By now we’ve all said good riddance to 2020, a year we’d very much like to forget but probably never will. As the months went by and crisis after crisis continued to mount, we were forced to see ourselves – and those around us – more clearly. Adversity has a way of showing us what we’re truly made of.
I can honestly say that never in my lifetime have I experienced or in my wildest dreams imagined the chaos that befell us last year. Without a doubt, we all experienced some degree of sacrifice, many heartbreakingly so, but the majority of us emerged relatively unscathed. We found inner strengths we never knew we had.
Here’s a list of what I feel are some the most significant things we learned about ourselves in 2020:
• We’re way more resourceful than we ever imagined. We all found creative ways to work, shop and play, while staying distanced from others. Many of us adapted to supervising our children’s virtual educations, sewed masks or baked bread for the elderly and found innovative ways of communicating or connecting with family and friends. Zooming became a household word.
• We truly recognized, perhaps for the first time, the daily contributions and sacrifices our health care professionals, first responders and essential workers make on our behalf. Many have worked around the clock throughout the pandemic to the point of exhaustion and at the risk of their own lives.
• It’s important to stop swimming upstream once in a while. Many of us were actually forced to slow down, to take time to recognize what things in life are actually meaningful and necessary. We learned we don’t need as much stuff or constant activity in our lives as we once thought.
• There are people, small businesses and charities among us needing help. If we can, we should provide it. And it’s okay – and even important – to ask others for help sometimes.
• Detachment from that over which we have no control is essential to peace of mind. Sometimes we must simply go with the flow and trust that everything will work out.
• We can’t always get what we want when we want it. Think back to shortages of toilet paper, flour, eggs and milk. Amazingly, we discovered ways to get around the shortages and found we could actually survive without them until they were available.
• Kindliness is huge in some people.
• Taking a nap, when possible, is good for both physical and mental health.
• Having employees do their jobs from home actually works (as long as the job’s getting done). Being tethered to a desk in an office doesn’t necessarily mean productivity.
• Many of us have more patience than we thought, others not so much.
• Telemedicine is here to stay, and doctors’ waiting rooms can function without being packed with people due to overbooked appointments.
• Many of us discovered keeping company with ourselves didn’t necessarily mean feeling lonely.
• Cooking and baking at home has become fashionable again.
• Dogs living with families had the best year of their lives, cats probably not.
I know there are things I left out or others you might think of. The bottom line is we’ve kicked 2020 to the curb and learned that blessings are often found in adversity. Now let’s use the wisdom we’ve gleaned from this experience, folks, and end 2021 on a much higher note.
Happy New Year!
Lois Kindle is a freelance writer and columnist for The Observer News. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.