20 Lessons from 2020

Over the last few weeks as the world bid adieu to what is going to be ‘an unforgettable year’, I read a lot of negative impacts that the year had. Some wanted to erase the year and some didn’t count their birthday in the year. Some lost family members, which is understandably a sensitive topic, but some people survived the virus. Did you feel the coronavirus was going to disappear at the stroke of midnight on 1st January 2021? Well, I saw many people behave like the virus was going to disappear from the planet. But, sorry folks! The virus is still here and we’ve entered into 2021 with the hope of vaccines being manufactured across the globe. I wouldn’t say that it’s been an easy year, but it’s a year that taught me quite a few lessons. Here’s are my 20 lessons from 2020 –

 

  1. The Importance of Relationships

How many of us have prioritized our own lives without paying attention to the needs of loved ones? Guilty as charged! Over the last few years, relationships took a backseat for me. The ‘care-a-damn-attitude’ grew and eventually, I stopped replying to messages or calls from friends. I began to enjoy my own company and didn’t feel the need to fill up space with other people. Always resorting to an excuse, I continued with the attitude – ‘They will always be there.’ The year 2020 taught me the importance of these very relationships. I’m still in the process of getting there. And grateful for the ones who had my back when I gave up on them.

  1. Respect

This is a two-way streak. If you choose to treat people the way you expect to be treated, you will be surprised how they will reciprocate the gesture. I’m sure some of you reading this have realized the importance of your building security guard, the local grocery store, the dhobi, the garbage collector, and even a doctor! In the past, I remember yelling at a Vodafone executive when my internet wasn’t working. Today, I try to understand the problem and look for a solution keeping the other person in mind.

  1. The Work from Home Concept

    Image Source: peoplemattersglobal.com

For the longest time, I’ve always believed the ‘Work from Home’ concept applies to freelancers. Being an ambivert, I struggle between being an extrovert and an introvert in a matter of minutes. I’ve always believed in the concept of working from an office because I need to be surrounded by people. Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, I didn’t only work from home but managed to enjoy the ‘work from home’ concept. I also wrote an article on Should companies adopt a Work-from-home policy.

  1. Importance of Home-cooked food

‘I don’t like food, I love it’ did you get the reference? It’s a dialogue from the animated movie, Ratatouille. If I had to choose between home-cooked food and eating out, I would choose the latter. In the last few years, I’ve followed multiple diets, but also regained the lost weight and unhealthy eating habits. In 2020, when we were forced to stay indoors, I began eating home-cooked food. And, it started showing results on my body. My skin started glowing, and I saw visible results in the overall functioning and maintenance of my body. I did get back to hogging from my favorite restaurants and cafes, but I’m moving towards home-cooked-food in 2021.

  1. Regular workout

If laziness needed a face, put mine on it. I’m quite good at switching into and out of working out like the changes in fashion. When the pandemic began, I enrolled myself for group workout sessions and began enjoying every bit of the energized experience. I even took up the 72 days challenge from Fitness Talks with Pranit and I saw visible results. Regular workouts have never been a part of my daily routine, but I cannot stress the satisfaction after a good walk/cardio session.

  1. Time Management

Image Source: batimes.com

I love my couch. I also love lying down and watching content on OTT platforms, while time passes by. I’ve always been a last-minute person and always make a new year resolution to break the habit. But did I expect the lockdown to teach me this lesson? No way! It taught me to value time and manage it well. Eventually, I ended up having spare time to enroll in workshops such as gardening, painting and attended several creative as well as professional online sessions.

 

  1. The ability to shut down

After constantly being over the phone for hours, I eventually began getting bored with the mundane routine. How many Netflix shows, Instagram stories, and YouTube videos would I watch? The redundant routine brought with it boredom and I decided to shut off from social media. What did I do instead? Nothing. After I trained myself to handle some days off social media, I also started a ‘No-Phone-Sunday’ rule, where I kept my phone in a drawer and took up reading instead. It worked. I almost got back to reading regularly and now try to keep the phone away during meals too.

  1. The Value of Money

Did we all save a bit of money during the lockdown? Hell yeah! From being unaware of how my bank balance turned zero by month-end, I finally started to see money remaining in my account by the month-end. If the pandemic taught me anything, it was the importance and value of money! Phew, what learning.

  1. Work-Life Balance

Quite early on I could foresee the disbalance between work and personal life. I also count myself lucky that my boss didn’t intrude into my personal time. And while my friends and colleagues complained about long working hours, and lack of balance between the two, I managed to set a schedule for myself. I would switch off from work-related emails and messages on Friday at 6.30 pm and respond to them on Monday at 10 am. Thankfully, I managed this routine for the last 10 months and continue to do so, while working from home.

  1. Patience

“Patience is the key to success”, says mom. Since a child, I’ve always been an impatient person, especially when I’m passionate about something/looking forward to receiving something. I expect it to happen instantly. During the pandemic, I learned to be patient and wait for the right opportunity to strike, rather than hitting into blind spots. I eventually gave some projects time, and I’m glad I decided to slow down in the process.

  1. Connectivity in a Modern World

Internet, internet, internet, a technology that I’m still trying to understand and live with. I sometimes like to believe that I belong in an era without the internet and prefer some old school ways of communication, but reality strikes when work hits in!

  1. The Human ability to adapt

I’ve always loved the outdoors. I love to step out, talk to strangers, and engage in conversations while commuting. This doesn’t begin and end on holidays. Communicating while traveling to work or random outings in the city fill the void of dead silence between two humans especially during traffic and long travels in the city. I’ve often had Uber drivers tell me that I’m the first person who has engaged in a conversation with them. While I love to chill within the spaces at home, I didn’t fathom that I would adapt to this change with ease. Watching how the world came to a standstill and the ability of humans to adapt to any situation helped me understand that we’re adaptable creatures. And, who can forget the ease at which work from home evolved?

  1. The Importance of Self Reflection

Sit back, relax, and breathe. My motto for 2021. Do I need to say anything else?

  1. How to stay organized

Multiple planners and organizers later, I finally learned to write down my thoughts, put them in action, and see them flourish. My current planner is from The Ink Bucket, a Bangalore-based stationery and lifestyle brand founded by Vidhi Khandelwal.

  1. The Importance of Education

Sometimes I feel that one should be taught life skills rather than focus on education. Yes, it’s a different approach when compared to the traditional Indian mentality of – padhai ke bina kuch nahi hota. While I want to continue to debate this topic, I also realized that education is as important as honing a skill. While skill can help you maneuver and adapt to change, education will ensure a basic and decent job, if not anything else.

  1. Upgrading skill sets

Following the number of posts that I came across daily of job loss, I decided to use this time to upgrade my skillset and understand the markets. It’s a work-in-progress.

  1. A Simple Skin Care Routine

How many of you have fallen prey to the 9-step Korean skin-care routine? Thank goodness, I stuck to the basic – cleanse, tone, moisturize. I also began shaving my face during the pandemic and saw a glow on my skin. Of course, no amount of skin-care routine will show results if you don’t work out and eat healthy (home-cooked food for the win!)

  1. Parlor visits are not important

I’ve begun to accept my hair growth and flaunt it with ease. No waxing appointments for months led to hair growth which I eventually shaved off when required. Also, shaving is a therapeutic process. Is it just me or do you also feel the same?

  1. Communication

Offline or online, communication has played a major role in the year that went by. It helped some maintain their sanity, connecting people with their loved ones, and even taught companies to adapt to the work-from-home culture. As for me, I started taking my therapy sessions online and so far, it’s worked for the last ten months. I’ve realized that you don’t need to talk for hours, but dropping a line or two to a loved one across the continent can rekindle lost connections.

  1. Virtual Reality

From constantly being fed picture-perfect Instagram posts and stories, the pandemic brought out the reality of the virtual world. Content creators/influencers/celebrities etc. when from flaunting high-end fashion to embracing pajamas, t-shirts, shorts, unkempt hair, overgrown eyebrows, and everything that could make a person feel human. Initially, I watched some content creators understand the market trends, but during the pandemic, I connected with some new content creators and saw the human angle in their work.

Thank you 2020 for the lessons, and for bringing this fast-paced world to a full-stop. We’re finally breathing! These are my 20 lessons from 2020. What are yours?

 

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