10 Valuable Lessons 2020 Taught Me

Op-ed

This year was honestly the most unexpected year, and I bet we can all agree on that.

I know that many of us thought 2020 was the year, the year for perfection, the year everything was going to go our way.

However, this year was quite the opposite. Things didn't go our way; many things changed. The world changed, people changed, our life and routine was completely turned around. The world halted to a stop, and for a while it felt like everything that we had planned was totally ruined.

Although though this year brought some the most unexpected things to my life, most I consider to be good, and many have taught me valuable lessons I would never have learned otherwise.

1. It's Good To Try Something New

Because of the pandemic, it felt like everything that was normal for us was coming to an end.

We were told to stay in our home, where else were we supposed to go? Some college students had to go back home to their families, students had to go to school online, even people who had jobs had to work from home.

The longer we were told to stay inside, the more bored we got. We needed to entertain ourselves.

People started looking towards the famous platform, TikTok, to entertain themselves and others with comedy, lip-syncing to songs, hacks, really anything you could think of, it was on the platform. We learned dance moves to songs that we can recite and imitate by heart. People started cooking and baking more, learning and trying new recipes. We learned how to make and create new things with DIYs and hacks. We took the time to realize and remember the important things of life; family, loved ones, and even our pets. We made time to read more, write down our thoughts, journal our feelings.

It's crazy to think that a pandemic made us do all of that, not because we didn't have a choice, but because we were creative enough to do that.

2. Good Things Can Come From Unexpected Times

Things were different, and I couldn't help but feel like because of the various changes we went through, we somehow understood and had compassion for each other.

The pandemic had an effect on everyone; it wasn't centered towards one group of people. It hit everyone hard in one way or another. We were there for others, showing our support and love for others, even though we couldn't physically be there for each other. We gave each other hope, we stood united. We didn't need to tell how much pain we felt, they understood. We became kinder to one another.

Every year, I look back on the year. I look and remember the good and bad. In previous years I remember how many school shootings there had been. There wasn't much of that this year, and I am grateful for that.

Although we didn't see it because we were so blinded by what was going on, this year was unexpected in a good way. Good things can come from the unexpected.

3. Detoxing Can Be Purifying

Sometimes, it's hard to stay away from our devices, especially when we try to constantly keep up with those around us.

However, because the world came to a pause, nothing new happened for us socially. There wasn't much to post about, unless you were posting a selfie in a different part of your house every day to make things more exciting.

We focused more on those around us, people who we hadn't talked in a long time to. We put our devices down and actually communicated and talked to one another. If we used our devices, it was mostly to talk to others who were far away from us.

Putting our mind on other things other than our screens helped us cope with the chaos this year brought us. We took time for ourselves, took time to realize the importance of self-care whether it was mental, emotional, or physical. We took a step back and focused our time on taking care of ourselves making sure that we were okay, not stressed, and relaxed.

I believe that detoxing helped many of us cope with how big the pandemic was and its effect on others.

4. If You Spend Enough Time With Someone, You Can Get To Know Them More

When the pandemic hit, some of us had to move in back in with our families. Others quarantined with their S.O.

Regardless of whom you quarantined with, these were the people that we were going to constantly see over the course of a few months. Over time, we got to know more about our siblings, friends, family, and S.O. Maybe you watched movies together, played games, or cooked or baked something new.

As even more time passed, you probably realized how important these people were to you, and the relationships or friendships you developed during quarantine. We became closer to people who we thought were strangers to us. I believe getting to know someone you lost contact with for quite some time was something good that came our of this year that we'll always remember.

5. Hectic moments Can Create A Different Routine

Many of us wanted to try something different this year, maybe a new routine or way we do things.

Because of the pandemic, we had to reevaluate our normal routine and do things differently. This inspired us to be more creative, trying things we never thought were possible. I'm pretty sure at one time during our quarantine, we were excited that we could finally go to school in our PJ's and be comfortable in our own homes.

However, as soon as we realized that the quarantine was going to last longer, we started getting bored, or tired of the dull routine we were getting used to. However, this didn't stop us from being active, talking to friends and family, and exploring more of the world. We learned to just take a step back, and actually stop and look, observing the world and those around us.

Sometimes, when life throws unexpected curves and bumps in the road, the best thing can be to just adjust and do things a little differently.

6. Just Breathe

Sometimes the best thing to do in troubling times is breathing.

You may feel stressed or even overwhelmed by everything that's going on around you, and the problems you face may feel like they're too hard to handle.

Breathing deeply can be a way to let go of everything that you've been trying to hold in for so long. Whether it be troubling thoughts or reoccurring feelings, breathing or even breathing deeply and then screaming as you exhale, can be helpful. I know it may sound weird to say or even think about, but this year I believe many of us have wanted to scream.

This year has taught me that it's okay to scream, shout, yell, breathe. These actions just help us cope with everything that's been in our minds and things that have had a constant weight on our shoulders.

7. There's Beauty In Ordinary Things

This year I got to really see the beauty in ordinary, everyday things.

Things that I saw every day like people, nature, and objects suddenly had a uniqueness and beauty to them. When we have more time, we realize and look on the importance on things that pass us by every day. I realize that these moments that occurred this year were important, and are moments that I'll remember for a long time. I believe that for quite some time, people have taken life and little everyday things for granted.

This year we had the opportunity to slow down, and look at things a little closer from a different perspective.

8. Changes Can Be Good

I have no doubt that throughout this tough year, many of you have been through many changes. Changes in your social life, friendships, and relationships. However, many of us don't realize that some of these changes can be good.

While we all were in quarantine, we took the time to really take care of ourselves and evaluate our self-esteem and well-being. This changed how others viewed us, and even how we view ourselves. Some of us took the time to treat ourselves with self-care, changing how we dress, our hair, and even how we view life and our mood.

This year, we stepped away from others and the rest of the world to focus on ourselves. This year was a year of self-evaluation, looking at life a little more carefully, reevaluating where you are in that relationship, taking time to focus on yourself, and prioritizing what's important.

The changes that happened to us this year we life-altering, impactful, and hopefully good.

9. You Can Meet And Find New People In The Most Unexpected Places

When the pandemic hit, some of us had to say goodby to our friends and those closest to us for a little while.

However, we didn't realize how long quarantine and lockdown would be. For many of us, just going to the supermarket and seeing a cute boy was a field trip. Spending time away from loved ones and friends, didn't stop us from communicating with them through our phones and other devices.

A popular platform, Zoom, was even popularized for such circumstances like this. We were able to return to some sort of normalcy by talking to our coworkers, classmates, friends, S.O, and loved ones. To those who didn't have many friends even before the pandemic hit, we made friends through Zoom. It's crazy to think, but some relationships and friendships started on Zoom, others were because of TikTok.

This year was definitely unique and different. We got to be friends and meet people in the most unexpected places. This year, society changed the standard of how we meet people. People now can meet new people anywhere through any social media platform. Finding a new friend or partner this year was different, and I think that was something good that came out of this year.

10. Enjoying Life

The best thing that came out of this year is that we all just enjoyed life.

Despite how much of a toll this pandemic took on our families, ourselves, and others, we showed support, love, compassion for others when times got hard and tough. We were there for each other--I never seen everyone so united before. In one way or another we were all together, on the same side, rooting and being there for each other. We enjoyed life a little more this year, taking more time to realize what's really important to us.

It's one of the things I'm so grateful for that came out of 2020. What more could I ask for than a united front, with people who support one another throughout the good and bad.

Have a great New Year, and celebrate all the changes and differences, good and bad, that have brought you to where you are now.

Despite what has happened this year, you've changed. Maybe you should start looking at that as a good thing.

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Samantha Ferrer

Samantha Ferrer is a freshman at college. She enjoys reading romance and dystopian novels, writing, and photographing nature. On her free time, you can find Samantha reading or listening to music. Samantha also hopes to grow as a reader and writer on The Teen Magazine website.