2020 was a year that we will all remember forever. At the beginning of 2020, I had no idea how the year will be for me personally and could not have imagined the changes in our world. A lot of people talk about wanting to forget everything about last year. Before we file the year away, I would like to take a short moment to reflect and highlight the learnings that I will be leveraging in 2021.
In this blog post, I will be sharing the top five lessons that I learned in 2020.
2020 in summary
Let me start with some things that happened in my life in 2020 - Global Pandemic, pregnancy, becoming a mother, US election, and advancing at work.
If you asked me to summarize 2020 in three phrases, I would say - unexpected experiences, great gifts, and constant change.
Lesson #1: About plans - they are essential even during chaotic times
Having a positive attitude when your plans change is crucial. I always thought that I did not like change. Something that I learned about myself is that I actually like change when I have a plan. Let me explain what I mean by that. If I have a plan and it changes, I can adapt quicker. However, if I do not have a plan, adapting to change amid chaos is extremely difficult. Now that I know that about myself, I adjust my plan and continue making progress when things change in my life. 2020 was filled with plan changes starting from canceling planned time with family, working from home, being pregnant, and living through a pandemic.
Lesson #2: About relationships - value them and make an effort to stay connected
Especially with everything going on last year, the people in my life became even more important. I reconnected with people and made more effort to connect virtually with them. My family and friends helped me thrive and navigate being pregnant and having a baby in a pandemic. 2020 highlighted the importance of my support community. We navigated the uncertainty together, talked about our concerns, and encouraged each other.
Lesson #3: About my mindset and outlook on life - being positive is hard work, but it is worth it
Having a positive outlook on life kept me in a good place mentally over the past year. Being optimistic provides the fuel you need to keep going when you are faced with uncertainty and adversity. As I observed everything going on in the world, I needed to remind myself of how fortunate I was. I focused more on the good things that were happening in my life. This helped me enjoy life despite all the unexpected changes in the world.
Lesson #4: About my inner strength- there is deep resilience that I did not know I had
The hardships that I faced in different phases of my life prepared me for an unexpected year like 2020. I leveraged a lot of what I had learned through those experiences. Being able to pivot and try new things when things do not work out is a skill that I learned, especially when I just moved to Germany. The plans that I had for my life changed a lot, and many things were out of my control. With everything that happened in 2020, I recovered quickly and was strong when I had to do a lot on my own.
Lesson #5: About gratitude- we have a lot to be grateful for
With everything that happened in 2020, I came out feeling very thankful. Amid the chaos in the world, great things happened in my life. I have a baby boy, a loving relationship with my husband, a job where I can continue working at home, I am healthy, and my family is doing well. Sometimes it is really hard to see all the good that is happening around us because the bad things are clouding our sight. I am now very intentional about counting my blessings and celebrating the good in my life.
As I wrapped up 2020, I compared what I had planned versus what really happened. Somethings that I planned came true, and others did not. This reflection exercise helped me see the progress that I made and realize what I wanted to focus on in 2021.
In my next blog post, I will be sharing what I'm looking forward to in 2021.
Time for reflection
What did you learn in 2020?
What do you want to do differently in 2021?
What are you excited about in 2021?