An ODE to 2020: The ‘UNPRECEDENTED’ Year

2020. It’s been a tough year for everyone. We’ve been forced to adapt, faced with so much uncertainty. Many have cried, many have been thrown into a drastic life change and many are generally (still) confused. So what have I learnt from 2020? Let’s start off with the beginning of this year.

I started this year with the most optimism I could gather. Anyone who knows me knows that January is easily my favourite month of the year because it’s my birth month, so on a regular, the beginning of each year is pure vibes for me, smiles all the way. Added to this, I published my first every novel at the time and imagine the joy that radiated throughout January. So imagine little ol’ me, confidently saying, ‘you know whattttt, 2020 is DEFINITELY my year!!’. *Laughs in lockdown for the next 10 months*. Interestingly enough, I started the most intense 10-months course this year and from the get-go, I knew that I was going to need a lot of face-to-face meetings to get me through actually passing the course *Again, laughs in Elsa Majimbo: it’s a pandemiccc*. So just as I was slowly getting into a very good rhythm of adapting to this new course, global pandemic hits and in a very scatterbrain approach, I’m being forced (emphasis on forced) to stay at home for the unforseeable future. Now don’t get me wrong, I pride myself in being an introvert (or an ambivert), and so I take the opportunity for solitude any blessed time. But this time it was different. This time, I had to face the reality of this choice to go out or stay in being taken from me, and the reality that if things didn’t get better, this was going to be my life for the next God-knows-how-long.

Being thrown into a national lockdown completely changed my perspective of life and made me appreciate on a much deeper level, the things I take for granted everyday.

Being thrown into a national lockdown completely changed my perspective of life and made me appreciate, on a much deeper level, the things I take for granted everyday. Imagine waking up everyday, not knowing how likely you are to see the next day because like a thief in the night, a virus which had no cure had suddenly taken over your body, or living in fear that actually, you may have the virus without even knowing. Now multiply this with regular anxiety about what the future holds, knowing you’re already living on borrowed time. This was me at the very start of the lockdown. There was so much anxiety, worry and fear in my heart and this was very evident in the manner I initially approached the lockdown. But then, a statement I started saying purely as a joke, became my anchor throughout this point: ‘My God is never on lockdown!’ And I desperately clung to this truth, because for me, there was nothing else to even hold onto- at this point, God became my first, second and final resort.

Slowly, the lockdown turned into a season of reflection for me. Flaws I didn’t think I had began to reveal themselves on a much deeper scale and God completely ruined the image I previously had about myself- which is a very good thing by the way. This year, I have truly learnt the importance of ownership and adaptability. I have made many mistakes, so many things haven’t gone according to plan, some decisions I have made turned out to be completely disastrous and the things I could actually control became ridiculously limited. With ownership, I have learnt to be in charge of my emotions, be more conscious of how I react to certain things and in various situations, and be more accountable for my own mistakes, owning up to them and the solutions I proffer to fix those mistakes. With the move to being totally online, for at least 6 months this year, adaptability has gone a long way in allowing me take advantage of many opportunities I would not ordinarily have had access to in a face-to-face situation. Being adaptable for me, has also meant seeing the good out of any and every situation, even if on the outset, it may look entirely bad. Adaptability for me this year, has allowed me open my mind up to the world of possibilities and various strategies to reaching my goal (while still maintaining the core and foundation of whatever goal I have).

In my Lessons from 2019 for 2020 post I wrote at the end of last year, I described 2019 as a very uncomfortable year. In 2019, I started a journey of self-awareness and thinking back on this, this is what definitely made the year uncomfortable for me. I was discovering myself more, loving the good parts and beating myself up heavily for the bad parts. In doing this, I ended up focusing heavily on the bad parts and forgetting about the good things I was discovering and in the process ended up becoming very ungrateful about my journey. Enter 2020, the year God literally threw me down from my ‘high horse’ and taught me (and is still teaching me) lessons about gratitude. From focusing too much on the things that went wrong or what we missed out on, we end up not being content about the things God has already given us or even losing sight on what He has done in the past, making us doubt Him and what He is able to do.

At some point in this year, I questioned a lot of things about my faith. You see, so many things were happening left, right and centre. 2020 was a year of premium *Gbas Gbos*. It was like just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse, it proved to us that *in Falz voice* ‘Hello, o, I’ve just started with you’. At this point, I began praying the prayer Jesus prayed at the garden of Gethsemane: ‘Take this cup away from me, God’. I was tired, worn out and downright frustrated at not seeing the results I desperately wanted. I was outrightly ungrateful to God and just not content with how far God had brought me; I just wanted more. As christians, it is so important for us to live a life of contentment and gratitude to God, constantly taking cognisance of what he has done for us in the past, and living in that reassurance and peace of mind that even if XYZ doesn’t go this way or this doesn’t happen, it would not affect my level of praise, worship and gratitude to God. Doing this, I truly realised what it meant to die to the flesh and how difficult it was in reality. Just imagine this, you’ve lost out on something you truly wanted and worked 150% hard to get, and amidst this, God says ‘give thanks’. To be honest with you, this point was a redefining moment in 2020 and my life in general, because I was at my lowest, but in my pain, I was praising God.

As the year draws to an end, one thing I want to say is this. Time is constant; we as humans are not. One day we might be here, the next day we’re gone. So, sit down and ask yourself: What am I doing with the time I have right now? Am I celebrating my small wins and anticipating bigger wins? Do I live an intentional life? Am I living a life of gratitude and contentment? 2020 has truly been a very reflective year and as much as the worst of the worst has come out of the year, good and evem better things have been born from the year, but I know the best is yet to come!

Ending this with one of my favourite quotes: Live the life you love and love the life you live!

Dear 2021,

2020 has been a whole lot, *sigh*. Please be a personal journey, but be kind to me.

Signed,

Anjola in 2020.

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