In what has possibly been the most life-altering year in nearly every person’s existence, what was your silver lining of 2020?
Good and bad
Let’s start this conversation with how important it is to understand that we, as humans, tend to think that good and bad occurrences are mutually exclusive, meaning they cannot happen simultaneously. We never want to admit that things in our lives can be going well, and not so great, concurrently. If there was ever a year to distinctly show us different, it’s 2020. Let’s face it; we’ve all had less than an ideal year. Traveling plans for this year? Cancelled. Gym? Closed. Work? Remote. Outings with friends? Not happening. Spending time with older relatives? A thing of the past.
The pandemic shattered many of our goals for 2020 within the first few months of the year. For those who were successful despite such an unprecedented year, courage and commitment were abundant. This past year made the impossible seem possible, with two supposed successful vaccines making their rounds throughout the world in the last month of the year. Similarly, giant conglomerates and their workforces saw firsthand how teleworking and telehealth could both be viable options for a population that has been mandated to stay home. But this year simultaneously made the possible seem impossible, with many people losing their jobs and unable to regain work due to a volatile market.
Even worse, many citizens could not visit their loved ones who had covid-19 inside a nursing home. Consequently, many weren’t able to say goodbye to family members who succumbed to the virus. It’s quite possibly the most unthinkable, unfathomable byproduct of this horrible pandemic. As a collective, we must send our thoughts and prayers to these individuals. Those who didn’t have to deal with this type of heartache, grab onto your loved ones and clutch them tightly because this virus could’ve gone in many directions. Yet, in a year filled with such adversity and turmoil, let’s flip the script.
Although, sadly, a worldwide pandemic needed to take place before many people concluded that life is too short, and harboring resentment does no one any good, change still took place. Not all of 2020 was a lost cause, with much of the population coming to fully comprehend just how important family, friends, and social constructs are. In 2020, all of our regular social interactions were obliterated. Work-life balance became as complicated as ever to quantify, with more families spending quality time together because of it. Self-care became a priority, and plenty of citizens normalized mental health conversations.
With families forced to spend time together, I know, it sounds horrible, dynamics changed. The world came to a crashing halt, and partially coexisting wasn’t an option anymore. Many stories of families reconnecting after years without communicating and parents moving in with their children have come out, with the majority citing wanting to be closer and more supportive throughout these trying times as reasons why. But this paints a bigger picture of the silver linings of 2020, and yes, there were plenty.
Pre-pandemic, when was the last time you seriously prioritized your self-care routine? Probably never. It’s okay, we all get caught up in life, but it’s vital to remember sometimes you need to slow down and breathe, letting the elements come and go. With a global pandemic striking fear into everyday citizens’ hearts, it’s all the more reason to have a self-care routine. Often, the general population equates meditation with some otherworldly journey of putting chakras in line, but it’s much more straightforward and beneficial than that. Simply put, your variation of self-care could look like intentional deep-breathing sessions coupled with consistent sleep or taking a walk around the block every day. Meditation can look like many different things, and your version of it comes down to what works best for you.
On that note, can you ever remember a time in history where mental health conversations became more and more normalized each day? I can’t. All of our lives were thrown into disarray in some form or another. Many parents have become teachers, friends have become therapists, and family members have become companions. With many of us confined to our homes and unable to socially interact, take on our fitness goals, and pursue our passions in the way we’d like to, therapy has become further destigmatized, and more people are seeking it than ever before.
Protecting our peace has become the new normal, and thankfully, many therapists have been able to meet the demand of this never before seen market. In part, due to telehealth and the ability to hold virtual sessions with clients. Sure, nothing beats personally discussing matters face to face, and many people still prefer that method. But if this year has taught us anything, it’s to make do with the tools readily available to us, as many people don’t have that luxury at their disposal.
There was a bright side to 2020. Of course, we cannot understate the importance of the countless lives lost and changed forever due to the coronavirus, and to those individuals and families, I give my condolences. However, there is a light at the end of every tunnel. Albeit a dim one for many at this moment, but still a source of hope, nonetheless. With love, anything is possible, and I feel we’ve shown that as a civilization this year.
In 2020, numerous individuals showed up daily to inspire and heal people across the nations who were down in the worst way possible. Our world showed an unmatched amount of empathy this past year towards health, equality, and more. Although there will always be somebody who attempts to drive a wedge between the people who inhabit this world, I believe during this past year, some of our best characteristics as humans came out and persevered despite it, and that’s the true essence of humanity.