Reasons to be positive during a nightmarish start to 2020

Reasons to be positive during a nightmarish start to 2020

I remember looking forward to 2020, I thought, “well, we’ve certainly experienced a huge deal of hardship over the last four years, I’m sure this coming year will turn out great.” How wrong I was.

We’re nearly a quarter of the way through and the news cycle is dominated by the alarming spread of Coronavirus, climate change and wildfires, the Brexit fiasco and seemingly manipulated elections. It seems like there’s no cause for joy at this point and everything is going wrong. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of reasons to smile in 2020.


Are you worried about the impending possibility of complete self-isolation? Well, look at it this way, at least with all that free time on your hands, you’ll finally get around to watching those series that you always said you would.

Netflix already has some awesome original content which you should definitely binge, if you haven’t already done so.

My top tips are: BoJack Horseman, Big Mouth, Final Space, F is for Family, Unbreakable Kimmy Scmidt, Stranger Things, Santa Clarita Diet, Daybreak, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Messiah, The Politician, Paradise PD and Sex Education.

Some of those series are particularly raunchy and may not be to everybody’s taste, but I found them interesting enough to press play, which in Netflix is the equivalent of picking out an interesting looking DVD at your local Blockbuster, those times seem like a lifetime ago now. A few of those series, such as BoJack Horseman, Santa Clarita Diet and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt have all come to an end, but remain available to binge and that’s good news if you’re in self-isolation.

Other big series on the list like Big Mouth, F is for Family and Stranger Things have all been renewed for fourth seasons, coming to Netflix in 2020, so if you haven’t caught up with them yet, now’s your chance!

Amazon Prime also has some great shows like The Marvelous Mrs Maisel and The Man in the High Castle, to name a few. Hunters, a show revolving around the lives of a group of Nazi hunters living in New York in 1977 has just been released to huge critical acclaim.

Amazon Prime have also managed to secure the rights to The Walking Dead: World Beyond, which is a huge feat and something that will definitely bring a lot of viewers over to the platform. Of course, with spin off content, it’s difficult to get invested, unless the viewers already have some sort of emotional investment into the characters and the story, so I’m really hoping that World Beyond doesn’t follow in the footsteps of Fear the Walking Dead which failed to captivate audiences with its lacklustre episodes, despite having two characters from the main series cross over to the show.


If you’re anything like me, then you love everything about the Olympics, from the opening ceremony to the obscure countries over performing in a lesser known sport. Being from the UK is a little confusing, because you have no choice but to support Great Britain and that’s a weird thing when in most other sports, we are separated into England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

I have soft spots for other countries, including Spain thanks to my personal affiliations with the nation. It’s interesting to see the rise of female athletes coming out of the Iberian peninsula to much acclaim in foreign lands, but hardly any media coverage in their home country. The winner of the gold medal in badminton, Carolina Marin, reported that she was overwhelmed with praise by Japanese and Chinese media who wanted to interview her after her win, but received very little attention from the media in Spain. In 2017, the Spanish media started to pay more attention to her when she was made the brand ambassador for La Liga. I’m expecting a huge performance from Spain this year, seeing a lot of preparation happening, albeit behind closed doors, while I was living there. Karate, badminton, football, handball and water polo most likely represent Spain’s best chances of winning a gold medal this time around.

Great Britain will want to continue competing with the likes of the USA and China. It would be wise to lower expectations before the event as Britain don’t tend to start the games very strongly.

That being said, it’s still bound to be a grand and wonderful experience which will brighten up the year.


With the potential of being too political and getting into hot water far before my scheduled bath time, it seems like nationalism and aggressive nationalist movements may well be on their way out.

It’s important to recognise the difference between patriotism and nationalism to comprehend this.

Patriotism = being proud of your country for what it does.

Nationalism = being proud of your country no matter what it does.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a patriot, you have every right to be proud of where you’ve come from, what your nation has done to help you and the greater world and what it means to you to be British, but being a nationalist can become a dangerous extreme.

We’ve seen the rise of nationalist movements in Spain, with parties like Vox, and National Rally in France. These also gave rise to populist ideology and a lot of people in Spain, albeit a minority, still follow the principles put in place by Francisco Franco, a dictator who ruled the country between 1939 and 1975.

Now, there’s nothing innately wrong with nationalism, in fact there’s nothing innately wrong with any political or philosophical theory, the issue comes when we start to misinterpret or manipulate ideologies which could be harmful to society as a whole.

Take Spain as an example, they’ve been creating a true democracy since 1975 and they’re still working out the kinks. The health system is one of the best in the world and their economy is (slowly) increasing to a desirable point. The civil rights are sort of there, but still need a lot of work. Consider that building a true democracy after years of a dictator is a delicate thing that takes time and effort with clear thinking by a majority, then add in a party like Vox, who consistently recite archaic ideologies which fuel this perception of Spain as the true kingdom chosen by God and things start to get complicated.

I mean, at this point, it’s a minority and most people, in most countries understand the concept of how disastrous an isolated populist country could become. So, looking around and seeing the support for extreme nationalist movements crumbling, seems like a cause for applause. Perhaps it’s a symbol that we are going to start working together as a more connected global community, that’s the best that one can hope for.


According to a recent study performed by Bill Gates and his team, it looks like we are getting more intelligent as a species. On average, the IQ of humans is rising by about 3 IQ points each decade and it’s likely to continue a staggering growth. Gates believes this is due to the fact that our modern world encourages abstract thoughts from a young age and that’s great for human development.


We’ve been lucky enough to see an enormous growth in technology over the past few years. Even as recently as 2000, the internet was nowhere near as prominent as it is now, and there’s a lot to be said about that. Artificial intelligence or AI is something often seen on the movie screens, usually in a thrilling or psychological situation. However, scientists and programmers working on this AI are looking into something huge.

There’s a belief that creating robots or cyborgs with this type of technology and enabling them to feel and learn will lead to huge advances in health care, environmental conservation and even economic recovery. I for one am looking forward to a new world, full of machines with AI, transport connecting us to everywhere we could ever dream of and health care that’s affordable and accessible to everyone.

What do you think? Are you looking forward to making new friends in 2020? You can start by checking out our language exchange section and getting started!

Written by: Jordan Benyon, Staff Writer

Health & Nutrition