The year 2020 will be one that will not be soon forgotten. The world was hit with a deadly pandemic like none we have ever experienced. Confronted daily with challenges that impacted our health and safety caused us to make changes in the way we live our lives. We also gained insights that will help us as we move forward.

Lesson #1. Life is really short

Being confined to our homes gave us time to reflect on the things that are really important to us and to focus our time there. Two things that rose to the top of my list were good health and personal relationships. I can remember my father saying, “If you don’t have your health you don’t have anything”. That simple statement took on a new meaning during the pandemic. I am now more intentional about my health and how I prioritize my time. Exercise and diet are critical but equally important is nurturing relationships with family and friends to maintain physical and mental well being.

Lesson #2. Technology can be your friend

Many of us have been forced to improve our skills when it comes to technology. At a minimum, we are not as afraid to use our cell phones and internet devices as we once were. I am actually watching my granddaughter grow up via FaceTime. Although she lives in another country we can see and chat with each other regularly. I have friends who have given up their gym memberships and moved to YouTube for exercise classes. Others have invested in exercise equipment with online streaming classes to get their fitness workouts done. And of course, the use of video communications like Zoom for work, school, personal interactions and virtual health care is a daily occurrence. Who knew we could all become tech geeks?

Lesson #3. Learning, growth and accomplishments can be achieved even during times of chaos

We have undertaken many activities to help us cope. From making masks to writing books the time spent in lockdown has not been wasted. New businesses have been developed. Old skills have been enhanced and new skills have been learned. We also discovered that we can manage with less. We don’t actually need our favorite product brands, we can cook a meal for ourselves and some of us can even cut our own hair.

Lesson #4. It is possible to live with uncertainty

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that there will be times when we will not have answers to all of our questions. This may result in anxiety and uncertainty. However, we have learned that if we do our research we can make well-informed decisions. This critical skill will definitely benefit us as we continue to navigate our “new normal”.