The Year That Was…

Life is not obliged to turn the way we plan, and this year has surely proved it. For almost everyone the way we have been living our lives has changed this year.

While reflecting on the year gone by is what most people normally do during the last few days or last month of the year, this year has been a bit different. Beginning the first quarter itself, it gave everyone ample time, opportunity, and moments to pause and reflect on many occasions.

For many it was a year when we started to question our priorities and may be got the time to set them right. For some, it harbored doubts about the path they had chosen and making the decision to take that conscious call to start all over again, taking that first courageous step to move on to more satisfying pursuits.

2020 was a year when even the small vendors and businesses had to make themselves technology ready to cope up with the sudden need for digitization. Same way even consumers had to adapt to this change. I see many elderly people (including my parents) using Paytm, G Pay and other online payment modes and getting accustomed to Online shopping portals.

According to me, the education sector has been the one which was the quickest to adapt to the changing times of the Online Virtual world we were forced to be in. The efforts by the teachers, supporting staff and not to forget the kids, has really been commendable. It was really hard for the kids who were all of a sudden confined to their homes; yet they adjusted quickly.

For some it was the realisation that rather than continuing with some bitter and awkward relationships, situations, jobs, social setup, etc., it was better to call it quits and move on for the long-term benefit and mental peace of all. Mental Health and Mindfulness seemed to be the buzz words with so much emphasis than ever before.

There were moments we were struggling to make sense of what ambiguous situation we were forced into due to the lock-down. Many a times there were questions thrown at us by our kids in an undisguised curiosity & anxiety, which we sometimes failed to answer. These questions surely made us ponder deeply and really search for a good rationale. Questions as to what was going to happen next or how long the pandemic would last, reasonable questions to which we had no satisfying answer.

There were moments of guilt making me question what we were leaving for the next generation. This year we have realised that we could easily do away with old ways of wasteful, unnecessary & irresponsible consumption and instead manage with what we already have. Mindful consumption is what I had started practicing few months prior to Covid as well. I am personally very happy and proud of the fact that I did not incur any expense on buying clothes this year 😊

We also realized that humans have a huge amount of resilience, we adapted ourselves to the situation be it working remotely, taking extra precautions, dropping our trips to malls, living without those luxury vacations and indulging in eating out.  In summary, we all have the strength to face what life asks of us and adapt to it.

To sum up, this year gave us a mixture of feelings some of which are hard to articulate. Should we be fearful or courageous, be home bound or roam around to the point of caring no longer, the new situation added to the responsibility not only for self, but towards people we get in contact with.

Despite everything that is happening, I personally do feel this is not the new normal. This is an interim period where we must ponder and reflect on how we would want to live our lives, in the post Covid era. We should thus define the “new normal” ourselves.

To sum up, 2020 has surely provided us the ability to appreciate the blessings that were right in front of us, but we always chose to ignore or rather take for granted. This may not be a great year for many in ways more than one. However, looking back, I have immense gratitude for the silver linings which have been abundant….!

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