Why 2020 Is The Year We Never Knew We Needed

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Why 2020 Is The Year We Never Knew We Needed
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By Gina Matarazzo

If there is one thing 2020 has taught us so far, it’s that life can change in an instant.

If you are anything like me, you had high hopes for 2020 on the 1st day of the year. It was the beginning of a new decade. New opportunities. New possibilities.

However, it seems that all of these exciting new beginnings have somehow disappeared as the year began.

Suddenly, activities were being canceled. Schools shut down. Employees were getting laid off. People were getting sick. Hospitals were overrun, and doctors and nurses were overworked. 

But, in the midst of it all, did you ever stop to think that the year we have come to despise may actually be the year we all needed?

Maybe the year we feel is weakening us is actually strengthening us?

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Personally, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought many life-altering events.

First, I had to adapt to distance learning to ensure my students were still getting the same education, even though we weren’t at school.

Second, I lost a grandparent who lived in another state and, due to restrictions, couldn’t attend the funeral.

Third, I learned the school I teach at would be permanently closing, which means I am out of my job.

Did I expect all of this on January 1? Absolutely not. Do I want to restart this year? Yes... and no. 

My quarantine started on March 13 when the school I worked at shut down for two weeks. Even though March 13 was just three months ago, it feels like an eternity.

But during that time, I feel like I have grown as a person and have learned many lessons. 

1. I’ve learned that I need a more in-depth look at what necessities are. 

This may sound shallow, but one inconvenience from the quarantine/lockdown for me was the closing of nail salons.

I love getting my nails done. Can I do them myself? Yes. Do I like to? Not usually.

I was also upset at the closing of clothing and makeup stores. These are life-sustaining businesses for me, but not for society. This made me realize I need to be less vain. 

Maybe that’s why 2020 happened.

2. I’ve learned to explore more and be grateful for the little things. 

One of my hobbies is photography — I love taking pictures.

Typically, when the weather starts to get nice, I go out with my photography club and take pictures at local parks and preserves. However, when everything is shut down, you are limited to your house and backyard.

So, this forced me to take the time and explore what is literally in my backyard. I learned to pay attention to the small things around me. I’ve also realized that I do not need to go far to find the beauty of nature. 

Maybe that’s why 2020 happened.

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3. I’ve learned how much my family means to me. 

With most of my immediate family working from home or temporarily not working, we all have more time to connect and enjoy each other’s company.

Family dinners, movie nights, evenings on the deck — all of these most likely wouldn’t have happened had we kept our regular “pre-COVID-19” schedules. 

Maybe that’s why 2020 happened. 

4. I’ve learned how much my friends mean to me. 

I did have virtual meetings with my friends and we also kept on texting each other, but seeing my friends for the first time since the restrictions were lifted made me realize the importance of their presence in my life.

Maybe that’s why 2020 happened.

5. I’ve learned we have been putting ourselves at risk. 

Social distancing. Wearing masks. No more than ten people at a party. Water parks, schools, and salons closed.

Just think of how many ways we can contract germs. Now that COVID-19 restrictions are in place, I look at public places differently. 

Maybe that’s why 2020 happened.

6. I’ve learned that life is short. 

The media proved this. Daily COVID-19 death counts made me realize that we are not invincible. COVID-19 hit people of all ages, races, backgrounds, social classes, and occupations.

Hence, we all need to appreciate life and what we have, because it can be gone in an instant. 

Maybe that’s why 2020 happened.

If there is one thing that 2020 proved, it's that the sun will still rise in the morning and set in the evening.

Despite what is going on in the world, we always keep moving forward, day by day.

2020 has strengthened my ability to conquer feelings of loss and disappointment.

2020 has made me stronger.

Maybe 2020 is the year we needed. Maybe that’s why 2020 happened.

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Gina Matarazzo is a writer who focuses on health and wellness, self-care, and mental health. For more of her self-care content, visit her author profile on Unwritten.

This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.