20 important lessons I’ve learned from 2020 Hello, 2021!

2020 has definitely not been your average year; full of surprises, with more downs than ups, one might say. Nevertheless, as we look back on it while counting the days, hours and minutes till the end of this challenging year, here are 20 important lessons I’ve learned from 2020.

No.1 – Never take anything for granted

Even the most trivial things seem today as a luxury. For example, sitting with a friend at one of the fantastic coffee places in Vienna, enjoying a mélange and the best apple strudel while commenting on what other people were wearing… ah, those were the days!

No.2 – Don’t leave to tomorrow what you can do today

After not one but two lockdowns in 2020, one of the lessons I learned is pretty obvious and not a new thing. But now, more than ever, we should do all we can today since we don’t know whether we’ll be locked at home again tomorrow. The same applies to the next two points.

No.3 – Make plans, but not too many

Making plans is a good thing, it’s easier to achieve your goals this way, giving you something to look forward. But don’t make too many plans, especially long-term plans, as your life can turn upside down from one minute to the next. For example, better enjoy yourself today instead of waiting for the vacations you’re planning to take in one year.

No.4 – Never say no to a party

How many times have you turned down a party? You were tired, or lazy, or just not in the mood; I get it. But what wouldn’t you give now to be able to be surrounded by friends, drinking and dancing, partying like it’s 1999? The lesson from 2020 here is that we have to make a little effort to go out even when not super excited about it because once you’re there, you’ll surely enjoy the party.

No.5 – Cherish your dear ones

Don’t take anyone for granted and cherish your family and friends. Enjoy every moment you have with your dear ones, as a hard lesson in 2020 was that we can’t always be with them. And yes, cherish even the moments spent with that embarrassing aunt who thinks she’s fun and sexy, especially after a few drinks.

No.6 – Don’t complain about going to work

Getting ready and rushing out to go to the office every morning used to be a drag some days, didn’t it? Well, I bet you miss it now! You probably even miss the office’s Karen, the know-it-all who always had an annoying remark on the tip of her tongue.

No.7 – Don’t waste time

One of the big lessons I learned the hard way in 2020 is: don’t waste time! The sun is shining? Go get dressed and meet your friends to have lunch. A new collection is out? Try on all the new pieces today. There’s a new exhibition in town? Go see it ASAP since you cannot be sure you’ll be able to do it later.

No.8 – Tell the ones you love you love them

Above all, pay attention to this point because this is the most important lesson to take from 2020. Don’t wait for a special occasion to tell people how much you love them, or that you missed them, even if you think this is obvious and they already know it. 

No.9 – Embrace people more often

As soon as the social distancing is over, embrace everyone you meet. Well, maybe not everyone, that could be weird, but all those you know and who deserve it. Let your inner Italian Mama out, kiss and embrace as often as possible.

No.10 – Enough with the DIY

Although knitting and sewing online lessons might have kept you busy and sane during the 2020 pandemic, enough is enough. Leave the patchwork cardigans for JW Anderson, the bangs for the hairdressers and the bread-baking for the best bakers. Plus, there are so many brands offering made-to-order fashion, you don’t need to embroider and sew all your clothes. Unless you’re planning to marry an Austrian widower and teach his seven children to sing while you make them clothes out of curtains.

No.11- Be more conscious

2020 has taught us many lessons about being more environmentally conscious. So buy from brands with social responsibility, and that recycle and up-cycle. Circular fashion is not just a fancy idea. Additionally, walk or take the bicycle instead of your car whenever possible. Buy local. Make little changes to live an eco-friendlier life.

No.12 – Slow down

Lockdown has been quite tiring for many. Between Zoom meetings and all the other appointments we got into to keep busy while at home, we ended up exhausted. This includes the virtual yoga class, Zumba and cooking lessons, and the endless DIY projects we started in 2020. Also, having to learn new languages and taking up new hobbies. And lastly, the virtual aperitivo time with the Italian friends, the wine tasting with the French ones, and following all the TikTok dance challenges was all too much.

No.13 – You don’t need all you think you need

With shops closed for most of 2020, I learned that we don’t need all we think we need. I am actually enjoying to buy less but buy better. But even so, thank you online-shopping for existing!

No.14 – Travel with a smaller carbon footprint

Most of us haven’t almost travelled this year, and we’ve missed it. Travel a little less to far-away locations and discover the beautiful places you have next to you. You don’t need to go far to have a nice break. So don’t wait for the vacations to escape from the routine. I know I’ll start going away for the weekend more often, to relax and visit friends and family.

No.15 – Dress up, wear makeup, even with nowhere to go

Wearing colourful clothes and makeup has definitely helped us lift our spirits during the lockdown. Do keep it up; even if you can’t meet people yet, this doesn’t mean you should stay home in tracksuits and old t-shirts.

No.16 – Be kind

Your bestie came out of the lockdown with a strange haircut or silly-looking outfits she proudly tells you she made? Be kind, bite your tongue and just be happy to see her again. Alright, maybe after some drinks you can gently break the news to her. But be kind to all since 2021 hasn’t been exactly kind to us.

No.17 – Enjoy the little things

2020 has definitely taught us to be more thankful and enjoy the little things. Waiting for a table in a noisy restaurant or entering a crowded movie theatre doesn’t seem that bad anymore, does it?

No.18 – Don’t take yourself so seriously

Have more fun and don’t take yourself so seriously. I learned to laugh at myself when I make a mistake instead of feeling bad about it. Additionally, life is too short to be offended by someone’s comments and keep grudges.

No.19 – Focus and keep learning

As we saw in lesson No 12, the 2020 lockdown has allowed us to try new things, but wanting to learn too many skills at once can be overwhelming and exhausting. So let’s focus and choose fewer areas of interest to keep learning, but at a slower pace; moderation is the key.

No.20 – Don’t expect much, and you’ll never be disappointed

Who could have predicted a pandemic year? It certainly disrupted all plans and new year’s resolutions. So one of the lessons I learned from 2020 is that I won’t make a big fuss about the new year. I’ll enter 2021 quietly, without expecting too much. Let’s take things as they come and make the best with what we have. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished this year and enjoy all the beauty in life.

Have a wonderful 2021!!

Title image by Notorious Mag

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