History books will not easily forget the year 2020. It was a year filled with phenomenal challenges and heartbreaking deaths due to a novel, deadly global virus. It was also the year we learned about self-isolation and had a rethink about how we work, live and socialise.
For many, it was a time of despair and loosing not only loved ones but also jobs and the freedom of movement. Life changed in an instant and suddenly nothing was the same. Nor could it ever be. But as with all challenges in life, it serves lessons of deep learning. The pandemic year(s) taught us many lessons, and reflecting on how quickly life changed, the major ones that stood out for me were the following:
- We are all connected – the whole world has been affected and what happened in South Africa rippled through to the UK, the Netherlands, Germany and elsewhere, and also vice versa. Our actions have consequences and sometimes our deeds affect others just as much as it does us.
- People need interaction and a sense of community – without each other, we felt lost and lonely – the essence of life is our relationships with and connectedness to each other, it needs to be cherished and protected, no matter what the circumstances, grievances, or feuds are that is keeping us apart
- As a species we are adaptable. Life is more flexible than we think – working from home, video conferencing and even medical consultations went online in a flash, something that was not considered even a few months prior. The impossible becomes a reality when we have little choice. Nothing is impossible!
- Life is precious and we should never forget to be grateful – we should always be reminded of how precious life is and how much we have to be grateful for. Medical and emergency services personnel were the true heroes working selflessly and tirelessly and having something to eat each day was a great privilege as many were not as lucky. Remember to be grateful.
- The planet needs us to do better. We can have various theories about how everything started and what to do and expect next, but it is clear that the way we treat the planet is not acceptable or sustainable. The pandemic served as an eye-opener to all of us on just how fragile life on earth is and by grace, we will take these lessons to heart to do substantially better in the future.
When a New Year rolls around following a global pandemic it has you thinking differently. One does not necessarily have to wait for the end of a year to rethink, reflect or set new goals, but this year deserves a special mention. Life as we know it has changed irrevocably and little will return to the way it once was.
Linking to and inspired by the pandemic lessons above, here are the 5 things on my mind that influenced my reflection as a new year dawned in very peculiar times:
- Living life in every moment. It is time for us to take a step back from the rat race, to make sure we do not spend our lives waiting for tomorrow and at the same time do not allow worry and fear to steal the joy of today. In the end, our lives are pieced together from every moment we are experiencing now, day by day and we should make sure not to miss ourselves in the process.
- Taking better care of ourselves and our bodies. This is something that I know I do not do well enough. Partly because of a rush for time and partly because I have not succeeded in getting into a proper routine. In this modern-day and age, we do little more than sit in front of computers and screens. A healthy body is a good investment and it pays the reward in the end. There has never been a better time to get the message about self-care and a healthy lifestyle than right now. Do it for you!
- Creating change and being flexible. The world is forever in flux, at this point in time it is just more pertinent. In order to move forward in life, you need to enact change and to do that, flexibility is needed. Do things differently, do things that you have never done before. Only then will the outcome be different.
- Less social media, distraction and time-wasting, that need to make space for real-life smiles. The idle time we spend on social media, devices and screens steal a lot from us. Often without us realising. It is time to live more, worry less and get out of the rut of bad habits and mindless time-wasting.
- Being grateful for what we have. Appreciating friendship and family and celebrating life’s gifts is not something we do enough of. It took a pandemic to make us realise what is truly important. May we heed the call and incorporate gratefulness in the way we live, work and interact.
My wish for you is that this year be a special one. May it be the one that you mark and remember as the year of new beginnings. I hope you chase your dreams!
Happy New Year!
Like Maya Angelou says, seize a brand new day!
Take good care of yourself!