What 2020 has taught me
Life Lessons

What 2020 Has Taught Me

Whatever we might say and write about 2020 would never be enough to describe what a crazy, scary ‘adventure’ it’s been for the whole world. While I’m aware that there has been so much sadness – loss of life, unemployment and financial losses, travel plans gone awry, I cannot but be grateful for the year and reflect on what 2020 has taught me.

When I chose ‘Metta’ as my word of the year for 2020 I knew I was planning to focus on self-care and to avoid stress. I didn’t realize that I’d be presented with a perfect opportunity to put this into practice with the pandemic!

What 2020 Has Taught Me

How 2019 Prepared Me!

But let me go back a bit into 2019 for a bit. This was the first full year I was running The Frangipani Creative as a business and to say that I was stressed is an understatement! I was trying to make it all work – and being faced with challenge after challenge. Extended power cuts. Selected staff not showing up and subsequently acting up. Trying to design courses and run them. And then making sure that the business was profitable or at least there wasn’t a big loss for the year. The result? Diabetes!

Yes, an infection led me to take a random blood test and my sugars were sky high! The doctor put me on strong medication. First one tablet a day and when it didn’t have the desired effect two tablets! He happily pronounced that I had to take them for life!

That’s when I decided that things had to change. I just had to focus on myself a lot more. Self-care was top priority! I started walking very regularly, eating more sensibly, going for regular massages and most of all not stressing about work! I cut back on my hours in the studio and spent a lot more time at home relaxing!

Then Came Covid-19

I will admit that at the start of the pandemic, there was stress – the fear of the unknown, the fear that we’d all be stranded without food. But then, we settled into (I hate the phrase) the new normal! And there are a few lessons I learned and some old ones I re-learned thanks to this year that was so different from any other.

So What Has 2020 Taught Me?

#1 Give Your Health Top Priority

I learned to redefine my priorities. It wasn’t just about my diabetes diagnosis, but with the pandemic, health became top priority. Everything else could take a back seat.

So it has been social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands and minimizing all outings except for necessities and eating healthy, home-cooked food. This discipline is something we’re sticking with way past the lockdown.

And you know what? I’ve not taken a single diabetes pill since the end of February and my sugars are normal!

#2 Be Self-Sufficient

We’ve had no outside help since March. For a brief time, a month ago, we got someone to clean the garden area, but then we’ve reverted to doing that ourselves. And you know what? We’ve survived beautifully. Yes, the house may not be spotless, but we’re safe.

My lovely locks! 😉

No visits to barbers and hairdressers meant, getting our own haircutting equipment and it was DIY haircuts. The last time Jose cut my hair and I’m suggesting he start a side business! Wondering why I pay good money to a stylist when my curl hair styles itself when it’s short.

#3 Make Do With What You Have

This was especially true during lockdown. We had to make do with whatever ingredients we had already and whatever we managed to secure. Since I am a very ‘creative’ cook this was not too much of a problem. And by creative I mean that almost every dish I make is a once in a lifetime experience since nine times out of ten, I don’t follow a recipe. I don’t think that even the Italians know of all the pasta combinations I during the lockdown!

#4 Fight For What Is Important

short coated white dog lying on concrete ground
Photo by Haley Black on Pexels.com

We had to stand up and make a noise when certain individuals in our housing complex wanted to get rid of the stray dogs. They were aided and abetted by the Managing Committee of the Owners’ Association. One man went so far as to threaten me with putting my morphed pictures on the internet! That’s when pandemic or not, we went to the Police Station – not the most pleasant of places in ordinary times, and much worse during the lockdown. All these interactions were not pleasant but the upside is that the dogs are safe by and large and there’s a group of us who actively watch over them and feed them regularly.

Incidentally, Indian law provides for the safety of stray dogs and cats and their care-givers, but some people think they’re above the law! This is an ongoing battle, but if we don’t fight it, who will?

#5 Find Ways To Support Others

There was no better time like 2020 to reach out in support to others – whether it was a simple text message asking someone how they are doing, or making a call to someone else, or finding ways to reach out to the many people who lost their livelihood and were literally walking hundreds of kilometers home. I was glad to find resourceful people on the ground who relayed needs and that I was able to meet some of those needs through our own donations and through friends and contacts.

My Mom said something to encourage us to be generous – ‘What you give, you get’. And it’s so true. I gave generously this year, and even though I cut back on work, this was my most profitable year!

#6 Choose Supportive Relationships

I made deliberate choices in my relationships this year. And best of all, I finally disengaged from one very toxic person. I realised that one of the key components of self-care was making sure you don’t allow anyone, family, friends, co-workers to walk all over you.

I don’t have to accept mistreatment from people because we are related. I do not have to stay in unhealthy relationships with people because of our shared history. Healthy relationships are rooted in love, mutual respect, and connection. When I struggle in a relationship I can ask myself: Is this relationship supportive of what I want in my life and my values?

Nedra Tawwab, Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself

#7 Remember To Be Silly

boy in white crew neck shirt with face paint
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

This is so important. I’m can very silly. Deliberately so. It lightens my mood and that of others around me. My dogs get my silliness and thankfully, so does my husband. But I also like to be silly all alone! So if it means miming the lyrics of ‘I Will Survive’ (highly recommended) in the bath or pulling faces in the mirror, I’m on. Do you do silly?

Photo by Immo Wegmann on Unsplash

And so, despite everything that’s been happening in the world, I bid goodbye to to the year with a heart full of gratitude for all of what 2020 has taught me!

Read what 2020 has taught others too.

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An inspirational writer, a creativity and writing trainer/coach, I write about life, gratitude, healing, wellness, relationships at Everyday Gyaan. I offer training/coaching to anyone looking to explore their creativity and heal through writing via The Frangipani Creative, located in Secunderabad, India. You can also find me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for my weekly newsletter, Bytes of Gyaan, on Substack.

13 Comments on “What 2020 Has Taught Me

  1. What a great teacher adversity is! Had it not been for 2020, we wouldn’t have learned so much.
    I do need to learn to be silly, though. That’s the only thing I haven’t pulled yet ;P

  2. I so so loved this …and its so great that you are off pill for diabetes ..thats such a great achievement. I remember your kindness when you had left a message on twitter asking how I was when during peak of pandemic I didn’t have time to check social media …had felt so so good… 100% agree on being in supportive relationships whether work or family or casual

  3. I’m so glad to learn that you’ve been able to manage your Diabetes without the medications, Corinne! That’s a big achievement! I can agree with most of the things you’ve listed here. From being a tough year to one of big learnings, I think 2020 will leave us a lot wiser than we’d ever have anticipated at the start of the year.

  4. I am SO glad you beat that diabetes through self-care and not a lifetime of pills!

    You know, work may kill us all if we’re not careful. It’s amazing what retirement has done for my sleep, my resting pulse, and my blood pressure – EVEN in the midst of a pandemic.

    Let’s chat and catch up soon.

  5. Same Pinch. I also disengaged from one very toxic person this year! It has done me a world of good. I agree with all of the above. We realized that we can be self-reliant and healthier if we really tried. I lost 12 kgs this year. And I also picked up painting as a new hobby. 2020 has been a year with many things to be grateful for.

  6. Health, laughter, conversations and friendships has kept me sane during 2020 and the lockdown… I’m grateful for all the new connections I’ve formed this year.

  7. Now we all understand that health is a top priority. I am glad you could come out of diabetes with regular walks and taking care of yourselves. That’s great. This 2021 my focus would be to reduce my office stress.

  8. 2020 was a year of learning – learning how to be there for yourself, learning how to be there for others from a distance, learning to be okay with what we have, learning to be grateful every day, and of course, learning to adjust to a great deal. I am so sorry that your neighbors were unkind to you, Corinne. Threatening to morph pictures and post on the internet? How inhumane can people be! I am glad that you stood your ground and came out successful in your endeavors, Corinne. Take care of your diabetes. Stress is our worst enemy. Don’t forget to take care of yourself when you fight for others. 🙂

  9. What a fabulous list of lessons. And I do relate to most of them.

    I’m so glad you rallied for the strays.
    And yes, I learned to be goofy in 2019, and that goofiness I have chosen to keep intact.

    It’s hearting to hear how you beat diabetes with a lifestyle change. Kudos! Cory.

    And thanks so very much for these fabulous prompts. As always I’ve loved doing each one of them.

    2020 indeed has been the biggest teacher of them all, I am guessing.

    Here’s mine:

    https://natashamusing.com/2020/12/5-lessons-2020-has-taught-me-tuesdaymotivation-mondaymusings/

  10. Truly said that this year has been grateful in many ways and the best way is to be with your loved ones and do what you love to.
    Also, came to know of Diabetes. Please take care of your health as a priority as I have realized that if health is not good nothing seems to be achievable.

  11. I am glad you got your health back on track and that your silliness gave you happiness. Both are equally important. A lot of what you have written about resonates with me. We too had people grumbling about the strays and asking me why I look after them. We managed to get them to shut up. And I am glad you got rid of toxic people from your life. That is so freeing!

  12. 2020 has indeed taught us a lot! There are some things we’ve started doing – like more home cooked meals – that we plan to continue long after we are back to normal. So glad to hear you’re diabetes is under control! Stress really does take a significant toll on us.

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