2020. What a year. I know many people can relate when I say that 2020 was not my favorite year. Between a pandemic, a breakup, and the general loss of normality – life was weird for me this year. That said, 2020 did teach me a lot! Here are some lessons I learned in 2020.
Lessons learned in 2020
I don’t need much to stay entertained
I am just going to be honest here. At the beginning of the lockdown, I thrived. I had nowhere to be, no plans to make (or avoid), and I was living my happiest introvert life. I loved the escape from FOMO or obligation as I stayed cozily and happily at home. Honestly my life didn’t really change too much during the lockdown except for the fact that I had to wipe down my groceries (remember when we did that?) This experience has taught me that I really don’t need to do much to stay entertained – I’m totally content just hanging around at home!
I love working from home
This year brought a flexibility to workplaces which will likely change corporate life forever. Like most people, I started working from home in March and there is no end in sight. Honestly, I adore working from home. I love waking up a minute before work, checking emails over breakfast, doing laundry over lunch, nipping out to Starbucks whenever, and not having to pack a lunch. I’ve always been very protective of my work/life balance, and I actually feel that it’s stronger than ever now! Being at home makes work feel like less of an intrusion on my life, and more like something that just…fits into my life, yanno? Also, working in sweatpants is the best.
Breakups are hard
I went through my first real breakup this year. It sucked, to put it lightly. I have never cried so many tears (and I cry a lot). I can’t say I’m grateful for the experience, but I do feel like I’ve now gone through a quintessential life experience. There’s a reason there are sooo many songs written about heartbreak! Since experiencing it myself, I have more empathy for people going through breakups, divorce, or emotional hardship than I ever did before. There is something very unique about heartache that you can’t understand until you go through it.
I started dating for what is really the first time in my life. (Last time I tried dating I ended up with my “first swipe” for 3 years). I haven’t been as lucky this time around, and dating as an almost-30 year old is…a roller coaster. Dating during a pandemic adds another level to the ride – the most romantic thing a guy did for me this year was get rapid tested so that we could go on a date.
You can get used to anything
My family has a German phrase which I will now butcher: “Man gewöhnen zich an alles.” It means, “A human being can get used to anything.” I like to interpret it as both a comfort and a caution. You can get used to anything, good or bad – even a pandemic! Remember when seeing people in masks felt so strange? Now it feels totally normal. Humans are so adaptable and resilient. That said, I would love to get used to “the old normal” again.
Family > everything
2020 has definitely been a year centered around family. With literally nowhere to go but home, I’ve spent a lot of time with family. Early into the pandemic, my local family decided we were in each other’s “bubbles,” and that if the ship went down, we were going down together. My family has gotten so close this year, and the pandemic has made it abundantly clear how important family is. I couldn’t have gotten through this year without the support and company of my people. I’ve even moved in with my parents, which has felt much more natural than it probably should…
Mental health matters
I know a lot of people have experienced mental health difficulties this year, and I’m no different! Between going through a breakup, moving out of my own place, and the whole pandemic thing, I’ve felt very adrift this year. I’ve been seeing a great therapist for the past few months which has been so helpful for keeping me sane.
What lessons have you learned in 2020?
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This year has tested us all in very untimely and unwanted ways. You have the solution though, that is always great to share. Thanks for sharing your story.