Banana bread – the unexpected lesson from 2020

2020 has left us all a bit battered and bruised, but one of the most important lessons we’ve learned this year is that no matter how many battered and bruised bananas we have lying on the countertop, banana bread is ABSOLUTELY NOT THE ANSWER.

Ok, I’ll admit, my experience of banana bread doesn’t necessarily mirror everyone else’s. Some of you might even have loved this vile ‘cake’. Ours didn’t turn out very well and I never want to see its like again but if I’m being fair, even ours brought with it some unexpected and surprising lessons!


With everything that went on during that first never-ending lockdown, banana bread was a good old-fashioned distraction. Yes, it gave us something to with those blasted bananas, and more often than not what was made was inedible (well in my house anyway!) But we also got an energy, a comfort, a resilience that supported us through what we were facing.


As humans, we have the most incredible ability to survive. We get knocked down but we get up again (you’ve got that song in your head now, don’t you!) And on top of survival, we find humour in the darkness, we experience joy in the pain, we see kindness in the chaos and we dig deep to levels of energy that keep us going through the exhaustion. When we take the time out to stop, breathe, rest, and create (and let’s be honest here, for some of us, the only place for our creations is the bin!), we find ways to experience life in a very real way and to thrive through those really tough times.


For all its faults, the banana bread horror is a wonderful reminder of how creative, humorous, courageous, energetic, and connected we can be. This is where our depths of resilience lie. When we focus on what we can control, we gain a sense of empowerment and safety in the midst of the chaos. By challenging ourselves to do something new we grow from our learnings. Through connecting over the funny stories and inedible creations we strengthen our relationships even if we are apart from each other.


Yes, banana bread will forever be consigned to the darkest annals of history, never to be resurrected, but perhaps it’s legacy is a shared smile, a comforting story, a warm light in the midst of a difficult time.


And who knows, if banana bread can teach resilience, then maybe there’s some hope yet for my Christmas pudding!


By Niamh Gaffney