Lessons from adversity
by MITA MISTRY
2020 will perhaps be scripted in history as the year that was literally cancelled. Life changed in unexpected ways for everyone.
Although we are collectively mourning the loss of life as we knew it, there is fresh new hope of vaccinations on the horizon, and this pain we have felt will pass.
Understandably, many will want to put this year behind them, let go off this horrible time and move on. But what positive lessons can we take with us into 2021?
Human connection: Perhaps, the biggest lesson is the importance of human contact. While Zoom calls, FaceTime and texts have been helpful, there is no replacement for sitting next to our friends, and feeling the warmth of our loved ones in an embrace. Even simple joys like popping in to see friends or family, chatting and being present over chai, bhajia and cake will feel more special now.
Interconnectedness: This pandemic has truly shown us how interconnected we are. The world is a web, with each single action we take having far reaching consequences, as we witnessed with infection spread rates. But the beauty is that we’ve learnt how to live through a crisis and be a part of the solution.
Work-life balance: Prioritising mental and physical health has been equally important as career status and money. Moving forward, making time for those around us and the activities that make our heart sing are valuable insights.
Nature: Lockdown saw nature come alive. Rare wildflowers, new birdsongs and wildlife were spotted; even swans returned to the ‘murky’ waters of Venice. And air pollution levels around the globe fell. It may not be entirely possible to maintain this when daily life resumes, but we can remember we have the ability to heal the planet by making conscious choices.
Love and compassion: With all the heartache this pandemic has caused, the outpouring of love and compassion has been extraordinary. No matter how difficult things become, there are good people out there who will go out of their way to help. Even the smallest act of kindness like checking on a vulnerable person may have helped more than we realise.
Enjoying simple things: Many people still managed to find joy in the home by learning new skills, taking online courses, indulging in hobbies or cooking. Some simply loved being outdoors, feeling warm sun rays on their skin. Perhaps, we don’t actually need to spend loads to live and appreciate small joys. When we are grateful in this way, we realise how much we already have.
Health really matters: Life is both a miracle and simultaneously fragile. It can be lost at any time as people sadly experienced. And this has made us so much more mindful of mortality and the importance of looking after our health.
I hope we remember the lessons from this year and have the courage to give kindness freely. To love with all our heart, be braver to speak the truth, be bolder to follow what matters, eat and do what we love, be a better friend, neighbour, sibling, daughter, parent.
I hope that one day soon this period will be a far-away memory. Here’s to a healthier, happier 2021. I wish you and your loved ones well.