2020 was an iconic year for many reasons, but the main one is obvious– the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic forced businesses, schools, homes, and public service to change on many levels. Let’s re-cap on only some of the key highlights 2020 bestowed us,…
- Beirut, Lebanon Explosion
- Austrailan Forest Fires
- Qasem Soleimani
- Impeachment trial again Former President Trump not once in 2020, but twice come 2021.
- Kobe Bryant and 8 others were killed in a helicopter crash
Honestly, the list above isn’t even tipping the iceberg of all the major events of 2020. 2020 was a time of change, a time of absolute chaos, and a time where it felt hopeless for many across the globe.
Those of us who survived 2020, I am thankful for the blessing of 2021 has given us… a new opportunity to unite and grow.
Here are the keypoints that I learned in 2020, and how it shaped me:
1. You are replacable in your job.
I worked as a Group Rooms Coordinator at a high-end resort in town. My duties there were to manage group room blocks, send daily reports to meeting planners, preschedule rooms to cater to the group, and generally be there for all reservation questions involving groups. At the end of February in 2020, as the global pandemic was hitting the US, many groups began to pull out of their contracts. I remember cancelling these large group blocks, group blocks that I had spent several days managing, only to reduce them to big red “zeros” on my worklist.
In the midst of all this, my spouse and I just put an offer on a house at the end of February. We were approved! Finally, something we had worked so hard for was coming to fruition. The day I had my inspections on the house? … I was furloughed. Yup, furloughed on my inspection day. I remember tears streaming down my face as my boss told me the news– and how our entire department was being furloughed. I immediatelly called our mortgage company to see if we could even continue with purchasing the house. Luckily, my spouse and I were able to.
The job I had worked so hard for, in a company I spent 3+ years at, was gone in one phone call. The coronavirus impacted the resort to the point we shut down in April and May 2020, and re-opened in June 2020. Needless to say, my job title as a Group Rooms Coordinator was no longer available. Unable to find a job willing to hire me within a months time, there was another position in the resort I worked at that was hiring. I spoke with the Front Desk of the resort and they were able to squeeze me in as a Night Auditor.
2020 really hit home that anyone is expendable and your income can dissapear in a flash. No matter how much education, training, or work experience someone has… we are always replacable in lower & middle class America.
2. Buying a home instead of renting is possible.
As a child, I always dreamed of living on my own. Being raised on Disney and movies like Get A Clue that featured a chic inner-city apartment always had my head buzzing with new ideas. As I grew into becoming a young adult after the housing market crash of 2008, the reality of owning a home seemed like a far-fetched vision.
After years of saving with my spouse and going back and forth on the issue of renting or owning,.. we decided in the end that it was best to own our own place. We applied for a mortgage in 2018 but the approval amount for the mortgage was low for our county and we had difficulty finding available houses in our price range for 6 months. After my spouse went back to school and I continued my career, we re-applied in 2020 and were able to finally make enough to afford a house of our very own.
When making one of the biggest purchases of your life, the experience is both exhilirating and alarming. The excitement boils within as you’re headed to a house on the market and excited to see possibilities unfold; on the other hand, alarm coils inside as you discover possible mold, damage, and wear from over the years.
I am proud to say that my spouse and I are a homeowner now and we have put a huge effort into making our home better. Adding a floor to the basement, painting all the walls, adding a storage shed– we have really rubbed some elbow grease, sweat, and love into our homestead. 2020 gave me a unique opportunity, with the pandemic, to spend a majority of my quarantine time planning and executing projects.
See more about mortgaging a home on this blog post, “10 tips millenials want to own their dream home.”
3. Healing is harder than the trauma endured.
Let me preface this lesson with a bit of caution: trauma is an awful experience that will change or inhibit perspectives your entire life. It doesn’t matter what kind of trauma a person endures, all trauma has consequences and effects the person in a psychological or phsyical manner.
I’ve personally endured several chapters of my life ridden with trauma: grief from loss of a younger loved one, unease from verbal abuse, influence by a manipulative parental figure, and that’s only a few– but you get the idea.
You can’t heal where you’ve been hurt.
The phrase “you can’t heal where you’ve been hurt” or “you cannot heal in the environment that made you sick” rang true to my experience. When a person is faced with their abuser or negative environment on a daily, they feel hopeless and helpless. Once you subtract the abuser, even then the environment can be difficult to heal from. The agony of reliving your stressful memories will easily drain the progress one has attempted.
To draw to my original point; healing is harder than the trauma endured. The only reason I will defend this point is because trauma or on-going trauma is difficult to endure, but healing requires you to re-live the trauma by choice in forms of analyzing, perspective, and growing from the hard lessons that life is not kind to everyone. Trauma is not a choice and can happen to anyone. However, choosing to heal from the trauma and start a new chapter or learning to function with this part of yourself can be one of the most difficult things pysche can endure– especially for pronlonged periods of time.
4. Setting boundaries will progress your personal growth.
Life offers many relationships throughout your time on earth; familia, friends, lovers, and co-workers. Navigating through “what is okay” and “what is not okay” within those relationships usually varies culture to culture.
For example, in India, family is pinnacle within multiple generations: “…the Indian joint family includes three to four living generations, including grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews, all living together in the same household, utilizing a common kitchen and often spending from a common purse, contributed by all.” (Chadda) Comparitvely, in the United States, families are much more nuclear, but blended families are becoming more of the normal as economic structures change.
Setting boundaries with your family in India would castly differ from setting boundaries with your family from the United States. Setting boundaries is something that will change your life, and hopefully improve your mental well-being. Unfortunately, there is no manual for setting boundaries that caters to a large audience. So– we are left to make our own boundaries.
You will always be the villain in someone’s story.
For a people pleaser personality type, or someone who frets wen people dislike them– this sentence could change your life: “you will always be the villain in someone’s story.” No matter how good, famous, charitable, note-worthy, or kind of a person you are will mean that you skated through life without any enemies. It is impossible to please and cater to everyone’s desires or wishes, without entirely exhausting yourself.
Setting boundaries will save your livelihood, and ultimately? Your life. In 2020, I had a therapy explain to me it’s similar to when you’re on an airplane and the flight attendent stresses how important it is that you put on your oxygen first before your child’s oxygen– because you cannot help your child if you don’t tend to your own oxygen first. While there is no solid process that works for everyone, if you are interested to begin setting healthy boundaries in your life, I would recommend this post to get the wheels turning.
The marker of a new decade, 2020, did not dissapoint with surprising and dangerous chapters. Millions of lives around the globe have been lost to the pandemic while their families are changed permanently without them. There were often stressful times in 2020 that made me want to not be alive anymore, but I’m thankful to have support in my life to help us all see a new day. 2021 is here and we, as a people, are faced with apprehension into the new year. Let’s allow time for healing from 2020, and embrace new changes in 2021 to the best of our ability– the world depends on it.
Chadda, R. K., & Deb, K. S. (2013). Indian family systems, collectivistic society and psychotherapy. Indian journal of psychiatry, 55(Suppl 2), S299–S309. https://doi.org/10.4103/0019-5545.105555