Written by: Victoria Chardon, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
I’m going to ask you a strange question.
What will you miss about 2020?
I invite you to stop and reflect for the next few minutes. What was 2020 to you? Put aside the hardship and the positive psychology and the pressure to adapt to the New Normal. Acknowledge your individual experience. You’ll probably never have another one quite like it, after all.
It’s ok if you’re not looking back on 2020 with fondness. It’s ok if you’d rather spend the last few weeks of the year cocooning under blankets in your reindeer onesie, bingeing Hallmark movies and chocolate.
It’s also ok if this was truly a terrible year. Maybe stopping to reflect on it stirs up difficult emotions. How often have you allowed yourself to feel them?
Maybe your year felt different but was ultimately just another year. Perhaps you’re sick of reading about how difficult 2020 was. That’s ok, too.
If someone had told me last December that within a year, I’d have lived through two Europe-wide lockdowns, spent nine months hardly leaving my house, and not be able to travel home to see my family, I wouldn’t have believed them. If they’d added that I’d also have gotten a puppy and launched my own business, I’d have laughed in their face. And yet here I am in the spare room that I’ve barely left since March, in front of the screen I’ve been staring at for hours every day, trying to make sense of everything that has happened whilst my dog snores on the floor beside me. This was not the year I expected it to be when I stood watching the fireworks with my husband last New Year’s Eve. I could rehash all of the doom and gloom that’s happened this year, but you’ve already read that article - probably 100 times over. I’m not here to bore you.
I’m here to ask you: what will you miss about this year?
Perhaps you will miss the time you had for self-reflection? Forced to spend so much time in our own company, many of us have discovered things about ourselves that we weren’t aware of before. I’ve come to appreciate that I’m most creative first thing in the morning, that I like a gentle start to the day, that I need to switch off when I’m over-stimulated. I’ve spoken with clients who have realized they have a passion they’re not pursuing, hate their jobs, or feel unhappy with the relationships they’re in. Being forced to explore our depths is no bad thing - it allows us to move forward into the future with more knowledge about ourselves.
Maybe you will miss the lack of pressure to lead the perfect life? Remember when Instagram was clogged up with everyone’s amazing photos of Bali, their #lovinglife brunches in trendy Scandi-style cafes, their perfect family holidays at the beach? 2020 has brought us all into a simpler way of living. There is less pressure to compare or conform when most people are just trying to survive. As a result, we’re privy to more insight into people’s real lives on social media. Kids doing homework at the kitchen table. Culinary creations cooked at home. Countryside walks with the dog—even TV viewing in the evening. The things we have in common in our daily lives serve as a better vehicle to bring us closer than comparing our summer holidays ever will. I, for one, will miss that.
In a similar vein, I will miss the shared humanity of 2020. Once the vaccines come, and the lockdown ends, will we look back and remember how it feels to be so connected with the rest of the world? To know that despite our individual experiences, our unique challenges and mindsets, we are in this together? Or will life pick up where it left off, and we’ll simply forget as we’re swallowed back into our own lives?
Maybe you will miss proving to yourself just how resilient you really are. We don’t often get our limits really tested - some people don’t even know what their limits are. This year, we’ve been collectively tested in a myriad of ways. Did you know you were capable of such strength? Did you know that you had the ability to overcome what you have, and keep putting one foot in front of the other, regardless? Getting your resilience tested can be the hardest thing you’ll ever go through - but don’t you feel just a little bit proud that you’ve done it, that you’re still moving forward?
As we launch full throttle into 2021, it’s vital that we pause and consider what this has taught us, about ourselves and about the world we live in. We don’t know exactly what the coming months will bring, but we do know, finally, that there’s an end in sight. Let’s not waste the things this year has taught us, and let’s not write it off because it was painful or hard.
Let’s think instead about what we want to take from this year that will serve us in 2021, and beyond.
Victoria Chardon, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Victoria Chardon specializes in fulfillment, confidence-building and making big dreams become a reality. As well as being a Google leader who manages an international team, she is the co-founder of Rising Star Leadership, a consultancy that creates personalized coaching programs for groups, individuals and corporations. Victoria helps people to connect with themselves on a deeper level than they usually would, pulling them away from 'life on the surface' and helping them claim their powerful, unique individuality. She also works with leaders to help them incorporate vulnerability and compassion into their leadership style. She is a vocal advocate on wellbeing and mental health and has taken to the stage on several occasions to share her personal journey and break down the stigma of mental health in the workplace.