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20 Lessons from 2020

Last Updated on March 31, 2021 by Rat Race Running

I think many will agree that 2020 is one of the worse (if not the worst) years in recent memory.

There were so many instances during the past 12 months which shook the world to the core.

There were rumors of wars, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, wildfires, the COVID-19 pandemic, super typhoons and floods, government corruption scandals, and unexpected deaths.

So as the year comes to a close, here are 20 life lessons I learned from what felt longer than 366 days.

1. God is in control.

I believe that everything happens for a reason, and the reason is God allows it.

By putting my faith and trust in God’s plans, I became less anxious about all the uncertainties happening around me.

I am at peace that God has a plan, and I need to trust Him.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:28 (NIV)

2. Always count your blessings.

With all the terrible things that happened during the year, many of us forget how to be grateful. 

We became so absorbed by the bad things that occurred and took our blessings for granted.

We need to count our blessings instead of our problems.

3. Life is short.

Even before the community quarantines caused by the pandemic started, there were already unexpected deaths. The most shocking for me was Kobe’s.

Many of us plan too far ahead into the future without contemplating what will happen if I’m called home earlier than I thought? 

And a simple lesson I learned is life is short, and we need to use our limited time doing worthwhile things.

Hopefully, we’ll live a life that will bring God glory and live according to His purpose.

4. Never stop learning.

“Once you stop learning, you start dying.”

Albert Einstein

We are now living in the age of information. There is unlimited knowledge that we can learn through the Internet’s help. Many can be practical and even life-changing. 

In 2020, I learned more about the stock market, wrote more blog posts, led a growth group, and explored remote teaching.

Age is just a number, and until we reach our end, I hope that we continue to learn.

Like how my senior citizen parents are learning the ropes of the Internet, we can always find something that we would like to know.

5. Never take relationships for granted.

Relationships were tested during the extended quarantine periods.

Though I like being alone, I still missed being with people, especially my family and friends.

After this pandemic is over, I hope to visit them more often than before.

Though we now have the Internet…

6. There is no substitute for human interaction.

The Internet made the quarantine period tolerable. 

We can now talk to our friends and families hundreds of kilometers away through social media and video-conferencing tools.

However, virtual communication is not the same as the full experience of human interaction. It lacked the human touch.

Even the education sector adapted to the new normal. Since face-to-face communication is restricted, teaching and learning continued but became more demanding.

7. Health is wealth.

The pandemic proved that health is wealth.

Imagine contracting COVID-19. Aside from the risk of dying, there is also the high cost of hospitalization that can reach hundreds of thousands of pesos.

The community quarantines also transformed our active lifestyle into a more passive one, which can be harmful in the future.

8. Our job is a blessing.

Many people lost their jobs during the lockdown. Some of them are even unemployed today.

While many people hate their job, the pandemic proved that having an income source is a blessing.

We were able to provide for our family and not rely upon government aids or dip our emergency fund.

9. The importance of emergency funds.

The loss of a job is a big blow to the financial stability of any family. That is why a 3-6 months’ worth of expenses saved as an emergency fund.

For people who unexpectedly lost their jobs and livelihood, having an emergency fund is a life-saver.

I already wrote a separate post about emergency funds.

10. There is a substitute for public transportation.

The lockdowns also opened ways to alternative public transportation, especially cycling. 

Aside from savings from fares, it is also a great exercise and hobby.

Walking is also a good alternative when going to places within two kilometers.

11. We need to travel more.

Since the pandemic caused travel restrictions around the country, I missed all of my scheduled travels this year.

During the lockdown, I saw my old travel photos and realized that I want to travel more.

Traveling opens our outlook on life and changes our perspective. Hopefully, this pandemic will be over soon, so we can travel more. 

12. Writing is therapeutic.

Since returning to writing again, I can say that it is very therapeutic.

Aside from this blog, I also started journaling at the beginning of the quarantine. 

Writing can unload some of our anxiety-provoking thoughts and stress on paper.

13. Helping should be second nature.

After the barrage of storms and floods that ravaged the Bicol Region, many were left with damaged homes, destroyed livelihood, and even the death of family members.

But through those unfortunate events, people were united and went out of their way to help others get up.

We tapped into our collective empathy and learned to help others more. 

14. Filipino resiliency is over-romanticized.

Filipinos are known for our resiliency in times of crisis. Unfortunately, it also has a downside.

Many people adapt to what is offered and not calling out for better options and response from our government.

Though it is admirable to be resilient at times, however, there are also times when we should stand up and call for a change for the better.

15. We need a competent government.

The pandemic highlighted outstanding leadership like New Zealand and Vietnam. At the same time, it exposed the incompetence of governments around the world, including our own.

The corruption scandals, slow pandemic response, and insufficient planning take a toll on our economic recovery and our country’s future even after this pandemic.

We need to do better in 2022. 

16. We own many things that we don’t need.

The months-long community quarantine taught me that we have so much stuff that we don’t need, taking too much space in our house.

We own items that don’t serve any purpose anymore but to clutter our living spaces and minds.

17. There are things that we really won’t do.

We often say that if we only have time, I will do this or do that. However, even after months of isolation, we still haven’t started doing some of those things.

I think there are activities that we thought we like to do but subconsciously really not.

18. It’s okay to “disappear” for a while.

One of the difficulties many of us experienced during the year is regarding our mental health. 

Many became depressed, stressed, and anxious about the overwhelming uncertainty.

Sometimes, it can help regain a positive outlook, even if it means stepping back even just a little.

19. We should always prepare for the unexpected.

The past year also taught us that we should prepare for unexpected events. 

If you’ll remember the Feng Shui experts’ predictions, they said that 2020 would be a good year. But we all know how it turned out.

We can’t accurately predict the future. We can only adapt to what the future holds. 

We need to trust in God’s plan.

20. Prepare for a bounce back.

The new year offers a fresh start and a chance to bounce back. There may be times when it feels like it’s just failure after failure. 

But it is essential to know that by God’s grace, we can bounce back from all the negative things that happened during the past year.

We may look at 2020 as a year full of trials, but I hope that we learned and grew through those trials. 

It may not be so obvious, but there are things that we learned that we could carry for years to come.

Happy New Year to everyone and have a blessed 2021!

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