As we approach the mid-way point of the year, I’m sharing the 2020 life lessons I’ve learned (so far).
Hello there and welcome to the mid-point of 2020, one of the most challenging years on record! I think we should all take a moment to appreciate and congratulate ourselves on making it to this point.
When the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve, I doubt anyone expected this is where we’d find ourselves in six months. And yet, while 2020 has been incredibly difficult in a number of ways – it’s also forced us to recognize what’s important in life and how we want to progress moving forward.
2020 Life Lessons I’ve Learned – So Far
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been reflecting quite a bit on what 2020 life lessons I’ve picked up throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and its fallout as well as the many other issues facing us around the globe. We have seen our economy stall, the job market largely vanish and many businesses close. In all my work, I’ve also seen the drastic changes each and every industry has had to make since March.
In addition to the global pandemic, we’ve also been confronted with the continued systematic racism that exists around the world and the need for long overdue reform. The unjust death of George Floyd prompted me to closely examine my own relationship with race as well as the reality that merely being a friend to the black community isn’t enough.
No doubt, 2020 has been a year filled with discomfort — which gives me hope that a better future is before us. Growth comes from stepping outside your comfort zone, after all, and we’ve all had to do so again and again this year in a number of ways.
As I look ahead to the next six months, there’s no telling where we could end up come January 2021. For now, these are 5 big life lessons 2020 has taught me to this point. I’m sure there are many more to come!
1. Not Being a Racist is Not Enough
George Floyd’s death was a horrible tragedy that never should have happened — but it did. It also was a huge wakeup call to me that laughing with and enjoying the company of the black community doesn’t mean I’m necessarily a strong ally. I have definitely witnessed racism in my life and let it go because I didn’t want to be seen as “difficult”. I chose not to use my voice and have those difficult conversations that need to be had.
At the top of my 2020 life lessons is the reality that anti-racism has to be an active part of my everyday life this year, next year and every year moving forward. I now see things in an entirely different way, recognizing that my own white privilege comes with responsibility. I amend to use my privileged position to be a better ally to the black community and fight with them for the change they have so long deserved.
2. Everything Can Stop – Fast
COVID-19 proved that the world I’m so accustomed to can very much all come to a crashing halt — quickly. Nothing has a safety net.
Everything and everyone has been proven vulnerable during the pandemic and as such, nothing should be taken for granted. That means your job, your freedom to travel around town or afar, family gatherings and something as simple as access to hand sanitizer can all stop in a day. Even quickly dashing to the grocery store when you want something has changed dramatically.
It’s been an eye-opening reality to be faced with but one that’s also really shown me what matters in life – and what to let go of.
Till this point, the notion of “balance” has been an area I’ve struggled with for years. I’ve struggled balancing my desire to say yes to and do everything with the need to also prioritize myself own wellbeing. I’ve listened to those that say “You can’t for others well unless you care for yourself first” for years, without actually taking that on.
Then COVID-19 happened and one of the biggest 2020 life lessons along with it. The pandemic pushed a large STOP button on everything, forcing me to let go of all I had clung to for so long. In a way, lockdown was a giant reset that I didn’t know I needed. It forced me to look at time, work, relationships and generally everything differently.
Sure, it was a painful way to finally make ‘balance’ a part of my life but the two months I spent in isolation really showed me its benefit. When my overall health and wellbeing is in a good place, I’m in a better position to serve the community around me.
4. Face Masks Are Not Weird
I vividly remember visiting The Met (remember museums? *sigh*) earlier this year and observing a sea of tourists in face masks. I remember thinking to myself how odd it must feel to wear them in public as part of your everyday attire. Now, less than six months later, I have a growing collection of face masks in a world that has entirely flipped the script. I now side-eye those in public who are NOT in a mask, seeing facial coverings as a sign of respect to those around you.
So no, face masks are not weird. Instead, they’re a wonderful thing to keep your community safe.
5. Cake is a Always Good Idea
Prior to 2020, I reserved cake for birthdays and other special occasions. Now? I think it’s a great thing to have on hand at all times – truly. Why not throw caution to the wind and treat yourself more often? It’s been a hard year and simply existing is enough to merit a slice of cake at the end of a long day in my book.
My favorite cake of the year, thus far? My veganized version of Ina Garten’s chocolate cake. I might not exactly be the best at ‘decorating’ a cake, but I sure enjoy making and eating it! #Yum
What 2020 Life Lessons Have You Learned Thus Far?
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While it might not be an actual ‘life lesson’, 2020 has reintroduced me to The Gap!
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