One year of Covid-19.
It’s obvious to say that so much has changed in one year. It seems everything has changed in one year. People often talk about the lessons they learned in 2020, understandably trying to flip the pandemic on its head and turn it into something positive, something within our control.
At the end of every year, I write a reflection entry in my journal, going over everything I’ve learned and contemplating if I’ve accomplished the intentions I set out for just 365 days prior. I’m not one to call them resolutions; it’s more of a check in. But in my last yearly wrap up, I honestly couldn’t pinpoint what I’d learned in 2020. The year seemed too big and abstract for me to grasp.
2020 was full of good moments but also a lot of somber ones. There were chapters closed and missed celebrations. There were unprocessed experiences and life transitions. When we closed the door on 2020 and 2021 began, I had a hard time finding summaries and conclusions for something that still wasn’t over.
But this week marks a year since everything began to change, and for some reason, that marker brought me some clarity.
There are two main lessons I’ve learned from this pandemic:
1. You can’t control everything, and that’s okay.
I’ll be the first to admit that like a lot of people, I like to be in control. I like having a say, and having that taken away for a year hasn’t been without its trials and tribulations. Last spring and early summer, I struggled with this a lot. The pandemic left me feeling hopeless and like a failure for not being able to do things that were completely out of my control.
I’ve gotten a lot better at letting things go, though. I’ve become far less concerned with having all the answers, and more interested in having the chance to figure it out. A year ago I was frustrated that I didn’t have answers to my own life. I was anxious because I didn’t have everything figured out. But now I realize that certain answers don’t need to be forced—we just have to be patient enough to wait for them.
2. Prioritize the things that actually make you happy.
Although this pandemic has tested my ability to feel inspired, it has also pushed me to be my most creative self, which I’d argue is the result of a twisted sort of inspiration. I’ve written, read, and painted more in the last year than I have since I was a child. Part of me thinks that I’ve leaned into these other creative outlets to supplement the lack of dance in my life, but something about these new creative pursuits feels right, like maybe I was meant to be doing them all along.
Creativity and the act of creating, whether it’s a painting or a blog post or a journal spread, makes me happy. This last year has given me more uninterrupted time to do these things and now that I’ve started, they’ve become a priority. I’ve realized that I need creative outlets in order to feel fulfilled. If it weren’t for Covid, I think it would have taken me a lot longer to figure this out.
Just like everyone else, I’m eager for things to return to any resemblance of “normalcy,” but as I move forward, I know I’ll be taking these new mindsets and creative habits with me. These two simple lessons have created subtle changes in my life that feel irreversible and more authentically me.