15 Things I Learned from 2020 (For Which I’m Grateful)

by , | Dec 22, 2020

The global pandemic has resulted in a tough year for most of us. Faced with so much loss, grief and mental-health challenges, the world is looking forward to closing the chapter on 2020. What if we put this year to rest, like we lay a loved one to rest? 

I was inspired by the list of 15 things Michelle crafted in honour of her late mother-in-law. Reading it, I thought: this is a great exercise no matter what our relationship is with the deceased. With that in mind, I’m putting 2020 to rest with the following list of things I learned over the course of the year.

15 Things I Learned from 2020 (For Which I’m Grateful)

  1. Dying flowers are as beautiful as the ones in full bloom.
  2. My neighbourhood is spectacular in every season.
  3. I don’t like swimming in a wetsuit.
  4. There are so many different kinds of trees in my neighbourhood.
  5. Having fewer options of what I can do with my time can be freeing.
  6. The more time I spend with fewer people the deeper those relationships get.
  7. Routine can be comforting.
  8. I feel best when I eat simple, whole, and plant-based food.
  9. Meditation is critical to my health and wellbeing.
  10. Staying connected even when we’re not physically together is possible.
  11. Zoom break-out rooms are awesome.
  12. Uncertainty and fear are portals for growth and discovery.
  13. The source of grief is our fear of being separate human beings.
  14. Granting space and time for the grieving process is the pathway to love.
  15. We really are all connected.

With all my love,

Reena (+ Michelle)

What about you? 

What are some valuable life lessons you learned from 2020 (for which you are grateful)?

We would love to see your list, no matter how short or how long. Please scroll down to the bottom of the post to leave your reply.


  • Margaret ScottPeters December 23, 2020 at 3:07 pm

    It is very much a year of Loss and increased connections.
    A longtime friend died in October and on the ‘cusp’ of lockdown another woman at 94.
    Yesterday I was very moved by a Blue Christmas Virtual Service at Mt. Seymour UC.
    It served to grieve the many losses of 2020 plus I lit a candle for both women.

    • Thank you for sharing Margaret. May your friends rest in peace. The paradox of loss and connection is ever present isn’t it? xo

      • Margaret ScottPeters January 1, 2021 at 9:24 pm

        Such a Paradox … Isolation and Connection.
        For the past year, I have regularly corresponded with a cousin. We found each other in our 8th decade and have yet to meet in person !
        Despite being the same age, & going to the same small University our paths have yet to cross….. via e-mail, phone calls, and FaceTime we are very connected at last.

        • Thanks so much of sharing about your experience of connection Margaret. It’s quite remarkable to really know that connection is always a possibility, even when swimming in a sea of isolation.

  • You don’t HAVE to wear gloves to work in the garden.
    With changing circumstances, good friends will find a way to stay connected.
    Absence and presence are siblings, two sides of the same coin, dance-partners.

  • Re-connecting with friends from my past! Calmer lifestyle, not driving so much, being instead of doing as much, teaching yoga in a park!

    • What an inspiring list Susan. Thanks for sharing with us. It is amazing that there can be such goodness, beauty and peace alongside the turmoil, sorrow and injustice.

  • Nuggets of wisdom gathered along the many decades of my life:

    1. You have to be a friend to have one
    2. Values and boundaries are important
    3. Respect is a global value
    4. You have to make the effort to connect/contact people who are important in your life; social media is not one size fits all
    5. Solitude is not isolation
    6. Walking is the best exercise for the mind, body and soul.
    7. Compassion is a warm and fuzzy undergarment
    8. Vulnerability takes courage
    9. Gratitude is more than the icing on the cake
    10. Everyone has a story; be the listener

    • Thanks so much for sharing your list Maggie. You are inspiring me to want to compile and share all this wisdom. Your list sounds like a recipe for personal and global peace and joy. May it abound for all of us. xo

  • I have taught myself to respond with cheerfulness most of the time during these COVID ‘daze’ as I call them. 1. It has helped me cope with a dear friend’s recent death because I know she had wanted to go and is in a much better place now. She would not want me to be sad and grieving for her even though I have my moments of course. I keep her photo close and talk to her every day. 2. This COVID slowing down is very joyful at times for me because it has shown me how blessed I really am; for instance, I am not in Afghanistan (bless them) or Syria (bless them); I am not living on the street. It is keeping me balanced in my thinking process. I am laughing to myself as I write this.
    3. I’m connecting to family and friends using Zoom on a regular basis and it is gratifying to know that it is available.
    4. Phone calls with deep conversations with another dear friend helps me to expand my understanding and work with my character-there is always something to improve.
    It’s good that we do not always see ‘eye-to-eye’-I learn a lot about myself during these moments.

    • Heather, you are an inspiration. May your dear friend rest in peace. I appreciate your capacity to honour the scope of your insight and connections. I honour your commitment to learning and growing. Thank you.

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