A brand new year 2021 has dawned on us! Really? From where? Does today look any different from yesterday? Is your life going to transform dramatically from today onwards? Have the people and situations in it changed between the night of 31st December and the morning of 1st January? Yes, you have tossed away the old calendar and have a new one in its place, but what else has changed? What is a new year in the cosmic scale, after all? That the Earth has just completed a round trip and is starting on yet another 365-day journey around the sun!
Oh, don’t get me wrong; I am not a cynic! I wish the readers an amazing 2021, fully loaded with merry moments. May you have a great January, fab February and so on, all way to a dazzling December. We are humans, the creatures of emotion and we like to give a grand welcome to the new year. But, they say it is socially inappropriate to speak ill of the departed. I strongly feel we should extend this curtesy to the year that passed by as well. Much as the pain 2020 brought to our lives, it also made us realise and experience a lot of great things which would not have been possible if we had not faced the events and situations we did.
So, keep your disdain for the year aside and look back on some of the great things that happened to us amidst the pandemic and its chaos:
- Our wellness becoming our priority: With a deadly virus lurking in unexpected corners, it was critical for everyone to maintain a good physical health. But it did not suffice, did it? To sustain those prolonged durations of lockdown, distancing ourselves from our loved ones, isolations and taking responsibility of our dependents despite our precarious emotional states, achieving and maintaining a state of harmony of the body, mind and emotions had become inevitable. Those who are now basking in the sunshine in the new year have managed to attain it, to a great extent. All said and done, we are a lot calmer than what we were a year before and have embraced the uncertainty, albeit gingerly.
- We don’t honestly need that many avenues of entertainment!: In the years before last, what did our evenings and weekends look like? Partying, visiting happening places, moviegoing, dining out and undergoing therapy, the retail one! We didn’t do any of them last year and yet are doing fine, aren’t we? So, we don’t really need to be in a rush all the time, always eager to project a cool image or to show everyone that we are leading interesting lives. After working hard all day, we can now afford to slow down in the evenings, without feeling guilty about it and unwind . For all those who may argue that going out and about and spending money strengthens the economy, I’d say hold the line. We are living in a planet that looks like a pebble compared to its fellow members of the solar system, Jupiter and Saturn. It is impossible to achieve unlimited economic growth in our much limited habitat. Going forward, it can only be about sustaining what we have and showing empathy towards our fellow beings, which brings me right to my next point.
- Humanity soaring to great heights! : People, otherwise preoccupied with their mundane problems, turned crusaders in support of the less privileged and the needy. There are reports galore in the media of people donating their earnings to relief funds, supplying essentials, arranging transport services, serving food to frontline workers, volunteering along with health care professionals, working round the clock to bring relief to patients, supplying medicines and protective gears, sharing their resources and opening their heart, mind and arms to fellow humans, across the world.
I personally witnessed this awe-inspiring expression of humanity when my call to help a girl in need of funds to pay her college fees led to kind-hearted friends (many of them unknown to me then) heartily making contributions to support her education.
It had to take an adversity to bring people close!
- We’ve cut ourselves some slack! : Being perfectionists is not going to earn us any brownie points anymore. Gone are the days when, in answer to an interviewer’s question “What is your biggest weakness?”, you answered “I’m a perfectionist” and expected the interviewer to be mighty impressed. It is now being viewed as a career limiting behaviour. Because, being a perfectionist, you would be spending so much time dilly-dallying over everything that you may not be relied upon to produce timely results. Of course, there is nothing wrong about making sure that one’s work is flawless but one should also be aware that it cannot happen all the time. The same applies to our personal lives as well. Much of last year was spent adapting immediately to situations that were sprung in our face and making do with what we had. We have learnt / are learning to put emphasis on doing our best with the available resources and that works out just fine.
- We can be alone and in good company! : Solitude has not been looked at it good light. Mental health experts have always sung praises of the benefits of being connected to friends and family all the time; it makes you communicate well, boosts general health and improves heath of the heart. Spending time alone has always been equated with feeling lonely and being depressed. We have always been anxious to be surrounded by people, to have choc-a-bloc schedules so that we don’t end up being alone even for a minute. But that was thrown out of the window, thanks to lockdown, shutting down of public places and isolation from friends and family. Although it was forced on us, we have now made peace with ourselves, have started doing things by ourselves, reflect on our experiences and learnings. What’s more, we are beginning to enjoy them too!
We don’t know what the new year has in store for us. But let’s pack some optimism and newfound values and lessons learnt last year in our benevolence bag and make headway with a big smile!