Wednesday, 30 December 2020

20 lessons from 2020

2020 has become a cliche.

In a year of global pandemic, “unprecedented” was the word on everyone’s lips.

But a little closer to home, nothing much changed for me.

Steve was away at work (stuck in Western Australia from March 29 to May ??)

I continued to attend work when kids moved to Learning@Home as all school staff were still required to attend (bringing forth it’s own set of logistical issues - kids at home, me at work, Steve away, who was supervising school work?)

And then as “normal” returned, stepping into a role with one of my volunteer organisations when a staff member quit unexpectedly, to keep things as normal as possible for the students at school (I was quite surprised when only two students over the course of a term asked after this person, a long term employee of 14+ years)

Through it all, I learnt a lot about myself.

🟣 I am much better at coping when I am busy.

Being “busy” meant I didn’t have time to dwell. I couldn’t speculate about what might happen, to me or anyone else, because I needed to do the things.

🟣 I need to write thing down to stay on top of everything.

My bullet journal and I have become firm friends this year. If I don’t write it down, it doesn’t get done (or remembered); this applies to anything my kids need, any of my volunteer roles, anything for work.

🟣 zoom is great for introverts.

When we were first told to stay home, I dived in and signed up for a zoom subscription. I had regular meetups with Chloe, and my volunteer teams. While others have talked of zoom fatigue, I found that using zoom made us more focused and on task when meeting, which is much more suitable to introverts!

🟣 extended separation makes the heart grow fonder.

Steve ended up having two stints of time being away for extended periods - first for 9 weeks, then for 12. We chose to do this early on as no one really knew what the incubation period was, and then once quarantine was introduced it was easier to have longer work periods between.

🟣 a cohesive team makes the work easier.

I’ve worked with various teams for three years now, and found my feet this year with a couple of dream teams. Everyone has similar goals for the organisation, and is working hard toward those goals. It makes working with people much easier when there’s cohesion like that.

🟣 housework will be done eventually.

One of the best things I did this year was pay Douglas to do the big jobs each fortnight. It stopped being useful when I had to nag him to finish jobs he’d already been paid for, but those few weeks beforehand have opened my eyes to the bliss of coming home to a vacuumed house.

🟣 it's easy to say "I'll do it tomorrow"

But I learnt that "tomorrow" rarely arrives. So I needed to re-learn to do things now if they would take less than 5 minutes, or write it down and assign a time to actually do it.

🟣 it's hard to start again, when your days have been filled with "tomorrows"

I hardly wrote, or took photos, or even scrapbooked, during 2020. As above, it was hard to move past the inertia and start doing again.

🟣 when you're inspired, it's easy to start

Inspiration can come from all sorts of places - Pinterest, a magazine, cleaning your desk, following through on a random thought. And when inspiration strikes, it's easy to move past inertia and just start.

Related - 10 Places to Find Inspiration

🟣 turning the news off was the best decision ever.

Steve likes to watch the news when he's home. Aside from the media bias, it's never about anything except bad stuff. I made a conscious decision when he first flew to WA in March that i wouldn't watch the news, and it took such a weight off my mind. I did, however, replace the news with LiveStreams on Facebook from our State Premier in recent months, and the Federal Government in the earlier months of 2020.

🟣 coffee dates can make all the difference to some days

As 2020 started, I made a conscious effort to meet with friends at a local coffee shop. My thinking was that it would give us a different level of connecting. I sorely missed it when Stay@Home orders came into play, but was grateful when it returned.

🟣 post-it notes are amazing!

During 2020, my role at work was changed slightly, and I was moved into the admin office and taught the ropes at the front desk. I loved this experience - learning the ins and outs of how a school works, being permitted access to the behind the scenes stuff, and being trusted to do the right thing. While I was learning, it was super easy to write questions to ask, telephone messages, reminders to self, on post-it notes. If the other ladies couldn't find their post-it notes, it was often because I'd accidentally picked them up!

🟣 a change of scenery can make all the difference to your outlook.

We haven't holidayed for years, due to finances and work. In 2020, we made a spur of the moment decision to take a week's holiday, and it was the best decision of the whole year. Even though we still had the usual parenting hiccups of out of sorts behaviours, mum frustrated by having to cook and clean, kids bickering because they're not in their routines, going away for a week was so good for all of us that we're going to do it again in 2021.

🟣 doing things for yourself is just as important as doing things for your family.

I say this to my friends all the time, especially the ones who do so much for their kids/teenagers. Looking after yourself and following your passions is important for your own wellbeing, as well as your family. If you aren't feeling fulfilled in yourself, then you'll build resentment against whatever is "holding you back" Usually, that's family. And that makes for an unhappy home.

🟣 keeping plants alive is much easier than I thought.

Don't over water them, and keep them in moderate sunlight. Plants always die on the kitchen windowsill because the sunlight is too direct and hot. But I've kept my office plants alive for almost two years now by keeping them in shady spots, and routinely watering weekly.

🟣 learn something new every day

Being a lifelong learner is part of who I am. Over the last year, several things have finally clicked into place for me, and my understanding has grown. In 2021, I want to try to be more conscious with my learnings, and try to be a proactive learner (learning things before I need to know them.)

🟣 in the hardest moments, your friends will back you up

I had some bad behaviour to deal with in my local community group earlier this year, some of it from people I trusted, and some of it of my own doing. When the chips were down, my friends backed me, and went to war for me, and before I knew it, it had all blown away.

🟣 sometimes, you need to let things go

I did wonder several times this year if I was supposed to give up blogging. Then inspiration struck, and I wrote another post. But in other areas of my life, I let things go, and the weight lifted from my mind, and I focused on moving forward again.

🟣 when you focus on the good, you don't see the bad as much.

In 2020, I found what worked best for me when thoughts spiralled out of control - focusing on the things I could control. I had plenty of moments where I was overwhelmed, and that often led to shouty stress behaviours. But if I  kept my focus on the end goal, I was generally ok.

🟣 every day has a lesson to share.

Probably the most important thing I learnt this year - there's always a lesson to be learnt, from the people you interact with every day, or the things you do, or even just from your pets at home on the couch. If you look hard enough, you can see that every moment in your life has something to teach you.

What have you learnt in 2020?

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