We asked our readers to share the positive things that happened in their lives in this strange and often miserable year, and everything wasn't so miserable after all.

Given that 2020 saw us all becoming far more familiar than we were previously with what a global pandemic might look like, it is perhaps not surprising that the majority of news this year has been pretty depressing. We've all become rather acquainted R-numbers, rolling averages, lockdowns and, while it may sound like a good thing, positivity rates haven't been a particularly welcome addition to our daily vocabulary either.

And that's just the Covid side of things. We also saw massive protests as some seemingly needed reminding of the fact that Black Lives Matter, obvious as that should be; the US and Iran saw tensions running high and a conflict seemed dangerously close; Australia essentially caught fire as massive bushfires turned millions of hectares to dust and ashes; the list goes on, but this article isn't about negative news, so we'll leave it there.

To round the year off, we thought it a good idea to look beyond the flow of negative news and shed a bit of light on more positive developments. Yours truly, for instance, both landed his dream job (this one) and got married - and it turns out I'm not alone!

Our readers sent in heaps of positive developments from their lives, and we've reproduced some of them below. We'd love to hear from more of you, though, so feel free to add to the list by dropping a comment at the end of this article.

The good side of 2020: our readers' experiences

To give you a clearer overview, we've put these into broad categories. Most of these are anonymous, but some have a name at the end per the readers' requests.

Babies, pets, and family
"I gave birth to my first kid and got to spend more time with my husband who was working from home while I was on maternity leave."

"After about 5 years of struggle through medical examinations and treatment, we now have a baby." - Robert

"My daughter was born. She’s always happy and smiley and has brought so much joy to our lives already."

"We got even closer as a family and finally adopted a little kitten. We have been dreaming of having a pet and now she’s here with us. The most amazing cat ever. It feels like she was meant for our family. Our quality of life has gone up so much this past year. More time together, a cat and so much time spent outdoors in this wonderful country."

"I was supposed to go back to work beginning of March as my parental leave was ending. It was a bit hard as I have a strong bond with my baby boy. Well... I only went back to work for 3 days before full lockdown was decided. Then, got the huge chance of spending more than 2 months with my children. I was fortunate enough not to have to work (or just a littlz bit everyday) and my biggest son didn't have any homework either. We did a lot... and more than that, we WERE a lot. Just together. No pressure, no schedule, no appointments... that was a blessing to me."

"Our family grew! We welcomed our second child in July and out of all the hardships this year brought, our son is a day of sunshine in all the grey and brings us so much joy."

"This year has brought my husband, daughter and I closer together and may have saved my marriage, which has been on the rocks in the past two years. I’ve fallen back in love with him and he with me and we have a stronger bond than we have ever had. My 9-year-old daughter, while she has struggled with the confinement and other restrictions, has also been able to open up to me a lot about her feelings and we have found strength and support in each other. Even our dog feels more than ever a part of our loving little unit. Silver linings indeed."

"My husband & I are expecting our first baby in April 2021 so this year we have enjoyed spending so much time together making little memories at home before we become parents."

"My grandson Simon was born in March. Although I cannot travel to see him because of Covid restrictions, I love him dearly."

"My son was born early this year and due to remote working I was at most a few meters away from every milestone of his first year! To be honest I wouldn't mind the same for his second year, since crèches may be closed I spent more time with my wife this year since we were students at the University together. I grew my professional skills this year more than the 5 last ones combined. I enjoyed home cooked food almost every day. Saved a ton of money by not going out."

"My baby was born June 2020"

"With my husband working from home, he’s been able to see every milestone of our baby. He would have missed a much if he was working in the office."

"This year, I saw my little kiddo walk with his tiny legs. My in-laws were with us for 6 whole months, as expats those were the happiest days. When the whole world was in pain due to Covid, we had a big support . I spent lot of time with my hubby because he had wfh. My YouTube channel got monetised, I felt so capable and happy. I received many 50€ voucher from Ville de Luxembourg. I was on cloud 9. Now I got headphones from RTL Today on Christmas celebration event. Am extremely happy on every little things which I've received. This year we did not go out for vacation, we were lonely but other little things filled our life with unforgettable memories and happiness. Though we faced many problems, few happiness lasts longer than sadness."

"Two beautiful grandchildren arrived for us, Phoebe in February and Reggie in December. We just need to wait to see them in Australia."

"We adopted a wonderful cat and she is such a joy for us in these days."

"Got to spend more time with family members who could not get back to their home after visiting because of the lockdown"

"I had more time for myself: this allowed me to start practicing yoga regularly and to have daily walks in the nature. I had also the chance to work some weeks from my home-country, staying some extra-time with my family"

Health

"Daughter is stable after 18 months of chemotherapy, which ended in April.."

"I survived ovarian cancer at 38."

"I have lost 15kg of weight, made some friends along the way and grew closer to some people who I can can now call family. I have learnt the things we all take for granted, this being family and friends for myself as I have not been able to see my family and some of my friends for a year in some places. 2020 has been rubbish across the world but for me it has been the year of smashing your goals and learning not to underestimate what you have in life." - Dan

"Went on diet, started to exercise 5 times a week and managed to loose 8 kilograms between August and today. Can now finally wear stuff hanging in my wardrobe :)"

"That the vaccine is here!"

"I did not get Covid. That was surely my biggest positive of 2020. Other positives included more of a focus on doing what is really important to me, less pollution in the city, going back to basics - improved air and water - by getting a ventilation system and water softener in my house, and also seeing my adult children a lot more because their near-non-existent social lives left more time for mom. :):):)"

"The year has been kind to me than what could have happened when considering all that has been happening. Living alone I was scared when 1st lockdown started, but soon discovered strength through several mental and spiritual workshops that made me appreciate my skills and identify my strengths. I was able to channel my thoughts to improve my personal state, I read more than I have in last few years, I was able to change jobs and my savings doubled!"

Love and friendships
"I got married :D"

"I got married ??"

"We’ve got married despite Covid-had a beautiful wedding with 20 guests only-I think the spirit wouldn’t be the same if there would be 200 people, including distant family members which you have to invite only, because that’s how it should be. We are gay so it would be even more complicated."

"2020 taught me and my partner what things are really important in life and what is not needed at all. Thanks to teleworking I stopped wearing a make up and lost weight, as I cooked healthy dishes at home. Still best we had in 2020 - we get married and will have a baby (lockdown generation ;-))."

"I found love! From loving myself more, to new deep friendships to a new partner."

"Because of the odd situation of mostly staying around my home I got really befriended with two persons living next to me - it started with walks in a safe distance and now we hope to invite each other to our homes when the situation finally permits it:)"

And, well.. the other side of love.

"Due to the confinement earlier in the year, my wife and I spent a lot of time together. This time enabled us to realise that we do not belong together and that deep down, we really dislike each other. How is this good? I'm FREE!!! We got separated and are awaiting our divorce. I cannot wait to receive the judgement and start a new life without her nagging and constant criticism. Covid has given me a new hope that I will once again find happiness and joy in life."

Work, skills, and education
"I found a job after three years of desperate search without a work permit."

"I started my own research group on space robotics (SpaceR), got many research projects funded and I created 20 job positions."

"I learned working with Tibetan bowls and soundhealing."

"I graduated as a fully qualified commercial pilot!"

"During the Covid pandemic my family and I decided to sign op for a Luxembourgish beginners course in our Gemeng"

"To tell the truth I’m so thankful this year, even with all these crazy things happened in the world. I’m creating a company that I was dreaming before, I’m so happy that I do things that I love. Also this year bring me so bright and clear people to my life, I hope that this is a truly friendship. During the lockdown I’m appreciate the time spending with my family and my kids) we were walking in the forest, playing together, baking, cooking, drawing... and that the most emotional moments on our life, even if you need one glass of wine in the evening, when you kids are sleeping, at last ))))"

"I've been promoted :)"

"Received a job offer before Christmas!"

"I learnt a new skill late last year and finished certification early this year. I found a job after 3 years of maternity break and work with great people now. I bought an apartment too. 2020 has been a great year on professional and personal front for me."

"Working from home all the time. Painting a lot. Friends got friendlier."

"Started to learn to play drums. listened to dozens of podcasts on various subjects from history to law and music theory and psychology. spent more time with family. walked over 400 miles. played new and old board games."

"It was one of the happiest year, despite anything. I found a new passion in life - boxing classes, which helped me to develop myself and meet new amazing people. I loved to have much time to be with those who I love, talk to the kids, slow down from the crazy life rhythm. Last, but not least, - I have grown the tastiest tomatoes I ever tried in my own garden! God bless Luxembourg for making this year nicer and easier for us)"

"Got graduated , and got my permanent resident permit :)"

"Built a new global professional network"

"I’ve gotten a 54/60 in Physics"

"I completed my "stage" two weeks ago and can finally call myself professor in education!"

"I learnt to make Mandalas which are almost like meditation where hours go by and you still want to continue"

"I found an internship despite being rejected from 4 others in their final stage due to Covid :)"

"I got a new job and a big raise of 50 percent. I got a new apartment in Bonnevoie and its fantastic. I was very lucky with women also this year. In general this was actually a very good year for me. Considering I had multiple eye surgeries in the years before, this was a dream come true."

"I was able to attend a lot of online classes and workshops, deepening my knowledge of Pilates! I would otherwise have had to travel great distances and spent tons of money to have accessed the same amount of education and development (:"

And, well, all the rest!

"I saved money because I could not buy and travel as I want!"

"I saw a deer in my garden eating my roses at a time i was usually far away at work ;) and with the time gain from not commuting I finally managed to put the drapes to my window... after a wait of 7 years..."

"I spent Q1-2020 on unpaid leave / sabbatical in the Seychelles & Western Australia having the time of my life! This time off was planned for 1.5 years so I could commit to volunteering in an environment program on North Island, Seychelles, then I went on to WA for what was supposed to be 6 weeks, but...I ended up not being able to return to Luxembourg until early Sept. However, there’s nowhere else on earth I’d rather have been “stuck” than beautiful NW Western Australia. I felt safer there than I do here (it’s less densely populated) and even during the down under winter I could comfortably get out for lots of walks and spend time on isolated, uncrowded beaches. Coming back here was stressful especially now we’re in lockdown."

"New House"

"Everything! I moved here from my origin country, found a job where they respect me, fell in love with the country, found amazing people that I can call friends, I lost weight. I’m happy"

"1) a big mystery has finally been solved, and our life is now a new and better one 2) 3 lovely little mice joined our family 3) isn't teleworking the most wonderful thing? Love it!!! 4) new kitchen table :-) 5) finally re-painted my daughter room (something I should have done years ago) 6) discovered a new lifestyle that suit us a lot more than the previous one 7) invented a new way to have summer holidays and guess what? We'll stick with that way in future too!!!!! 8) after years, we explored the forest nearby and discovered a lot of wonderful paths. Actually, we would need some more time as there is still a lot to explore 9) the weather during the first lockdown, do you remember it? A sheer blessing 10) I could go on for hours, we all have so many wonderful things in our lives and we shouldn't wait to low them to appreciate them..."

"I saw a deer while walking in the forest at the back of our place. That’s the only thing I can think of, this year has been pure s*%t??"

"Chess!! Time with family!! Cycling"

"2020! Never forgettable, got a lot of major savings in my 30’s. And turned to lead a new way of life with positivity"

"+ we bought our first house! + we're trying for a baby + I'm almost done with my Master's degree + we went hiking over 15 times + My health has improved tremendously + started learning Luxembourgish and improving faster that was planned"

"I love that I do not have to turn down children’s birthday parties that are usually held at unhygienic places because there aren’t any invitations during a Covid times."

"I moved to Luxembourg where already two of my friends live. Fortunately everything went very good in regards to the moving in and other than these measures in the end of the year, all is actually quite good. I'm also looking forward to building a snowman perhaps with my pals." - Aidas

"My family and I moved to Luxembourg, beating the Brexit deadline, to become residents."

"2020..a year that shook the world to its core. The year in which over billions suffered COVID and many lives were lost, a year in which simple things like going to a movie with friends, visiting parents in the home country or even going to work became daunting tasks. Can I think of anything good that happened in this tainted, infamous year? Well yes I can. I recall the unrushed lazy days and months where we all did our office /schooling from home & sat together on the table for lunch. When we went out for walks together as a family every evening, and had wonderful conversations with our children (with our teenager too!), when we cooked dinners together and the kitchen was bursting with energy and excited chatter, when we prayed together in the evening and thanked God for keeping us safe and giving us these precious moments of closeness & pure joy amidst all the chaos going around in the world.... In fact the list can go on and on. There are many things in 2020 that I appreciate & am thankful for. I am sure others too must have experienced such islands of positivity in the turmoil that this year has been. Hope these precious moments of normalcy give strength to all of us to overcome this very abnormal year and look forward to a bright and healthy 2021." - Toshda Roy