2020 Reflections

Most years I usually do a reflection for the year, which is part of my weekly update, but this year, because of how this year was, I thought it warranted a post all by itself.

2020 has been an extremely challenging year for each and every one of us, irrespective of where in the world you live in and what you do. This year we saw the COVID-19 pandemic hit pretty much every nation on earth and this is something none of us saw anything like this before. Not wars, not recessions and no other natural catasrophes came close to shutting down the world like COVID-19 has done.

Singapore went into a circuit breaker or lockdown for two months first in April and that was when S started working from home. The children had already been home for a few months by then since school had not yet started for them. They started their first year of school online and are a bit sore that orientation and other activities traditionally offered to incoming students were either cancelled, offered online or extremely abbreviated. They could not really make friends because they only saw their classmates face to face after months and either formed groups for projects randomly or as assigned to by teachers. They have now made friends within their project groups and they slowly start going back to face-to-face lessons, more for BB than GG, given their respective courses, they are making more friends and getting more used to poly life.

S started working from home sometime in April when the circuit breaker was instituted and has continued to do till now. He is someone who probably does not work well at home, so the initial days were a bit hard on him. He needs to feed off his colleagues and friends at work, and not having colleagues next to him or being able to meet them for a coffee chat or join them for lunch was hard. I am sure this is something a lot of people, baring introverts like me, would have and are facing with not much interaction with colleagues and friends.

As for me, life went on pretty much as usual, though I did lose some employment opportunities and clients because organisations were scaling down following loss of income during this period. But I can’t complain much as I was doing what I was doing pre-COVID, only this time with a house full of people.

For the first time, other than holidays, I had a house full of people living with each other 24/7. GG & BB are grown up now, so I don’t have to pander to them all the time and neither do I have to be behind them for online classes. They are fairly independent and are able to get their own work done and on time. But being the kind of mother that I am, I do keep a close eye on their work and especially during exams and their exam schedule and do make sure at least during this time they spend more time studying.

But my biggest takeaway this year has to be meditation. I have been meditating on and off for a few years now, though I have to say it was more off than on. Around April, I came across an app which was offering the full suite of their offerings free for a year and I took it up. I used to meditate at night before bed and started doing the same. Then I realised that this was why I was not regular, so started meditating in the morning. I usually get up 30 minutes before everyone else and use this time, when everything is quiet and dark to do my daily meditation. And this was what worked best for me. Today, I have been meditating for about nine months now and have not gone a single day without doing some form of meditation or the other. While I will not continue with the app I first used once the free period is over, I will continue with the meditation lessons I have learnt from it and also use other free apps. Meditation has allowed me to become more calm and collected and the things that used to irritate me previously do not as much today. Meditation has now become a part of my life and if I don’t meditate for a few minutes each morning, I feel something is missing that day. I am hopeful that I carry this habit over to 2021 onwards.

I have also introspected a lot this year and have decided that I will not tolerate negativity in my life. I am slowly started eliminating people and things that cause negativity and am taking small baby steps and slowly but surely will get there. We already have too much going on in our lives and to have negative thoughts, ideas and adding negativity to the mix makes life harder. Why do we do this to ourselves was a question I asked myself and the answer was an obvious no.

As I grow older I am also slowly realising the beauty of minimalism. This year, when we hardly left the house and din’t wear makeup and new clothes, I started questioning the need for uncontrolled materialism. I have always been someone who valued experiences over things, so this was not a huge shift in  thinking, but still it was a move in curbing impulse buying. I have very consciously tried not to buy anything new until and unless I really need it. And I am also trying to wait a few days before something so I can check in with myself to see if it is a need or a want, a luxury or a necessity.

2020 has brought about many changes in our lives – both personal and professional. We all have learnt that those who want to work from home are not slacking and in fact, working from home can make you more productive than an office. We have also learnt to live with ourselves and our loved ones. We have learnt that family is important and so are close friends who are the family you choose. We have learnt new normenclatures and new words and phrases have been added to our vocabulary.

My hope for 2021 is a very simple one. For one, I want the world to heal, for the vaccine to generate herd immunity to the disease, so we can all move on and live our lives. I want travel to resume so I can go and visit my parents and make what would probably one of my last trips to my hometown of Mumbai. I also want us to continue being a kinder world that we are today. The world we live in is already very fractured and the kindness generated by people this year should go on as we enter a new year so we continue to help our fellow human beings.

Happy 2021 folks! May this year bring joy, health and happiness to you and your loved ones!

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