10 Lessons learned in 2020

December 28, 2020 Sandra Dawes

I don’t know about you, but 2020 isn’t ending the way I imagined it would. Truthfully, there’s very little about 2020 that I was prepared for, planned for, or was ready for. I was watching Death to 2020 on Netflix today and I had forgotten a lot of the things that happened earlier this year! If anything should tell you how the year was for me, I told my brother I was celebrating my 2nd wedding anniversary in a few weeks, when it will actually be our first. Zany Face on Google Android 11.0

Here are 10 lessons that I learned this year:

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    When the lockdown first started, I was looking forward to more time on my hands. With no commuting required and everything being done online, I was ready! It took a few weeks and dwindling interest in some of the projects I took on for me to realize that I had forgotten all of the other things that I had put on pause because of a lack of time. There were books unread, workouts neglected, and time for myself forgotten. I felt good, once I got back on track and made better use of my time!
  2. I am a diehard introvert.
    I may have mentioned this at the start of the lockdowns, but I don’t mind being told to stay at home and to avoid social interactions. I enjoy my time alone, and it has actually taken some getting used to having someone in my space a lot more than normal. I found peace in spending time in the garden this spring and summer and was quite pleased with the crops we managed to harvest this year! 🙂
  3. A lot of us take mental health for granted.
    For many, our mental health relies on social interaction. The inability to see family members, especially our elders, can be heartbreaking. I remember a few months ago, chatting with a senior who was on her way to the grocery store. She commented on the weather and we ended up chatting for about 20 minutes. She talked about how much she missed her family and the fact that they weren’t going to be able to travel this year. She talked about her deceased husband and got quite emotional. It reminded me that we all get lonely and need someone to talk to sometimes.
  4. Compassion, empathy, and sympathy are rare values in difficult times.
    I wrote a blog post about this after the George Floyd protests and the racial tensions that bubbled over this summer. Whether it’s not understanding the frustrations of a group of people who feel that they are being targeted and mistreated at a greater rate than others or challenging the need to wear a mask, I’ve seen the best and the worst of people this year. It’s amazing how we all deal with challenging times in different ways.
  5. Social media can be used to unite or divide us.
    I admit I watched a lot of Netflix this year. The documentaries on social media had me thinking differently about my relationship with social media. As a business owner, I understand the importance of being visible, on a personal level, I’m troubled by the levels of control and manipulation that can be exerted by powers beyond our reach. Political posts on either side elicit venom that makes me wonder if the conversations would be the same if they were face to face. Watching footage of protests with opposing parties trying to be heard, tells me it isn’t a more productive approach.
  6. It’s essential to be flexible.
    You may have heard the word pivot, this year. I feel like it was the word for the year. If you had a plan for 2020 and you didn’t find a way to adapt to the changing environment, then your chances of having a successful year were probably slim to none. Flexibility is key to success when it comes to your goals, whether a global pandemic is happening or not. I constantly remind myself that it’s more important to stay focused on the goal I want to achieve and not stay tied to how I envision it happening. If you wanted to continue to do things the way you were doing them last year, you were in for a big disappointment, unless you were already doing everything online!
  7. Slowing things down isn’t a bad thing.
    I admit I enjoyed the slower pace of this year. Not having to rush anywhere or feel bad about not attending an event that I ought to be at was a relief. I feel like I had more time to become aware of myself and how I was coping with the changing environment. In the early days of the lockdown when air travel had almost come to a complete stop, the sounds of nature seemed louder, birds songs sounded clearer and we even saw coyotes taking a late-night stroll in the park. I am comforted when I hear about the smog reductions and improved environment. While I understand that this means that jobs were lost and many are struggling, I’m glad Mother Nature got a break.
  8. Be careful about where you consume your news.
    We hear so much about Fake News and it seems like it’s hard to tell what is truth and what is fiction these days. I find myself fact-checking posts I read on social media and doing research on the things that others tell me. Call me a skeptic, but I find in these times, everyone’s got an opinion and many are treating those opinions as fact. There’s nothing wrong with having an opinion, but we should remain open to the idea that sometimes there are real facts that indicate the opinion is faulty. I think it’s important to remind ourselves that it’s okay to change opinions when the facts are clear and it doesn’t have to be a reflection of who we are.
  9. Everything has a silver lining if you’re looking for it.
    I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but I do believe that everything happens for a reason. As I mentioned in one of the previous lessons, the environmental improvements are definitely one of the silver linings as far as I am concerned. I think that the fact that we have been forced to spend more time with the people we live with has given us the opportunity to learn more about one another and maybe even reconnect in a way that had gotten lost somewhere along the way. Maybe you used the time you had to learn something new or return to a hobby you thought you didn’t have time for anymore. If you haven’t found a silver lining in the last 7 months, take some time to find one now.
  10. Every day is a gift!
    I know people who have lost loved ones this year, some to COVID-19, others due to other reasons. We often take our time for granted, thinking that we have unlimited time to do the things we want to, say the things we want to and let our loved ones know how we feel. I think that the fact that so many people have died without having loved ones by their side reminds us of how important it is to let the people we care about know how we feel whenever we get a chance.

2020 has been a hell of a year. For me, it started on a high note, getting married in Jamaica 🙂 Who would have thought just a few months later everything would shut down and we would have to wear a mask to go grocery shopping? A lot has changed this year, but I’m grateful to have survived and look forward to good things in 2021, are you? ♥

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