person holding brown wooden love letter

This Is What We Really Learned In 2020

Here it is: the end of 2020.

The end of the year we never thought would stop.

Yet, as with any year, we stumble upon reflective periods of fear, anxiety, and upset, and let’s be real, there is a lot to look back on this year. So, as we all collectively gather our thoughts, pick up the pieces and try to mould our mouths into a smile, let me tell you a story.

This is the story of 2020 and where you fit into it—I promise, it’s not all a tragedy.

We finished 2019 with the promise to do more in the new year.

We said we would look after ourselves more.

We said we would ditch toxic people and keep a close circle.

We said we would make a change.

And then, as the bells rang on that fateful midnight, we had no idea just how much was going to change or just how much would happen to us and to the world. 2020 rose from the ground like the sunflower that never stopped growing but kept wilting.

The world saw fires; first in the flesh and in the forest and then in the mouths of politicians.

The world was infected by a disease bigger than anything we could have expected. Lives were lost and hope was thrust from the window.

The world was hit so many times, we did not see how we would ever get up.

It was at this point when every soul on the planet understood the precious existence of life. It was precisely at the moment when our fears of death were heightened that we realized what it meant to be alive.

We understood that being alive was more than just existing.

As the foundations of society became more brittle and, as a result, more open to speculation, we began to realize the impact we have on the world.

Society (or at least the majority) had no choice but to face the facts. Our way of life was already immeasurably affected, and so the question became: If we can’t return to normal, how can we come back even stronger?

And here lies one of the greatest stories to remember in 2020.

This is about more than the-disease-who-shall-not-be-named.

This is about where we stand politically, socially, and personally.

Everyone reading this article and everyone who reflects on this year has a choice. These choices come with complications, of course, but they exist.

The end of this year should no longer be about the same old resolutions that we make out of necessity.

The end of this year is about taking stock of what we have, who we have, and what we can do.

No, I’m not here to tell you it’s going to be easy.

No, I’m not here to tell you 2021 will be any better—I’m no psychic.

No, I’m not here to tell you to make lots of plans for the future or to keep hold of toxic people because they’re upset too.

No, in fact, quite the opposite.

Every change is difficult, so remember this as you enter this new transition and as you become whoever you’re meant to be. But, what you have to do now is learn from 2020.

Do not dwell on 2020 but learn from its madness. Do not plan incessantly or try to predict where you’ll be 5 years from now.

Just be for a while.

Don’t live in the moment—as so many people love to say—but live for the moment.

This means finding a way to listen to the world and to listen to what your body and mind are telling you.

This means moving to another country, even if it means a little uncertainty.

This means supporting Black lives, even if it means severing ties with friends or family.

This means doing research to better understand how you can help the world, even if this means you question your own beliefs.

This means standing up for other people who just want to live their lives, even if it means questioning someone close to you.

This means going to therapy if you need someone to talk to, even if it scares you.

This means getting into crystals and candles, even if people tell you they don’t believe in it.

This means embracing your spirituality, even if you feel a little embarrassed to start with.

This means, put simply, keeping an ear to your heart and taking it seriously.

For so long, we have waited and waited to make a change.

We have kept quiet about things that upset us.

We have let others be hurt because we do not want to fight.

We have told ourselves we deserve something but then never found a way to get it.

2020 taught us that everything is fleeting and everything is a little bit fragile and that, when it comes down to it, life is a collection of moments.

And if life is a collection of moments and not one long line of time, then how we feel in each moment and what we do with that feeling is all that matters.

As we end our story here and you go about your days or nights, let me remind you that what you did yesterday is no longer of importance, but what you do now is.

And let me ask you—what is it your heart is telling you to do and will it help you feel alive?

About the author
Writer & Tired Human. Bestselling author of 'Welcome to Hell' Follow Liam on Instagram or read more articles from Liam on Thought Catalog.

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