After a year to remember, Charlotte Lloyd looks at how we can move forward in 2021 while also reflecting back on what we have learnt from the whirlwind year that was 2020.
WOW, what a year!! 2020, a year unlike any other. We entered this year with hope. Hope for a year of growth, lessons (which we sure had a lot of), and the excitement of entering a new decade. Most people expected a repeat of the roaring ’20s, forgetting the great depression and humankinds universal struggle followed that period. This year for a lot of people seemed to skip the excitement and head straight for the tough times. Countless occupations, circumstances and situations were heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic which shook the world to its core. We had to learn a new way of life, hygiene, respect, self-awareness, and acceptance that things will never be what they used to. But while many are happy to see the back end of 2020 and welcome 2021 with opening arms, it quickly becomes easy to forget the lessons learnt from last year and to recognise the major growth and strides made while also fighting to stay alive.
January started our year with our worries not focused on an upcoming pandemic which seemed to sneakily slide into the world’s DM’s, but instead with the Australia-wide bushfires which were horrific, to say the least. This was on top of widespread drought and water restrictions which worsened week by week. It saw farmers seeing the worst of times and people losing properties and possessions left, right, and center. As soon as this was over we were hit with another blow and this time it wanted to stick around for much longer than anyone could anticipate. The pandemic which has caused endless amounts of sickness, tragedy, and death became one of the hardest things many people had to go through. For students both at school and university, it meant the transition online was quick and meant to be seamless, but this wasn’t always the case as many can attest. Teachers were expected to keep this transition as easy as possible, while every occupation possible was moved online as working from home become the new normal. Healthcare workers were and still are faced with one of the hardest jobs worldwide with spikes coming and going constantly.
I am not one for resolutions and expectations at the start of each year. When I was younger it was fun to set goals for the year, but these were often goals which didn’t invite much effort or worry into my life. As you get older though, resolutions often rely on things like money or self-awareness, which by the end of the year can often leave you feeling disappointed in yourself. But, after the year we’ve had, 2021 should not be full of expectations and unrealistic goals, but rather a year to recognise where you are headed, what you want to achieve, and what boundaries you you want to create for yourself (and yourself alone). Because, even if you can’t see progress, people notice small things and recognise how far their friends and family have come. Looking back over one year almost does more damage than good, but looking over the year compared to five years ago really reveals the progress and strides we’ve made small or large.
I saw a post on Instagram by Darren Siao, his Instagram name being @braver.hope. This reflects back on 2020 as a lesson to be learned, to grow, to reflect on what you want to hold onto and what to let go of. I’ve popped the quote below as a way to reflect on all that has happened this year, while at the same time looking forward to a hopeful 2021.
“Every year is different. Every holiday is different. Every time spent in the months that have come by is change working its way into your life. And change doesn’t always have to be about having what you wanted last year. It’s not about finding this year to be full of expectations you wish had been fulfilled. No – change is what you’ve learned. Good or bad. Right or wrong. Clean or messy. Change is the piece of yourself you learn to embrace slowly. So don’t let 2020 take away your perspective. Don’t let 2020 take you away from only remembering the unfortunate parts or what you don’t have.
Every unfortunate thing that’s has happened is a lesson you taught yourself this year. Maybe you taught yourself how to fight harder than you did last year. Maybe you taught yourself how to take one risk more than you did last year. Maybe you taught yourself how to let go or maybe you are teaching yourself how to focus on what you’ve gained, not what you’ve lost. Because your choices will always amount to gaining a few and losing a few. But the choice you make on what you hold onto matters more.”
2020 was a year like no other, and I am very aware the worst of it is not over for a lot of people. For many the pandemic has been the least of their problems, with other unexpected or life changing things also happening, although, the pandemic has undoubtedly created more and more stress as the year progressed. But as another year rolls through, try not to reflect on the year as a write-off, one to forget, or one to look back on negatively. Rather, try to remember the things you’ve learnt and what you have to look forward to. Use 2021 to build on what you’ve already gained, spend more time with friends and family, and less time hung up on what 2020 could’ve been.
If you’re reading this, having survived through all 2020 could throw at you, see this as achievement enough. 2021 is here so don’t waste it!
Feature Image: Madelyn Gardiner, Yak Media Designer