The Lessons that 2020 has taught us so far by Mark Sham

I swore blind I wouldn’t watch Cyril’s speech the other night, and then found myself tuning in at the last minute. What can I say, I was just too curious. I don’t know about you, but I experienced the strangest sensation when he officially told us that we’re moving down to level 1. In March, I got on a plane in London, and the plan was to come back for 6 weeks. It’s been 6 months and I’m still here. During that time, I feel like I have experienced every emotion under the sun, and I know for sure that I am not alone.

Uncle Cyril’s speech was a proxy for life really starting to return to a distant cousin of “normal”. There are still restrictions and life is far from similar to a year ago, but it’s the best we’ve had since March this year. I sat all night thinking about 2020. There is no doubt that it has been a painful year for most people, but as we exit the worst of it, I have to say I’m grateful for the pain. And I don’t say this lightly. Pain is ultimately a precursor for growth with one exception, you have to embrace the pain and choose to learn from it. When you don’t, you simply become bitter.

I am so glad the worst of 2020 is over (I genuinely believe this, please don’t ruin it for me). But I am also thankful for the pain we’ve all had to endure, and the incredible growth that has come from this time. I’m starting to see more and more, that COVID will have been the best thing that ever happened to me in the end. I know this isn’t the case for everyone, and my heart goes out to anyone who lost their job/income, or worse, lost someone they loved. But my ultimate point is this. Planet earth, and its inhabitants, needed to take a breather to re-evaluate what’s important, and be reminded that life on earth is a privilege. When we didn’t listen, the break got forced upon us.

As I write this, I am a more grateful person, and I am a more durable version of myself because of a tough 2020. I almost lost everything, and then I rebounded in ways I couldn’t imagine. I became more empathetic during this time because I suffered while watching others suffer too. I got to slow down for a few weeks and take stock of what’s important, and then I got to speed up again. I got to experience no traffic for a few weeks, and even got to leave places early and then blame it on a government curfew!

More than anything, I want to ask you to take a moment (if you haven’t already) to introspect and take stock of what 2020 gave you, rather than what it took away. I’m sure that if you look honestly, you will see that pain it brought taught you more than pleasure ever will.

Last thing. There are still three months left of this year. I say we stand on the front foot, and give it our best. That’s what winners do! Also, international borders will be opening soon. I can’t wait to see my little doggy sometime this year!

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