“If 2020 didn’t bring the hustle out of you, it ain’t in you”
Seldom do I find myself agreeing with Mr P. Diddy. I would not consider myself an aficionado of his music, nor a keen scholar of his literature. Never have I reference his philosophical musings in a University essay.
It is fair to say that P. (Peter? Philip? Patrick? Not sure) does not easily sit alongside great scholars such as Aristotle, Stephen Hawking or Oscar Wilde. His place in the pantheon of great intellects is far from assured.
I agree with him here, though.
This is real talk.
Covid-19 has been an amazing experience. It left me speechless at the start — incredulously scrolling through Twitter to curate yet more bad news. Then, the fake news arrived. Old classics like:
“The army is being deployed to the streets of London. Shoot to kill orders”
“Wembley has been turned into a makeshift mortuary”
Weirdly, I look back on those great staples of WhatsApp fondly. The fear they caused, the irrational fear and hysteria. I remember a deep cloud of doom following me around; will all my family die? Will I die? When will looting commence? I was very keen for the looting (and still am, please let us start before it’s too late). The mass graves, makeshift mortuary and bereavement? Less keen for that.
Conspiracy theories were a continual source of mirth; microchips in a vaccine, 5G, the nefarious intentions of Bill Gates, an invented virus channelled by mainstream media — these were all particular favourites of mine. A real selection box of hogwash.
And then, as time progressed, we slowly realised that it wasn’t so bad. At least, not as bad as we expected. Bodies weren’t piling up in Trafalgar Square, and it was possible to leave the house without immediately contracting a deadly ailment.
Soon, it will all be over. In the UK, as we arm ourselves with vaccines, 8 weeks feels like a decent guesstimate for a partial return to normality.
When we return to normal, what of the conspiracy theorists? The new world order devotees or 5G evangelists? I deeply worry about these people and wonder what they will complain about now. With a bit of luck, forced chemical castration will be adopted as a policy measure for these lovely individuals.
Back to P Diddy. He’s right. 2020 has been an incredible opportunity. Yes, there has been a lot of energy-sapping doom and gloom and general inconvenience — but there will never be a time like this again. When the hubbub and noise of normal life returns, I wager we will crave the relaxed cadences of lockdown life.
What have you hustled in 2020?
Have you seized the opportunity? Or clung to the excuses? For me, it’s been a bit of a hybrid. It’s been a difficult year for me for reasons beyond the pandemic, but I will try to give an honest account of myself.
When all this started in March, I was so down in the dumps I could barely muster the energy to clap for the carers. I sought the sweet embrace of Ben&Jerry (Cookie Dough, since you ask) and enjoyed the warm anaesthetic effect of Red Breast Whiskey. Sacks of lentils and 384 toilet rolls were stockpiled in my kitchen, just in case, as I eagerly awaited the imposition of martial law. As a single man, confined indoors, that was not a terrific period of my life.
Into April, I copped on a bit. I stopped fearing the virus and decided to turn it to my advantage. I did so. I looked at myself and made a series of positive changes to my lifestyle. I worked on business and looked broadly at a landscape of opportunity, and chased down those opportunities. My only indulgence was my night time PS4 battles on Fifa 19’ with a friend.
This lasted until late summer. Slowly yet inexorably, my energy and zeal deserted me. There were no holidays. The weather was getting colder and wetter. Bars and restaurants just weren’t the same. With little talk of a vaccine, there was precious little to look forward to.
“WHEN IS THIS GOING TO END?”
Was the familiar, exasperated internal monologue I would agonize over whilst traversing this half-life Covid world. I will happily admit, I got my monies worth from Netflix during this time — as did the 6 friends who share my login.
In November, there was a chink of light on the horizon. An effective vaccine had been made — thank you, Pfizer. “Big Pharma” has enjoyed a bit of notoriety of late, but they did us proud here.
Finally, there seemed a way out of this mess. Margaret Keenan of Coventry was the first to receive the microchip, err, I meant vaccine, in early December, with a full-scale roll-out underway.
Now, we have 8 weeks left. 8 weeks to build a legacy of Covid. 8 weeks to knuckle down and re-emerge stronger into a normal world.
8 weeks to hustle. To make difficult choices and do difficult things. To get out of your comfort zone. Maybe it’s starting a business, writing a book, quitting your job, getting fit, planning travel, looting, getting off medication, improving a sport, rekindling your faith, ending a relationship — whatever it is, do it now.
As Professor Diddy so eloquently put it, heed his advice, and HUSTLE.
It’s not too late.
Happy New Year. Wishing everyone a prosperous, happy and healthy 2021.