8 Things I’ve Learned This Past Year

Quote: As I've gotten older I've realized everyone only cares about themselves.


When the pandemic started, all you could read in the media was ‘We’re all in this together! We’re all fighting the same storm!’ Oh, f%$k you! (pardon my French). Sure, the same storm has hit us all, but we weren’t in it together, not for a second. The minute things started being rough, it was every man for himself. No one worried about the health, safety, well-being, mental health, or financial stability of their neighbor. NOT ONE PERSON! Do you have anything to eat? Can you afford your rent this month? Do you have the money to buy your medicine this month? Are you OK? How many people have asked you this?

2020 has shed some light on how things really are. Who our friends are. Who loves us truly, and who will jump on the opportunity of seeing us down to hit us once more, just because they can. Since so many of us have lost our jobs, we had plenty of time on our hands to reflect and learn a thing or two from our disappointments. Here are some of the things I’ve learned.

1. Everyone only cares about themselves.

Quote: Hard times will always reveal true friends.

I’m one of those people with many acquaintances, but very few friends. At first, it was hard to tell them apart, but when things got rough, I saw exactly who left, who stayed, and who disappeared forever. You’d think this hurt, but actually, it was a relief. It’s better to know who exactly you can count on, even if it’s just you. 

The harsh reality is that so many people only care about themselves and we’re mostly on our own. If you can count one, two, or three more other people in your life that are always there for you, you can consider yourself blessed. Most people have no one.

2. We're not in this together.

Quote: A lot of people have it worse than you do.

I believe you’ve learned this, too. We are going through the same pandemic, but it is such a different experience for each of us. Some have lost their loved ones. Some have lost their jobs. Some have earned more money. And very few have used their extra time and money to help others. 

We’re all in the same storm, but we’re rowing different boats. In my boat, it’s been rough, but I know others have it worse and I’ve been trying to help as many people as I can. I have no idea if it’s enough to make a difference, but as long as I can, I’ll keep on giving.

3. If things can get worse, they probably will.

Quote: Everything can change in just one day.

This has been the motif of the entire past year. One year ago, I left work for the last time ever without knowing it. “See you guys in two weeks!” Little did we know… With each week that passed, we all hoped things would get better. But instead, they kept getting worse. They still are! 

Whenever I thought “they can’t possibly get any worse”, they did. They sure did. People I loved got sick. I got sick. Jobs, money, plans. I lost a lot of things, but thankfully I haven’t lost any people, so I guess I’m blessed. I’ve learned to value what I have because, at any second, everything could be lost.

4. Each person has a story you know nothing about.

Quote: Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.

We spend so much time talking about others. We judge others, out of boredom? Envy? Silliness? Who knows? If someone fails, people will judge their failure. If someone succeeds, it’s even worse. They’ll bring them down and hit them as hard as they can. All that, without knowing that person’s real story. The fights they carried. The things they risked and lost. The demons they’re fighting. We’d wish to switch lives with someone else, without knowing the full story. One of the things I’ve learned this past year is that everyone hides a story. Don’t judge anyone before you’ve heard it all. Be kind.

5. True friendship is rare.

Quote: Rare as is true love, true friendship is rarer.

When this insanity started, we’ve all learned who our friends are. If you can count at least one person who stood by your side, know that you are lucky. Don’t take them for granted. True friendship is such a rare treasure!

6. Some things really don't matter.

Quote: Some things matter, Some things don't. A few things last, But most things won't.

After one year of extreme living – because this was no easy life – I realized that my energy is limited and I have to choose wisely how to invest it. Silly arguments, people gossiping, stupid rumors, disagreements, political differences are things I will no longer waste my energy on. I don’t care. It doesn’t matter. Who you’re voting for. Who said what. Who did what. Don’t tell me, because I couldn’t care less. The only things I care about are my family, friends, and our health.

7. This world is very broken and the only way to rebuild it is with kindness.

Quote: If we always helped each other, no one would need luck.

It’s strange how every tiny event splits the world in two. I think it’s very sad to characterize one person solely on their opinion on a certain event. And what’s even sadder is that we hate people for being “on the other side”, without even knowing them. 

We focus on our differences and fail to see that we have more things in common than that one tiny thing we disagree on. People vote differently! THAT’S A GOOD THING! There are a few countries where they all vote for the same guy and I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t want to live there. 

We disagree, but we are still part of the same world. We are all in the same storm, so let’s not hate the people who are rowing different boats. Especially if our boat is bigger and stronger, let’s help them get to the shore, instead. Regardless of who they voted for. 

Our world is sick and broken, and the only way to heal it is by offering our hands to one another. IF WE ALWAYS HELPED EACH OTHER, NO ONE WOULD NEED LUCK.

8. Kindness is the way out.

Quote: If you can make someone's day, do it. The world needs more love.

Look further than your own yard. It’s uncomfortable but do it anyway. Offer your hand to someone who needs it. Don’t be selfish. Don’t be a hoarder. Don’t just think about yourself. Be kind. If you know someone’s lonely, give them a call and brighten their day. If you know someone’s sad, give them a kind word. If you know someone’s hungry, give them a bowl of soup. 

Do things for others. I choose to care about others, even though most people only care about themselves. Because I’ve been the victim of selfishness, and I’d hate to be someone who does that to others. We keep hoping for miracles when in reality, any of us can BE a miracle. Let’s fight our way out of this sh*t by being kind, generous, and selfless.

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