what was that? a look back on 2020
We’ve come to that time of the year when we’re taking down our Christmas trees (not me, but some may be doing so), waiting anxiously for the new year (so that we can finally get started on that working-out New Years’ resolution, of course), extremely excited to kick the bucket on the year that’s passed. Nonetheless, this year is a *tad* bit different. I think it deserves a bit more attention and retrospection than the years past.
It started like any other year. Oh wait, it didn’t. We had forest fires and a potential World War III to worry about (remember that whole thingamaling, people?) (yes, I made that word up). Soon, we realised that we had much bigger problems to worry about. This year has to be one of the most stressful years I’ve had, and that includes the year when I was the only boy who spoke an octave higher than everyone in my class (yes, eighth grade was really fun, thanks for asking!). None of us knew how to tackle this new strain of coronavirus; how is one to save lives, when one knows little about what is taking them from us? In spite of this dire situation, frontline workers work relentlessly (even during this festive season) to make sure that humankind can be kept as safe as possible.
I am not qualified to give you ‘A Year In Review’ for everyone’s experience of 2020; I can shed some light on mine. Maybe as an archive, maybe as reassurance that you didn’t go through all that alone; honestly, I see it to be an outlet for me more than anything else. Nonetheless, I hope you derive some value out of it, and spend some time to read.
2020 has been a serious obstacle to living life for the entire world, but I have learned a lot from it. In spite of the fact that it was tenuous and led to my eyeballs drying out from screen fatigue (I’m exaggerating; or am I?), 2020 helped me develop some habits, which I would like to keep moving forward. It introduced me to things I did not know I would like and things I did not like in equal measure, and it reminded me to try everything (and savour that opportunity to try something new). Here are some of the new things that I (and many others) discovered in 2020, which especially stood out for me.
New thing number 1 – online learning and assessment. Never had I ever expected to give my first set of crucial university exams online, sitting on the dining table in my house in Gurgaon, India. I have never been one to study at home, because I could never focus on my learning over my gaming console (oops). The pandemic didn’t really leave any of us with a choice on that front. Open-book tests, online exams, virtual study seshes via Microsoft Teams and Zoom became the norm. It was tough getting used to it; I’d be lying if I said I’m used to it even now.Online learning helped me realise how fatigued you can get, even without leaving the comforts of your own room. I took the movement involved in pre-pandemic university for granted; this year, I found myself yearning for a brief walk outside, even if it was just to visit the grocer’s. That experience is something I want to keep, if only to remind myself to keep taking breaks while I work.
New thing number 2 – YouTube. Yes, I’m late to the game, but I realised the educational and inspirational power of YouTube in Lockdown 2020 (the one back in March, just to clarify). I started dabbling in creating content as well, with varying results; nonetheless, I learned to continue creating content, reminding myself that the effort was worth it even if my content positively impacted one person. YouTube, when used well, can be a great resource, and I have been inseparable from the platform since I discovered it.
New thing number 3 – journalling. I will be honest; I haven’t kept up with this as much in the later half of 2020, but I was pretty regular when the going got tough. But then it stayed tough…I viewed it as a resource; it would serve as a catalogue of days past, and help me look back and reflect (when I chose to do so in the future). Now that I’m unable to tell the difference between two hours ago and two weeks ago, it seems like this would be a handy habit to get back in touch with.
New thing number 4 – new levels of stress and uncertainty. I’m not the only one to have dealt with this, but it was something underlying every single experience I’ve had in 2020, so it definitely warrants a mention. This uncertainty is the norm for all of us today; what will tomorrow bring for us? We don’t really know. And it’s infuriating. Nonetheless, it taught me to value the present moment so much more, and to do the things I really want to do in this moment (and cut out the other things).
In a nutshell, those are some of the key things that I have experienced in 2020. The world in 2020 is something different to what we have known, and it sure does frighten me a bit. However, I’m sure that 2021 will bring in some hope, positivity and progress. We need to keep moving forward together, supporting each other in every single step that we take along the way. That’s my biggest takeaway from 2020.
What will you take away from 2020? Let me know in the comments box below! Hope you had a (somewhat) Merry Christmas, and wish you a joyous 2021!