If there is one thing I feel like we can all agree on at this moment in time is how much of the special year 2020 was. I use the word special in particular because no one could say that they saw everything that happened in 2020 coming our way. Maybe scientists in certain countries had their predictions but even there, I do not think that they could foresee the magnitude of the events that would take place in the year and how much they would change our lives. With that said, I am grateful to be typing this in 2021, looking back at the events that took place the previous year and the manner that they have made me see the future and plan for the way forward.
For most people that I have had conversed with, 2020 was supposed to be the year to get things done, to be the better version of ourselves, knock our dreams off the park and just go for EVERYTHING. After all, it was the beginning of a new decade and a leap year so with that in mind, I in particular thought with the input of hard work from my side, the universe gods would play their part and 2020 would be my best year in a long time. Little did I know that it would be the most confusing, blurry and my only wish would be surviving the year.
With the new decade, my friends and I were excited as most of them would be turning 30 years, the others were engaged to be married, planning to buy houses and many other things on the pipeline. There was a lot of travelling and exploring that we had planned to do but due to the off-ramp that the year took, those needed to be put on hold until further notice. Going into the year, I had plans to register extra modules for my current degree so that by this year (2021) I would have fewer modules to take on which would make it a breeze for me to complete my final year. I managed to complete the first semester but when the time came for me to register the second semester, I choked, panicked. All the uncertainty that the year came with, the loss of close family members and people getting sick, I began having doubts in my capabilities, what I was so adamant to do became something that was not a priority for me anymore. I went through different emotions, I was eventually dealing with past traumas that I had neglected for a long time, all of what was happening was new to me as I had always perceived myself as someone who never gives up on themselves and what I had positioned my mind on. I made a conscious decision to put my studies on hold for the second semester and for the first time in my life deal with myself, deal with the core problems of my being, heal every hurt ever experienced and decide on how I was going to pick myself up and move on with my life the best way possible.
I will not lie and say that was the easiest activity to do, in retrospect, I would say it was one of the hardest challenges of the year yet the most rewarding. I learnt a lot about myself during that process, I learnt to forgive, the importance to have a voice, even though it might tremble from time to time but it is still important for my thoughts and feelings to be heard, felt and understood. I learnt to let go of everything that does not align with who I am and my beliefs, relationships that were not doing me any good and negative thoughts that would be detrimental to my progress. From time to time, I still need to remind myself of what’s important and what needs my attention, however, I can safely say that putting my studies on hold for the betterment of my mental health was the best decision that I could’ve taken last year as I am amped up this year and eager to resume with my studies and make the most of the knowledge that I am about to gain. I am determined to study and excited at the same time.
I say 2020 was the year of surviving because we spent 75% of the year indoors with no major activities to do. One of the things that I am grateful for with the year 2020 was spending more time with my family. Even during the festive season, I was with my sisters and their kids because of movement that was restricted and the curfews that were put in place due to the virus. We spent a lot of time just talking, feasting and having a lovely time as a unit, if it was another year with different circumstances, the day after Christmas would’ve been the last day that my sisters would’ve seen me as I would be out in the streets living my best life.
On the other hand, I would say that not all love was lost in 2020, it was just a matter of doing things differently, it was the introduction of being taken out of your comfort zone and growing in a way that we did not perceive as normal. Yes, we lost loved ones, we got sick and we had to get used to the new normal, but with the new normal that we had to get used to, we got to meet different versions of ourselves, we got to grow mentally and spiritually, we got to see the world in a different spectrum. We got to appreciate life more and not take simple things for granted, we got to find pleasure in the simplest of things.
Even though this year was the hardest, I still maintained that anything can happen, there is good that can happen as the year was not yet over. I still pushed towards achieving some of the goals that I had started working on at the beginning of the year, at times I did not know if I would achieve them by the end of the year but I still fought to make them materialize and today I take pride in knowing that some of the goals that I had set for myself were executed, with all the challenges that I faced this year, I was still able to look back on the 31st December 2020 and pat myself on the back for being resilient and resolute in achieving them.
For as long as I can remember, on the 31st of December each year I would wait until midnight to welcome the new year but this year things were different for me, I had flue on the 31st which resulted in me taking medication and going to bed just a few hours before we saw the new year. I fell asleep in 2020 and woke up in 2021, my phone was on silent so I could not even hear the celebratory phone calls of the New Year coming through. A few days ago, I found myself thinking, what is the plan for this year? Usually by this time I have a vision board of what I want to do and achieve in the New Year but things are different this year and I started the year in a way that I have never done before so even now I still have the same question in mind…. What Now? Do I plan for the year ahead or do I just go with the flow and see what will happen. I have an idea of what I want to do and achieve this year but I haven’t set out a plan of motion because of the uncertainty that the previous year brought and us still dealing with the same virus even this year.
The only thing I know for sure is that I do not take being alive for granted. Life is a precious gift that we only have one chance at enjoying. The only thing I am certain of is that I am happy to see the year 2021 and I have made a promise to myself to enjoy it unapologetically, do things that bring out the best in me, live in the moment and not to overthink. I think 2020 was proof for most of us that there is no formula in life, we do what we think is right, learn and grow from our mistakes and continue living and learning.
If you are reading this, that means you are alive and survived in 2020. I wish you a prosperous 2021, may all your wishes, hopes and dreams come to life. May you experience a happiness that makes living worthwhile for you, may this year be the best year of your life and may you not forget to practice kindness.
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