With the advent of 2020, we learnt that the year has taught us a lot of things about ourself, our relationship, our passions and our values. As we made our 2019 New Year’s resolutions we had nothing but hope for not just a fresh year, but a fresh decade to make our own. More memories, more adventures, more travel!
As the saying goes, Man proposes and God Disposes. So it be for the year 2020 as it had other plans. If we could take the pandemic away in an instant we would, but we can’t and so instead we look for the silver lining. From tough times come tough lessons, personal growth and learning opportunities. Here we’re reflecting back on what 2020 has taught us.
2020 has surprised, rather shocked us beyond our imagination.
We’ve seen weeks when flamingos freely walked on streets and the air quality improved which was good news for everyone.
We’ve also experienced times when somebody else’s demise, felt like a personal loss — be it a Bollywood star or a relative. Many of us also faced the death of our very near and dear one, creating a vacuum that can never be filled.
But in all the situations we’ve faced this year, there’s been a sense of community. Every event in our lives has given us a reason to keep growing. So what are these precious life lessons that we’ve learnt in last year?
11 Life Lessons we learn from 2020?
1. Learn to be yourself.
There’s no time like right now to just be yourself. When they say you can become whatever you want it is true. Your only limit is you. You can be anything and you can change course at age 30, 40, 50, 60, 70. Age is just a number! The key thing is that you can’t be everything. Whatever it is that you choose to do and be, make sure it is your choice and not what your parents, partner, family or friends think. Loving ourselves despite changes in our mental health, weight, income, social life, work environment and your surroundings was key to surviving last year.
2, Find happiness in simple things
You need darkness in order for there to be light, and so having everything shut, cancelled and taken away from us has resparked the joy of small, happy moments. The way the sun shines through autumn foliage. A still moment of respite found drinking coffee in a sunny window. Biting into a fresh croissant from your local bakery. These things we didn’t think too much of in 2019, but in last year they became our moments of true happiness.
And in 2021, well just imagine how incredible and elevated the emotion of travelling, experiencing new cultures, meeting new people and ticking off bucket list experiences will be when we can tour again.
3. Take care of your mental health first.
Physically, the pandemic was harming us, and mentally, it was ruining us. 2020 was the year we all learnt how important it is to be mentally healthy. Whether it was at home or work, everyone started putting their mental health first. Many companies even allowed their employees to take a day off if they “just weren’t feeling it”… and that is real progress.
4. True relations were revealed.
It can be funny how difficult times show us the truth about life and about the people around us. It was the period that revealed who really mattered us and who don’t ? Did any of your relationships or friendships fizzle out or reignite during last year? Maybe the Zoom video calls were a chance to reconnect with friends on the other side of the world, or maybe you realised the people you spent the most time with didn’t add anything or inspire you or get beside you in your worst time.
5. Be consistent
You can make all the New Year’s Resolutions in the world, but following through is the real work. We are a by product of our actions, not our goals. So if you want something to happen you – and only you – can make it happen. Mastering any new skill, starting a new business, renovating a space or saving for future travel takes time. Start today and be consistent.
6. Maintain relationships with friends and colleagues.
One personal thing I learned in this whirlwind year is the importance of staying connected to people, even while isolating. You need to take care of your own mental health, as well as reach out to people to make sure that they are okay. Professionally, I’ve refined my skill of writing and presenting blogs to you and also the requirement that people needs at this time.
7. Practised Gratitude.
Tough situations present the greatest opportunities for gratitude. The year 2020 has had more than its fair share of tough situations. These situations have taught us to be grateful for what we have rather than be remorseful for what we don’t!
In a world where we begin every new year with a list of countries we want to visit, we learned to be grateful for the nature and greenery around our houses. In a world where we want to visit all the new restaurants in our city, we learned to appreciate home food. In a world where large social circles were almost non-negotiable, we learned to appreciate our family and closest friends. This year has made us realise that it is gratitude that leads to happiness, and not the other way around!
8. Developing a positive outlook.
It’s easy to spot negativity and get really down when looking through a narrow lens. You need to zoom out: like, way out! With that perspective, it’s even easier to see that people are good, the world is good, and life is all good. During these unanticipated times, works at all level has been fraught with various challenges and inconsistencies. Thus, I’ve found it so important to have a positive outlook in the limited resources and opportunities that the year provided, the positive outlook can only help you proceed ahead.
9. Never stop learning
One of the great joys of life is to learn new skills, new languages, new recipes, new crafts, new sports and new cultures. When the world stopped around us, we moved around our home searching for new opportunities and thereby learning new skill. We watched TV shows that took us to far-flung locations. We experimented with new recipes from cuisines we hadn’t tackled before. And, of course, we brushed up on a foreign language.
10. All changes starts with awareness.
This is one of those lessons that I continue to learn over and over again. We can’t alter our self-destructive patterns or limiting beliefs if we don’t know they’re there. We can’t overcome our insecurities or heal our triggers if we can’t see them. The first step is always, always awareness.
And sometimes, awareness is all it takes.
I find it especially helpful when my mind starts to race off into unnecessary drama or anxiety. If I catch myself starting to freak out over something my boyfriend did or didn’t do, or worry about what someone is going to think about something, or start to stress over the future… if I can create just enough space — just a split second pause — to take a step back and see my mind racing, I can avoid blindly following it into freak out mode.
There have been times when I have literally said to myself in my head, “Wow, look at you go. Look at you all worked up.” It may sound funny but it creates enough space for me to realize that if I can see those thoughts, I’m not those thoughts. And if I’m not them, then I have a choice in the matter. That allows me to relax a little, view the situation from a level head, and ultimately make better decisions about how to react in any given situation.
11. Living life on a daily basis.
The year gone by taught me that whenever we want to take on a big challenge or a big change, if we look too far into the future, it can become too big and scary and overwhelming. And while yes, looking ahead for planning purposes is necessary sometimes, we can’t let our minds stay there too long. Because all we can ever do at any given moment is take the next step. And that’s my advice for any goal or change anyone wants to tackle.
Don’t look too far into the future and let that freak you out and convince you to never move forward. Just take the first step. Then realize you’re okay — your world didn’t fall apart. Then take the next step. And so on and so on.