There are times where I feel as though I should feel guilty for actually having a relatively good 2020, especially when 2020 has been the hardest years for so many individuals.
As someone who suffers from depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses, one might expect that I would be one of the firsts to raise a middle finger to 2020 and never want to look back. To be honest, I thought that’s how I would feel shortly after starting to work from home in March of 2020.
But as surprising as it might be, I have actually had a relatively good 2020. I have grown so much over the course of the last year and have pushed myself in ways I never knew imaginable. The progress that I have made personally over the last year has me all that much more excited for the year ahead.
Enough of the selfish reasons though. For a lot of my neighbors, my country, the world, 2020 has been nothing short of a shitshow. So many innocent individuals have lost their lives to COVID-19. Others have lost loved ones, friends, co-workers. We all have been impacted in some way shape or form by the horendous virus that is COVID-19.
You might hate me for what I am about to say, but I believe 2020 has been a relatively decent year for me because of one thing – my perception. Sure, it would have been easy to get down and depressed on things that I can’t change, but I have already spent so many years of my life feeling down and depressed. I wasn’t about to let COVID take any more time than I had already taken away from myself.
That probably doesn’t matter to you, and rightfully so. So, let’s cut to the chase. I want to help you turn your 2021 around. I want you to enjoy 2021 and start making the most out of the days ahead – the days you are blessed enough to wake up for. I want to share some changes in perception that made 2020 a manageable year for me in hopes that it will help you in 2021, or at least to start the year off on a better note.
1. Being open to failure
Everybody has failed in 2020. It has been a hard and challenging year for so many. And, well, as someone who used to be afraid of failure because they were concerned with what everybody thought about them, I took it as an opportunity to finally start branching out and giving myself a chance to fail. That way, in case I did fail, everybody would be caught up with their own lives that they wouldn’t pay attention to me.
I know I really shouldn’t care what others think of me, but come on, we’re all humans – we all care to some extent. 2020 (and all that it’s brought) has kept everybody so distracted that I was finally willing to branch out without worrying too much about the opinions of others. It’s why I’ve been able to grow so much over the course of the last year.
2. Allowing myself a chance to rest
2020 has taught me the importance of finding balance in life and doing a better job of listening to what my body is trying to tell me. I used to try and force my way through life and would listen solely to what my mind was telling me to do as opposed to listening to what my body was trying to tell me.
Ultimately, the physical and mental exhaustion caused a late-night trip to the ER, but I am actually glad it did. It was in the hospital bed that I finally gave myself the permission to just let go of everything I was trying to force and instead listen to what my body was telling me. The human body is truly remarkable. Once we decide to listen to our bodies, we will be in a much better space both mentally and physically.
3. Focusing more on the good
Cliche? Hell yeah. But it’s true.
There is a saying that goes “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.” Well, for me, I don’t want to wait until something’s gone before I start appreciating it more. I want to focus on all of the good that already fills my life because I am blessed enough to have so much good in my life.
My family is safe and healthy. My friends are safe and healthy. I have a roof over my head, food in my stomach, and I am safe and healthy. I have been blessed enough to have a job during a time in which millions are struggling to put food on the table. I don’t know, it’s just all of the “simple” things in life that we often take for granted that I have found myself focusing on and appreciating more. In doing so, it’s just made my overall mood and outlook on life more positive.
4. Living life in the here and now
It’s sad that it’s taken a pandemic and the death of more than 300,000 Americans to make me realize just how precious life truly is and just how fortunate enough I am to still be alive, but never have I been more appreciative for my life. Not only does it make me realize just how good my life truly is, but it’s also made me realize that life can be taken away at any given moment and it’s important to enjoy each waking moment for the true blessing that it is.
Changes In Perception That Have Made 2020 Feel Manageable
What are some of the things that you learned in 2020 that you plan on taking over into 2021 to make it just that much better of a year? Maybe it’s to be grateful for your job, be more willing to adapt to change, or just allowing yourself some more time to breathe and destress when your body and mind are worked up.
Either way, try your best to focus on the good. In focusing on all that your life is already filled with instead of what’s lacking, you will find yourself in much better spirits despite all of the negativity that seems to be flooding the world right now.
I wish you nothing but a healthy, safe, and joyful new year.