Most years are SSDD, am I right? We all start the year making plans and resolution and two weeks later we’re back to our regular routines and habits and life goes on. It’s cyclical.
However, 2020 threw us a curveball and then some. I remember all the NYE posts – twenty plenty and “this is going to be my year”. Meanwhile, life had plans we didn’t see coming. These plans would lock us down in our homes and change our lives in a way we didn’t quite expect.
This year has been wild and unexpected. Unprecedented times, if we’re to borrow the the now-cliched term, descended upon us and I think every one of us learned at least one or two things.
Here are some of the things 2020 taught me.
Expect the unexpected
Life is full of surprises and while we can try to control certain aspects of our lives, ultimately the bigger picture is not up to us. We don’t know what tomorrow holds. Will we wake up healthy or even wake up at all? We can make predictions but we really just don’t know what the future holds. We just don’t know.
Health is wealth
It may sound like a cliche but you can’t put a price on good health. We should prioritise our mental and physical health. If we live healthily while we’re young we won’t have extra medical expenses in our old age.
Cherish loved ones
Make time for your family and friends as they’re the ones there for you when the going gets tough. A simple call or text to show you care goes a long way and can lift someone’s mood.
Human connections are important
As fun as Zoom and Skype calls were during the hard lockdown, there’s nothing quite like face to face contact with your closest ones. And I say this as an introvert who needs and craves alone time.
It’s never too late to learn new skills
I am so impressed by the people who learned to cook during the lockdown. Seeing everyone get creative in this area made my heart happy. Others also tapped into their inner artists and drew and painted. Some people furthered their education by signing up for short courses. It’s just fantastic seeing people thrive and not just survive.
You need less than you realise
Consumerist culture is something we’ve been unable to avoid. Everyone wants the latest gadgets or the trendiest clothes. It’s just buy buy buy (hi, NSYNC). This year taught many of us we can survive just fine with what we already have. We really only need the basics, don’t we?
I LOVE shopping, and always justify new clothes by saying “I need it for work”. This year, I managed to get by with my wardrobe from last year and worked from home wearing either tracksuits or abayas.
There is enough for everyone
There is enough to go around, yet at the beginning of this crisis you’d have thought we were going into underground bunkers with no possibility of coming back up. People stockpiled everything they could, particularly toilet paper. The toilet paper days even had psychologists weighing in. Many said it had to do with people feeling they needed some kind of control in this scary, anxiety-inducing situation.
But as the situation became “the new normal” people stopped panic buying and started realising they don’t need excess. There really is enough to go around.
There are still good people
The inequality in South Africa is always there, but this pandemic brought it to the forefront of people’s consciouses. Prior to the lockdown some people were living in abject poverty, not even earning enough to eat daily. When the hard lockdown hit, these people were not able to find “piece work” because no one was allowed to leave home. The situation was dire. However ordinary working class people and NGOs all did their part to make sure hungry mouths were fed. Small food businesses became feeding schemes cooking pots of food daily and distributing where there was a need. There are many who did all this anonymously in their areas. It just proved that good people are still around. They really are the leaders we need.