Before we rush into 2021, let’s pause for a few minutes to look at what happened and learned from 2020. It is until we recognize and integrate our learnings that we can grow, evolve, and become a better version of ourselves.
The year 2020 was a year like never before. Let’s not end it as if it was another ordinary year, because it wasn’t.
20/20 a year of vision
For decades, the year 2020 was expected to be a year of 20/20 vision. A year to complete or clarify our life visions. Well, we were not disappointed.
Although the year turned out to be a year in which we could “see” better, we thought it would be a year of vision within the “normal” way of living, but it happened in a way we never expected it.
Even though the 2020 year has ended, it doesn’t mean we’re going back to normal. We shouldn’t. We went through a lot and it would be foolish of us not to take advantage of what we learned in the past 12 months.
So, let’s take this opportunity to “see” beyond what we’ve been seeing all our lives and create a “new and better normal,” and a new and clearer vision for the years to come.
You have to be living under a rock to not know that the entire planet was affected by a pandemic for most of the 2020 year. Consequently, the world slowed down as an effort to contain the COVID-19 virus.
This pandemic caused tremendous loss of close connection with friends and family, loss of loved ones, loss of health, loss of money, and loss of hope. Although not everyone had a loss, for sure we were all forced to snap out of the routines we were in and with the extra time we had in our hands we started seeing and evaluating everything around us.
There’s nothing like a moment of threat to make us think deeply about our lives and the meaning of them. So, let’s not brush off what we learned last year. Instead, include it in your conscious memory to help you become more creative as you pivot to your “new normal.”
What we learned
During most of 2020 we’ve been able to clearly see what is really important to us, what really matter to us, and what is really essential to us. There was much learning from last year, but the few things I think most people learned were these:
We learned that it wasn’t easy to stay away from people. We are social beings and realized that we need to be near other people, especially those we love and appreciate (our pack). Not only do we need to be near people to chat and connect, but we also need physical touch. Never in our lives did we realize how much we needed to touch and hug. This is because touch in a safe and healthy way helps our brain release to the rest of the body the long-lasting hormone that makes us feel happy (oxytocin). So, hug your loved ones as often as possible. Start with those in your house for now.
We learned we could do without many material things in our lives. Due to the uncertainty of when businesses will open up again, and money continue to flow, many people have reduced their expenses. As a humanity, we learned that even though materials things are good to make our life easier, most of them are not necessary. We learned to see material things for what they are: tools, instead of using them a sense of security, identity, or self-worth.
We learned that we are very creative beings. Due to the world slowing down and people losing their jobs, many people had to become creative with their new free time. People started learning new things, doing artistic things they only wished they could do when their lives were packed with other things to they felt they “had” to do. Those needing an income, either started working from home, found new ways to earn money by creating new business models, or launched their online business. The main thing is that we learned to see that there are more options than the conventional way of earning money, spending our time, and entertaining ourselves.
We learned (or were reminded of) that life is fragile and it can end very quickly. After we started seeing how people died so quickly, how they died alone, or how someone we had known had died of COVID complications, we started to remember that we are not going to life forever. That this life is going to end and it could end very quickly. This made us realize of all the things we were grateful for and still wanted to experience. We rekindled our desire to live a long, healthy, and enjoyable life.
I hope you recognize these learnings and when the pandemic is over, you integrate them in your life as you continue to live. So, hug and kiss those you miss, love, and appreciate. Buy only things that make your life easier and not because it’s on sale or it’s the latest trend. Take advantage of your creativity and find a more pleasant way to earn money if you don’t have a job or need to make changes to the one you have. And, last but not least, appreciate you are alive and find ways to enjoy your remaining days on this planet.
Make no mistake that we all learned something—whether one of the learnings mentioned above or others. Make sure you identify your learnings, appreciate them, respect them, and apply them to your live as you continue to live, grow, and evolve.
Don’t focus on what went wrong or how bad you were affected. Living in negative emotions (fear, anxiety, doubt, anger) cannot help you see the good in your life nor the better opportunities and possibilities available to you.
Rather than thinking that life is just happening to you, choose to see life as a project for growth. With this perspective, it would be way easier for you to move to the positive-feeling emotions where you can experience contentment, satisfaction, happiness, clarity, peace, freedom, joy, and love, amongst others.
Take a few moments to recognize what 2020 meant for you and what you’ve learned. You feel better when you focus on the good you get out of any situation. So, focus on the good of 2020 and fill in the blank:
Had it not been for 2020, I would have not ______________." (seen, realized, grown, evolved, clarified, learned, etc.)
Even though we are not out of the woods yet, let’s apply what we have learned so far and pay attention to what we will continue to learn. Keep taking care of yourself, your loved ones, and other fellow beings by wearing your facemask and practicing social distancing.
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