The year that shook us our core. The year that made us reevaluate our beliefs and life choices. The year where plans went to nought and the need to stay alive trumped every other need. Stating that the year 2020 has been an unusual year would be an understatement. It’s been a gruelling year; one characterised by an avalanche of bad news. Many deaths recorded…many families thrown into mourning, jobs lost, economies in shambles. As 2020 grinds to a halt within the next two weeks, it’s instructive that we do not forget the lessons it taught us. I have chosen to share mine in this post.
There are no guarantees in Life
2020 was supposed to be the year where many of our dreams came to fruition. It was a much-touted year that started out promising but took a dangerous detour that continues to linger. No forecast prepared us for COVID-19, and soon enough it was clear that everyone was in danger. Money couldn’t do the magic; if it could, the men of immense means who died would still be alive today. The lesson? There are no guarantees. A life of ease can mutate to one riddled with pain in a minute. A good reason to be alive and present in one’s life.
Health should top everyone’s priority list
I have always known this, but the year 2020 reinforced it for me. We complain about the paucity of funds to do all the things we want to do. Many times, we are convinced that a lack of money is the only challenge most of us are faced with. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that being healthy is the ultimate gift everyone should covet. But beyond coveting it, we must be deliberate in actualising it, for without good health all our aspirations are at risk. Countries like Nigeria need to do better with their annual budgetary allocation as it relates to health. Well equipped hospitals should cease to be a mirage and rather be the norm. And as individuals, you and I need to pay better attention to our physical and mental health. Bi-annual medical checkups aren’t an exclusive preserve of the rich.
Worry means nothing
In 2020, I have learnt to worry less. I used to be quite the worrier. I would worry in advance for things that were yet to happen. But I have seen a marked improvement in my disposition to challenges in recent times. These days, the saying “problem no dey finish” comes to mind whenever I am tempted to tow that dark path that leads to a dead end. All our worry about the Coronavirus did not stop it from making an incursion into our space. Many were forced to live with it even when they swore they took every precaution to stay safe. True, we can control many things. However, it is also true that many other things are beyond our control. Besides, a lot of the stuff we pine and lose sleep over are ephemeral; they fizzle out after running their course. Know this and quit worrying.
Home should always be the haven/Do everything to protect your space
2020 had us spending more time in our individual homes than anywhere else. During the lockdown, I always wondered how couples who were at loggerheads were getting along. People who find solace in the workplace and other spaces outside the physical abode they call home. It must have been frustrating dealing with the pandemic on one hand and contending with a quarrelsome spouse or sibling on the other hand. Again, it helped me realise just how important it is that anywhere I call home now or in the future is peaceful. On a larger scale, it stresses how critical it is for Nigeria to be a desirable home for every Nigerian. The default mode should be the desire to stay at home and visit other places for sport and not the other way around like what we have now.
Your reality can be different from the general populace even in the midst of trouble
The feelers are that 2020 was largely a terrible year for most people. The tales of woe are proof that even the strongest and wealthiest folks had too much to handle during the year, and while I had my challenges, I can say that 2020 was a good year for me. I wrote my first book. I got a good job in the midst of alarming job losses amongst a few other high points. If I had cause to worry over anything this year, it was on behalf of others and not for myself. Therefore, I cannot in all conscience aver that I had a bad year, the same way some people made more money and got more opportunities during the pandemic. I recognise this and embrace it without any reservations because I have had it tough when others were having it good too. It’s the way the world is wired. You don’t have to pretend to one of them if that’s not your reality.
Would love to read your thoughts on your what you consider your biggest lessons from 2020.