The Greatest Teacher That Was 2020

2020 definitely changed the world in more ways than one. As I write this blog and reflect on the greatest teacher that was 2020, I mourn the loss of my second father, Daddy Henry. It wasn't the 2020 ending that I prayed and hoped for, but God had other plans yet again. Sometimes we are given no choice than to accept the things that we have no control of. As much as it hurts to lose a loved one during the worst of times, I know that we have to at least try and find the silver lining amidst of it all. Suffice it to say that 2020 was a very challenging year. But with the challenges came the most valuable lessons. For me, the two greatest lessons I learned last year were kindness and gratitude- two of which I have practiced all my life, but this pandemic brought a whole new meaning and essence to me.

Why Kindness?

During this pandemic, so many people lost their lives and jobs. Similarly, a lot of people lost their homes, livelihood and loved ones from the devastating fires and calamities in different parts of the world. There is no denying that the world went through the worst in 2020. Not forgetting the people who suffered mentally and emotionally during this time. But people came together and helped each other out. There were numerous relief operations and generous donations from a lot of caring people. There were thousands of volunteers who helped the people in need. The kindness that I have seen during this pandemic restored my faith in humanity. However, this does not mean that other people don't need to learn how to be genuinely kind because as much as I was inspired by the kindness of some, I was also disappointed in those who won't even try to be kind to others. This is the reason why kindness is one of the biggest lessons I learned last year. More so because  I was a witness to how some people were so unkind to others during those times when they should really have chosen to be kind, if they couldn't be anything else. Unfortunately, I met a few unkind people in my previous job and I experienced their unkindness first hand. Those moments when people came to me and opened up about how they were treated unfairly by other people will forever be etched on my mind. I spent a lot of time providing emotional support to people whose mental well-being was compromised by other people's negative behaviour. My heart breaks everytime I am reminded of how some people chose to mistreat other people instead of supporting them  to realise their own potential. Until now, I am still unsure whether these people eventually realised that they were the reasons why some of us left, and the impact their negative attitude had on some of us. Some people left the place emotionally injured, their confidence shattered and their hearts broken into pieces. If only people were kinder, then the workplace would have been a better place for everyone. Because the truth is, selective kindness does not work. If you choose to be kind, you have to be kind to everyone, not just to people whom you want to be kind to. So for 2021, I hope and pray that these people will come to their senses and realise that it is easier to be kind than not.

Why gratitude?

Because 2020 has elevated gratitude and gave it a whole new meaning. I am not going to lie and say that apart from the dreadful pandemic, I also had to go through some extra challenges last year which made me constantly uneasy. That's why you should be very grateful if the only thing that you had to worry about in the last ten months was the fact that you couldn't get out of the house to travel, eat and shop. Anyway, in February, my mother was diagnosed with abdominal aortic aneurysm which caused her health to decline in the last few months. Then she and my cousin had a COVID-19 scare. My mother is now wheelchair bound as she fell quite hard over a couple of months ago. She is stable at the moment, but I hope and pray that I'll still be able to see her once we are allowed to go home. Since I found out that my mother has AAA, I made an effort to call her everyday, even if it means only 5 minutes or so. Hearing her voice reassures me that (hopefully) she will make it through. And for this, I am very grateful.
 
We also had two trips to the operating theatre during the pandemic. You can probably imagine how it was like to be in a hospital during this time. Then almost two months ago, something really fearful happened to one my loved ones- one thing that I am not supposed to say as I am sworn to secrecy, so I will not elaborate. The emotional impact of these situations was harder this time round, with my stress and anxiety levels soaring high. And then, the recent passing of our beloved Daddy Henry.

But despite all this, I remain grateful. The pandemic has taught me how to appreciate the little things more than ever before. One of the blessings that I received last year was the fact that despite the pandemic and many people losing their jobs, I was able to successfully changed jobs twice. And these jobs paved way for me to meet some truly wonderful people, who became very dear to me. People that I know I will be in touch with for a very long time.

During the pandemic, I learned how to find joy and happiness in those little things that I would otherwise complain about because at times, I longed for more. I am blessed to have J in my life as a constant reminder that I have everything I need in my life, and that I don't need fancy things or food to be completely happy. The fact that I have a place I call home, food on my table and more than enough clothes and shoes to wear is enough for me to be grateful.

Apart from this, I am blessed to have managed to maintain and nurture my personal relationships, and reconnected with some special people who opened my heart, my mind and my eyes to better things. 

For sure, the pandemic has taught a lot of us many different lessons. But personally, it has taught me greater appreciation for my family, friends and everyone that I had the opportunity to meet. It has taught me how to live more simply, act more humbly and speak more gently and positively. 

Just like everyone else, I am glad that the rather overwhelming 2020 is finally over. And as the war against the pandemic continues, I remain optimistic that this will soon be over. 

For 2021, I wish nothing but better hope for humankind, health and safety for my beloved family and friends and fortitude for us all to withstand any difficulty that may come our way.

Happy New Year and please stay safe.

TIN x

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