Hmm. It is the new year's eve. I can't push this reflection any further isn't it?
Every year, I spend the month of December on reflection & review of the entire year. But this year has been so special that I am writing this reflection from the corridors of hospitals on a new year'e eve.
This year being a special year across the planet, I should not be complaining so much. What a year it has been 😳 Just the reflection is tiring me out 😞 Phew!
Year 2020 will always remain special of my lifetime. There was no year like this so far and I don't think there will be one more matching up to this.
Here is my annual emotion-time plot. On a hindsight, it looks like ECG depicting truly how my heart was beating everyday. There was a moment of chaos and there was a moment of charisma right after that. What a unique blend!
Here are 20 things 2020 taught me. There are good, bad and ugly anecdotes inside. Beware and be aware 😜
1/ Plan 2020 - What a bummer!
All my plans for 2020 went kaput (thanks to 🦠). My 10% of time that I spent in 2020 planning the year went into drain 🤷♀️ . The productivity nerd in me was surely depressed but hey, that is how veto powers work.
The virus literally had a veto on the entire human kind and how can I alone be an exception to this?
Reflection: The less scheduled I was, I got more creative. The biggest lesson of 2020 is context is more important than content itself.
2/ Challenge 2020 - Show me what you have got
As a student of neuroscience I am aware of human adaptability (hedonic treadmill theory) but this is the first time, I went through it experientially.
"Until you are broken you don't know what you are made of"
This year showed me what I am made of.
Surprisingly my breaking point kept on moving up. It found new threshold with every other day and it is continuing to move up even today. I understood moving averages truly!
Everything I knew about me was proven wrong by year 2020. There is something inside me that kept on growing leaps and bounds despite the externalities.
Reflection: I stopped judging my limits and boundaries. I started flowing with the moments of life mindfully.
3/ Chaos & Charisma
The dichotomy of emotion was apparent this year. For every pain this year gave me, it also gave me enough peace and gratitude.
Reflection: I stopped looking at only pain. I learned how to count my blessings.
4/ Compounding, a double edged sword
Everyone talks about the goodness of compounding but no one talks about the other side. 2020, showed me how compounding works positively and negatively. I have only plotted e power x so far. This year i understood e power minus x as well.
Reflection: Compounding is insane and irrational. Don't try to make sense of compounding.
5/ Domino, a sequence of no control
The domino effect is real. When one goes down, a number of things go down and you will have no control over it. This year, Murphy's law was super active in my life. It was not one thing thing falling down, it was a bunch of things going down at the same time. Year 2020 demonstrated these effects and laws experientially.
Reflection: All you can control is what happens within you. Everything else is out of control. Just realising my locus of control was a big lesson.
6/ DO NO THING as a strategy
When everything breaks at the same time, all you must do it "DO NOTHING" is the biggest lesson I learnt this year. When all hell breaks loose, stay calm and sip water has been my mantra.
Reflection: Just recognising many things are breaking at the same time, itself takes time to absorb. Reflect often. If possible every evening. It helps to see the dots and the connections.
7/ Grace is your ally
Even in turmoil there is a place where you hold things gracefully. There is inner grounded-ness in all of us. We need to travel to that spot very often.
Reflection: Don't say a word. Don't react. Just breathe and allow things to happen. You can stay untouched despite everything.
8/ Inspiration from unusual places
My garden taught me so much more life than what i learnt from fellow human beings. I got inspiration from unusual places. Here is a powerful anecdote from my journal.
"...One fine morning, in my terrace garden I saw my chilli plant blooming and giving amazing chillies. From that day it hasn't stopped for 30 days in a row and it keeps on giving.
Seasons changed. There was rain. There was shine. There was cyclone in south India but it kept on doing what it is meant to do (i.e making chillis without bothering about anything else).
It sounds silly to take inspiration from a chilli plant but it is true and honest inspiration. I decided to be like that chilli plant (being a maker whatsoever). Writing, learning, building, and more..."
Reflection: There is a teacher everywhere. Are you a keen learner is the question that kept me awake and awakened.
9/ New Year = New Your
I so wished for 2020 to end and here it is. The end is leaving me a powerful lesson. If this new year is yours, what would you do differently? how would you manage an eventful year like this one again? What have you learnt so far? and more.
Reflection: A new year is a new possibility. This applies to everyday as well. The probability of success of this possibility is in my hands. I take 100% responsibility to make it the best year of my life.
10/ Maslow is wrong
Maslow hierarchy is sometimes wrong. The love and belonging holds fort even when the food water shelter and wifi breaks down. The power of human compassion outlaws every other pain. My family held me tight when the floods were above my head.
11/ We Croak!
Mortality was a living reality everyday for me. With three elderly people at home, my first question is did they wake up, did everyone at home wake up, did we all go to sleep safely? Doing this made mortality a big part of my day. I thought so much about death that I am not afraid of it anymore. I have a checklist for afterlife now. This is out of compassion and not out of anger.
Reflection: Death is beautiful. It gives life and urgency to the living beings.
12/ Fear is the only thing to fear
With covid the fear of life and death was real. It was daunting and on my face. But when we accepted the fear, we did everything possible to hold the fort. Sanitizers, masks, installations, rules of the house, norms and more. So far, so good. No one went through covid at home 🤞despite many hospitalisations and many hospital visits.
Reflections: Prevention is far better than covid.
I saw everyone around me anxious, insomniac and depressed. I broke down every other day. Lifting self and lifting others at the same time needed courage. Not that I knew how to but just that i had an intent to lift them up and on the way I lifted me up as well.
Reflection: Every ying has a yang.
I lost a lot of things I possibly could in 8+ months. 35+ lives were lost in my close circle. I (as a family) lost half of our wealth. I was responsible for firing people in my org. I lost people in my team. In my family we lost jobs. That put a huge dent both in the career circle and finance aspects. I lost sleep for 6 months. I lost health. I lost everything I built in the past 6 years in business.
Reflection: Loss is the only way to gain new things, new perspectives, new people and new you.
I also gained a lot of things I possibly could in 8 months. Grit, perseverance, vulnerability, expression, courage, patience, experience, humility, spirit and a lot of weight (not to mention).
Reflection: Gain is the only way to loose old ideas, rigid beliefs, muddled thoughts, foggy emotions and more.
16/ Lab Year - 2020
Like a gap year, 2020 was my lab year. I experimented with a ton of stuff. I created online products. I dabbled with all forms of creative expressions from Insta, Youtube, Twitter, Substack and more. Each experiment kept me grounded and humble.
Reflection: Ignorance >>> Knowledge.
17/ New Teachers
Pain is the best teacher. What i learned in these 8 months, I did not learn in the past 8 years.
Necessity is the mother of action. I went and learned about things i had no idea about and no need so far.
Difficult decisions taught me how to make difficult decisions. I had no idea, decision making can be so mindful and holistic.
Reflection: Teachers teach
I had ideas around minimalism and essentialism. 2020 showed me how I am not minimal. I let go of 10000 articles from home and 1000000 ideas from my head. I am still on the path to minimalism.
Reflections: Can we cut that further by half? was the most beautiful question of 2020. Minimalism makes you creative.
19/ Positive sum game
Life is a positive sum game. Mathematically that is how it works. It is not the assets and liabilities I am talking about, the perception you gain irrespective of the life's content and context is always positive.
Reflection: Perceive better
20/ Life is colorful
Here is my 2020 in a nutshell.
Do I need to say anything?
Reflection: #belessstupid and enjoy life in its vividness and colourfulness.
I have nothing but reverence and gratitude for this year 2020. On the contrary this year is the most fulfilling year of my life as well. The contentment I have is phenomenal. It was painful but I didn't suffer as much as I thought I did suffer. I crave for such fullness in 2021 too. Bring it on 🥂
Wishing you all a happy, healthy, wealthy and designful new year 2021 🎉