Lessons learnt in 2020

It goes without saying that 2020 has been a year like no other. Majority of this year has felt like the strange dream you have after watching a post-apocalyptic film before bed.

If there’s something I have gained from 2020, it is many lessons that I’ll be carrying forward with me. Sometimes the most trying times provide the most clarity.

01. / We’re way more adaptable than we give ourselves credit for. Change is always uncomfortable at first. But if we can just push through that first bit of uneasiness, it can lead to so many wonderful things. After moving to my uni town, then moving back home within the space of two months, I learnt that picking yourself up and doing what needs to be done is just part of life, no matter how unsettling it can be. But ultimately, change isn’t as debilitating as it may seem.

02./  I don’t know if it’s just me, but I have this instinct to hang on to people. It’s something I’ve had to work on in the past few years and this year I think I finally mastered the art of letting go with grace, once and for all. I’ve come to realise that the right people will always be there. You can’t control who stays and who goes. You can’t force anyone into your life. You can’t make people care. But you can nurture the relationships that add value to your life, care for the people you love and allow the natural process of letting go of people to run its course. No hard feelings. You simply cannot hold onto everyone forever. You don’t have to be best friends with everyone. It’s okay to have acquaintances too. Just like with everything else, quality over quantity always seems to win.

03./ Just because you grew up in the same community as someone doesn’t mean you share the same values or sense of social responsibility. I guess it’s normal, even if it was a little bit of a shock at first. Part of growing up is growing into yourself and establishing what’s important to you. And sometimes that means drifting apart from people who don’t value the same things as you. It can be hard. But it’s natural and normal.

04./ Balance isn’t always possible in the everyday. Sometimes, things are busy and work or academics have to come first for a while. I’ve realised that its important to adjust back to some semblance of balance at some point, but having busy periods is okay. Every day doesn’t have to be balanced in order to have a balanced life. There are seasons of busyness and seasons of calm. Everyone’s life looks a little different and trying to fit someone else’s routine into your every day isn’t necessary or even helpful. Just do what will serve you well in the present moment, and allow the space for that to change.

05./ Flexibility is key. I’m a planner but this year has taught me to plan with the knowledge that life is unpredictable and stuff will change. I’ve found this somewhat freeing. Taking things day by day instead of trying to micromanage every aspect of my life has brought me an unexpected sense of calm. Whilst I still value planning and being well organised, it feels more like a tool to stay on top of things and less like a coping mechanism to feel in control of the uncontrollable.

06./ Being content with your own company is important. As much as spending time with people we love is rewarding and necessary, being comfortable with solitude is just as important. It’s not always easy. For some of us, solitude means that uncomfortable thoughts have the space they need to surface. But making peace with your own company can bring a new element of calmness to your life.

And that’s it I think. Sometimes I write these pieces more for myself, as a way to reflect on and process the things I’ve learnt and experienced. But I hope that some of this resonates with you, even if it’s in a small way. Above all,  I’ve learnt that life is unpredictable. It can be easy to take the small joys of everyday life for granted. I’m excited for life to go back to normal. Spending time with those I hold dear to me will be even more special now. Coffee shops will feel exciting. Small joys will become big joys again.

Sending you love, strength, light and whatever other good things you need right now.

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