2020 has been one hell of a year for most of us. So, yesterday, I found myself wondering, this year must be full of lessons for people, has it taught me anything? And yes, it has. So, here are some of the major takeaways from this year that I would share with you. I hope you enjoy reading them and do share in the comments section below what you learned this year.
✨Self-Care Is Extremely Important✨
We are all living in difficult times. Sure, nobody had imagined such a pandemic would change the course of our lives and all our plans and aspirations would almost come to a halt. There isn’t just one pandemic right now. There are two of them, and one of them is the mental illness pandemic. Living in 2020 has taken a toll on the mental health of a lot of us. It’s stressful to be dealing with the anxiety of the pandemic while trying to go about our lives and convincing ourselves everything will be fine again.
In such times, I’ve found that self-care is extremely important and helpful. I started journaling in 2020 again and holy shit, it’s been so helpful. Sometimes it’s really important to talk to yourself (or somebody else, for that matter) about things and sorting them out instead of keeping them bottled up, and writing a journal is so, so helpful. Of course, there are other things as well that are equally useful. It could be taking a walk while listening to music or just watching TV or cooking or drinking more water or anything… It’s important. It’s important to do things you enjoy and it’s not one bit overrated, as I used to think before. Take care of yourself.
✨Simple living is alright✨
I have spent almost 20 years of my life trying to measure up to society’s expectations of me. I used to think of myself as a perfectionist – I had to be perfect – and gave myself almost no room to make mistakes. Of course, I’m a human and I make way too many mistakes. I believe I had/have unrealistic expectations. For example, I hated when I scored less on my tests in school. But then university happened, and no matter how hard I tried, there’s no way to get a perfect grade if you’re studying liberal arts. I beat myself up over this a lot despite knowing full well that even if I was making mistakes and not getting a perfect grade, I was learning, something not many people get to. I was also obsessed with the idea of getting a Ph.D. in history because that’s what “smart people” did and I needed to show everybody I was smart, despite it affecting my mental health so badly that I started experiencing depression and abnormal amounts of anxiety. However, in the last two years, I have realized that I need to cut myself some slack and not compare myself and my life with others. There are almost 8 billion of us here and we need to do what we can do to live. We only get one life and ambitions are not worth it if you’re constantly stressed out about achieving them. For me at this point, every small thing is an achievement because I work hard on it – and I mean every small thing, even if it means making myself a bowl of cereal in the morning. And getting a degree just for the sake of society or just for the sake of getting it isn’t good if it’s affecting me. Now, a simpler life is what I aspire to have… I think I’ll be happy without having international publications under my belt if I’m with my family, my doggies and my garden. Seems boring, but y’know what, this is what I want right now and listening to yourself is important.
✨It’s fine to not be “strictly vegan”✨
This is probably going to be the most controversial of all and I worry I shouldn’t put it here because I fear losing my friends/followers, but I believe in sharing my true experiences. I was vegan for a long time – basically it means people who do not eat meat, eggs, milk or any animal products or byproducts. It’s different from vegetarianism. I tried to be vegan for years and It worked, but lately, I’ve started eating cheese that’s not tofu – I’m not a fan of tofu or cheese or tea with milk to be honest, it makes me puke but my doctor made me do it. I’m actually still vegan most of the time because I almost eat zero animal byproducts. However, this die may not have been working for me lately.
I’m getting a few blood tests done to rule out certain nutrient deficiencies because I’ve been craving paint chips and mud? Yes, you read that right lol.
I also realized I was actually more of less eating carbs – I eat pasta, pizza, rice and white bread and I think I eat A LOT more than necessary because I’ve started to gain weight… So now, I’m trying to include MORE vegetables, eggs and fruit in my diet even though I hate them all – I do not like supplements but maybe I’ll need to take them. I already did take vitamins – those capsules smelled awful and got stuck in my throat lol – I have a hard time swallowing pills, anyone else relate to it? God, what am I saying and why does food even exist?! Anyways, so, what I was saying is, sometimes it’s important to do what your budget and your body require you to do. Health comes first. Sometimes, online spaces can be really toxic for you where people are constantly convincing you to feel guilty if you’re eating yogurt because it’s an animal product… I know it’s happened to a bunch of us but at the same time I know how damaging it is to eat animal products. However, being a part of a community like this can be really, really stressful. So, if you need to, hear it from me: eat what you want to eat. Don’t let anybody tell you what you’re eating is wrong even if you’re vegan, vegetarian, or a meat-eater. It’s fine to not be vegan every time. Don’t beat yourself up over it.
✨This too shall pass✨
Everything on this planet is temporary. As John Green said in his book TFIOS, “forever is an incorrect concept.” There’s no reason to believe this pandemic will stay forever. I mean, let’s just remind ourselves that this is not a new situation. It’s happened before and it will happen again, but it won’t exist forever. We will again live our “normal” lives – I mean, not exactly normal but… – and it will be forgotten eventually and maybe only come up in history books? At least that’s what has happened till now? We all read about Black Death and Spanish flu and other infections in history books. The point is, this situation won’t be relevant a few years down the line. And I’m not just talking about the pandemic I’m talking about other things as well. . Me, personally, I find it extremely hard to remind myself that there’s hope when I’m too depressed. At times, it’s easier to get carried away with our emotions, and the distress they cause us seems permanent. However, it is not permanent. Even if the situation doesn’t get better for the next few years, it will get better. Happiness and positive feelings don’t show up at the “end” in bulk. Instead, they come in small bursts every day or every week and we need to pick them up when they do and cling on to the hope for more.
✨Learning a new language is difficult, but rewarding✨
I have been learning French on and off for two years – I didn’t take it seriously until I started learning it at school, but let me tell you, it’s so amazing working on something you don’t know absolutely anything about and then learning it. At this point, I know some French and some things about France. My knowledge of France wasn’t immense but I did know about it. However, I had no idea about other francophone countries and cities, and learning French has taught me so much about them, their culture, and their food. Of course, applications like Speaky and Hello Talk made me find buddies in Morocco, Algeria, and other nations and it’s so amazing sharing the culture of my country with them and learning about theirs. And it’s all become possible because of learning a language. However, I do understand and feel that learning a new language is extremely difficult. Especially if you’re needing to have to learn the alphabets and everything. Learning French, I feel, is easier for me because I knew some English before. And of course, my native language is Hindi, so a few alphabets are easier for me to pronounce than an American or someone else. It also helps me learn a few words of English. It’s been so, so rewarding!
So, these are some major things that I learned in 2020! Of course there are more things that I have learned and will learn in the next few months, and I will share them all with you in the next part of this post that will come in a few months.
So, what have you learned this year so far? Share your thoughts with me!