2020 has definitely been the year that turned all of our lives upside down.
Last week as I lay on a cold, hard X-Ray table, it got me thinking about the things in life I am most grateful for.
Whilst my health isn't the best (damn kidney stones!), it certainly isn't the worst. Everyone is fighting their own battles, so this is just a gentle reminder to be kind.
Despite Corona ruining most of our plans this year, there are still many things I am grateful for. So with that being said, let's be real and reflect on some of COVID's positive changes for once.
Keeping yourself social is definitely the key to maintaining your sanity during these tough times. Whether it's a group chat with your family, or a socially distanced meet up with your friends - keeping in contact is so important right now.
Whilst I enjoy my own time and space, I also appreciate being surrounded by a good group of people. The sign of a true friendship is when you can pick up from where you last left off, regardless of how long it's been.
Hell, some of my closest friends even live in other countries!
I am grateful for the friendship groups I have made over the years - whether that's from school, through work, or online - it's about who is there for you when you need it. If you're in trouble, who are you most likely to call?
P.S. Don't call me, I'd much rather text.
Whilst I'm sure we are all fed up of Skype calls and Zoom quizzes, how great has technology been during this pandemic?! Not only has it enabled many people to work from home, it has also provided us with hours of entertainment with our family and friends.
One thing that has surprised me most over the course of this pandemic is how certain businesses have made adjustments, which have in fact favoured those with disabilities. As a full-time wheelchair user, I can only talk from a physical point of view - but even I have noticed positive changes in certain areas.
One of the most common examples of this is from food outlets. Many restaurants that may not have been accessible in the past - for example due to steps or lack of toilet facilities such as Changing Places - are now offering takeaway / home delivery services.
The Government have now also enforced table service in all bars and restaurants, which definitely benefits those with mobility issues.
Although I am frustrated that it has taken a worldwide pandemic to force these changes, I am hopeful that certain measures will remain in place.
I'm not going to lie, I'm quite a fan of this 2metre rule. Whilst I miss hugs from certain loved ones, there are other individuals who I am more than happy to stay away from.
From a young age I have always hated crowds, as it can be very daunting as a wheelchair user. I am fortunate enough to have a riser function on my chair which is great, as you'd be surprised how many people bump into you or spill things when you're sat lower in crowded areas.
Most recently, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw images online of the first "socially distanced" festival in Newcastle. Whilst I don't think events like this are necessary appropriate during the height of a pandemic, I was still intrigued to see what adaptions had been made.
People with disabilities have been campaigning for better access to live events for years now. In the past, outdoor festivals such as this can be difficult to manoeuvre as a wheelchair user - not only because of the vast amount of people, but due to the poor terrain and general littering on the ground.
Raised platforms have not always been available either. Most of the time the views are in restricted positions, or the platforms have been taken advantage of by other people who may not necessarily need them - hence why it was nice to see clear boundaries in this image.
Whilst this year has been pretty horrendous for most, it is important to note that small changes like these can in fact be positive.
Let's just make the world a bit more inclusive, yeah?
Ok I'll get off my soapbox now!
Hope you're all doing well. Speak soon,