2020 was a great year for me and I bet it was a great year for some people too. I was really ecstatic at the beginning of this year. At Church, the pastor kept saying 2020 was a year of double portion and I believed that 2020 was going to be really great. As you already know, I am a student in the university and few days into the new year, the university I attend resumed and I went to school. School was fun, I enjoyed the lectures and everything was fine. I went to school in January, wrote my 1st semester exam in March. I was given two weeks break after my exam and I went home for the break.
Staying home was fun! I was happy to see my family members again, I was happy to be home. The 2 weeks went by so fast and by the time I knew it, it was time for me to go back to school again. I prepared to go back to school and on the day I was to leave for school, I got the information that the school was closed due to the pandemic and so all students were to stay at home.
I stayed at home thinking everything will be just fine and the pandemic will be over in a few days but the pandemic kept spreading. The number of infected cases/people kept rising and soon after the government declared the Lockdown. Now this is where things took a turn for the worse. Things went from busy streets to completely isolated streets.
No one knew what 2020 had in store. If we knew what 2020 had in store for us, some would have rather preferred to skip the year 2020 which is something we can’t do lol but 2020 came with life lessons that hadn’t been learnt in the whole of my life and so I am thankful for the fact that I learnt those lessons.
I stayed home doing almost nothing from March to May/June. During the quarantine, I knew I wasn’t going anywhere so I subconsciously developed this quarantine routine where all I basically did was sleep, wake up, do the house chores, eat, have my bath, read for a bit, surf the internet and repeat then one day in May/June still during the quarantine (I can’t really remember the exact month), I received a mail from one of my lecturers that stated that we would start having our lectures online.
I was excited knowing that lectures where gonna commence again and I was also excited about the fan that we were gonna have our lectures online. Before then, I had never had online lectures so I didn’t really know how online lectures looked like. Fast-forward to few days after I got the mail that stated that we were going to commence online lectures soon.
Few days after I got the mail from my lecturer, we started our online lectures (Now taking lectures was added to my subconscious quarantine routine) and I found that taking courses online especially science related courses (I am a science student. The course I am studying in the university is science related) wasn’t as easy as I thought. Online lectures require 100 times more focus, devotion and commitment than normal lectures require but I made up my mind and I decided that I will not let the stress of taking lectures online stop me.
That aside, there is this feeling that develops when you stay home all day for days on end quarantining and it’s not a good feeling. I don’t know if it’s just me. I don’t know if I am the only one that feels this way but I feel like staying home all day for days on end, using up just a small portion of time for your daily routine and just quarantining makes your mind start to wander. The inner critic wakes up, negativity comes in and different thoughts start to find their way into your mind.
This year really had a toll on my mental health. I fought some mental battles this year. Normally, I am always this carefree, loud, outgoing, confident and bold 18 year old but this year, I found myself being less confident. There were times I didn’t feel good about myself. There were times I felt so timid. There were times I compared myself to others (comparing myself to others is something I never do). I am a very social person. I love interacting and talking to people but I came out of quarantine and I found it super hard to socialize.
I am a strong girl and I know it because my life has never been easy. I have been insulted by people who are close to me, I have been compared to others and all but somehow, I always ended up being confident, outgoing and at the top of my game but quarantining made things super difficult.
During the quarantine, there were times I did everything I could to shut my mind up and silence the inner critic. I always feel like I am good enough, worth it and all but there were times when quarantining dragged me in dark places and at some point, I felt like I wasn’t good enough. Before the quarantine, I had never felt like I wasn’t good enough but there’s a first time to everything right?
I am so much of a never give up person. I can be super resilient. I faced my battles head on, I was determined to overcome whatever I was facing and I am more than excited to say that I made good progress! Issues regarding mental health are not easy to deal with. Overcoming mental issues go way beyond the little list some people give. When you ask people or check the internet on how to overcome mental issues, you hear/ see things like develop a positive mindset, exercise, say positive things to yourself and all.. No doubt these things work but most times they are portrayed to be super easy. They are not easy at all. They are not easy. I am not trying to scare you but that’s the reality.
Overcoming mental issues take time, effort and the willingness to never give up. Sometimes, you do the required (try to stay positive, exercise and all) and end up feeling just as sad, depressed, anxious, etc as you were before. Overcoming mental issues needs patience, resilience, determination and all. One thing that really helped me with my mental issues was writing my feelings down. I don’t know but writing my feelings down really helped me a lot.
Back then, after writing my feelings down, I used to reread the things I wrote, ponder on them, tell myself that it is okay to feel the way I was feeling and accept the fact that I can’t feel great at all times. Writing down my feelings whenever I don’t feel so good really makes me feel like a burden has been taken off me. Writing your feelings down and accepting that it is okay to feel your feelings helps a lot. I can’t say that right now I am as confident as I used to be before the quarantine but I’m getting there, I’m loving the process of getting my former self back and oh yeah! I am as social as I used to be before quarantine and I have no problem interacting with people.
Quarantine taught me to appreciate the little things. For example, before the quarantine, we all saw being able to go out and have fun as nothing. We never thought that being able to go out was a big deal but right now a lot of people realize that being able to go out, move freely without being quarantined is something to be grateful and thankful for.
During the quarantine, I realized that I had been spending way too much money and I wasn’t saving at all. I learnt that saving money is giving yourself a saving grace. I started saving money after the quarantine and I am very glad I started saving money. Saving money comes out really handy. Saving money gives you something to fall back on when things do not go as planned. Saving money helps you stay on your feet when unexpected occurrences that require money pop up. A lot of people did learn how to spend less this year (me included).
No one expected COVID and many people are guilty of overspending. Some people can’t go one day without spending excessively. At the time COVID came, a lot of people were not prepared and so many people had not been saving. Even some people who had white collar jobs and were earning a lot of money started living as peasants because they weren’t saving. I really learnt that saving money is bae!
I lost a friend this year. I lost someone I used to talk to. He wasn’t my closest friend but he was my friend. I still have our chats on my laptop. I couldn’t sleep the day I heard he passed. People die everyday but it hits harder and hurts differently when it’s someone close to you. Knowing that someone I knew very well died made me thankful for being able to sleep and wakeup everyday. Most times, we do not realize what a great privilege it is to be alive and well, and losing a friend made me realize that life is a gift and it is important to make judicious use of that gift. He was a 20 – something year old who was always vibrant and full of life. I learnt to value everybody in my life. Life can be really strange. Someone is here today, so happy and all and tomorrow or a few moments later, they are no more. I reread our chats after I got the news that he passed and his death felt so unreal. He was such a fun and goofy person. When I heard the news, I couldn’t believe he was gone and right now, I still can’t believe he is gone.
This year made me list my priorities. This year made me decide on what was important and worth my time and it also helped me do away with the unimportant things. The list of lessons 2020 taught me is endless and I know everyone learnt tons of lessons from 2020. I am more than grateful for everything, lessons learnt, hardships endured, quarantine and everything in general.
I turned 18 this year. Honestly, I was super excited for my big 18 even before my birthday came. I mean I was gonna be an adult lol. Ever since the beginning of this year, I had been talking about my big 18th birthday. I was really excited for my 18th but when the day finally came and I clocked 18, we were on lockdown and I wasn’t able to throw a party, go out or even have people come over. I was very determined to have a blast on my 18th birthday but quarantine huh… Lockdown and quarantining ruined my plans but in all I am happy. Yes I’ll never be able to celebrate my 18th birthday again but I’ll be able to celebrate my other birthdays even the ones that are bigger than the big 18! Even though I wasn’t able to do all the big things, I enjoyed my birthday and I am super happy about that. Birthdays come once every year and so I made sure to have fun and enjoy regardless of Lockdown and quarantine.
On the 25th of November this year, I created this blog. I wanted a medium through which I could write, inspire and motivate people. I also created this blog to make it my little corner of the internet where I could share anything and everything and honestly, I have been loving it!
For me, 2020 is a year to remember. It taught me a lot of lessons which I would be forever grateful for. I had very few but important goals at the beginning of this year. I didn’t achieve all my goals but I am glad I was able to achieve some of them. Some people loathe the year 2020 but I don’t. Life cannot always be filled with roses, there are thorns too. I am grateful for life, everything I have and I am grateful for the fact that I came out stronger and better! I want to share a few things I learnt this year.
LESSONS I LEARNT IN 2020
1) The fact that you feel super okay mentally and emotionally right now doesn’t mean you are always going to feel okay.
2) Value every important person in your life be it family, friends and anybody that is close to you. Life is too short to not value people that are close to you. You sure don’t wanna be someone who doesn’t value people in their life until they loose ’em.
3) It is okay to cry.
4) Normal lectures are way better than online lectures.
5) Resilience is key.
6) Allow yourself to feel your feelings. It’s okay to feel whatever you are feeling.
7) We should learn to appreciate the little things in life.
8) Things cannot always be rosy. Thorns are part of life.
9) While alive, make every moment count, live to the fullest, do not let anything or anyone take your happiness away.
10) It is very important to save money.
11) It’s okay to be sad.
Some people loathe the year 2020 but I don’t. Life cannot always be filled with roses, there are thorns too. I am grateful for life, everything I have and I am grateful for the fact that I came out stronger and better!
with love, Ruth.
I love you 2020. Thank you for everything!