I'm a diligent student of life, perpetually trying to extract the lessons that life throws my way to make me stronger and smarter (and more relatable?). Here are 20 lessons that I learned from the year 2020:
It is important to have a strong sense of self.Giphy
The 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic brought on an onslaught of furloughs, layoffs, breakups, financial stressors, and inherent panic for millions of people. Scary stuff. During the height of the COVID-19 health (and economic) crisis, I wondered about individuals who once had everything - money, dream job, fancy car, 'perfect' relationship- and then suddenly, lost it all. The pandemic made me realize that it is dangerous to shape your identity around your material possessions, professional clout, and socioeconomic status. Life is quick; It can humble you and take things away from you in the blink of an eye. Therefore, it is vital for one to develop a strong sense of self so that if and when life throws you into a storm, you will be anchored by the fact that you alone are enough - your values, your virtues, your character, your gifts, your faith.
Stop apologizing for things that aren’t your fault.
The person who is overly-apologetic is at risk of being too emotionally-malleable. Apologize for your faults ONLY and stick to your guns about what you've said or done, if it's truly what you believe in.
Let them go.hand love GIF by Veronique de Jong Giphy
If a person has decided to walk (or storm) out of your life, do not block their exit - Let them leave. Yes, I know, it can be incredibly painful to watch someone that you really care about…abandon you. But be assured that in the grand scheme of everything, their exit will make you so much stronger and create room for new, meaningful relationships. Don't you want the people in your life to actually want to be in your life? 1000% willingly there? Yes? Then, allow that seasonal relationship to peacefully dissolve and then, extract the lessons that the situation was meant to teach you. Bishop T.D. Jakes says it best, "Your destiny is never tied to anyone who leaves you."
You show people how you want to be treated.
Maya Angelou said that nobody has a right to treat you badly. I believe her. Although you are not responsible for what others say to you or do to you, you are responsible for pushing back the margins of their disrespect towards you. If someone does something that rubs you the wrong way, you should call them out on it - the first time! Don't let people get away with mistreating you in any shape, form, or fashion. When you respect yourself enough to not tolerate crappy behavior, you set a standard for how others treat you.
You are a reflection of the company that you keep.first place winner GIF by Target Giphy
If you want to win, hang out with winners. If you want to lose, hang out with losers (My definition of a loser is someone who has not made any attempt to better him or herself, in any capacity.)
The real adults can be just as afraid, insecure, unsure, and vulnerable as we are.Process Trust GIF by INTO ACTION Giphy
We're all in a perpetual process of figuring things out.
Trust your intuition.
That pang in your heart? It's there for a reason. That calm voice in your head telling you that something is worth noticing? It's speaking for a reason. That nagging thought? It's lingering for a reason. The mind already knows what the heart refuses to accept.
Art is the heartbeat of the universe.black and white GIF Giphy
Its importance is highlighted during periods of distress and anguish. When a lot of us were in quarantine, we relied on our favorite movies, plays, TV shows, and songs to give us cathartic relief. The 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic proved that art will always have a place in society and therefore, we need to give artists of all genres and forms the utmost respect for their worthy contributions.
Empathy is unfortunately, a rare virtue.
I am still reeling in shock from the fact that some Americans were protesting the use of masks, at the expense of the health of other Americans. Unfortunately, tough times can show us that not everyone is as empathetic as we are. It is a harsh reality.
It is important to feed your spirit, as you do your body.
Nourish your mind with new knowledge, fresh ideas, and thought-provoking challenges. Feed your spirit with advice that encourages you to do better, sermons that speak to your soul, and inspiration that motivates you to keep going.
Hope is a dangerous thing.
I really do believe that hope is one of the most powerful forces, aside from Love and Faith.
God is in control. He has a perfect will for your life. Trust in Him
I'm not here to push my religious beliefs onto anyone, but I must say that my belief that God has a perfect will for my life is what keeps me going. I believe that God has given us the 'free-will' to make our own choices and to create a life of our choosing. However, acknowledging him as the one who created us and knows us best, I really do believe that His plan for our lives will ultimately give us the greatest amount of peace, fulfillment, and maybe, even happiness. Whenever I face deep disappointment or hurt, I muster up the faith to believe that the momentary discomfort is for my greater good and that God has something better in store for me. I say this because I've seen this happen again and again in my life.
No one else is responsible for your happiness but you.
Not your parents. Not your significant other. Not your friends. Not your business partner. Not your coworkers. Not your siblings. Not your kids. YOU!
How someone treats others is how they’ll eventually treat you.
Don't just trust actions, trust patterns. Be mindful that if someone does something to someone else, the likelihood of them doing it to you is quite high. You're special but you're also…not special.
God sends blessings in human form as well.
Be good to the people in your life who do right by you and have your best interest at heart. They are blessings, trust me.
You should never stop learning.
Quarantining taught me that you are never old, mature, experienced, or successful enough to stop learning. I loved that a lot of us used the quarantine to hone our existing skills and to learn new ones. Go us! An interesting individual is the one who is always eager to learn something new and broaden their horizons. Try your best to be that person.
Buy toilet paper in bulk
Ah, the joy of wholesale shopping! My goal as a future wife/mom/homeowner is to buy certain things in bulk to keep in my pantry (I like to be prepared!). I never knew that toilet paper would be one of those 'certain things' but then, 2020 happened. #shookforever
Consider a college town for a budget-conscious vacation!
For a bevy of INEXPENSIVE restaurants, shops, and entertainment hubs, consider a vacation in a college town! My friend Amanda and I needed a little summer getaway, so we decided to take a road trip to the quaint college town of Knoxville, Tennessee this summer (#GoVols #KnoxRocks #BigOrange). Upon arrival, we were pleasantly surprised at how affordable the dining, entertainment, and shopping was. Personally, I'd take a cute (and low-cost!) vacation like that over a theme park any day.
Make the most of the little things.
Be grateful for what you have. There will always be other people who seemingly have more than you, but there will always be other people who definitely have less than you.
Plan, but be amenable to change.