2020: Good Riddance and Lessons Learned

The year 2020 started with Australia on fire and koalas in peril and went downhill from there. A deadly pandemic, social upheaval and racial reckoning, ugly, political bloviating, murder hornets and a mystery monolith — 2020 had just about everything you could want. Unless what you wanted was a European vacation or a professional haircut. Or something resembling life as we knew it.

No question that 2020 was the flat tire on the freeway of years. But, as with every trauma, the big bag of awfulness that was the past year provided an unprecedented opportunity to grow, to learn and to become stronger for surviving it.

Hopefully, we’ve learned more from 2020 than how to manipulate Zoom backgrounds and why it’s a good idea to shower at least once a week, even if no one else will know the difference. At Regis, we learned the value of thinking creatively, embracing flexibility and myriad new ways to put cura personalis into practice every day.

And some of what we’ve learned will serve us well even after life returns to normal. Whatever that means.

Now that we’ve officially tossed 2020 onto the trash heap, it’s worth pausing to reflect on some of the year’s more valuable lessons:

  • Taking time for yourself isn’t just OK, it’s vital.
  • Amassing a jungle’s worth of tigers may not be a sign of a stable mind.
  • Social change doesn’t come from wishing for it. It takes work, commitment, and people of good conscience making their voices heard.
  • The health of loved ones matters more than bar trivia night.
  • Living in sweatpants may not be the key to lasting happiness and fulfilment after all.
  • While it’s important to plan for the future, living in the moment is a must.
  • The Great British Baking Show has powers to soothe even in the most anxious moments.
  • We need dogs (or cats, if that’s your thing) even more than they need us.
  • Voting is important.
  • Unacceptable inequalities persist in health care, education and criminal justice.
  • Science can be our friend.
  • You should never, ever let your supply of toilet paper dwindle enough to constitute an emergency situation.
  • We are all part of a larger community, and our individual choices impact others.
  • Many of our friends and neighbors have lost jobs and loved ones. Which means kindness — and gratitude for what we have — is more important than ever.

If you live to be 100, you will never forget 2020, no matter how hard you try. So, as you process and catalog your recent memories, take time to pack in a few life lessons that will help you be stronger, smarter and more resilient in 2021. And for heaven’s sake, WASH YOUR HANDS.


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