It’s been a tough year for all of us, but also a year that we’ve learnt so much about ourselves and the world around us. Personally, I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting and even trying new things, but I think we can all safely say that we want to leave 2020 behind us. Although it’s not like Coronavirus is going to leave us the minute it turns midnight in 2021, we’re all hoping for bigger and better things in the next year.
So, for my last blog post of the year, I’ve decided to bring back my favourite series, The Group Chat. For those of you who are new to the blog, The Group Chat consists of a group of people I know, all openly and honestly answering a question I give them, almost like a group chat between your friends. This post also marks the end of my first blogmas: it was super fun, really challenging and I met a bunch of new people from it, so I’m super grateful for that!
For the last Group Chat post of the year, I really wanted to reflect on how this year has affected everyone, because everyone has handled it differently, and how they want 2021 to be different (or the same!) I asked them ‘what have you learnt from 2020 and what do you want for 2021?’
I have learnt that world is not as just as we once thought it was. From the Black Lives Matter movement, to the realisation of workplace injustices experienced by the disabled community. People across the world need to do more to be accepting and supportive of marginalised and misunderstood communities. 2020 showed me that things don’t always go to plan but new hardships often bring out the best in ourselves and others.
For me, 2020 was a year of missed opportunities, as one of the last long summers of our lives [for us university students], I would have wanted to spend it reaching for new experiences. In 2021 I want to take every opportunity I am given and learn to use my time wisely to get the most out of life.
So from 2020, I realised that I wasn’t as completely comfortable with myself as I thought I was. When I say this, I mean in the way of being on my own with my own mental health and having to entertain and support myself. I would usually lean on my friends quite heavily when I wasn’t feeling great, and not being able to go out and see people whenever I wanted has been almost quite humbling and forced me to deal with some of the issues I avoided by myself rather than deal with them through distraction. I think 2020 has been a chance for me to grow and develop more as a good person in a lot of ways, seeing my own individual limits and strength which has been interesting to say the least.
In the next year I hope that I can continue to appreciate things I previously didn’t from life, like my friends and family, and continue to develop myself as a person in terms of managing emotional control and enjoying things on my own sometimes, rather than always being around people. I also hope that we can all continue to make the most of the time and resources that we do have and remain positive and keep coming together as communities to help better ourselves as individuals and just the world around us. Hopefully we can also go out and catch up with people further away but realising that there’s different methods of communication and staying together even among lockdown hopefully would mean that everyone is a lot more grateful for simpler ‘normality’ of partying or even being able to just see people.
2020 has been a fundamental reset that no one has asked for, but I think we all really needed. We had to strip back and slow down from the busy, entitled schedules and re-align our priorities and reconsider what truly matters to us. I realised actions mattered more than words, cherished the relations that have lasted throughout this time and truly learnt to appreciate the little things that can bring us happiness within ourselves. What I have truly taken for granted, but only through deep measures realised, is the lack of vulnerability I have allowed myself to experience due to the rush of life and the search for perfectionism I was caught up in.
2020 has definitely been a learning curve, so although for 2021 I do wish for more dynamic times like nights out with friends, creating memories abroad and successful career prospects, I also hope for myself to take more risks, make more mistakes and truly be out of the depths of my comfort zone so I can learn to cultivate who I really am. 2020 has truly been the first step in the right direction.
I would say the main thing I’ve learnt from 2020 has been to appreciate the little things. I’ve never enjoyed a walk more! Speaking to friends on the phone, keeping in touch with people, going on walks were the little things that previously I took for granted. However, due to the lockdown it became the highlight of my day. These little things meant so much more. I would also say that’s what I would like to remember in 2021: to not fuss and sweat the small stuff. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s to keep everything in perspective, and I think it’s important to keep that in mind going forward. I have learnt to not take anything for granted, and I would like to continue this mindset even when life is back to its normal pace.
In terms of what I want for 2021, the ideal would be that things go back to normal; being able to travel, university being in person again and not having to remember a mask whenever I go anywhere. However, that may be slightly optimistic. In addition to remembering the little things I just hope to maybe travel and go and see a new place. Quite simple, but hopefully at one point in 2021, I can stress about where I put my passport!
2020 has been a year full of a load of uncertainty, but one thing I can take away from 2020 and be 100% certain of, is the fact that from now on, I’ll always be more grateful for the little things and for the people around me. 2020 hasn’t been a year of ‘doing’ but it’s definitely been a year of learning for me, learning more about how to improve myself as an individual, both mentally and physically, and learning to appreciate those around me so much more.
Going into 2021, I hope that everyone stays motivated, and uses everything they’ve learnt over the past year to work harder towards their goals and achieve everything they want to achieve. For me, 2021 will be a year of taking every possible opportunity to do things, see close ones and visit new places.
I think I’d be speaking for everyone when I say that this year has been one hell of a rollercoaster! I started off the year wanting to do so much. Travelling, trying new things, seeing where life would take me next. Then the lockdown hit and I had to scrap everything. Having to stay inside and occupy myself for months on end has taught me not to take life for granted at all and to spend as much time as I can with the people I love and care about. It’s taught me there’s so much more in life than how many people like you, how many friends you have, what your plans are for when you graduate. Life’s short so fill it with as much as you can and have the best time possible. It’s taught me how much of a community we create when we all come together. Looking out for one another and doing small acts of kindness can make a bigger difference than you realise.
It’s hard to think of what I would like from 2021 as there is so much uncertainty for the near future. However, I want to continue to work on myself and grow into the best version of me I can be. I want to be able to treat my family and friends and make sure they know how much they mean to me. I want to grab every small chance I can get my hands on to try push myself out of my comfort zone even more and have fun. But I think most importantly, I just want to get through 2021!!
This has really been a year of growth for me, so for that, I’m grateful. I agree with my friends in what they said: we’ve been so stuck in our fast-paced, complain over the smallest things-filled lives, that we haven’t realised how much we should be grateful for. We should be grateful for the ability to get outside and go on a walk, that we have technology to communicate with our loved ones, that my loved ones are thankfully still here. I’ve learnt what I truly love doing in my free time, and have learnt so much about fitness (a relatively new topic for me). I’ve also become more educated about the world, from movements like BLM to how to become more sustainable.
In 2021, I really want to not forget about how sensitive to situations I’ve become and how lucky I am to have what I have. 2020 has also brought out the best in people, with more acts of kindness being spread and just seeing people more genuinely happy because they’re not so stuck in their busy, city lives, so I would love to bring all of that into 2021, when our lives (hopefully) get back to some sort of normality. Saying this, I would love to carry out some charity work and consciously be kinder to others wherever I can, even if it’s as simple as wishing someone a great day after leaving the corner shop.
2020 greatly made me miss the feeling of freedom: going out, seeing new places, making new memories. I wish to take every opportunity I can with both hands in 2021 and really put myself out there in the new year.
I want to thank everyone that’s been on this almost one year journey of blogging with me. I’ve loved every second and I can’t wait to see where this goes. Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you in the new year with a new post. Wishing you a merry Christmas and a happy new year x