Reflections on 2020

By Rippan Sandhu

2020 has been a strange year. In one way or another, it’s been difficult for everybody: from small businesses to big, individuals to families… isolation, even for those of us who prize it, is rough when it’s mandatory. That being said, tumultuous years have a way of forcing reflection, growth, and self-understanding. It’s often in the worst of times that we can appreciate the things we’ve taken for granted.
Here in New Zealand, we certainly feel that gratitude day in and day out as our lives have returned to (pretty much!) normal. We’ve gone back to school, gone back to shopping, gone back to work… and so here at Spa Ayurda, we’re grateful to everyone: all of us Kiwis who came together in this difficult time to keep each other safe. Here’s to you! Before you jump into the excitement of the holiday season and get busy planning a 2021 that will take you miles (figuratively and literally!) from 2020, we want to encourage you to take some time and reflect on the year that’s just passed. The darkest of times, after all, can often shed the brightest of lights.


Times of crisis forces us to reassess some of the things we might have taken for granted — perhaps you’ve been putting off going to your parents’ for lunch, or you’ve been rescheduling girls’ day in favour of getting more work done, or you’ve been putting off date night for deadlines. Those social engagements, which may have seemed insignificant in the shadow of your responsibilities, suddenly mean so much more now they’re no longer possible. Remember that feeling of loneliness. Remember the strangeness of seeing your loved ones on a screen, remember how it feels to miss them. Remember that the next time you’re about to take someone for granted, and then — simply — don’t.

One of the hallmarks of cabin fever is a tendency to do things out of habit rather than desire, and god knows ‘doom scrolling’ is one of those habits in a year filled with as much catastrophe as this one. Named for the endless rolling motion of your thumb as you prowl through the social media time suck of your choice, doom scrolling has been linked to everything from attention deficiency and bad sleep to carpal tunnelling. Combined with our addiction this year to the latest bad news… you can imagine how 2020 might have exacerbated an already dire habit.
Just think, eight hours of phone/laptop time a day measures up to 2920 hours. If it takes the average person 10000 hours to become an expert in something, then that means you could have been a third of the way to becoming a master seamstress, a sous chef, or expert painter! As we enter December, we want to challenge you to log your hours and be mindful of your time. If each hour spent on your devices is a nugget of gold — well, don’t you want to be sure it’s going somewhere useful?

Consider 2020 your 40 days and 40 nights in the desert. It’s often only in isolation that we actually have the peace of mind and quiet to ponder the questions that will force us to become better versions of ourselves. Here’s three, just to start you off — Do you like where you are? Do you like what you do? And perhaps most importantly — Do you like yourself?
Answering yes to the first two is a massive achievement in and of itself, but unfortunately it doesn’t mean much when you can’t answer yes to the third. If this year has taught us anything, it’s that loved ones and prized careers can fall away unexpectedly. What do you do when you can’t go to the ones you love for comfort, when you can’t lose yourself in your work? You only have yourself: someone who, unlike a partner or a friend or clients or your parents, will be with you until the end of your days. Get to know her.

2020 is a write-off year. That’s the popular consensus for this strange and strangely long year. Parties have been scuttled, celebrations cancelled, travel plans crushed… and yet that doesn’t mean this year is empty of value. When we ask you to reflect on your achievements, we don’t mean the big, outer stuff. We mean the everyday things that lend life its texture and immediacy. The little things that make every day just a little richer, just a little more enjoyable. Because here’s the thing: achievements don’t have to be life changing for you to be proud of them.

This December, we encourage you to get a little notebook and write down every new thing you’ve learned or achieved in lockdown, no matter how small. What’s your new go-to recipe? A new favourite workout? Can you bake a mean sourdough now? Cracked the code to an earlier bedtime, mastered meal prepping, squeezed in morning meditations and yoga, taken up journaling? Expand your idea of ‘achievement’ and recognise all the areas in which you’ve grown and actualised this year in isolation. You might just surprise yourself.

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