What 2020 has taught me (collab post)

Hi everyone, I’m Shelly from GrowingWithSpawn and I’m excited to be taking over Niraj’s blog today.I think we can all agree that this has been one of the hardest years for some thanks to ‘the Rona’; we’ve had to keep away from our loved ones, stopped all social activities and were even restricted to our houses as many governments across the globe chose to enter into level 5 of lockdown. My husband, our toddler and I were part of the 38.4 million who were infected with the virus and were lucky enough to have recovered fairly quickly. Don’t worry, this isn’t another “my experience with Covid” article. No, today is a positive post! Niraj was kind enough to do a blog swap with me and let me rave about all the of the life lessons 2020 has taught me. There are quite a few, but we’ll narrow it down to 5 so as not to have anyone fall asleep halfway through.

Life is short

I’ve known this for quite some time, but it didn’t quite register until we were forced to slow down and experience the simple things in life. My husband and I both work very demanding jobs and tend to spend close to 50 hours a week focused on increasing our employers’ net income. What does that do for our personal lives? Well, our bonding is limited to weekends and the odd date night. It took the world stopping for us to realize that we were not really experiencing our baby’s development and we weren’t spending enough time bonding as a family. It was such a proud but disheartening moment to see that our daughter could count to ten, identify her shapes and colours all without our help. Don’t get me wrong, we are very blessed to have a jobs and such a smart little daughter, but those two years that we lost focusing on ‘work’ went by so fast and did not create any meaningful memories.

Blogging is therapeutic

Hey, hey, don’t come at me, I get that for some this is a full time job but that just isn’t the case for me. During the pandemic, people learnt to make bread, others exercised their way to a chiseled body and I… well, I started a blog. Writing has always been my passion, but over the past decade, it became that forgotten treasure hidden away in a dark room gathering dust. It was quite a fun experience learning how to create a website and being able to post about anything I personally found interesting. The best part is being able to voice my opinions without the immediate backlash because obviously if anyone leaves a hateful comment I can always just delete it and move on with my day! It hasn’t happened yet, but as you can tell I’m quite prepared for it. Have you seen those videos of people playing music from their windows in the streets of Italy? Well, I’m not the most social being so had I been there, I most likely would’ve poured myself a drink, grabbed my laptop and wrote to the sound of people singing.

Online friendships are actually a thing

I’ve heard people talking about their dating experiences on Tinder, receiving messages in their DM’s on Instagram and Facebook, and some other random sites that I never knew existed. For all the nerdy folk reading this post, I fell into the black hole as well but for me that ‘random’ was WordPress and I am quite happy to have met such wonderful people. When we are living our normal busy lives, the probability of coming across like minded people is very slim (I’ll leave the actual calculation to the math mastermind, Niraj) so this slowdown has been such a wonderful opportunity to unofficially meet some interesting people. Social distancing is what everyone is singing about this year, but it is actually physical distancing – the social aspect just keeps on growing! Which leads me to my next point;

Relationships are essential

Social distancing is the term widely used, but Zoom’s steadily growing share price proves that people across the world were doing otherwise. I get it, we are social beings and we love to be loved, we need to be needed. At the risk of sounding quite technical, I must refer to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs that correctly places love and belonging as the third tier in a human’s welfare pyramid. So what happens when you tell these social beings not to leave their homes for a set period of time and ban any physical contact? That’s a question each of you can answer for yourselves, but in my experience, I probably would’ve gone nuts if I didn’t have my little family with me. This pandemic has made me think back to my time in university when I lived alone in a tiny little apartment in one of the loneliest cities ever – Tokyo. I remember how lonely and de pressed I felt because everyone was either busy with school or at one of their many part time jobs. Spoiler alert: it was not fun! And to think that no one was actually told to stay away!

We alone are responsible for our progress (or lack thereof)

This one is non-Covid related but still high on the list. In the 6 months of working from home, it was definitely a challenge to keep up with my to-do list, there were too many distractions and I found myself slacking quite a bit. I comfort myself by saying “who didn’t? The whole world stopped!” But deep down I know that what followed was my own fault. I don’t generally talk about what I do or the industry I work in because I would very much like to keep my job so please don’t ask – but I digress. My peer, a man younger than me who joined the company in the very same year as I did, became my boss. Not taking anything away from his high performance, you can imagine just how much it sucked and demotivated me further. After what felt like an emotional rollercoaster, I was determined not to fall victim of the easy slacking because having a job in this crazy pandemic is a blessing in itself.

It has been an interesting year but one that I truly am grateful for. Out of curiosity, what tough lessons have you learnt?

I hope you enjoyed reading this! Click on here to read Niraj’s post on what he has learnt about blogging.


31 thoughts on “What 2020 has taught me (collab post)

    1. These are all great points mentioned Shelly! The part about being responsible for our own progress or lack thereof hit home! I’m working each day to get better and better, but when I slack, I can’t be mad at all about not seeing progress.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. 2020 has taught me about real friendships. During this time I have lost some friends but gained others. I think another thing is that we are constantly going through different seasons in life, people come and go and opportunities come and go. We don’t ever stay the same for long!
    Loved this post Shelly 🤗

    So thankful to have made friends with both you Shelly and Niraj during 2020!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. 2020 has also taught me about real friendships as well. I think you make a really interesting point that things are constantly changing with us and opportunities come and go. It was a brilliant post from Shelly!

      I am glad to have become friends with you as well Olivia 🙂 thanks for your support!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Well aren’t you stinkin cute! I’m sorry that you lost some friends but happy that the weeds were removed from your life~ It’s been a challenging year for everyone and I think we just need to accept the changes. Thanks so much for reading, supporting and being an awesome friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful post, Shelley. There hasn’t been tough lessons for me as such, but more of taking a tough and collaborative stance on a range of issues to keep the family safe.

    I started working from home last Christmas, so there wasn’t much of a transition for me when the pandemic unfolded.

    I am part of the COVID framework here in terms of the work I do, so there was no down time for me when it happened as I was trying to help others roll out strategies from the get go and was privy to insights many were yet to become aware of or appreciate.

    But, the real bonus is finally knuckling down and doing something constructive with my blog and I can thank all the other bloggers out there that I have come across in the last six months for their wonderful insights 😊

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Working from home really is a blessing for our personal lives. It’s great that you were able to spend time doing something for you without swaying from your norm. I’m so glad we’ve crossed paths 😊 your insights and support are definitely something I don’t take lightly!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I can totally relate especially with the last point – we alone are responsible for our progress. I made so many goals but didn’t get through with anything because I wasn’t the most motivated but now (6 months on) I see that my progress is in my hands alone. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That was the point i also related to in particular as well. At the end of the day, its so so easy to make excuses on why we arent making good progress or meeting goals and blame external factors but at the end of the day, we have full responsibility

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Excellent post Shelly. I think we all need to look at the positives about 2020. I’m really glad you rediscovered your love of writing. I enjoy your blog and reading your insights. My blog has also been therapeutic during this time. I went from one post a week to three.

    For me, 2020 was also the year I realized how much I love writing. So much so that I’ve enrolled in an online plain language program and I’m hoping to make that my retirement gig when I decide I’ve had enough of the full-time workforce.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Fantastic post! Thank you! I started working from home full-time on March 18th, so it’s been roughly seven months of my “new normal.” For the first two weeks, I absolutely hated it. But now, I’m appreciative of how my company has taken care of their employees and tried their best to keep us safe and healthy. I’ve also grown closer to my family, and re-evaulated several friendships. This time has also opened my eyes to some things that I want to work on to be a better wife to my husband. Nothing like a global pandemic to change your whole world!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting Laura! You’re absolutely right about the world stopping for things to switch up. It’s been quite tough for me as well thanks to family commitments and all but really nice at the same time for the same reasons, so I can imagine how you feel. Do make sure to check out Niraj’s post on my blog 😊


    2. I have really been impressed my some companies and how they have cared for the wellbeing of their employees! And I am so glad that you have become closer to your family and have thought of ways to become a better wife to my husband. I have worked in the office 2 days a week since I started and I like the balance, but I am glad you enjoy working from home!


  6. This was a great read. During this difficult time it has made me stop and realign myself. And actually look after myself more. We are in unpredictable times for now. But we just have to be thankful for what we have and can do.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Excellent post! The last point is a big lesson. I’ve realized I’ve been stifling my own success with procrastination and excuses. I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish and at first I was doing well but have slacked off considerably. It seems we’ll be under these COVID-19 conditions for quite some time so I’m devoting my energies to creating new habits and getting rid of old unproductive ones. Several proverbs are helping me keep this goal in mind.
    Proverbs 6:6-8 – Go to the ant, you lazy one; Observe its ways and become wise. Although it has no commander, officer, or ruler, It prepares its food in the summer, And it gathers its food supplies in the harvest.
    Proverbs 6:10,11 – A little sleep, a little slumbering, A little folding of the hands to rest, And your poverty will come like a bandit, And your want like an armed man.
    Proverbs 13:5 – The lazy person has his cravings, yet he has nothing, But the diligent one will be fully satisfied.
    Proverbs 12:27 – The lazy do not chase after the prey, But diligence is a man’s precious treasure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The last point is a lesson for all of us for sure. I like your attitude of devoting your energies to creating good habits, as I agree that Covid-19 is something we have to live with for the forseeable future. And I love the proverbs you sent so thanks for sharing them!

      Liked by 1 person

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