The Gifts of 2020

Let's be honest, 2020 was quite a crappy year. December 31st 2019 held so much hope for 2020. For some reason there was a hyped-up energy of expectation for this year. Maybe it's because it was the start of a new decade, maybe because the numbers seemed really cool, maybe because we realized that we were well and truly in the 21st Century and the potential it held.

I don't know exactly what is was, but the energy as we entered 2020 was electric, full of hope. But we all know how the celebrations of the New Year ended….. within a couple of months, the world was shut down and we were thrown into one of society's biggest health and economic challenges for decades.

I will not sugar-coat things. For many of us 2020 has not been kind.

Whilst we know there are things to be grateful for every day, the overwhelming feelings of the uncertainty of life, the instability of routine, the disconnection from each other and the loss of things that we take for granted, has shaken us all to the core.

It took me to our second lock down in September to realize that EVERYONE was suffering. EVERYONE has experienced loss of something or someone, everyone has had to find ways to adapt, everyone has had to draw on strength, patience, energies that they didn't even know they had.

So whilst I could write a long post about how challenging these last 10 months have been for myself, my family, my friends, my community, I chose to do something a bit different as I return to writing a monthly blog. In and amongst all the difficulties, the breakdowns, the frustration, the endless days with kids at home, the lack of personal space, I have actually identified 4 gifts that 2020 gave me. Life lessons that have deeply changed the way I think about things now. I share these not to be heroic or idealistic about my experiences, but because I think if you can't learn something from life's challenges, from the unexpected, then you have missed an opportunity to turn life's challenges into life's lessons.

Lesson 1 – Take one day at a time. As a Yoga Teacher, one of the key lessons we learn is to be present in the moment, on the mat. Connecting to your breath, being present, focusing on the here and now, listening to your body. I use these words when I teach my classes and I thought I had internalized them. But until I experienced the overwhelmingness of lockdown, the repetitive nature of daily life, not being able to prepare for anything too far in the future, of knowing that lockdown meant juggling all the new daily demands and finding time to do my own work, I realized I hadn't actually deeply connected what it meant to be present in the moment. What does it really mean to take 24 hours at a time, to not think further ahead than the day that is in front of you right now. And once you are able to really do this it is so freeing.