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Monday, December 21, 2020

2020 Year End Reflection – 3 Lessons Learned from COVID-19

2020 has been… interesting, to say the least. To find meaning in a chaotic year, it is important to pause and reflect on the lessons we have learned and how we have grown.

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned our lives upside down and changed not just the way we live and work but also how we think and behave. Every part of the world has been affected, and every aspect of life has been impacted. Our everyday routines were brought to a stop, and any sense of normalcy was lost. While we stop and look at the world around us, I cannot help but realize what I used to take for granted. If anything, perhaps there are some life lessons to take away from this pandemic.

  1. Humans are social creatures, and we need social interaction and human contact. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of social interaction and human contact within almost every aspect of our lives, including education, employment, entertainment, and recreation. Efforts to reduce the spread of the virus, including physical distancing, quarantine, and stay-at-home orders, have prompted and exacerbated social isolation and loneliness. I miss social interaction and things as simple as a hug or coffee with a friend.
  2. Humans are adaptive, and life is more flexible than we think. The pandemic has been a time of extraordinary change, and we have had to rapidly change and adapt to the evolving situation. Many individuals have lost jobs and have been forced to find creative ways to pay the bills. Many others began working from home.  Schools turned online with virtual learning. Many physicians started offering telemedicine. This pandemic has been a testament to just how resilient we are as humans and our ability to be flexible and creative in the face of uncertainty.
  3. Life is precious. Be grateful for what we have. With over 225 thousand lives lost to the pandemic in the United States to date (and over 1.1 million worldwide), this pandemic has made me re-think my priorities and remember how precious life is. It has been a reminder to appreciate the smaller things in life – the things I often take for granted. With so many deaths each day, I am grateful for my family and friends, even if it means video calls and text messages while we cannot see each other in-person. With so many people falling ill, I am grateful for my health. With so many people losing jobs and becoming homeless, I am grateful for the food in my fridge and a place to call home. This pandemic has made me re-evaluate my life and assess my priorities and served as a reminder of how precious life is and appreciate the small things in life.

Since March 2020, every person on the planet has had their life shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic in some way. In the midst of the hardship and challenges, there’s been the sense among many people that this period has helped us evaluate our lives and focus on what’s truly important.

It has been a very difficult 2020 for all of us and, unfortunately, we cannot predict the future. Learning from the pandemic’s impact on our lives can serve as a great lesson as we go forward to adapt and accept change, rather than wishing that we could return to business as usual.

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