Lessons from 2020: What Will You Carry Forward
2020 has been surreal. A year like no other. A year we will never forget, regardless of how much we try. For all these reasons, most people are more than ready to forget 2020. But are you sure there lessons from 2020 you want to carry forward?
Whether you’ve struggled or thrived amid 2020’s challenges, you’ve likely experienced unprecedented growth. Perhaps it was learning to live with uncertainty or learning how to work or study remotely? Whatever your challenge, for all of 2020’s hardships, it has also been a year marked by accelerated learning. Now is time to take stock and ensure you carry these lessons forward to 2021 and beyond.
What did you learn about navigating adversity?
Although Covid-19 has been hard on our elders, data on mental health shows that older people have coped with quarantine more effectively than younger people. Wisdom and previous experiences navigating adversity appear to have helped. As recently reported in Science Daily, greater resilience is also a key factor.
Given the evidence that living through a challenging experience may help one face adverse situations in the future, take time out to consider what you’ve learned about navigating adversity over the past year? What strategies or coping mechanisms can you permanently adopt? What will you do next time you face adversity on this scale or a smaller scale?
What did you learn about relationships?
Relationships with friends, family, and coworkers have all suffered during the pandemic. The experience has also offered many profound lessons about our relationships. As 2020 draws to a close, ask yourself what you’ve learned about relationships over the past year.
What have you discovered about your spouse that you didn’t know in the past? What have you learned about your family members? What friends have dropped off the radar, and who has been more present? What does this tell you? How many people in your life were there due to convenience rather than a genuine connection?
Take stock, reflect, and look for patterns. Also, invest time in those relationships that have brought you the most joy.
What were you surprised to know you could accomplish?
In 2020, we were challenged to show up in so new, different, and uncomfortable ways. We don’t necessarily want to relive all of these experiences. For example, I discovered that teaching kindergarten is hard work. In the process, I gained an even deeper admiration for my children’s public school teachers. I also discovered the deep sense of accomplishment one achieves when passing on even foundational skills to young people.
What did you discover about yourself or someone else? Reflect on things you did for the first time in 2020? Perhaps, you found yourself teaching basic math or running a music class for elementary school students. Maybe, you found yourself fixing a home appliance or doing your home plumbing.
Once you have reflected on what you’ve learned, take this reflection one step further and articulate what you learned about living on terror’s edge. Taking time to list what you learned about yourself in the process is a powerful activity.
What did you learn about being at your best?
When routines vanish, we start to appreciate what we value most. I discovered that if I have alone time alone each morning to reflect, write, and engage with clients, I am a better and kinder person. As it turned out, I need more solitude than I thought I did.
What did you learn about being at your best? Do you need an office to work, or are you actually at your best on the sofa or at your kitchen table? Do you need people and daily contact to thrive, or are you at your best with more solitude? How has flexible work helped or hindered your performance? Reflect and take note of any new patterns or
What did you learn about finding joy in your everyday life?
There is so much that I am eager to reembrace. Like so many people, I miss hugging my friends, meeting strangers, and exploring my community. Yet, in 2020, I have become grateful for many new things, people, and practices.
Where did you find joy this year? Did you discover a new recipe? A new way to connect with friends or family members living in other states or countries? A new way to unwind and recharge? When your go-to sources of joy disappeared in early 2020, what replaced them? How can you keep tapping these sources of pleasure post-pandemic?
What did you learn about the power of Lemonade?
2020 was a shitty year. It was also a year that many of us did things we never thought possible.
We weighed complex and complicated situations. We made good choices to keep loved ones safe. We learned to use technology in new ways. We discovered how to set boundaries, even with loved ones. We forged new virtual friendships, and in some cases, renewed old friendships. We even discovered how to stay fit without access to gyms and beloved instructors.
How did you make lemonade in 2020? More importantly, how will you respond next time life throws you a curveball?