Doomscrolling is Macquarie Dictionary’s ‘word’ of 2020. You know, the act of consuming an endless supply of bad news as unassumingly self-populates in your phone’s feed. I must admit, that is the first time I’ve used the Word of the Year in a sentence. Yet I, like many Australians, had my moments of doing it. But is it ‘my’ word of the year? Nope. I’d choose: RITUAL.
Yes, I know it’s not a ‘new’ word to be a true ‘word of the year’. But it sums up 2020 for me. The year that was ‘unprecedented’. That we (well, most of us) never saw coming. The year where we all stopped, took pause, and re-set.
Here in Queensland, ‘lockdown’ was just a couple of months. (Pretty lucky, against the world stage). In that time, our family started from scratch to build patterns, rhythms and momentum to scope out our days. After finessing the average day-at-home (and working) RITUAL, the pattperns grew to include local adventures and sources. We’d walk at the saerme time of day. We’d shop at the same supermarket, at the same time, on the same day. We couldn’t remember ever filling the car with petrol (but it was so cheap, we wondered if we should top up, right?).
As restrictions eased, our patterns took us to visit local parks or open spaces with low foot traffic. We’d source coffee and cakes from stores nearby where we knew the rhythms of the other customers — popping in when there was a gap. We had our RITUALs. We did our thing. Everyone else did theirs. At 1.5m or more away.
It’s the end of the year now. Our 2020 RITUALs have grown to become new traditions. We walk to the local bakery, market or coffee shop on weekends. We take neighbourhood walks for no purpose. We stop to admire the flowers and hear the birdcalls. We spend time on everyday projects. We paint, we cook, we mend, we play. We travel close and enjoy what we have. We try not to plan. We wake up each day and follow it’s lead.
Right into 2021.