The Year that Changed Us: Reflecting on 2020
Tumultuous. Unprecedented. Frightening. There are many ways to describe 2020, a year that has turned the world upside-down. It was a year defined by COVID-19, a global pandemic the likes of which has not been seen in generations. Shutdowns and social distancing brought modern life to a screeching halt. The future of work and career paths is less predictable than ever. Protests and political turmoil demonstrate a need for drastic change. It has been a wild year. As 2020 draws to a close, take some time to reflect on how the year has impacted you, how your life has changed, and what you have learned about yourself.
In March of 2020, the world as everyone knew it transformed overnight. People suddenly found themselves at home all day, with many having to work remotely or losing their job altogether. The pandemic has normalized remote work and has created extreme uncertainty for industries dependent on gatherings, such as hospitality. Not everyone has been affected the same way. One study found that women were more than 1.8 times as likely as men to lose their jobs. Research from Future Forum found that the majority of workers do not want to go back to how things were prior to COVID-19. Whether you are studying full-time or adjusting to a new way of work, consider how all this has impacted the world you will be entering as an adult.
Your parents and friends may find themselves working from home despite never having done so before. They may be struggling to figure out what to do next when their company suddenly took away their job. All or some of your courses may be conducted online, whereas a year ago only a small minority of classes would have been held this way. As the world undergoes drastic change, you will see it manifest around you with the ones you care about. Do you see people adapting or struggling? How do you and others remain resilient in the face of these challenges? What steps have you, your family, and friends taken to ensure proper self-care? As shutdowns continue and people are asked to remain home during the winter, take that time to reflect on these questions.
Consider how this year has highlighted certain aspects of your personality, and perhaps even changed it. Get into the routine of writing down your thoughts daily, particularly about yourself. Compare your behaviour to one year ago, from your habits, hobbies, physical activities, and schooling. Perhaps you are more productive. Perhaps you feel drained and unable to focus on work or assignments. Consider the self-care practices you are doing and what you could be doing, such as spending more time with family, exercising, cleaning your room, and meditating. With the challenges of 2020 also come opportunities. You have a chance to make changes in your day-to-day routine to improve your health, to take on passions and interests you were previously reluctant or afraid to do, and to refocus your life on the things that matter most.
This has been a year like no other. The pandemic has meant major upheavals in politics, careers, and schools. All of the changes and challenges are not going to magically disappear on January 1, 2021. This is the time to reflect on what this year has taught you about yourself and how you will carry that knowledge going forward. It is a chance to break bad habits and stop harmful ways of thinking. It is a time to reflect and refocus on you. Through all the adversity of 2020, there are also opportunities to build a better life, a better community, and a better world.
BBC. “Coronavirus: How the world of work may change forever.” https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20201023-coronavirus-how-will-the-pandemic-change-the-way-we-work
Daniels, Nicole and Katherine Schulten. “What Have You Learned About Yourself During This Lockdown?” The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/28/learning/what-have-you-learned-about-yourself-during-this-lockdown.html
Witkin, Georgia. “4 Lessons to Learn About Yourself From Quarantine.” Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-chronicles-infertility/202007/4-lessons-learn-about-yourself-quarantine