The Silver Linings of 2020


2020 has been challenging financially, socially and emotionally, and many of us will be happy to leave it behind. Still, it’s worth noting the honest-to-goodness positives that may have come our way as the direct result of the difficulties we’ve faced:

  • We’ve become more generous with our friends and neighbors. We’ve supported charitable organizations, even in these tough times, and changed to support local and minority-owned businesses.
  • We’ve spent more time outside.
  • We’ve learned or honed satisfying, practical skills like baking, gardening and handcrafts. We’ve also developed — and are teaching our children — resilience. And we’ve found our creativity flourishing as we solve new problems.
  • We’ve enjoyed extra down-time with our immediate families. Many kids are thriving during quarantine, and happy to have more interaction with their dads.
  • We’ve embraced self-care. Sure, we’ve always said self-care was important, but these days more people are actually taking time for themselves, whether it’s a short-term fix (a bath, a decadent dessert, a binge-watch) or something that reduces stress in the long term (meditating, running, doing yoga, adopting a dog, or making art).
  • We’ve paid better attention to the world around us. COVID-19 laid bare some of our systemic problems, and more of us have turned to activism. More people than ever voted in the U.S. elections this year.
  • We’ve grown in gratitude. We appreciate friends and family more than ever. And 2020 has also taught us to see the gifts inherent in slowing down and focusing more on our core values. “When life is sweet,” as writer Shauna Niequist reminds us, “say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow.”
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