If you’ve been following my blog, you’d know that I usually pen my yearly reflections. My word of the year for 2020 was ‘Gratitude,’ and the decade was ‘Kindness.’ Looking back now, I can’t help but wonder how apt these words were and have held me high during the pandemic times.
First, let’s check out my 2020 reflection and goals post and see how I fared at the end of the year.
Read: It didn’t happen with the pandemic. Living in a joint family, where you’re responsible for three generations, alongside a full-time job, and pursuing creative writing on the side, the reading took a backseat. I didn’t have the luxury and privilege of time to sit quietly and read as much as I had planned initially. But I read, and I’m happy with the count given my situation.
Write and explore different genres: I did reasonably well on this front, I think. I wrote a short story in the horror genre for the first time and surprisingly had a blast. I reworked entirely on ‘Bhumi: A Collection of Short Stories,’ and gave it a complete makeover in its 1st-anniversary edition. I wrote a short thriller story, albeit in a rush. While I penned a decent thriller in a short time, that incident taught me not to rush and submit anything to fit deadlines. Write when it’s comfortable for you and submit until you’re entirely satisfied. I penned a few poems amid the pandemic, and I’m happy with my work there. I continued to blog and write on varied topics from politics, society, gender, and culture.
Self-care: This went for a complete toss. I put myself at the end of my list of priorities. I’ve gained the weight I’ve lost in the last year. But I’m okay with my corona weight. The pandemic year has been tough and challenging. I have started to work on my body, take myself a bit more seriously, and love myself more in the last few months of 2020. I promise to love myself in 2021 and give my body, mind, and soul the care and respect it deserves.
Love & Relationships: If there’s one thing that was great in 2020, it was the time spent with family. There were rough times, and good times, but we were together cruising through them all. I’ll be grateful that I have a family to count on in these times. I became an aunt to the cutest twin girls born in Feb this year. Spending time with the babies was a huge stress-buster. And connecting with friends here, especially in the US over chatty phone-calls like the good old times. There was no rush to get up in the morning, and prep the kid to school, or go to the workplace. The different time-zones didn’t matter. It was yesterday once more! The downside was that it made me miss living abroad so bad.
Travel: Hah, you must be joking!
Career: Apart from family, this aspect of life wholly consumed me. It’s good that there was stability on that front, and I had a pipeline of freelance projects, as well. There was learning of new technologies, and it was an exciting and satisfying year given the volatile employment situation. Never mind, more than half the year was spent working in my PJs, and multitasking – cooking, work calls, tasks, and helping the kid with her school work. I’ve learnt now to dress for work at home too. I have 3-4 uniform codes at home now – My night PJs, my kitchen rags for cookings, work wear, and exercise wear. The multitasking never ends. I was switching between cooking and attending a zoom call this morning. Looks like this is the new normal.
Speak: I took baby steps on this front, and I’m happy with the slow progress. I started the ‘Writing Tip of the Day’ video series on social media, conducted some social media and blogging related workshops online.
Cook: Who knew we’d have a pandemic this year, which would force us to stay indoors and cook like there’s no tomorrow. Of course, I experimented and cooked a lot this year. Most of my 2020 was spent in the kitchen. It peaked during the holiday season.
Home sweet home: We have started renovating our home this year, starting with our daughter’s room, which has turned out better than we had imagined. The renovation will continue in 2021 as we move on to the other areas of our home.
Spirituality: This aspect has been my sanity keeper. I don’t know what I would have done without a prayer or meditation. At the end of it all, we are born from dust and will go back to dust. That’s our true worth. Spirituality keeps me grounded and gives me a reality check on what truly matters at the end of the day. Those moments of quiet reflection, meditation, family prayer time, and listening to soothing music have worked like magic on a weary body, soul, and mind. Materialism and spirituality don’t mix for me. It’s why I don’t buy the prosperity gospel preachers or abundance life coaches. There is nothing wrong with failure, poverty or even negative emotions such as anger, anxiety, and sadness. Scarcity is proven to fuel innovation and creativity. One can’t stay positive all the time. There is nothing wrong in being realistic and even negative or cynical at times. It’s natural human tendency to feel every kind of emotion, and go through all kinds of experiences. As my mum says, “Everything in moderation is good.” My spiritual goals are inner peace and wisdom and not tied to material prosperity/wealth, status, fame, and other worldly pursuits. The material aspects of my life were nonetheless good this year, and I’m grateful for that; but that’s not what defines me, or my identity and character.
My 2020 learnings
I know this has been a joke ever since our Prime Minister first mentioned it. But, I think if there’s anything I’ve learned from 2020, it has been survival, self-reliance, and independence. Aatmanirbharta!
While I’ve always practiced minimalism in my lifestyle over the last few years, this has extended to my outlook as well. ‘Less is more’ in all aspects of life. ‘Quality over quantity,’ and you don’t need to impress or chase anyone. Be you, and those who were yours will always stay beside you. For that matter, there’s nothing to chase. What’s yours and due to you, will make its way to you.
I’d vowed to be kind to everyone, including my foes, at the start of the year. And I’m happy, and even proud, that I conducted myself with immense grace and dignity on that front. Even when provoked to the hilt, I’ve stayed calm and stoic while holding my ground. I intend to continue with this behaviour. Forgiveness is a rare trait, and it’s good to strive and be a higher version of yourself.
I’ve also learned from the elders and youngsters in my family. I plan to open my mind and heart, learn the best traits from people around me while leaving the rest. While I’d love to have diverse people in my circle and broaden my horizons, I’d also love to hang out with myself more in the coming year.
2020 might have been a tough year, but I am thankful for the hard lessons it’s taught me. It’s forced me to pause, introspect, and use my resources for survival. It’s taught me my strengths and limitations, how kindness and gratitude are much more important than ever before; it’s taught me to learn to unwind and destress, be less judgemental, and spend time with people who matter. It’s also taught me the importance of education and financial stability on the brink of an unknown and unpredictable future.
My word for 2021 is ‘Wisdom,’ and on that note, I wish you a happy and healthy new year!
‘This blog post is a part of the Welcome 2021 Blog Hop hosted by Swarnali Nath.’