If you are anything like us you might have felt like everyone is boasting about the amazing things they did with their time during lockdown: losing 10 pounds, cutting their own hair, and looking amazing in their new curtain bangs/new look, and even becoming TikTok famous. Even news outlets are covering the stories of people who changed their lives completely, mastered an exciting new skill, or invented something brand new. It can feel a little disheartening or intimidating when we see stories like this because naturally, we tend to compare ourselves and our experiences with that of others (my curtain bangs did not end up transforming me into an Instagram model, unfortunately).
But so, what! You might think you came out of lockdown worse than you were striving for, but the question is, did you really? Here is a list of things you might have accomplished out of your ‘non-accomplishments’.
1. You never wrote that bestselling novel you dreamt up.
BUT you…did discover you might have more to offer. So maybe you don’t have a JK. Rowling sized literary career in your future, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have things to share. The fact that you found yourself being a bit creative just goes to show that you have potential. Maybe you do have a book inside you, but maybe you just need to think of other ways to indulge that side of your character. How about trying to dream up new ways of doing things at work, maybe you could write a great letter or pen a poem to brighten someone’s day!
2. You only spend two days trying to learn that new language.
BUT you…did realize that you definitely want to explore more. So, ‘mi dulce’ – do not stress yourself. You are definitely not alone in enduring the passive-aggressive onslaught of the Duolingo app. Communicating with others was definitely important during lockdown, but you can’t blame yourself if you can only do it in your native tongue. Linguistic aptitude is not a universal skill, and most languages take an average of 3 to 4 years to achieve fluency, so you wouldn’t have had enough time anyway. And just because you don’t speak the language, doesn’t mean you wouldn’t have a brilliant time visiting the country……#planthattrip
3. Your cooking skills remain decidedly average.
BUT you…did have fun making a mess. So you didn’t manage to nail that sourdough recipe craze? Join the club. But even trying is super impressive and we are never too old to discover new skills or lack thereof. This way, now you know and can make sure to expand your friendship group with excellent chefs who can take care of all those pot-luck events!
4. Homeschooling went poorly.
BUT you…did get to see your kids every day. Anyone who got through the last year with kids in the house deserves a medal. That is a fact. Coping with little ones without access to school, friends or playdates must have been a tough ride. Plus, trying to manage assignments and zoom classes all while working from home is so overwhelming and in many cases impossible. But no matter how stressful it was or how much you think you messed up, all your kids will remember is that you were there and they got to spend so much more time with the family.
5. You forgot to get into shape.
BUT you…did stop having takeout every night. Perhaps you have a vague recollection of Peloton google searches and online class sign-ups in the beginning, but can’t seem to remember any follow-through? You are not alone. Many of us were curtailed by space and restrictions when it came to working out, so you can’t really blame yourself for not implementing a solid routine. Staying as healthy as possible during traumatic periods like this is achievement enough.
6. You had trouble reining in your Amazon spending.
BUT you…did find the perfect gifts for everyone this Christmas. Trust us, you aren’t the only one hiding your purchase history from a loved one. But it is universally acknowledged that 2020 didn’t count, so as long as you can walk a more sensible line now, you are headed in the right direction. (Plus great gifts means everyone has to step up their game for you next year!)
7. You remember trying to reduce your Netflix watch time.
BUT you…did learn so much about the planet after including that David Attenborough show. Seriously, no one ever used to talk about ‘finishing’ Netflix, but 2020 was a year of surprises. In actual fact though, indulging in nostalgic series binges or feel-good shows directly increases our dopamine levels, which makes us feel better – so that can’t be bad, can it?
8. You didn’t learn an instrument.
BUT you…did practice your Beyonce moves in the kitchen. Let’s face it, with so many amazing musicians and music out there to lean on, maybe it's okay you didn’t manage to become a violin virtuoso during lockdown. Putting on your favorite tune at full volume and rocking out some epic moves and questionable sing-along vocals, now that is an excellent way to spend the time.
9. Your house looks exactly the same if you don’t count the clutter.
BUT you…did find a secret nook to snuggle in when things got tough. So, your make-over show-inspired vision for redecoration ran out of steam? Not quite the visionary interior designer you hoped you could be? In some ways, a big change conducted during lockdown could be counterproductive as it would always remind you of that rotten period of time. Spending days creating a new home office could be wasted once you have returned to the workplace. Your home needs to be a sanctuary that brings you joy, so however you opt to make that happen, it is the right choice.
10. You ran out of time to speak to everyone you wanted to.
BUT you…did discover how good it can feel to reconnect. Guess what, lots of us ran out of time, despite it seeming endless at the time. We might even find it more difficult to squeeze in time for catch-up messages and reaching out when things are more ‘normal’, but if lockdown taught us anything, it is time well spent. Set aside a bit of time once a week to talk to an old friend or someone in need. It will make a world of difference for you both.
2020 presented untold challenges and tragedies for everyone, in many different forms. From separation to financial loss to health issues. Anyone who survived that time should be proud. We all faced our own unique obstacles and had unique experiences. You cannot judge yourself against others and you never know what they have been dealing with behind closed doors. As we begin to emerge from under the rock of the pandemic, we need to celebrate our strength, heed the lessons it has taught us and help ourselves and others stand tall as we move forward. Things aren’t business as usual at the moment and might never be but staying positive and motivated as we collectively explore new horizons will serve us well. Remember, making your health and wellness a priority will help you cope with whatever lies in store and help those around you when they need it the most.