Living through this year has been challenging on a number of levels. There’s no doubt about it. Between the pandemic and the upheaval of our lives that’s come along with it, to the racial injustice many of us had our eyes opened to, to the ongoing political strife and divide, to the deaths of our loved ones, it’s been a LOT.
It’s been a common refrain ever since March to wish 2020 a hellish goodbye. I certainly don’t blame people for it. Maybe it’s easier to think that way, to not relive the darkness. But in those dark moments, it’s important for us to see the light. While I’ve personally not always seen it this way, I’ve learned in recent years that there are usually lessons and realizations embedded in the hardships.
Which is why I asked the L&I community – What Did 2020 Teach You? Below are some of your responses.
- “To not take for granted time with family and loved ones.” – Kerri N.
- “Don’t take the in-person moments with family and friends for granted. I feel blessed for phone and video technology but the value of in-person is so much more.” – Nick P.
- “Never take the simple things for granted. Hugs, quality time, etc. if you see an opportunity to give/receive love and friendship, take it!” – Alyx K.
- “Never take for granted time with family and friends!” – Claire S.
- “The importance of human connection for your mental health. I miss simple things like giving people hugs and kisses.” – Jenn S.
- “The value of human interaction and the importance of family.” – Lindsey N.
Trust & Belief in Ourselves
- “To believe in myself and stay focused.” – Ashley-Ann P.
- “To get out of my way and take chances.” Nancy I.
- “Use your voice! Even if something doesn’t turn out in your favor, at least you did your part. Collectively, we have so much more power than we think.” – Alyx K.
- “Life is too short to not be following your dreams. I’m doing that now!” – Stephanie C.
- “I learned that I’m stronger than I thought. After being furloughed and laid off, I’ve had to lean in to trusting my gut and talents. I’ve gotten more entrepreneurial and have stretched myself more creatively than ever before. It’s made me realize what I want and don’t want for a future job. I’ve also learned how to market myself better.” – Jenn S.
- “Racism still exists.” – Lindsey N.
- “Being more mindful about socioeconomic disparities. Not everyone can stay home.” – Fareeha Z.
- “Listening/learning from each other.” – Julianne I.
- “It’s okay if goals change. Recalibrate, recalibrate, recalibrate.” – Jenna R.
- “Realizing the value in developing worth outside of work.” – Julianne I.
- “It’s okay not to be okay! I’ve learned that I am not as healed as I thought I was. I thought I had it together. I thought I was done. But once 2020 hit, I was met with challenges in my relationship and my job and it all kind of came crashing down on me. I realized a few things: I have a lot of healing I need to do (hence I’m back in therapy full force) and I want more out of my life. So, I’ve been pursuing things that light me up more and being more honest in what I want to do that’ll make me the best version of myself. I’ve learned it’s okay not to be okay and that rock bottom can mean you only have up to go from there, right?!” – Amy C.
- “To have grace with myself and with others. This year forced me to be better about this.” – Marissa H.
- “Let go of expectations. Be stubborn about goals, flexible about methods.” – Mary K.
Prioritizing Mental Health
- “Self-care is a priority, not a privilege. Happiness is self-created. Don’t look for it in others, it’s found in yourself. Time is a limited resource that shouldn’t be taken for granted.” – Leora C.
- “The only thing we really can control is our mental health – mindset, attitude, and habits are everything!!!” – Caroline A.
- “The more outside time, the better!” – Janet T.
- “To not take anything for granted! Absolutely nothing is for certain and can change or be taken away from you at any moment.” – Kristina F.
- “The importance of saving money from every paycheck. Layoffs, woof.” – Emily Z.
- “I learned patience in all aspects of my life.” – Dani M.
- “Uncertainty is scary but some good can come from uncertainty as well.” – Emily D.
- “Nothing is as ever as it seems.” – Jenna M.
Thank you to all of you who submitted – I enjoyed reading through your responses! I hope you can take these lessons with you to cultivate an impactful year ahead.
Kelly Nash is a Chicago-based writer, career coach, speaker and founder of Lipstick & Ink®. She also works full-time in technology as a Role Strategy and Employee Engagement Manager at Salesforce and has over 12 years of digital marketing experience. Kelly has been featured in Thrive Global, Chicago Tribune, International Association of Women, General Assembly, Salesforce, and SheFactor. She’s fueled by black coffee, sunshine, a good ink pen, and a bold lip.