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2020 Lessons: Appreciating the Little Things

This year has been tough for everyone. It’s been emotionally exhausting, unkind and altogether challenging. I’ve faced a lot of personal loss this year and have had to grow in ways I didn’t expect I would when 2020 started. Throughout everything, though, there have been so many little things that have helped me in really big ways. 

Family

Looking back at the first stages of quarantine can bring up different memories for everyone. Some of us recall the many TikTok recipes we tackled during that time or the initial stress of transitioning to remote classes. For me, I remember getting to spend a couple of months with my entire family, something that hasn’t happened for a few years and probably won’t happen again anytime soon. At the time, it seemed excessive to be spending so many of my days sitting around the house with my family members as they all did their “real people” jobs remotely, but now I look back on that experience so fondly and I feel fortunate to have gotten that time with them. 

New Friends

Despite the insanity of a national pandemic, my circumstances have allowed me to make new and meaningful friendships this year. The circle of people that have been there for me has made even the loneliest days better, and they’ve kept me laughing through my worst moods. I’ve grown closer with people I already knew and I’ve found new friends in the most unexpected places — all thanks to 2020’s “unique” circumstances. 

Independence

I’ve always been someone that relies on spending time with others to feel fulfilled and happy. However, 2020 has forced me to become more comfortable with solitude and spending time with just myself. Social distancing, on top of some major changes in my personal life, joined forces to make me into a more independent person, and I think it’s for the better. I’ve started to realize how important it is to check in with myself when there’s no one else around to do it for me.

Normalcy

It seems like COVID-19 has taken over nearly every aspect of our day-to-day lives. So, whenever I’m doing something that feels untouched by the pandemic, it sticks out to me and makes me smile. And it really is the little things, like going for walks or watching TV with my roommates — just small tasks that feel normal in comparison to everything else.  

2020 isn’t at all what I expected it to be, but all things considered, it could’ve been a lot worse. It would be so easy to look back at the past year and focus on all the negative things that happened and feel frustrated about what can seem like wasted time, but I’m choosing to remember the parts of 2020 that made it all seem worth it. 

Cara is a senior studying advertising-public relations with minors in mass culture and collective behavior and entrepreneurship at the University of Central Florida. She finds peace in yoga and Insomnia Cookies. Most days you can find her studying at a coffee shop or exploring Winter Park. When not in class, she spends her time traveling with her family, playing board games or curled up watching New Girl. Her prized possession (and best friend) is her cat. To follow her selfies and adventures, you can check her out on Instagram @carajacc!
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