3 Simple Lessons I Learned From 2020

Elle Scott

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Photo by Nicole De Khors from Burst

In late 2019, I’d written my resignation to my current employer. It was saved in my Google Drive, ready to submit at any moment.

On my computer monitor at work was a yellow sticky note scribbled with the dates 6/2020 & 12/19/2020. In my phone is a calendar reminder that I decided to quit my job.

I went to work everyday with this on my mind and with plenty of reminders around me. Not once did I allow my feelings for my employer to jeopardize completing my workload. Yet, I was no longer in love with my work and I hadn’t been for a long time.

One day I had a conversation with a coworker about how I really needed a few months away from the office. This wasn’t the first time I’d felt this way about work; obviously.

I felt burnout and unappreciated in my position, and I was over it.

Then, COVID-19 hit the United States and I got my wish.

So, let me take you through a few events that happened over the months once COVID-19 hit the United States and what I learned from this tragic year.

Mid-March 2020

My job was forced to have employees telework and our company was not set up for it. It took months to receive the proper software and hardware to work from home.

I wasn’t complaining.

For the first time in a long time, I didn’t need to rush off to work. I could manage my time just fine from work and spend time with my family.

Though the pandemic was happening, I was happy that at least I could be home with my family.

Summer 2020

In the midst of the pandemic, my micromanaging Manager required us all to come into the office. She felt a lack of control since she couldn’t physically see her team and she didn’t really care about the COVID-19 restrictions.

My team did attend the meeting that wasn’t an actual meeting and could’ve been held over Google Meets. That same day two of our buildings were shut down due to COVID-19.

October 2020

A team member was promoted to a new position outside of our agency and he wanted everyone to come into the office to see him off. Naturally, I was annoyed because hello, pandemic. I wasn’t going to go until he called and said everyone was waiting for me to show up.

Umm, guilt me much.

I went to the “party”, we kept our distance as recommended, and then it hit me.

As I sat on the black leather couch in my office’s meeting space I realized that my introverted self quite enjoyed the COVID-19 restrictions. Of course, COVID-19 itself sucked.

But thanks to COVID-19, I was no longer required to make small talk, shake hands with people I loathed, come out of my office if I didn’t feel like it to seem more sociable, etc…

As a true introvert, not a shy person, but a true introvert who has been ridiculed and shamed because I’m not like others, I finally had a reason to NOT.BE.BOTHERED.

#1 Lesson I learned From 2020

I’ve learned that being at home with my family doesn’t bother me at all. I actually prefer it. There was a time during the pandemic where I was reading social media comments from people really struggling with their mental health and relationships. I couldn’t relate because it was the reverse for me.

I didn’t feel depressed; in fact I was very happy. My relationships with my family members dramatically improved because I finally had the time to work on them. My life no longer felt rushed and I was happy to embrace it.

I wondered why the same people who complained about working the 9-5 and not having enough time in their day to do stuff, were the same people complaining on social media about being stuck at home with their kids and partners.

My realization that family was all I really needed to be okay in a crazy situation came about due to a crazy situation.

#2 Lesson I Learned From 2020

It only takes a moment to check in on someone you care about.

I’m a generally good person but I’m really bad at keeping in touch. There are days when I plan to call someone or send a quick text to check in and then three days go by and I’ve forgotten about checking in.

It happens a lot with me and it’s something my family and friends call me out on regularly. So, I’m working on it but it still happens too often. Mostly, I’m used to being alone and detached; it isn’t as bad as it reads.

I’ve lost a few family members, coworkers, and associates to COVID-19. It was troubling, for instance, to get an email about a co-worker passing on due to COVID-19, when I’d just seen them in the office or communicated with them about something. The deaths this year just felt different.

Though I may not be able to fully relate to people struggling with being stuck at home, I empathize more than I did before. I also understand how it feels to struggle with mental health, and how feeling alone isn’t good for anyone.

I’ve made it a point to take a moment and reach out to someone I care about. There were times when all I needed was to know that someone was thinking about me and it would’ve helped.

I keep that in mind when I’m going through my contacts and reaching out. My one phone call could be the difference between someone being okay or deciding no one cares about them.

#3 Lesson I Learned From 2020

This chaotic year has taught me to take chances and embrace positivity. I’ve been saying yes to things I would’ve turned away from any other time. This hasn’t been an easy year for me as a salaried employee but I am thankful I still have work when I know many people who aren’t employed.

I’ve lost family this year but I am thankful I still have family around to talk with. Everything I’m able to view a negative point from this year, I’ve reflected on the positive side of things. I acknowledge the bad stuff because things happened, but I fully embrace the good in what also happened and how it can flourish going into 2021.

I can’t travel right now, but I sure can have fun planning my post-COVID trips.

Wallowing in sadness isn’t going to do me any good so I prefer to cry it out, move past it, and be happy. Because for me to pass on chances and embrace negativity would mean giving in to unhealthy thoughts and losing myself again.

After going through the year we’ve had, I think it’s fair to embrace the good over the bad. #nbholidaycheer

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