This blog post is part of a four-part series where our team shares how they’re finding gratitude in 2020. If you’d like to read parts one or two click the corresponding links.
What 2020 has taught me is the importance of relationships. Minus my parents, my family and most of my closest friends live in different cities, even countries. I’m used to the fact that I don’t get to see them every week, and I’m lucky if I had the opportunity to travel to see some of them even once a year. However, I feel like the pandemic has made us even closer than before. We made the extra effort to stay connected through lengthy text conversations or happy hours over Facetime. So, if I have to give thanks to anything this year, it would have to be technology. I can’t imagine what living through a pandemic would be like if this was even 10 years ago. This sustaining connection has made me hopeful and optimistic for the time when I can travel again, and it will feel like these relationships didn’t skip a beat.
It’s safe to say 2020 has not gone in the direction any of us could have planned. But, unplanned circumstances can often lead to positive changes. For me, these past few months have taught me (well, forced me!) to slow down. When you’re given the opportunity to slow down, you’re given the opportunity to focus on the things that make you happy – and to nix the things that don’t. These past few months, I’ve been able to take a beat, recharge and start looking at stuff outside of the day-to-day grind. There have certainly been tough and overwhelming moments, but it’s refreshing to realize that my strength is greater than any struggle. And, those around me – my loving family, my caring friends and my supportive co-workers – give me that strength. For that, I’m forever grateful.
This year taught me how to take joy in slowing down. After graduating college in 2018, I’ve been constantly going – moving out, building a career, nurturing relationships, maintaining a social life, traveling, etc. In 2020, I’ve learned that there’s joy in being alone. It’s given me time to focus on the one person that becomes neglected by a busy schedule – myself. I’ve spent 2020 focusing on me – rekindling my love for reading, growing my passion for cooking, practicing yoga, spending time with the people I love. While canceled concerts and trips are a bummer, finding joy in the present is what’s gotten me through this insane year. It’s reminded me that it’s OK to say no and stay home…but it’s made saying yes even more sweet.