We’re just a few weeks from the turn of the year, and through work and life, I’ve seen a distinct shift in people’s focuses in the past few days. 2020 has taken a toll on so many of use, but I think it’s taught us a lot, as well. Or, I should say, it’s definitely taught me a lot. I made a commitment a couple years ago to take the time to reflect on things I’ve learned throughout the year and this year, especially, I feel as though focusing on those lessons is more important than ever. So, I wanted to share my life lessons from 2020; what I’ve learned about myself, what I’ve learned about my family, and things I hope to carry into 2021, as well.
Life Lessons from 2020
Before the year changes, I think it’s important to look back at what I’ve seen done, felt, and experienced throughout the year. It’s safe to say that 2020 has been a year like no other, but I’m excited to mix things up and live through even bigger changes in 2020 – especially implementing these learnings. Ready?
It’s okay to do things differently
Just because we’ve done something one way for a long time doesn’t mean that it’s the right way. Every routine, pattern, and perception we had about everyday life was thrown for a loop in March when Washington state went into its first quarantine. This year and this pandemic has forced me to examine my priorities and, while scary, take some serious leaps of faith for a better 2021.
Sometimes simple is better
When everything first shut down, I remember crying to Ryan and saying I didn’t know how we’d do it trapped inside all day. And we struggled at first…I won’t lie. But we also found a rhythm and a joy in simplicity. We had meals together. We took family walks through the fields by our house, and we were able to watch Mieke take her first steps together as a family. You can’t put a price tag on those moments.
It is important to have a backup plan
When I lost my job of eight years in April, the proverbial rug was ripped out from under me. It left us reeling and, although I was blessed to find great freelance work and stay busy, I also learned that I had taken that tenure at my job for granted, never actually implementing a backup plan. 2020 has forced me to evaluate my work and create multiple avenues for success.
Food storage is important
Hear me out. We hear a lot through our church that it’s important for your family to implement food storage. I’ve been lazy, and I took those teachings for granted a lot, going to the store whenever I wanted. When things shut down, however, I learned the importance of preparations, and I made a point of ensuring we had essentials for the next lockdown, which has helped us immensely.
We can make a significant positive change in our environment – now
When life shut down in March, i-5’s traffic dwindled, and the smog lifted. The beaches were clear. The air was fresh. Scientists noted the shift all around, too; it wasn’t just isolated to us. 2020 taught us a lot about how our constant go-go-go mentality affects the air pollution and environment in real-time, and I hope that we see just how much things need to change.
Mental health is so important
I thought I was an introvert before this, but if there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that I may be socially awkward, but I thrive on human interaction and contact. We are sharing a collective trauma right now; one of chaos and uncertainty, and it’s absolutely important to find what helps you, take a mental health day, and focus on yourself.
Honestly, I feel like there is so much more I could add to this list as I reflect on my life lessons from 2020. Things aren’t the way they were before, and some of that is for the better. Some of these lessons have simply forced us to take a hard look at our lives, trim the proverbial fat, and focus on what’s truly important. I’m optimistic for an exciting year ahead with a big move and huge changes on the horizon. For now though, I’m content to spend a simpler holiday season together.
Tell me – what has 2020 taught you?