Goodbye, 2020: 10 Things You Taught Me
Hi everyone- we made it to the new year! Anyone else still in disbelief that year from hell is over? Here’s to only uphill from here!
I don’t have the best memory in the world, and I move on from things really fast because there’s always a hundred new things happening in my life. There’s so many things that happened this year big and small that I keep forgetting were a thing (like remember the tiger king phase lol? And the Dolly Parton challenge??) #throwback
I’m no stranger to difficult years- I’ve had lots of practice at those. But I still don’t understand how everyone I know made it through this year the way we did. Truly just speaks to the resilient nature of the human spirit. I guess it shows we’re less fragile than we think we are, and I think this year’s made me realize that entirely. Never knew I had it in me to get through a global pandemic, but here we are, almost on the other end, almost there.
So here are some thoughts and things I learned looking back on my year. As always I’m grateful to God for getting me through it all!
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language, and next year’s words await another voice”— T.S. Elliot
1) Being a college student means something completely different to me now. My heart hurts so much for everyone graduating during this time, but I also have so much respect for those who are. I also have immense respect for everyone who had to make the hard decision to put a break on college, or stop it completely. College is hard, COVID or no COVID. And I don’t think college students get enough credit for the huge burden on our shoulders with the pandemic.
2) The unknown future is one of the scariest things. I’m trying to be better at not freaking out over things that have yet to ever happen. Managing that fear helps me live in the present so much more.
3) Protecting your health is a *virtue*. We are given one body to live with for the rest of our lives, and a lot of us can do better. So many around me went through major health scares this year. I’m also going into 2021 knowing I have lotsa doctor visits and possibly a surgery ahead of me. It’s made me realize just how much I need to improve in multiple areas of wellness. Nobody can force you to do better at the end of the day- it sucks, but your health is completely up to you to manage.
4) Adulting sure is a glamorous thing (SARCASM!) So many times times this year, I remember wishing I was a carefree puppy who only worried about getting treats and cuddles. I’d give anything for a lack of responsibility and demand to care about scary things out of my control- now that’s glamorous to me. When you’re an adult you’re supposed to know all the answers, but the more “adult” I become, the more I realize I don’t know anything, truly. And I think many adults in general don’t know either, so there’s that at least.
5) Hobbies are SO important. You know the dreaded question of “what do you do for fun?” Well until COVID I didn’t realize how little “fun” things I did outside of seeing my friends. I have some hobbies, just not enough. Because you can only watch so much telly, read so many books, and talk to so many friends & family on the phone before going crazy! I realized that about a week into quarantine lol
6) You never know what anyone is going through unless they choose to share it with you. Being loving and being extra kind towards people isn’t something worth forgetting anytime soon.
7) There’s no point in comparing lives. Everybody is in a different point in their life, even if they’re the same age as you or living through the same experiences. Through social media I’ve learned that there are so many different pathways to get to the same place. Life is not a linear path to perfection for most people, even if it seems that way. Looking at someone’s life and comparing it to yours just doesn’t make sense, because it’s ignoring all of the context behind their life. I’ve always known, but only started believing it this year.
8) You should not feel bad for the good things that happened to you this year, just because it’s been an awful year for those around you. Be sensitive to others around you, of course. But you still have every right to feel proud & happy without feeling guilt/shame since others have it much worse. On the same note, you have every right to feel upset at terrible things that happened to you this year, without feeling guilt or shame for those feelings, because there’s people out there who had a worse go-around than you did. There will always be someone who has it worse- life is not a competition when it comes to that.
9) Social media shouldn’t make you feel bad about yourself. Blocking people, restricting things, unfollowing, and taking a break from it all if it’s constantly making you upset are completely wonderful things to practice more. With social media, I’m trying to use it more with intent rather than out of habit. I try to keep my social media a happy place that makes me feel better after using it, instead than worse. Paying attention to your feelings when you get on social media is a really good way to realize what makes you happy online and what doesn’t. At the end of the day, it’s your online platform and you have every right to make it a happy place you completely enjoy.
10) Routines are a wonderful, wonderful thing. I think life is about having a good balance of spontaneity and routine- but I struggle with the last part. I know it’s hard to keep a solid routine when life is so unpredictable, but I’ve learned to really appreciate how much it makes you feel as if you have your life together- even if you really don’t (I sure don’t!). Routine can mean something different to everyone, but for me, the more routine I have, the more at peace I feel.
And that’s a wrap! Here’s to learning even more about ourselves + life in 2021. I pray those reading this who are still hurt from 2020 heal and find more happiness than pain this year. And I pray we all pivot forward and remember there are so many better times to look forward to.
“If all you can do is crawl, start crawling”-Rumi