• Nayana Sen

Bye 2020! Thank You, Next. The 10 Lessons I Learned this Year.

Updated: Jan 14, 2021

This year has been obviously one we will all remember for a long time, but hope to forget sooner than later. Covid-19 changed the world or maybe just woke us all up. Has there been another time in human history where the entire planet was focusing on the same problem? Some people have lost loved ones and friends, and my heart breaks for these people. I am blessed that I was not impacted that way and also very grateful. Depending on who you speak to, and even though we've all had to deal with Covid-19 in our own way, the lessons will be different. Here are the lessons I learned from this year:

10. Life is short, be happy. If you woke up today, then that is reason enough to be happy. Every thing won't always go the way you want, and yes you are allowed to be sad. You are allowed to be angry or whatever you feel. There is no reason to deny your feelings, but there is no reason to live in that state. The problem is people think being a positive person means you aren't allowed to be upset. You are not a robot, and therefore you are indeed allowed to feel your feelings. It's time to stop thinking of happiness as a short-term emotion. Learning to be happy means saying I accept any situation I cannot change. It means saying I value myself enough to not let one bad day turn into a bad decision that turns into a lifetime of recovery. You don't need a reason to be happy. That is the magic, you don't need to search for a reason to be happy. You're here, you're alive, and you're amazing.

9. Be grateful for the things you do have. In our pursuit of all the things we want out of life, we must be grateful for everything we have now. Someday is a pretty place to visit, but living in the now is a beautiful state of mind. None of us know what the future brings, and yes I believe in psychics. All I know is being grateful for today, the good that exists in your life leaves very little room for self-destructive thoughts. Your mind may wander off to future places where you're happy and wealthy, but how is your today? Surely, there has to be something worth celebrating today? Let tomorrow come on its own, it will come whether or not you're prepared. When your mind drifts to someday things will be better, stop that thought and immediately find something to be grateful for now.

8. Be flexible. I'm learning this everyday, but go with the flow. The trees that survive a storm are the ones that bend with the wind. This year taught me and most of the people I speak to that there is not only one way of doing things. The human race has survived through thousands of years without the speed of a cheetah, the jaws of a crocodile, the strength of an elephant, or the vision of an eagle. Yet, we are still here, sitting at the top of the food chain. Our single biggest asset is our ability to adapt to our environment. To that end, be flexible and use your personal strengths to get through whatever challenge you are currently facing. You will get through it.

7. Go for it now. If it is important to you, and you can't stop dreaming about it, then do something about it. My high school senior year quote was something like "you can always say it should have been or it could be, but if you don't do anything about it, you can never say it is." I have apparently always been a human fortune cookie, but it took me this long to apply those words to my own life in an authentic way. I found opportunity in a reduced commute time to go to the gym first thing in the morning. That opened up my time in the evenings to work on other things that interested me. There is opportunity in every unfortunate situation.

6. Time invested in your own growth is time well spent. The time you take to learn something new isn't wasted, even if the plans change. You are here to learn, grow, change, and live. The things that make you feel alive are worth pursuing. You won't regret the time you take to learn about who you are and what you want out of life. Ultimately, that is our mission on Earth. On this site we say I - Ain't Afraid to Grow. 👈🏽😉

5. Everyone is struggling with something. Even the people that seemingly have it all together, are dealing with something. We can all take time to be a little nicer to our family, friends, colleagues, and even strangers. This year has been tough on everyone. If you're lucky enough to have food on your table and a safe place to sleep at night, then you are already blessed. Consider helping someone in need if you can or just listening to someone who needs your time.

4. True talent lies in self-discipline. Every one of us has dreams and gifts, but not everyone has the determination to see those dreams become reality. It takes consistent work to see results in any field. Every one has some kind of talent, some are hidden, but talent is somewhat irrelevant in the big picture. If you want to develop your talents into more than a hobby, then you will have to hold yourself accountable on the days you don't feel like working.

3. Take calculated risks. Don't take risks in life that don't add value to your growth, but take the risks that push you in the direction that you want to grow towards. Some people want stability, while others crave adventure. I am somewhat in the middle. I like stability, but I don't say no to adventure, if the opportunity presents itself. That doesn't mean I'm jumping out of a plane anytime soon, as that isn't something that really adds value to my life. It is an added risk that doesn't make sense as the sole provider for my child. Yet, if I got the opportunity to move across country or across the world for a dream job, I'd seriously consider uprooting my life.

2. Believe in something bigger than yourself. So much of what we think we can control is in fact outside of our control. As they say, let go, and let God. I am not going to engage in any conversation with anyone about whether they should believe in God or what religion they should believe in. In fact, I am not really even sure you need to believe in a higher force for one to exist. I trust the universe has got me and that is enough for me. In times of conflict and uncertainty people need to believe in something good. I'm sorry that people are suffering, but even those in the midst of turmoil need comfort.

1. Don't withhold love. Be good to the people you love and love those who are good to you. In the end, we are here to give and experience love unconditionally. This is a lesson that I learned this year and actually over the last few years. Perhaps we use the word love too much and it loses its meaning. The alternative is garbage, and I feel bad for people who spend their entire life being miserable. For some people, hate is just a way of life. I've known many of those people over my life, but they no longer exist in my stratosphere. I'm by no means a flower-child, but my time and energy are best allocated to positive things. I do believe love makes the world go around and we need more love. Share it whenever you can. Some people have never felt unconditional love in their lives, and they are searching for it in pills, drinks, partners, and money. If you can't find it anywhere, give it to yourself.

Cheers to the New Year! Cheers to your growth and mine.

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