Thursday, 31 December 2020

Learnings from 2020 - Year in Review (Part 5)


Hello Readers!! After telling you all about my 2020 Goals, 2020 Books, 2020 Web Series & Top 10 Posts of 2020, here I am on the most important one! While 2020 was the most rollercoaster of a year for all of us, it was also a year we learnt to count our blessings & learnt to being happy with what we have. Yes, it was a very dark year, but it also gave us a reality check to live outside of our own bubble. It may have been one of my most productive years, but it came with a lot of challenges. My learnings from 2020 are immense but so are the things that I missed this year.

I realized that every situation is multifold. Even if we like one aspect of a change, there are always other few aspects that we dislike. This is why, it was a year of confusion & loss. On one side, you are safe staying indoors, but on the other side you miss the breath of fresh air. (Even though it’s more of a breath of polluted & contagious air.) Instead of telling you guys what I learnt & what I missed separately, I am just going to tell it to you together. Because one aspect has multiple impacts, which is definitely true for me.

 

~~MY OWN PERSON~~

I feel like I grew up more in this year alone than in the last 2 years combined. You really understand what your priorities are when there is so much ambiguity & heartbreak in the world. You understand who are the people you care about the most & also who cares about you. You are happy with having a job, a roof, simple food & people around you. The year has just flown by taking with it a lot of our beloved people. It has shown us who the real superheroes are! I believe it has made us all more humble, kinder & just more human. I am immensely thankful & grateful for my life, my parents & family, my friends, my job, my blog & you readers!

While 2020 made us more human, it also gave us a super-human strength & will power. I became more optimistic because having just one more day is a blessing. I now have the confidence of rising out of the deepest pit & climbing the tallest metaphorical mountain & surviving through the long dark winter. Okay, I might be getting into a Game of Thrones zone. Anyway, you know what I mean. Because, I know you have the same feeling! Despite seeing each other’s faces only through screens & social distanced meet-ups, we have somehow grown even closer to our people. If we can do that, we can do anything!


~~PHYSICAL & MENTAL WELL-BEING~~

In the first few months of the lockdown, I was lazier than a tortoise. I ONLY read books, ate food, watched TV Shows & took naps. At the time, I needed just that because it had been a tough year at work with a lot of stress. It was the much-needed stay-at-home-cation. But, then even after 3 months, I continued the same laxness. And, soon I realized that while vegging out was necessary for my mental health in April, it was actually harming my mental health in June. So, then, I started working out & taking walks & helping mom in the kitchen & also doing some chores. Staying active not only helped my body but also my brain.

I think what I am trying to say is one solution can be a solution for one part of time, but might not be a solution for another part of time. Only YOU can assess what your body & mind needs. Listen to yourself & you will know what it is. The answer in most cases is right in front of you. You just have to focus on it, instead of letting it get all blurry. It takes time to understand this, but once you do, you must keep yourself in the driver’s seat & make yourself a priority.

 

~~FAMILY TIME & LONG-DISTANCE FRIENDSHIPS~~

I live with my parents & younger brother anyway, so the lockdown did not change that at all. We had to help out at home more, which was natural. We also had these little post-dinner chats every once in a while. I got to learn just HOW MUCH WORK my mom has to do. She also taught me to make a lot of recipes & most importantly how to make chapatis. All of us also watched our favourite old movies, which was a lot of fun. I think at one point, my brother’s hair was longer than mine! If only he had given me the chance to chop his hair, we would have had another hilarious memory for the year! Honestly though, the year went as smoothly as it did for me only because of my mom, dad & brother! Thank you, fam!

While my family was with me, my friends weren’t. I met my best friends on 19th March which was my birthday & after that directly after 6 months! We did a few video calls & texted each other a lot, so that made up for not meeting. I anyway used to meet a few of them only once in 3 months or so. But the impending restrictions made it worse. But, when we met after such a long time or even talked, it was just like before. Glad to have them – Suruchi, Aishwarya, Divya, Sukanksha, Mrinalini & Poonam! Thank you, friends!



~~EMBRACING AMBIGUITY~~

In the initial months of the lockdown, it was all so new to us. We had never lived through something like this before & had little to no idea what would happen the day after. It’s a good thing, we don’t have hoarders in our area, which is why we were able to buy necessities once a week without any major issues. We were extra cautious & didn’t go out at all. Only my dad went to get groceries once a week. I think I didn’t step out of the house for 3 months! And, unfortunately, the only reason I had to go out in a pandemic was for dental reasons, which was scarier than I can admit. Imagine being in that dentist’s chair without a mask with your mouth open & foreign objects being put in there. Cannot get horrific than that. I had all my defenses down. The year was chaotic and confusing with so many uncertainties. And yet, here we are taking our own insights from all the darkness & rising higher!


~~WORK FROM HOME~~

The first 3 months of the year were quite normal. And then, I was in my office on 18th March, applying for a leave for my birthday the next day when I realized it would be a LONG TIME till I returned to the place. I liked going to the office & interacting with everyone in our little room. Taking those tea breaks or going for a stroll within the campus in the evening or making small talk with that one friendly housekeeping staff lady or waiting for 10 minutes for the elevator. Thinking back to these little things now makes me nostalgic of that PERFECT OFFICE! I am not going to lie. I have enjoyed working from home a lot more than some people. Many were irritated just in a couple of months, but now even after 9 months of WFH, I am completely okay with the situation. My Team was already a Virtual Team, so there wasn’t any major change work-wise. Whatever minor changes came up, it was easy to resolve them & work smoothly from home. This is probably one of the major learnings for everyone this year.

My office is only 20 minutes from my home & I used to commute on my Activa. And, those blissful 40 minutes of the day were like meditation for me. I was so used to it, that I didn’t need to think twice about the route. It was second nature. Especially, when I left office for home, it was a quiet & peaceful ride home. I cannot state how much I miss those Activa rides. Also, Fridays at work are WAY BETTER than Fridays at home. My colleagues & I used to go to eat pani-puri on some Fridays & there was no joy better than that carefree hour spent with them. I miss eating street food & sure as hell miss TGIFs at the office!


~~FOOD~~

For a family of foodies who used to order food or eat out often, the pandemic was a big change. There would be a gap of maybe one month, but this year there was a gap of almost 6+ months of no outside food. While I missed that luxury, it also taught me the importance & value of money & more importantly of the even more delicious home-made food.

Whichever food items I missed eating, I just learnt how to make them at home! Mainly I tried my hand at desserts because everyone in my family has a bit of a sweet tooth. I made Chocolate Cake, Mango Cheesecake, Oreo Cake, Coffee Walnut Cake, Brownies & Caramel Custard. I think I can make a perfect chocolate cake & brownies now, after making them at least 3 times in a 4 months’ span! I also learnt a few snack-time food items, like Cheese Chilli Toast, Garlic Bread & Rava Dhokla. I also made Pizza & Burger, almost end to end! Because we made all these amazing things at home, I got an unreal feel of independence! So, even though I missed Burger King’s Whopper, I now know that it takes 5 HOURS to make them fresh!


~~SHOPPING & SAVINGS~~

I LOVE shopping. Be it clothes or books or footwear or makeup or socks! The pandemic really put into perspective the fact that we don’t even need that much to go on. I have endured the whole year with 2 pajama sets! If I decide for a minimal living, I can very easily achieve it. The only thing is I really don’t want to.

In this aspect, there are 2 very different parts. There is part one from April to August, where I didn’t buy anything & saved almost all of my income. And then there is part two, from September to December where I bought not only non-essentials but also stuff that one need not buy at all in their whole lifetime. Yep, so that’s that. There are still 2 parcels yet to arrive! All the memes supporting this Shopping Habit do not help at all, but only encourage me to order more bamboo toothbrushes!

 

I know that this was a super long post, but 2020 called for it! With all these infinite learnings from 2020, lets step into the new year with new hope, courage & optimism! Happy New Year!!


Until next time,



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