2020: Positive Side Effects of Adversity


2020. . .what a year! Now that the holidays are behind us and we have embraced this new year, I think many of us are breathing a sigh of relief. Last year was challenging in so many ways, both professionally and personally, for many people. But where there were hardships, there were also triumphs. We all learned a lot last year—some of those lessons were organic; others were very much forced. All of them had positive side effects as well. 

There are no chapters to a pandemic, so this new year may seem like a bit of a disappointment when it comes to big changes. We’ve had a bumpy start in our nation, but I’m hopeful that there are better days ahead for all of us. 

One of the things that I’ve found incredibly helpful in my own life is cultivating gratitude. Right now, I’m choosing to focus on life changes for the better from 2020. I encourage you to grab a pen and paper and jot down some of the things that came from the last year that were positive. I’ll give you a few of my favorite examples. Hopefully, you will see the same silver lining that I did. 

My favorite positive side effects of 2020: 

Better relationships with significant others and children—yes, homeschooling is hard. Working from home can be tough. It can also afford families quality time that was otherwise spent commuting, doing extracurriculars, or working in the office. Those precious minutes that parents spent with their children or spouse have strengthened bonds and deepened the love. They’ve shown us how tough and resilient we can be in the face of adversity. 

Better health—isn’t it funny that a health crisis spawned a workout revolution? When you give back the hours of commute and take away the other entertainment options, such as dining out or movies, many of us starting focusing on our own health—going for a run, joining an online fitness class, or meditating. Yes, the cause may have been catastrophic, but the result is a nation of people getting healthier independently. 

Connection with nature—who among us hasn’t gone on more walks this year? Getting out of the house has been essential, and soaking up that vitamin D is beneficial in so many ways. There are so many places to explore in our own backyards, and 2020 pushed us out the door to do it. 

Career change—this one might take some reframing. Many industries were wiped out in early 2020. My heart goes out to those in the hospitality industry that are struggling with livelihoods lost. But necessity is the mother of invention. We’ve seen so many chefs pivoting to feed their communities, keeping staff employed. We’ve seen people find new ways to make their passions into careers. I will never celebrate someone’s job loss, but I salute those that faced unemployment and hustled to find new meaning and sources of income. 

New hobbies—Many of us took up gardening, photography, yoga, scrapbooking, art, or even just caught up on Netflix this year. Finding new passions is tough when caught in the wheel of working, sleeping, and family time. But for everyone that decided to finally take that online class or listen to a new podcast, the extra time at home was a blessing. And you know I’m always excited when more people discover the power of plants! 

2020 was hard. 2021 is going to continue to be hard. But if we keep a positive outlook and acknowledge the good that comes with the bad, there’s always something for which to be grateful. I hope that your 2021 is off to a positive start.

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