I won’t lie to you. In many ways, 2020 is not my favorite year. I don’t like the pandemic – I do not like social distancing. I don’t like lockdown, wearing masks, treating my dry hands with antibacterial gel ten times per day, being afraid of every cough, missing my dance classes, and all the other things connected with Covid-19. But there are some aspects which definitely rule this year. For example, several lessons which we could learn thanks to the new reality.
LESSON 1: DON’T WAIT
My friend called me yesterday and said that 2020 sucks. It was supposed to be a year of exploring herself, full of travels, new possibilities, and connections. In the end, she just got stuck at home, and the most immense excitement brought her the fact that she could finally leave it once the quarantine period was over.
She was waiting for the whole of 2019 to learn that postponing your urges is worth nothing.
But even though we all found out that tomorrow is not so sure anymore, we still try to go beyond today and get to know about what will happen in the future. Unfortunately, it often stops us from being happy right here, right now.
Our biggest curse is the desire to be sure.
We want to be sure that our relation won’t get destroyed tomorrow, so we can be happy about it today. We want to be sure that we are competent enough to change a job without feeling stressed about being not skilled enough. We want to be sure that we don’t have any defects to allow someone to fall in love with us.
“But if you think about, if everyone had to be perfect before they fell in love, the human race would die out.”
– Love Life, series
How much time do you have to waste?
One of my friends wants to open her business. She continually repeats that working from 9 to 5 does not bring her any joy. She wants to do her own stuff, be her own boss, and be known for doing meaningful things. Right now, she spends every day in a huge corporation to learn before she starts.
I will open my business once I am sure that I know everything – she says. And I support her more than anyone else, but I don’t think that – with the attitude full of self-doubts – it is possible to happen. I am afraid that her fear can kill all the best ideas.
We will never take value-connected steps if we do not decide to firstly take courage.
I watched a TED talk last time: The gift and power of emotional courage, in which Susan David said, among the others, one important thing I want to remember.
Courage is not an absence of fear. Courage is fear walking.
– Susan David
You don’t need to lose the fear to get courageous.
You don’t need to be 100% sure to get started.
And what’s more – you don’t need to know the result before getting things done.
Every decision we make has consequences. Naturally, we cannot always choose correctly and run away from harmful effects, but the worst we can do is not make any choice. And just wait for better times.
LESSON 2: YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE ALWAYS HAPPY
As Susan David says, being positive has become a new form of moral correctness. People with cancer are automatically told to just stay positive, women, to stop being so angry. And the list goes on.
I did it to myself for a very long time. I thought that I needed to be always full of positivity. Every morning I was putting on a mask of makeup, sticking to my face a fake smile, and pulling in a stomach. To please others, not me.
Since I started spending more time at home, I automatically began to live in better harmony with myself. I cut my hair, let them grow in a natural color, stopped using makeup, and decided not to waste time for meetings with people who do not bring anything to my life.
Through the last 6 months, I learned to live according to my needs and to treat standing up for myself as a priority. I also understood that nothing will make me more (truly) happy than accepting different feelings and coming to like my imperfections. I did not manage to do that yet, but finally, I stopped sweeping my problems under the rug and pretending that everything is always super fine. Because even if I am naturally relatively positive, it isn’t. And what’s the most beautiful – it does not need to be.
LESSON 3: YOU CAN FEEL WHATEVER YOU WANT
I remember, like in February, we were standing in the office kitchen. Some of my colleagues were laughing about a virus. Others already started to panic and create dramatic scenarios. Around March, we were making bets when the first case of coronavirus will appear in Poland. Once it got boring, it finally came. All the things slowly started to change. And we began to disagree with each other.
I am surprised how differently people can react to different situations. Even if we are very similar and live in the same environment, we can have totally different sensitiveness levels.
Last time I had a little medical procedure. Once it was nothing huge for me, my best friend started to freak out when I only mentioned via phone that doctor had to use a quite big needle.
I accepted that.
But I often forget to understand that everybody can feel differently. A few days ago, my colleague called me during her workday. She told me that she does not have power anymore. She’s overload, unhappy, and lost.
I reacted in the worst possible way and simply advised to not be dramatic. If you still have time to call me, it can’t be so bad, right? – I asked and, at the same time, hurt her feelings.
Later on, I understood.
I don’t need to know what you are going through. Maybe it’s even not about your job. No matter what bothers you, you have the right to be stressed about it.
We are living in very strange times. Yes, coronavirus and lockdown can make you crazy. You can be dramatic. You can make a big deal about it. You can exaggerate.
And no one should judge your feelings.
Because it’s you.
And that’s amazing that you will probably learn from the same situation completely different lessons.