When we think back of the year 2020, the word opportunity probably doesn’t sit well with most. As most would deem this year as the ‘worst year ever’, it’s difficult to find the silver lining.
2020 has taught us that you can’t take anything for granted. Your career, your family, your friends, your weekends, your dinner parties, your gym classes, your health, your breathe.
As we step into a new world of 2021, we are uniquely in a position to dictate what type of life we want to live, more so than ever before. We have been awoken and shaken to our core of what life is, how quickly it can change and we’ve been shown that nothing lasts forever. We are realizing the careers that we thought we cared about, don’t necessarily care about us or are quick to change or cut us loose and protect themselves leaving us in the dusk. We’re realizing that all that we’ve worked for and strived for can be taken away so quickly and with this shattering our sense of self and identity. With this we started to question why we’re even pursuing what we’re pursing. Life has changed, yet we are so uniquely positioned for opportunity. Yes opportunity and let me lists out how I see it:
Moving from unconscious to conscious
We have the opportunity to reset. A second opportunity, a chance to take a step or two back and reevaluate everything in your life. Your work, your family, your values and goals. And you can do this with such a safety net because well, everyone else has the same opportunity. No one to question you or fear judgement in any way because it’s happening to everyone else at the same time. We’ve spent most of our lives unconsciously working, moving towards something, saving and making money, and for what? Because we’ve been told this is what life is about? We have the opportunity to stop and bring this focus into perspective and be really intentional of what we want in life.
You don’t realize what you have until it’s gone
This is true of all the challenges we’ve faced this year. Time with family, time with friends, a simple dinner out is now more valued than ever before. A handshake, a hug, a party with friends. During these lockdowns and measures, we didn’t hear people complaining about their nice cars, fancy houses or the size of the houses they had. We heard about how much we missed spending time with those that we love around us. Connection. We value connection. And we didn’t realize this because prior to COVID, we assumed we had more of it. More time with friends, more time seeing family, a next time, another time… But we’ve now realized we can’t assume we have any time at all.
We have more control than we thought
You may think that we lost a lot of control during these past few months. We lost our ability to work, ability to go out and see friends, ability to do all the things that we did so freely in 2019. But what we realized is that sure, we didn’t have control of COVID, lockdowns or public health measures, but we did learn that we ultimately have control of how we respond to situations. This is freedom, written and spoken to by the Stoics.
If you are pained by any external thing, it is not this thing that disturbs you, but your own judgment about it. And it is in your power to wipe out this judgment now.
“External thinks are not the problem. It’s your assessment of them. Which you can erase right now.” — Marcus Aurelius
We have an incredible opportunity in front of us, once in a life time opportunity to reset, revise and plan a life for all of us that is more meaningful, more purpose driven, and more values based than ever before. The greatest tragedy isn’t the outcome of the pandemic, it’s that we return to normal, learn nothing from this experience and continue our way without seizing this chance. Let’s not waste it.