I took a little mini break from the blog for the holidays and honestly, to relax and not think about being on my computer. But I’m back! 2020 has been a weird, strange, crazy year and we’re almost at the end. Congratulations! You’ve made it through!!
For this reflection post, I figured it was time to say good riddance to 2020 and write about what I learned this year. Despite spending so much time at home and indoors in 2020, there was still a small part of 2020 full of adventure and moments of joy. Feel free to comment down below what you’ve learned this year!
Lessons in 2020
Expect the unexpected
As you might have expected, if there’s one thing everyone learned this year, it was to expect the unexpected. We’ve all had to go from living our normal lives to being stuck inside our homes, only going outdoors with masks and six feet of distance between us. We’ve had to cancel trips and concerts. School plans changed and kids ended up staying home with families. Some people adjusted financially due to job loss and a slower economy. It wasn’t what we thought 2020 had in store.
And we got something different than what we were expecting. But not all of it was bad. We so easily create binary categories of the years of our lives, when in reality, every year is made up of both good and bad moments. Of hard moments and sweet ones and really sad and happy ones – sometimes all at once. 2020 wasn’t the year we expected, but it’s what we got.
You can carve your own path
More personally, 2020 taught me that I needed to carve my own path. Majors at UVA don’t exactly fit what I see myself doing post-grad and I had to figure out a solution sooner rather than later. Introducing the Echols Interdisciplinary Major. I got to create my own major with all my subjects of interest, choose classes that I am stoked about, and get to gain experience in my chosen field so I can go out into the world after graduation prepared and ready to work!
In a broader sense, we all can create our own path. 2020 made a lot of people realize we weren’t doing as well as we thought. Sitting with ourselves and our thoughts brings up the dreams that we let sit in closets for far too long. In order to feel like we’re living our best lives, we need to take chances to chase what those dream lives actually entail. I’m not saying it’s easy, I’m just saying we should all give ourselves the opportunity to carve out the path that we dream of.
Binging TV shouldn’t make you feel guilty
Given my lack of hobbies (blogging is a hobby, I think). I spent a lot of time binging tv. But I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with that. I love stories and getting lost in a storyline full of mystery and characters that develop and change is one of my favorite things.
We have to let go of this idea that we always need to be productive. That we’re wasting away our days if we fall into a Netflix rabbit hole.
I don’t think we should live watching TV all of the time, that’s not living, but I do think that’s it’s okay to enjoy getting lost in a TV show at least for a little while. My current TV shows are The Vampire Diaries, How I Met Your Mother (rewatching!), The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and The Expanse.
Opening up is scary but feels good
For so long, my blog has been a place to get out what I’m feeling out to the world. I write down things I’ve been reflecting on, things I’m enjoying, things I’m not enjoying and so on. If you’ve been a long time follower, you know that my college experience hasn’t been the easiest. It’s simple to write those words and press the publish button, knowing that the people who are reading are strangers. It’s a lot harder to look at someone face to face and open up.
But this year, I finally did it. I opened up about my rough start and it felt good. This is how people get to know us. (Coincidentally, I watched a How I Met Your Mother episode on that yesterday.) When we let them in, to our hard moments, to our sad moments, they know us deeper. And as scary as that is, it’s also beautiful.
Grieve what will never be
Another thing we’ve all learned this year. We will have to grieve the moments we don’t get to have. The trips to see family during the holidays. The big celebrations with friends. The freedom of spontaneous moments in an ever changing world. Clinging to the past – concerts I’ll never attend, drives to lake houses that’ll never happen, a spring break that wasn’t cut short – is painful.
To ignore the weight of loss without ever considering your own emotions is detrimental. Some of us needed to spend time alone with our thoughts. Some of us needed to gather with others and be reminded of what remains. Still, some of us needed to be grateful for all the things 2020 brought our way instead.
Finding joy in simple things
Perhaps the stripping away of everything we thought we needed in 2020 is similar to how the Grinch takes away the gifts in Whoville. (Obviously, we have it a whole lot worse!) But still, this year has allowed us to revel in things we used to take for granted. A walk outdoors. Meeting with friends. A long drive. Travel. Gathering in community. I got to spend Thursdays at Cookout. I got to go to church, in a socially distanced environment. I went to work and got paid. I had some small, but special moments this year. I would have never planned for them, but this year taught me the significance of simple things, and I am forever grateful.
Highlights of 2020
- Declaring my major
- Getting several A’s!
- Cookout adventures
- Reading 41 books this year
- Virtual concerts
- Visiting the MidWest for the 1st time
- Having 0 Friday classes
- My STUD intern job
Comment below any of your 2020 lessons!
Stay safe and healthy, friends!