I’m a planner, I always have been. I like nothing better than filling in the squares on my wall calendar (so retro) with my plans for the year. And just like everyone else, I had plans for 2020: there were friends and family to meet up with; holidays to take; places to visit. And just like the rest of the world, I saw every single one of them cancelled.

A Sky Full of Stars

A Sky Full of Stars

It feels quite alien that my calendar for next year has no entries so far. Suddenly planning ahead feels reckless and even a little foolhardy. I hate that having already taken so much from us, Covid-19 now wants to rob us of planning for a time when it no longer controls us.

So I’ve decided not to let it. I will make plans. But they won’t involve holidays, travel or major purchases. They won’t even focus on the fact that in 2021 I have two books being published. My plans are more personal than that.

I plan to remember the year that everyone just wants to forget, because only by doing that will I keep in mind all the things I didn’t realise were important to me until they were taken away.

RELATED: 10 Reasons why it’s never too late to realise your dream by Dani Atkins

I will hug more. So fair warning if that really isn’t your thing, because I intend to be doing it all the time. I plan to see family and friends more and to always remember the year when the only time I could do so was on the screen of my laptop.

I plan to smile at strangers, whose faces have been hidden beneath masks for far too long now.

I plan to wear sticky red lipstick, the kind that leaves embarrassing stains on the cheek of anyone you kiss. And when it’s safe to do so, I plan to pucker up all over the place.

I plan to never let a phone call go to voicemail because I’m too busy to answer it. I plan to remember those who’d give anything to have one last opportunity to talk to a friend or loved one taken too soon in 2020.

I plan to stop and smell the roses. It’s a cliché I know, but it’s one that is so easy to forget. Many years ago, when my little girl was very sick, I vowed to never forget what was important in my life and let go of all the rest. But over time I did forget. I took it all for granted again. But not this time. This time I plan to remember what it felt like when the future was no longer certain for any of us.

And when I raise a toast with friends and family, I plan to always remember those who were not so fortunate and whose right to plan for the year to come was cruelly taken away.

I plan to remember how lucky I am to still be here, every single day.

And lastly, I plan to always be grateful for every child who grew up with a passion for medicine, science, or caring for others. Because these were the people who shone a light and showed us there was a way out of the darkness.

These are my plans for 2021 and surprisingly my calendar is suddenly very full after all.

RELATED: 10 Things I'd Like My Readers To Know About Me By Dani Atkins

I am congenitally clumsy. I break things. A lot. There is a very good reason why I am married to a mechanic, a man who knows his way around a tool box, knows how to handle a Phillips head screwdriver, and more importantly a tube of super glue. It is sadly a very familiar sight for me to approach him with something in each hand, which before I got hold of it was intact. We’re a good team. I break stuff and he fixes it.... to read more click HERE