3 Lessons Learned in 2020

Photo by Lidya Nada on Unsplash

It has taken every inch of my soul to drag myself here and write. Like most people. 2020 battered my soul. I felt the crushing weight of nothingness and insignificance deeply. I questioned everything incessantly and fell into what can only be described as a slow salient and silent madness.

Most nights were spent wondering if I was going to make it and if this was the makings of madness. Copious amounts of alcohol were had (not proud of this). Bingeing Netflix and Tik Tok became an extreme sport. Smiles and happiness became a luxury- an expensive luxury tempered by the stench of impending doom hovering in the air. Nothing is the same and nothing will be the same. Covid exposed the false reality that we so deeply held on to. Life as we knew It was stripped and decimated right before our eyes. In place, we were faced with the horrendous truth behind the facade of perfection.

We came face to face with greed, selfishness, singular desire to protect oneself and fuck everyone else (looking at you anti-maskers). Nonetheless, we witnessed firsthand as friends, families, and even strangers lent a helping hand where necessary. Everyday people found ways to look out for their neighbors and family members left in the lurch. It was a beautiful, dispirited, loving dystopia and we are still in the throes of it.

“However, despite the deep pain and loss unfolding, human kindness has fallen into simple acts

I wrote the above last year and it still holds. No longer do we place superficiality on a pedestal, we now herald the simplistic act of kindness. We laud those who go out of their way to do kind things with no expectations for reciprocation. We had little to no expectations of productivity, giving way to empathy and forgiveness. Ironically, despite it all, people found a way to be productive in their own way.

2020 taught me a lot of things including but not limited to the following; kindness is and will always be cool, mental illness is not a game, failure is arbitrary, and contentment is a muscle to be exercised.

2020 was a big ol’ bag of WTF, respectfully.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Mental Illness is not a game

As with most people my mental health took a further beating. Dealing with family medical health issues, financial instability, and a pandemic put me on edge. I slept more, was more irritable and angry, and just a pessimistic mess. Personally, every fiber of my soul wanted and still wants to yell ‘2020 can kick rocksfrom the top of my lungs into the far ethers of the world. But something tells me, my voice would drown in the echoes of people yelling the same thing to whoever/whatever will listen. Month after month, felt like my breath was being held, hostage. For every smile and laugh I could muster, there was an avalanche of sadness, fear, and deep anxiety waiting to pull me into its embrace.

So I did what I could to mitigate falling deeper into the pool of despair and let me tell you, it was not pretty. Nonetheless, even in the mess, the moments of happiness were beautiful. For a split second, in between fits of laughter, my heart found a way to be light. I realized that what I once thought of myself were lies and getting to the heart of who I am is a lifelong journey and it begins with extending kindness to myself when all I want to do is let the demons roam free in my mind.

Failure is Arbitrary

Did you feel like you ‘failed’ in 2020? Did you feel ‘useless’ in comparison to those in the throes of their peaks while you floundered in your valley? I did. I tried not to compare my existing predicament to what I was witnessing on social media and around me. That proved difficult. When I tried to take a step forward towards what I wanted (is it what I want or what had been pandered to me?) that tiny insistent voice always whispered ugly things ‘why bother?’ you will never make it. You are a complete and utter failure. Nothing is working cos you are not good enough. This is where you belong. your present now is also your future.

Like a broken record, feet flail and weaken. The resolve mustered in the lucid dreams of the night before slowly fades away and I crawl back under the covers believing all that mess. And I hurt because once again I let that voice tell me who I am when that’s not the truth. I/You are capable of so much more than i/you give yourself credit for. I AM /YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE. Not one bit, not even by a breath.

I used to think it was a cliche when people said things like ‘there is no failure, only lessons’ but I understand it now. Failure is in never trying. Failure is in giving up. Failure is beautiful (not in the moment cos that would be a lie), but in hindsight, if you let your heart soften for a while you begin to notice the lessons in the failure. You notice the new patterns carved out in the decimated rubbles of the failure. Failure is a template, a teacher even. But only if we let it.

To be transparent, this was my failure

I enthusiastically created a dropshipping Shopify store in hopes of launching a new lucrative side hustle😂. Well, that did NOT happen. What most people don’t tell you is that creating the store is half the battle. Advertising is the majority of your budget and if you are not financially stable, this can be off-putting. My store is still active but the advertising budget is not available. Have I given up? Somewhat. I am looking for ways to power through and fight the noise in my head.

Be Content

One of the biggest lessons of 2020 was learning to be content with the blessings that we have. You know the feelings of contentment because they are the things that bring a smile to your heart when you take stock of what you have. The trick is truly sitting with yourself and recognizing, knowing, and understanding what contentment means to you. Is it crocheting after work hours? is it gardening? is it cooking? is it drawing? Whatever the simple pleasures that make your heart feel that much lighter, lean into it.

For me, 2020 caused me to say multiple thank yous a day. My content moments of 2020 was being able to speak to my parents, brother, and sisters, laughing with my sister and nephew, eating and watching good shows. The situation was/is not ideal. In fact, if I let my mind really delve deep into everything, I would do nothing but throw a pity party for myself. Life is hard, unpredictable, painful, joyful, beautiful, and exasperating all at once. It is a bewildering juxtaposition of awe and shock, but that, I suppose is what it’s all about. Right? I mean I hope

SO for 2021, if you feel a bit hopeless and pessimistic, that is okay. It’s okay to be cautious. But when you are ready to step into all the best of you are, let me encourage you. Let us encourage each other to try again. Let us take that step of faith, let us be a little more kind, empathetic, and understanding. We deserve to extend grace and light to each other.

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Self-Development, Self-Improvement, and Marketing Writer. Voracious Learner, joyful coffee addict.

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Njikwe

Njikwe

Self-Development, Self-Improvement, and Marketing Writer. Voracious Learner, joyful coffee addict.

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