Lessons from 2020

As we gear up to celebrate the end of 2020 and prepare for a new year, I wanted to take a moment to pause, reflect, and express gratitude for everything that has happened this year.

I started 2020 with a strong intention of ‘finding myself.’ I was desperate to have my own Eat, Pray, Love adventure. It seemed like the perfect resolution to the beginning of my twenties. Self-discovery. The word itself sounds so magical when your inner Elizabeth Gilbert is vying to jump out. The second week of January, my family and I spontaneously decided to go to South Korea for a quick getaway. I spent 6 hours of the plane ride, convinced that this spontaneous trip foreshadowed the rest of 2020. A year of new experiences and travel. It was a sign. If you know me, you know how much I love finding any reason to believe in a sign. 

Well, between you and me, my clear cut ‘sign’ did not age well for obvious reasons. While the first two months of 2020 were great, things quickly turned sour in March. What was meant to be an extra week of spring break quickly turned into an 8-month long quarantine at home. And, 8 months later, we’ve adjusted to what seems like a ‘new normal’ – which ironically is a funny way of reminding ourselves that ‘this isn’t normal.’ But, our new normal didn’t come with ease.

While my self-discovery journey is far from comparison to what Julia Roberts sought out in Italy, here are 20 important lessons I’ve taken away from 2020. 

  1. Your happiness starts and ends with you, so make sure you’re at the center of your support system.
  2. Don’t second guess your intuition. As the old saying goes, trust your gut.
  3. Focus entirely on what is in your control. Don’t fret the rest.
  4. You are the protagonist of your story. Repeat this to yourself on your bad days.
  5. There is power in vulnerability, so allow yourself to express and feel.
  6. Healing is not a linear process. It’s a messy zigzag, but it’ll get you to where you need to be.
  7. Take time to know and do what’s best for you. See 2.
  8. Rejection is redirection.
  9. Self-care is a priority.
  10. Read, read and read.
  11. Reunite with your inner child, and unleash your creative side.
  12. When in doubt, meditate. You’ll find a new sense of redirection in anxious moments.
  13. It’s okay to slow down, and disconnect once in a while.
  14. Remember those who show up for you in times of need, and make sure to show up for them too.
  15. Don’t fall in love with the potential of who someone could be, focus on who they are in the present moment.
  16. Establish a sense of self before seeking romantic relationships.
  17. Other people’s inability to address their internal conflicts has nothing to do with you, so don’t blame yourself for their personal shortcomings.
  18. Walk away from relationships that fail to reciprocate your feelings, dwindle your energy or cross personal boundaries.
  19. Prioritize your mental and physical well being.
  20. What’s meant to be will be.

2020 was an incredibly high voltage year. It was a year of loss, grief, and conflict, but it also strengthened our resolutions. Each of us dealt with an independent battle – where we confronted inner demons and were thrown into uncomfortable and challenging situations, all while maneuvering our new normal. The word ‘zoom’ went from being synonymous with the word ‘quick’ to an app that we stayed connected through, so much so that zoom fatigue became a concept. 

However, while 2020 was certainly chaotic, it also bought moments of gratitude, prolonged self-reflection, and a new sense of joy. In many ways, some of us experienced a metamorphosis. Distance from the external world brought us one step closer to our primal selves, and there was no hiding from it. It was the rawest form of soul-searching that changed how we see ourselves, our loved ones, and the world around us. It was a year that allowed many of us to overcome past traumas, prioritize healing, experience spiritual awakening, and fully morph into our truest selves. As we step into 2021, I hope we can carry forward our newfound wisdom and reflect on our moments of gratitude from 2020. 

Wishing you all a very happy new year ahead. 

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2 Comments

  1. Lalit Agrawal
    December 29, 2020 / 12:54 pm

    Very apt.
    Wishing you a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2021.

  2. Anonymous
    December 29, 2020 / 3:52 pm

    Gorgeous piece of writing, Nat. Wishing you all the best for the new year <3

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