With most of us thrilled at the prospect of waving a pandemic peppered 2021 goodbye and pinning our hopes on a new year and a fresh start, when we reflect our NY goals, we may find the year might not quite have delivered as expected. But before we get too hard on ourselves for not ticking off an ambitious list of goals, it’s important to focus on what we did achieve this year – our resilience and ability to live with uncertainty is at an all-time high, and many of us uncovered a level of grit we never knew existed within ourselves. Aside from these personal achievements, there’s been a lot going on here at home and around the world – so let’s look back on some of the biggest moments of 2021.
From most liveable to most locked down city
With a huge 276 days spent in lockdown, Melbourne has endured its fair share of arduous stay at home orders. While Josh Frydenberg claimed that Melbourne had “endured the longest lockdown in the world”, fortunately this is one title we’re happy to pass on to another nation. There’s no doubt it’s been long and tedious, but according to this article, Chile and Manila have experienced longer periods in lockdown, and with vaccine rates hitting the required milestones, Melburnians are thankfully experiencing greater freedoms just in time for summer.
Our athletes shine on the global stage
Scooping up forty-six medals at the Olympics and a huge eighty medals at the Paralympics in Tokyo this year, our athletes sparkled despite the lack of crowds. Our very own queen of the pool Emma McKeon bought home a whopping seven medals, making her not only the equal most-awarded female Olympian ever from a single Games, but the only Australian to win eleven medals across two consecutive Games.
American gymnast Simone Biles shone for a different reason
As one of the most anticipated athletes ahead of the games, Simone Biles put mental health in the spotlight after withdrawing from most events in the Games. After a series of mishaps in the qualifications, she withdrew citing mental health issues. Her outspokenness about the importance of her own mental health amongst the demands of high-level competitive sport drew support from around the world and from her sporting colleagues.
The world got vaccinated
From a virus first identified in December 2019 to the first vaccine being approved for emergency use in December 2020, the global vaccination rollout has been swift. With over 7 billion vaccine doses administered to date, there has never been a global effort to fight a common enemy quite like this.
Melbourne gets the shakes
On the 22nd of September (while the city was deep in COVID-19 related lockdowns), Melbourne was rocked by a magnitude 5.8 earthquake. With an earthquake of this size not experienced in Melbourne for decades, this quake rattled central city areas damaging several buildings. Fortunately, no one was injured in the earthquake.
A president is banned from social media
In a strange first, former American President Donald Trump had his Facebook, Instagram and Twitter account suspended. While a large portion of his social media activity as president was questionable, it was his use of the platforms to condone rather than condemn the deadly riots at the U.S Capitol on January 6th that led to his suspension. While his accounts remain active, he’s unable to post on them for at least two years – at which time his social media risk to public safety will re-evaluated.
We can spread our wings…a little
After shutting our borders for nearly 600 days, the Australian government has announced plans to allow fully vaccinated Australians to travel overseas, and to welcome home more Australians that are currently stuck overseas. Fully vaccinated travellers from New Zealand with negative pre-departure COVID tests can now enter Australia without quarantine (in some states, not all), and it looks likely that vaccinated travellers from several countries will be visiting again soon.
The Taliban takes hold of Afghanistan once again
We watched in despair as the Taliban took back control of the country, causing foreigners to evacuate and Afghani nationals to try and escape. Following several years of positive progress surrounding rights to education and equality for women and children, it’s feared that under Taliban rule all progress will be lost.
Electric cars go mainstream
While Norwegians may be ahead of the pack (with the highest per capita EV ownership in the world), sales of EVs across Australia and New Zealand have soared to record levels in 2021. A mix of state incentives and greater price parity has attributed to the growth in both countries, with the Australian government further bolstering this with the Future Fuels Fund announced as part of the 2020-21 budget. This $71.9 million initiative aims to remove barriers to uptake of EVs with Round 1 focussing on charging networks across Australia.
We lost an Aussie TV legend
This year, we sadly lost iconic TV and radio broadcaster Bert Newton. A mentor to many other Australian media stars and a stable fixture on the screen in many homes over the years, Bert was eighty-three years old and had a media career spanning six decades. Best known for his nineteen Logies hosting appearances – with nineteen different dazzling dinner suits – Bert breezed through the three hours of live hosting year after year. Aussie TV won’t be the same without him.
We no longer need to keep up with the Kardashians
Love them or hate them, after fourteen years, twenty seasons and hundreds of episodes, Keeping Up with the Kardashians finally came to an end on the 20th June this year. Over the years, we’ve seen Kris Jenner turn into the ultimate momager, Bruce Jenner transform into Caitlyn, and the Kardashian clan build an empire based purely on celebrity influence. It wasn’t long before fans could dry their tears however, with the Kardashians announcing they’d signed a multi-year content deal with Disney’s Hulu to produce “new global content”.
The Great Resignation
2021 has seen a flood of worker resignations take place across the US and around the world, now coined by economists as The Great Resignation. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4 million Americans quit their jobs in July 2021 which is being attributed to pandemic-related factors. The pandemic has given people all kinds of reasons to change lanes with their employment – from searching for more money, to more flexibility and in many cases, more happiness. The trend is predicted to make its way to Australian and New Zealand shores, with plenty of people ‘holding on’ to jobs as we weather the COVID storm, but pondering new opportunities for the future.
Let’s see out 2021 in style and welcome 2022!
With 2022 signifying the Year of the Tiger – pegged for strength and braveness, and vaccine roll outs reaching new heights, life as we know it is looking like it will return to some level of normalcy. As we welcome greater freedoms alongside the festive season and sunshine filled days, life is looking a whole lot brighter. To all our readers, First National Real Estate wish you a freedom and frivolity filled Christmas and prosperous 2022!