2020 Look Back: What I Learned from the Worst Year

So…that was shit, wasn’t it? Even when a year has been as terrible as that one was, I feel like it’s good to reflect on the things we learnt and experienced in the year prior as we start a new year.

Of course, none of us got to experience an awful lot of anything good this year, so looking for the small rays of light and the things we’ve learnt in the tough times is the way I’m choosing to go, and what I’m using this post for!

To start us off, I learnt I’m a lot more resilient than I ever thought. I’ve had family members hospitalised with the virus, had my anxiety sky rockets due to that and the state of the world in general, and I’ve felt a huge amount of anger towards our incompetent government, but it hasn’t gotten me down! Well, it did, but it didn’t keep me there!

By extension, I learnt that it’s totally okay to get down into a bad place when things are falling to shit, provided you don’t dwell in it and allow it to consume you. I can feel when my depression is sneaking up, and I’ve learnt that it’s a lot more beneficial to me to put things in place as it’s coming on, that’ll help me get out of it, and then going with the flow.

Going with the flow is definitely another huge lesson I’ve learnt this year. With my autism and general personality, I like a good bit of structure and to know what’s coming next, and that’s been totally impossible this year. I’m not saying I’ve learnt to totally just sail by and let life happen, but I have learnt that I’m able to focus on the moment, however the moment might shift and change as times go on.

Learning really never stops, and even with me and Rich having celebrated seven years together this year, I’ve learnt a lot about being in a relationship, communication within it, and being a good partner. Rich and I have never had any super rocky patches, it’s not always sunshine and flowers, but we’ve never needed to break up or go on a break, but spending so much time constantly together this year has definitely lead to us discovering things about each other we never knew, and learning even more than usual how to work together on our happiness and strength.

I absolutely don’t know how I’d have gotten through this year without Rich, and I’m really proud of myself and him for figuring out new ways to entertain each other, cheer each other up, and just get through life together as a unit.

Moving more onto work, I’ve learnt a lot about doing less. I love Videodyssey, I adore working there and my boss is fantastic, so I was more than prepared to work through lockdowns and scary times, but towards Christmas I was definitely heading for a burn out. Between my boss actively encouraging me to relax, and even take time off (I told you he’s great!), and listening a lot more to how I feel and am doing, I’ve learnt some limits and when it’s time to do less.

Alternatively though, I’ve also learnt that I’m capable of doing a lot more than I thought. Working for a small business means I’m a lot more involved in the actual business side than a usual job, though I’m definitely not fully involved, and though few are lessons I could put into words (and they’d be really boring), I definitely feel like I’m a lot more business aware and focused this year than any other.

Finally, I feel like this year I’ve really learnt I like people. Don’t say it too loud. Now I don’t mean I suddenly love socialising, and I still definitely have a degree of dislike for the general public (I’m anxious and autistic, not just an ass!), I’ve so massively enjoyed some of the online conversations I’ve had, I can definitely no longer say ‘I hate people’.

Following how terrible my last friendship group was, plus COVID, I have very little desire for ‘real life’ friendships anymore, so the few people I talk to, mostly on Instagram, have been far more important to me than they’ll likely realise. I’ve even commented on people’s posts! I’ve never liked doing that before, whereas now I genuinely look forward to reading their answer.

I think that’s the most I can really say about 2020 without getting very depressing or falling into ‘we made it!’ territory, which just feels shitty when so many people didn’t. From early March onwards, my life became a small bubble of Rich, work, and when I could, my mum and brother, and though I’m so grateful to have had those things, I still absolutely feel like I lost basically the full year.

Going into 2021, it’ll be a while until it’s really different from 2020, but I wish you all the happiest new year possible, and I hope you all manage to stay as happy and healthy as you can!

-Dana


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