The three biggest lessons I’ve learnt in 2020


The three biggest lessons I’ve learnt in 2020

silver linings from this year


So now it’s February 2021 and I still catch myself saying “Wow, what a year 2020 was”. Shall I reel off the clichés? No, I simply can’t bring myself to hear let alone write any more. I’ll just say, it was shite, wasn’t it?


Like all negatives, however, there are always positive takeaways and lessons learnt – we like to call them silver linings in my house. So to bid the last 12 months adieu, I’m going to reflect on some silver linings I’ve brought into the New Year and hopefully, it will get you thinking about some of yours too.

No matter where you are in the world and what the situation is for you. I hope tis helps you move into 2021, happier, healthier and focused. 


I’VE LEARNT…you have the power to change anything you’re not happy about

This relates to your job, relationship, friendships, body, mind, ANYTHING. One of the best silver linings from this year is the seriously freeing realisation that you are the only one that can make changes in your life. Act on those feelings!! If you’re not fulfilled in your job, invest energy into looking for a new one or find fulfilment from side projects in the meantime. If you’re unhappy in a relationship or friendship, communicate how you feel and act on it. If you’re not feeling as confident as you once did, motivate yourself to make changes to your lifestyle. 


Only you can do these things, so don’t wait for anyone else to because you’ll be waiting a while. Honestly, get a pen and paper (you know I love them) and note down things you’re content with and things that could be improved on. Then figure out how to make them work out, yourself. It’s exhilarating when you start seeing the results! 


I’VE LEARNT…to appreciate what you have in the moment

A few years ago I was freelancing and in order to keep a roof over my head, I had to take on two extra jobs. It was a constant struggle of fighting for my dream career, enjoying my life and paying the bills and let me tell you, it was stressful. I literally couldn’t remember what it was like to not have to worry about money, it consumed my every thought! I used to say to myself that I would never ever take a stable paycheck for granted because I truly worked myself into the ground. 


Shortly after I gave up the freelancer life for a permanent 9-5, which was still in the industry I love but a more stable extension of my dream. Earlier this year, before the pandemic, I found myself wanting more again and not really being happy with what I had – even though it was worlds apart from the situation I used to be in. But then, Covid hit and I was thrown into what seemed to be a never-ending stint on furlough. Oddly enough this turned out to be another one of my silver linings from this year because it gave me an invaluable amount of time with my own thoughts. Time to reflect on how far I’ve come and to really appreciate what I have. Yes, it’s good to aim for more but don’t let yourself forget about all your current positives. It’s really easy to get caught up in the rat-race of life, but I think a bit of self-reflection is really helpful at keeping you and your plans in check. 


I’VE LEARNT…you’re not in a rush (albeit I’m still struggling with this but it’s a work in progress!)


This year has put something on pause for everyone, so know that if you feel somewhat disjointed then you’re not alone. After a long and tearful rant to one of my best friends about my career, she turned around and said (shouted lol) “You’re going to be working until you’re 65!! What’s the rush?!” And you know what, she’s right. 


Some of my closest friends may say I’ve had an overdue quarter-life crisis this year and they’re not wrong. I’m nearing my 28th birthday and I’m not in a place with my career that the bright-eyed bushy-tailed 19-year old me had planned. Reality is a tough pill to swallow but I’ve learnt that things don’t always go to plan. Five-year plans are amazing at keeping you focused on your dreams and goals, but being reactive to change is also very good. Better than good. My final of three silver linings from this year, is that I’ve learnt (am still learning) that it’s okay to not have everything lined up like you thought you would, be that career or your personal life. 


What is the rush? I know I promised no cringey clichés but…remember, life is a journey and not a destination. Enjoy the ride! I’m getting better at learning this and remind myself every day to be thankful for where I am, what I have, and my potential.


Happy New Year. It’s 2021 and I’m feeling fabulous and raring to go.


By Joanna Standley


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