What 2020 has Taught Me

Hey Owlets,

2020 was the year that no one expected, could prepare for or even knew how to even survive. It’s undoubtably been one of the hardest years for everyone, but while so many people are wishing this awful year would be erased from their memories I’m not entirely mad at it. Don’t get me wrong, this year has been pretty horrific, but there are a few saving graces for me just from the fact that I’ve learnt so much. I’ve done a few of these “What this year has taught me” so it probably looks like I’m just doing it for clicks, but I genuinely do write these from a place of learning something about myself. I think the last one I wrote was in 2018 when a close friend died, because he definitely taught me a lot. I’ve been lucky enough to not know anyone who has contracted COVID and I am a little conscious that I’m writing this when compared to some people I’ve really not had the worst year. However, I do believe that we can all take something away from this year, even if we’ve been lucky enough to not be badly affected.

The first thing 2020 has taught me is similar to what I touched on in my “Good Things that Happened in 2020” article, but I felt like I wanted to mention it again here because it was slightly different. In the previous article I mentioned that I’ve become more confident and independent, but what I’ve learnt from this year is that I am capable of doing things on my own. I’ve always been a Type A personality and a massive over-thinker so I look to get reassurance for just about every decision I make. This hasn’t been as possible during the pandemic and by being forced to do things on my own I’ve learnt that the only thing I was missing was confidence, not capability. It was a hard lesson to learn and involved a lot of stress, but if you’re around my age I feel like it’s something we can all agree we’ve learnt this year. You’re not taught adult life skills in school and it’s easier to seek help than learn for yourself, but when you’re pushed out of that safety net you realise you actually can do it.

The next thing I’ve learnt this year is to be careful about where I spend my energy. I think 2020 has had us all running on about 10% mental energy and I’ve realised that it’s incredibly important to think about how I use the little that I have. I’ve spent part of this year giving energy to one-sided relationships, working on parts of my blog that just run me into the ground rather than making me feel like I’ve achieved something and dealing with people or tasks that are mentally draining. I know it sounds contradictory to say this when I’ve already admitted to feeling a bit lonely this year, but feeling lonely is so much better than feeling drained.

For years I’ve rammed my schedule totally full, planned every second and any day with no plans was met with total dread but this year I’ve actually learnt to appreciate the quiet “in-between” periods. After years of fearing that I’ve wasted a day if I’ve not been productive I’ve been forced to deal with many quiet months and being productive every day for that level of time just isn’t possible. Taking time off, relaxing or just doing nothing isn’t always a bad thing; it gives you time to sit back, take stock of life and work out what you want to do next. Going into 2021 I actually think that rather than fearing these days I will try to build some of them into my schedule, not just to catch up on my blog but to give myself time to reset.

The last lesson that 2020 has taught me is probably the most important one for me, and that is that you can’t control everything. Like I’ve mentioned before, I have quite an anxious personality and I hate the feeling of not being in control of my life. Given the choice I would plan every day to the minute and drown myself in spreadsheets and to-do lists, but 2020 was the year you just couldn’t plan for. Every time I have tried to make plans they’ve been thrown out of the window and, while going with the flow sounded like my idea of hell last year, I’ve actually realised that I’m leaving this year as a much calmer person. Things don’t go right all the time, no matter how much you prepare, but sometimes the things that do go wrong happen for a reason and you might even find yourself better off for it in the long run.

Just a stone’s throw from 2021 I have to admit that I’m somehow both excited to say goodbye to this year and also a little sad to see it go. 2020 turned the world on its head but, for me at least, it wasn’t all bad. I’m leaving this year with reasons to be thankful and with hard lessons that I needed to learn. It might not have been the best year of my life but it was never-the-less an important one.

Love and Feathers, 
 The Owlet 💜 
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