2020 reflection

How to Figure out What 2020 Has Meant for You

Let’s get one thing out of the way: 2020, you’ve been terrible and you should leave.

We’re ready to say goodbye to a year of pandemic, racial injustice, bushfires, tragic passings. More so, we can’t wait to make new planes for 2021.

As much as I’d like to pretend this year never happened and think about all the amazing things I’d like to do next year, that’s not me.  

I did an entire matter-of-fact 2020 review with one central question in mind: what has this year meant for me.

Three essential questions to ask yourself

First, I decided my “2020 reflection project” needed a goal. What’s the purpose of this? Why was I tapping into anxiety all over again? What’s the point of analyzing something I want to forget as soon as possible?

My goal was clear. I wanted to know how 2020 has influenced my life.

I was hoping to answer the following three questions:

  1. What happened to the world?
  2. What happened to me?
  3. Am I going to be fine?

Enthusiastic as I can be, I opened up my laptop. I was so ready to figure out what the deal was.


Question #1: What happened to the world in 2020?

I had a pretty clear picture of where to start. I went on and googled “all the bad things that happened in 2020”. It seemed like a logical step.

Let me tell you, it was a huge mistake. Thousands of search results on the chaos and mess of 2020. What was I going to do, write a list of ALL the terrible and devastating things that occurred this year? My anxious mind would never forgive me.

So I made my own list. I wrote down all the things that made my 2020 so chaotic and messy. I tried to stick to the things that most affected me, people around me as well. 


Question #2: What happened to me in 2020?

I compiled my own “2020 bad things list” and wanted to connect even more dots. I gave every bad thing on the list a word that best describes it.

I wrote down my feelings and my experiences of events. I noted what I’ve lost, what I’m missing, and what I’ll get back one day.

That last part was crucial for me. Giving yourself something to look forward to gives you a more optimistic view of the future. Visiting your grandparents, going to concerts…It’s up to you.


Question #3: Am I going to be fine?

If I wanted to avoid getting overwhelmed, I had to keep this in mind: this planet is a huge place, and not everything that happens directly affects me and my life. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t acknowledge what happens on the other side of the world. It’s merely about staying sane in our day-to-day lives.

I had a list of my bad 2020 things. I was able to understand my change. I’ve seen the real me, me who navigates difficulties and learns from them.

There have been horrific things this year, yes. Some of us have lost the people we loved, our jobs, our clarity. Yet, it’s up to us to decide where we want to go from here.


You choose what makes sense to you

To be honest, if you don’t want to figure out why your 2020 was the way it was, that’s okay. We all have our own ways of making sense of things. Some simply want to leave it all behind, and some see this as an opportunity for growth.

However, one thing applies to all humanity. We all needed a break, we needed to learn a lesson, we needed to see what matters. We’re not greater than nature and never will be.

And most of us, we’re going to be fine. 


Cover image: by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay