been incredibly rewarding.
Being active outdoors
Hoher Ifen, Kleinwalsertal – hiking in Austria, August 2020. Photo by Rubina Freiberg.
Usually, I am not a huge fan of crowded hiking treks but considering that 2020 has been everything but usual, I have never been happier seeing people being out and active. Hiking in the mountains it almost felt like everything was normal. This has been such a vital feeling for me over the year; it has given me the chance to escape the very frustrating reality. Albeit experiencing lockdowns in two countries the overwhelming feeling of being able to leave the environment of the home has been equally special. Travelling in 2020 allowed me to leave everything behind for a while and just forget about all my worries. I got to appreciate places in my own country which I probably would have never considered visiting in an ordinary year.
Coming back to Dublin
Landing at Dublin airport. Photo by Rubina Freiberg.
Spending the first five months of the pandemic in my home town it didn’t take long until frustration hit me. It wasn’t an easy decision for me to leave my life in Dublin behind for an indefinite amount of time. Moving back and forth between two countries is not always easy for me and certainly not this year when such was a need rather than a choice. Not attending my first flight back to Ireland and with all the following flights being canceled there was no chance of coming back before the end of summer. It was difficult to focus on the positive and be grateful while being stuck in a negativity-hamster-wheel. Finally sitting on a plane back to Dublin in late August the extent of happy tears leaving my eyes has reached a new level.
Looking back on 2020 I am grateful and happy to realise that there are only a few weeks left. I like to remain optimistic as much as possible considering the uncertainty of 2021.