2020 hasn’t been quite what anyone expected. I started this blog, looking back at my blog posts from November and then December 2019- and couldn’t help but giggle at my optimism for a New Year, knowing now, what was to come.
Thinking about February/March 2020 – you’d be forgiven for thinking it was the start of a Hollywood disaster movie that none of us had agreed to star in! The pandemic has led to a hugely transitional time for so many – it has changed our whole way of living and essentially turned the whole year on its head.
Many people I am sure may just want to write this year off, but I know I’ve actually learnt a lot, and as we are drawing ever closer to the end of 2020, I wanted to look back at some of the more positive things I’ve learnt. Despite its challenges, it would appear my optimism is still just as strong as it was this time last year!
What 2020 has taught me (so far!)
1. A simple life
One major thing I think lockdown has taught all of us is that we don’t need that much to be happy.
In ‘normal’ times we are all so busy and we fill so much of our lives with ‘things’ we think add up to a happy life – from regular shopping trips, to a packed social diary and even a struggle to keep an effective work/life balance. We’re always searching for ‘more’ and the simple routine of everyday life seems like something we must embellish or even escape from.
Once we were all told to stay at home, almost overnight our lives simplified, and some of our more humble every day routines started to feel more like treats. Sharing meals together with family who would normally have been at work, discovering new walks right outside our own doorsteps, or having the time to phone or video call with a friend. This newfound appreciation for some of the simpler joys in life, is something I hope to hold onto even as life returns slowly to our ‘new normal’.
2. Spending time wisely and with intention
When we’re caught up in the hustle and bustle of busy life, we may find ourselves spending a large amount of time with people and making plans. One thing I found relief from in lockdown was having a break from those pressures and just enjoying spending my time exactly how I wanted to. My inner introvert loved the enforced ‘quiet’ time and, it is a good lesson for us all to use our time and choices wisely.
Balancing the time, you need for yourself and your loved ones can often be quite difficult, but lockdown again helped me set my intentions with clearer aim. It was lovely to rediscover the genuine desire to nurture and enjoy important relationships rather than just following social norms and expectations.
3. Slowing down
Our modern lives have convinced us that a fast-paced lifestyle is best, and we fall into a trap of expectation that we need to achieve, gain and have more and more. However, lockdown brought our modern pace of living to a screeching halt and thankfully, most people have welcomed the chance to slow down.
The days and weekends spent at home encouraged a gentler pace of life. For example, daily walks in the middle of the day allowed us to reconnect with nature, and the lack of social obligations left us with a lot more time to spare. With most people working from home and many workplaces closed altogether, it definitely helped to remove some of the rushed, stressed feeling we have in our everyday lives.
4. Unlocking our creativity
By taking a step back from the busy outside world, and the constant waves of entertainment it offers, we all had to start relying more on ourselves to find ways to keep our minds and spirits occupied from inside our homes.
Many of us rediscovered old hobbies, or found new hobbies, ways to entertain ourselves. Quizzes with friends and family, cooking, creating, writing, making, learning, exercising. It is like we all remembered we had the power to choose how we fill our days. Without the sometimes overwhelming influence of the outside world we all had greater clarity and vision for creativity.
Watching people turn towards themselves to find inspiration, instead of always looking for distractions elsewhere, has been satisfying to say the least. As I said before, we really don’t need that much stuff to be happy.
2020: The Rollercoaster
I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that lockdown and 2020 has been a complete rollercoaster. As well as the usual personal challenges we all go through every year, the backdrop of a global crisis unfolding around us will make 2020 an unforgettable year for the vast majority of us.
As we get closer to the end of the year, I hope I am forgiven for looking back and evaluating some of what 2020 has shown us a little early.
It goes without saying that this year has been tough. Many of us have spent so much time battling the worries and concerns about what would happen next; working out how we could stay financially secure; planning out our next moves with constantly changing scenarios and next to no certainty.
For me, I can say with the negatives, there have been some positives and I want to acknowledge and appreciate them.
Looking back over 2020, what are some of the positives you can see? What lessons have you learnt?
I recently read a quote that said we live our lives forwards, but understand them backwards, and I think lockdown and 2020 may just be a perfect example of this.