Lessons Learned from 2020

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Here we are again: December 31st. Today’s the day I would usually publish a meme for the year as a kind of end-of-year exorcism. This year? No, thanks. I do not want to talk about whether I’m happier or sadder or fatter or thinner. This year has rocked me and wracked me and wrecked me, as I know it has done for many. So, instead of ranting about the shit show that is this year, I’m going to focus on positive lessons learned from 2020.

Walking, à la Elizabeth Bennet through fields and over hills and just even around my neighborhood gazing at all the property porn, is soul therapy. So many hours to process thoughts, so many hours-long, life chats, and one huge achievement: completing the entirety of the Appalachian Trail in New Jersey. Keep walking, every day. Run on the spot if you have to. Just rack up those steps.

It’s OK to eat that. Or not eat that. And it’s also OK to drink that. And that. We’re living through a fucking pandemic. In fact, put in your body whatever the hell you like, whenever you like, as long as you are always mindful about it.

People understand “social” in different ways. Therefore, social distancing can be interpreted differently.

“It is what it is” (unofficial phrase of 2020) is not actually a philosophy I want to live my life by. I’m going to continue to avoid complacency, to never just accept things that don’t sit well with me, to never give up. “It is what it is” is just an excuse. What else could it be?

Haters gonna hate. You will not win over 100% of the people you meet in life. Equally, they may not win you over. Spend your energy on lovers. Rise above the noise. Smile (even from behind a mask). Move on.

Rejection isn’t failure and is nearly always subjective. As a writer, I have been and continue to be rejected many, many times, sometimes harshly. I keep a record of every single rejection so that when the time comes, I can look back on them and smile.

Little by little. I wanted a house, so I saved for a house, little by little, and bought a house. Every big dream starts somewhere little.

Save, save, save. As this year has proven, you have no idea what’s coming next, or how it could impact your financial health.

I made a conscious decision to move abroad, and that decision has consequences, the biggest of which manifested this year. While not being able to physically see family is hard, I am lucky to have a loving family. Appreciate every moment together, or over Zoom, or however you manage to communicate.

Read. Educate yourself. Listen to podcasts. Attain information. I’ve learned many lessons, but I’ve also pushed myself to never stop learning. Every spare 10 minutes is a chapter in a book. Take it all in; you can never know enough stuff. Again, it ISN’T what it is. There’s always more. Always another lesson, another open window.

Be kind. No. Be kinder than that.

Wash your hands. For the love of God, wash your hands and keep sanitizing throughout the day.

Stay apart. Together.

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