I refuse to see this past year as a year that has been lost.
It is undeniable that COVID-19 created a year of losses for many people. We missed out on the usual celebrations, annual holidays, and life events. The losses we have experienced inevitably brought disappointment, anger, and frustration with them and these feelings makes it easy to shift into a negative mindset, one that makes you believe that this year was lost.
However, it is true that every cloud has a silver lining hiding behind it. So, what have we gained from the pandemic?
We have learnt how to connect
From Facetiming friends, a profusion of Zoom calls to chatting to our neighbours over the fence, we have adapted our methods of communication significantly. If lockdown has taught us anything, it’s that human connection does wonders for our wellbeing. In fact, with all the catching up and chit-chatting we have been doing, many of us have enhanced our relationships with others and will be coming out of lockdown with a stronger network than ever.
Of course, it has been almost impossible to not be able to hug our family members or hang out with friends like we normally would. Yet we continued to participate in online pub quizzes, we did the shopping for our elders, we sat in the park two metres apart and we have learnt how to interact in ways we’ve never before. COVID-19 has taught us that we all need each other to keep our heads above water, and we will be able to take that lesson with us into the future.
We have made the most out of a bad situation
I’ll admit it – this year has been a flop for life events. Perhaps you missed out on your 21st birthday bash, or your wedding has been postponed or you spent Christmas without your family. Yet the recurring theme remains that you have discovered silver linings and produced good things out of bad situations.
In true COVID-19 style, you might have recreated Las Vegas in your living room, or you’ve spent extra time carefully planning out your dream wedding. Whatever occasion it is that you’ve lost out on, it’s likely that you have found a way to look on the bright side. A lot of things weren’t able to turn out the way you hoped they would, but you might find that you now appreciate the little things in life more.
When life is soon back to normal again (fingers crossed), there will still be times where things don’t exactly go to plan. But when that moment arrives, you will know exactly what to do!
We have tried new things
If there is anything that the first lockdown taught us, it’s that there’s never nothing to do. That period of time which felt like a parallel universe, filled with banana bread and daily walks, proved that happiness can emerge with trying new hobbies. If you told me this time last year that I’d genuinely enjoy running by 2021, I’d think you were joking! But living a life with nowhere to go and with very little plans encouraged us to test out whatever was on offer.
Remember the sense of achievement taking your freshly baked banana loaf out of the oven? Or coming back from a long walk with a clear head? We finally took the time to discover new hobbies and activities – and that should be something we continue to implement into our lives.
We have spent time with ourselves
While human beings thrive off socialising and need companionship for their wellbeing, lockdown has provided the foundations to learn how to be on your own. While Zoom calls helped us to keep connected in some ways, it does not replicate the intimacy achieved through in-person socialising.
Some of us were lucky enough to be living with roommates, family members or friends. However, when you’re with them 24/7, it’s hard to say that getting some peace and quiet wasn’t desirable. With spending more time with yourself than ever, it’s likely that you’ve learnt how to enjoy your own company.
From throwing solo dance parties in your room or spending that extra 20 minutes in the bubble bath, we all found ways to find the perks of being on your own.
Living under the circumstances of COVID-19 has been unfamiliar, at times unsettling and an event that no one could ever have anticipated. Yet we have all found ways to maintain the hope that things will eventually get better. In the meantime, we can continue to appreciate the little things and look forward to hugging our friends and family once again.
This year has not been lost. We’ve learnt how to make the best out of the losses. And for that we should all give ourselves a well-deserved pat on the back.