If you follow me on social media or read my blog posts you will probably already know that I am not the one to overshare deeply personal staff online for a multitude of reasons. In part because I like my privacy, in part because I use social media and digital tools to write and to share what I enjoy, hoping that my practical knowledge and insights are useful to others. But like everybody else I have my own dramas, sadness and turmoil behind the scenes. So in the spirit of ending one very tumultuous year and diving into another with hope, here are my 2020 life lessons.
- COVID: we are not out of the woods yet and apart from being separated from our family members and friends by borders and quarantines, the level of disinformation has been truly awful. Over time I started watching and reading news less, focussing instead on talking to the professionals and the quality of information from the sources I trust. What the doctors, nurses, ambulance staff and volunteers continue saying unanimously is that there is still much unknown about this virus. So the best thing we can all do in the current circumstances is to look after our individual health. And if you get Covid, you need to take your time and be patient in your recovery. Rush, and you might acquire another bout of illness as a consequence, which might hit your body even harder.
- BE KIND and BE PATIENT. But walk away, if someone takes your efforts for granted. Those qualities are doubly precious right now, simply because things are harder for everyone and everyone’s internal reserves are running low. And if someone helps you, smiles at you or does something kind or gracious, please acknowledge it, so positive energy flows and magnifies, rather than depletes. No matter how small the gesture or intention, it truly does matter.
- TRUST YOUR INTUITION. Whether things are good or bad. Listen to your inner voice and if something feels urgent, it probably is. Better be safe or keep a loved one safe and sound, rather than miss something, not act on time and be sorry later.
- Someone very spiritually generous – yes, I mean you A (!) – recently gave me a truly great piece of advice. She told me to use my own voice for good, sharing my individuality, rather then remain in the shadows, while spotlighting the others. Truth be told, the effort often goes unnoticed or unappreciated and then resulting disappointment cracks the inside bit by bit.
- BEAUTY DOESN’T CHANGE the WORLD. But PEOPLE DO. For better and for worse. Take notice of who you feel naturally aligned with and who helps you be the better version of yourself.
- DON’T TAKE YOUR SENSES FOR GRANTED. Without our sense of taste or smell life looses colour, joy disappears and our perception of the world changes for the worse. Use them, savour them, appreciate them every single day. Believe me when I say that if you can’t smell your child, or the burning candle, or your shower gel or shampoo (even the industrial strength and stinky hand sanitiser), or the ingredients or food you are cooking or eating, the light dims, your world becomes less safe and the sense of sadness envelopes and then tightens its grip on you until you start to choke.
- LIVE LIFE like every day is your last. And CHERISH THOSE YOU LOVE UNCONDITIONALLY. We are human beings and our feelings and need for human touch (as well as its power) is what separates us from robots and AI.
Please do share your life lessons of 2020, so we can all learn & help each other to weather this terrible economic and emotional storm. And looking ahead to 2021, I hope and wish that we all will have more joy and opportunities to travel, to discover and for happy celebrations with our family and friends – and not remote ones! Here is to the best version of each one of us, our strengths, resilience, compassion and undimmed belief that there is a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel.