Ah 2020, a year that doesn’t need any introductions. So instead, I’ll dive straight in with all the things I’ve learned from a year that will go down in history.
Let’s get started.
I faced some home (patriarchal) truths
If you’re anything like me then working from home meant putting a lot less effort into your appearance. I barely ever washed my hair (which is great for healthy hair btw), I didn’t wear makeup, and my boobs have never been more free.
So it got me thinking. Do I only put effort in for other people? How silly is that. I know there’s the whole yarn about how it makes you feel better in yourself to look good blah blah, but is that really for you? Or because you care about what other people think of you?
It’s hard not to care what other people think, but 2020 has definitely helped me become more aware of why I focus so much of effort on shallow stuff like appearance, and to try and not worry about it so much.
My hair has never felt better 😉
I was 1000x more efficient
I‘ve never been a morning person, and once the evening rolled around my brain was always too tired to function. So I took pleasure in the fact that working from home meant I could do a quick workout in between meetings, pop out to grab a coffee, or a loaf of bread.
I’d also find myself more productive at work. Turning off my camera in meetings meant that I only needed to give my full attention when necessary, the rest of the time I could get on with actual work. I’d also feel less pressure to attend stuff and get way better at organising my day because nothing ‘unexpected’ would come my way.
Communicating online vs in person gives you more time to prepare for explaining your thoughts and ideas. It also means people won’t expect to get an instant answer from you, they have to wait, meaning you don’t have to deal with constant interruptions.
I finally accepted that I don’t have one true passion
Now there’s one thing that you gotta hand to 2020, and that’s all the available time it gave us. Quarantine meant that I had all the time in the world to start working on that book I’ve been thinking about forever, or picking up a new skill.
And how much did I manage to achieve?
Nada, nothing, niente. It turns out, I cba.
I used to have this idea of what I thought my life should be, but as it happens, none of that is true. I spent all of the extra time appreciating the smaller things in life.
I’d go for longer walks or bike rides, chat with my friends, or binge watch more tv shows.
And you know what? I was totally fine with that. I learned that you don’t need to stress about being dedicated to one life passion – watch Soul for more on this – it’s ok to be content with the day-to-day stuff, because that’s what life is all about.
I rediscovered the city I live in
Of course Amsterdam is a beautiful city, I do know that. But I didn’t really appreciate it properly, until 2020 came along. We spent a lot of time going for bike rides and exploring areas we’d never been before.
The lack of tourists certainly helped appreciating the city in all its glory. 2020 was a year where the people of Amsterdam were finally free to walk, ride, or run wherever they wanted to, without people getting in the way.
I grew closer to my friends
Since living in a different country, it’s not unusual for me to see my friends once a year. But before this year, I never really kept in touch until I headed back home.
2020 was the year where Zoom calls grew in popularity, which meant that I spoke to my friends a lot more than I ever have before! We took the opportunity to host quizzes, play games, or just meet up and chat a lot more.
It’s great to be able to keep in touch with everyone, no matter where they are in the world.
I realised that humans are pretty decent
2020 put a lot of things into perspective, and I know there were many shitty things that happened, but a lot of good things came out of it.
We were further away than ever before, yet never felt so close. Lockdown in Italy and Spain saw concerts on balconies. The whole of the UK came together to clap for carers every thursday evening, and Sir Captain Tom, a literal 100 year old, raised 1.5 million for charity. 26 million people in the US alone marched in the BLM movement, the world came together to help put out the Australian wildfires, and we managed to create a vaccine in less than a year.
I think we can all agree that it’s been one hell of a year, but when we’re met with tragedy, we often see the very best in humanity.
Here’s to a happy and healthy 2021 ❤