2020 is done. What a year it was!
We’ve finally made it through to the other end of the tunnel. Now it’s important to look back and reflect on the many lessons and moments from the past year.
We got out our notebooks and made a list of the key takeaways from 2020. Here they are:
It doesn’t matter what others think of you.
One of the most important lessons learned from last year was that it doesn’t matter what others think about you.
Too often everyone gets caught up in feeling the pressure of having to keep up appearances and the constant stresses of wondering what others think about us, particularly on the negative side.
Fortunately 2020 reminded us all that we don’t need a haircut, we don’t even need to wear pants to feel valuable and worthy.
Infinitely more significant than what others think about us is what we think about ourselves.
Even more important than what we think is what we do or do not do.
You can live on much less than you thought.
Most of us experienced the uncertainties involved in our companies and workplaces shutting down due to the coronavirus.
With those closures came reductions and elimination of significant streams of income.
Fortunately March’s CARES act and its stimulus payouts and unemployment enhancements and extensions kept many Americans afloat.
Still, many of those industries and companies that shuttered their doors in March have yet to reopen or have only partially resumed operations at limited capacity.
As detrimental as the virus was to public health it was equally devastating to the financial livelihoods of middle and lower class Americans.
On the bright side we spent almost nothing on vacations, or eating out in restaurants and at bars and clubs.
There was less pressure to buy luxury items, or to impress our contemporaries keeping up with the Joneses.
Now that we’re all keeping six feet away from one another, we’re spending less than we were in the beginning of 2020.
There’s immense strength in our communities and networks.
If you’ve been following Moving On Upwards you know this isn’t exactly breaking news, but 2020 certainly punctuated how important our families, friends, coworkers, and neighbors are to each of us.
An excellent example of how community supported each of us was in the year ending holidays.
At a time when we each should have expected depression and despair to rule the day, neighborhoods went all out with Halloween and Christmas decorations, lifting spirits and providing endless entertainment.
Trick-or-treating was delivered via crafty socially distance. Personal deliveries of gifts and sweets hit doorsteps during Chanukah and Christmas as loved ones were able to connect in meaningful ways without the typical means of physical contact.
Anyone who found a new job last year was likely delivered it through an introduction from their network.
Even artists and musicians reinvented new ways to connect with their fans and followers via social media.
It’s never too late to learn some new tricks.
There are plenty of old dogs among us, but even the eldest had to learn loads of new things to stay current in 2020.
Grandma and Grandpa used to cover their microphones and cameras when on video chat. They’ve mastered the art.
We all saw by way of tropical backgrounds and Zoom holiday meals, and even the occasional online games.
Others learned how to sew masks out of old t-shirts or to use an Instapot to cook and bake bread.
Some even found new careers within entirely different industries.
Half of the American citizens are insane.
Whether you supported Trump or Biden, or you think black or blue lives matter more, you’ve probably realized that 40-60% of the other people out there are living in an alternative reality from your own.
Each reality comes with its own set of truths and facts, and especially its own rules for morality and conduct.
Friends and family members disowned one another throughout the summer’s protests/riots and the fall’s tempestuous election cycle.
In all probability many of those wounds will never heal.
A significant percent of Americans are psychopaths.
People’s resistance to basic hygiene should have tipped us off to this fact well before last year.
The signs were obvious as we watched people leave public restrooms without washing their hands, or when we encountered prospective sexual partners unwilling to use protection.
In 2020 the crazies wore their psychosis like a badge as the chose not to wear masks during the pandemic.
On the plus side we were able to see these closed-minded killers coming from down the street and were able to avoid them.
Unfortunately, they already spread their germs to many others within our communities.
Homeschooling is hard.
God bless all the teachers out there.
Keeping children fed, happy, motivated, and focused while learning at home certainly was a feat last year.
Add to that that said learning is happening on computer screens and over the internet.
It’s enough to make anyone’s head spin.
Fortunately today’s children and teens are savvy with regards to technology and were able to teach parents as much as they were required to learn.
Social programs work and are necessary.
Everyone could complain about the pittance that was the pandemic stimulus payouts or the fact that large corporations were able to absorb significant chunks of CARES loans intended for smaller, typically locally owned business, but the bailouts prevented a mass freefall into poverty unseen since the Great Depression.
Local governments remained solvent. The doors of police stations, fire departments, and schools were allowed to remain open–at least for a time in the case of the schools.
Communities were even able to provide meals and schools supplies for those who needed them, and in 2020, there were many more than usual.
We are not all equal.
The deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and especially George Floyd, as well as the shooting of Jacob Blake, and all the other senseless acts of violence, reminded us all that race-based inequality is still alive and thriving.
Meanwhile, the sitting U.S. president told a white supremacist group to “Standby” when asked how he felt about racism in our country as 73.1 million Americans watched.
Still not convinced?
According to the CDC, Hispanics, Latinos, blacks, and African Americans are just under three times more likely to die from COVID-19 than whites.
It’s not a statement of genetics. It’s a statement of the type of care available within communities and institutions where significant variations still exist with regards to financial means and race.
Finally, now more than ever we need to take care of our health.
The risk COVID-19 carries on our lives is compounded exponentially when we’re obese, out of shape, and generally unhealthy.
Like the value of our networks and the presence of inequality in the world, the need to maintain good physical health has only been excessively punctuated by the happenings of 2020.
Just eating leafy greens and organic foods, drinking lots of water, and exercising regularly reduces our risks significantly with COVID and in general.
What key takeaways did you come away from 2020 with?
Which of the ones listed above really struck home with you?
Next up on Moving On Upwards we’ll share how we plan to carry these lessons into 2021 and beyond.
Make sure you check back again.