2020 Takeaways

Author: Yugal SehgalOriginally published on December 31, 2020

2020. What a powerful year! Disruptive and disorienting, troublesome and traumatic. The year of a pandemic — and protests — around the world. And then some. Easily a year for the history books. You might also say, easily the most transformational year so far for the modern world. It managed to stop the world in its tracks, after all, what else can claim that feat?

Words like "lockdown", "quarantine" and "social distancing" found a whole new meaning this year, one that nobody in our generation will ever perceive differently. We're also never going to look down on people for using masks and hand sanitizers in public (in India), finally those things are no longer reserved for the hygiene conscious, or considered alienating.

This was also a year for true digital revolution, with technology being nearly the sole thread holding the world together. Imagine 2020 twenty years ago, and wonder what would and would not have sustained us. Where I live, we didn't even have that many telephones back then, something like the internet would've been a pipe dream. To think of how much technology has evolved since then and kept us afloat with this year's challenges, says a lot about human progress. Nonetheless, progress was exactly what 2020 stifled.

In a perhaps most well-documented humanity event that this year has been, my takeaways from it aren't necessarily pandemic-related. The world may have shared the same fate, but I think every human life was affected by it differently. Our own individual world might've been a little different from our collective one. So here's seven positive, reinforcing, and no-BS takeaways from the year, ones that come from my own little world, in no particular order:

While there's many other lessons that I could've shared, some particularly relevant to the pandemic and the suffering it has caused, these are the ones that I think speak more to our long-term need of reinforcement in life. I have no idea how the next year will turn out, and I don't put much stock in trying to predict it. If nothing else, I do take away the unpredictability of this year with me into the next one.

While many would be glad that this terrible year is finally over, I think nobody can deny that it managed to instil a sense of otherworldly power that humanity had not seen in ages, a supernatural force that put humanity in a place of insignificance, if only temporarily. Generations were affected by this year, and generations will remember it. 2020 was that powerful a year. Terrible, yes, but powerful. And now we know even powerful things must come to an end.

Yugal Sehgal writes about life, mindfulness, and people. He lives in India. Follow him and @drawcuments on Instagram.