2020 has undoubtedly been an interesting year, to say the least. It has pushed and pulled and twist and turned us in directions we never expected. But despite its hardships, this year presented us with new opportunities for growth. As I reflect, I have identified five positive takeaways significant to 2020.
- Discovering new hobbies
- When school was first canceled I suddenly had time to invest in activities I’ve wanted to pursue but never prioritized. Now I didn’t have an excuse not to learn how to rollerskate, speak Italian, croquet, or play the ukulele that’s been sitting in my room for the last four years.
- Exploring our creativity
- Considering social events have been canceled and recreational businesses closed, we’ve had to resort to new, creative ways of spending time with people and entertaining ourselves. Drive-bys, park outings, and parking lot picnics really made me value time spent with loved ones, and baking and photography are interests I’ve been able to rekindle. I’ve definitely saved a lot of money with these “DIY” activities replacing going out, so I certainly see myself thinking twice before rushing to pay for entertainment when these businesses do open back up.
- Uncovering deeper connections
- Ironically, 2020 has brought me a lot closer with friends and family. Not being able to be with people prompted me to call or facetime others more often, especially the people I might normally overlook. I’ve strengthened relationships with acquaintances and distant friends, and deepened the bond with close friends, finding a new appreciation for the people in my life. Not only that, but it has forced me to become a better listener as well. When you call someone, I find silence is harder to embrace since we typically devote more attention to the person than when we are physically face to face. Therefore we tend to notice the silence more on the phone and may feel obligated to fill the empty space. But I’ve become more comfortable sitting in silence on the phone with another person, which has allowed me to really listen to what the person is saying when they choose to speak rather than thinking about how I’m going to respond.
- Recognizing our mental state
- Being at home has forced us to sit with our thoughts and prompted a lot of self-reflection. I’ve spent a lot more time taking personality tests, journaling, and discussing my feelings which has made me more cognizant of my mental state. Through conversations with others, I’ve come to realize many of us are taking inventory of our mental health and striving to improve. 2020 made it harder to distract ourselves from our emotions, but acknowledging them is the only way we can learn and grow.
- Encouraging Flexibility
- There is no way you can be as ridged leaving 2020 as you were going in. This year has stretched us all in ways we might’ve never thought possible, and we’re learning to roll with the punches. School, work, holidays, weddings, graduations, and birthdays have been completely transformed, which can be disappointing, but we can choose to see it as an opportunity to form new traditions, new ways of connecting, and elevate the status quo. 2020 has made us recognize change is the only constant, and the less we resist it, the easier it will be to flow with the waves of life.
In what ways has 2020 helped you grow?