As we approach the one year anniversary of COVID-19, we at SooToday find ourselves reflecting on what the last year has meant for us personally.
It has been a whirlwind year, filled with many uncertainties and ups and downs.
And whether it was self-imposed, government-mandated, or a combination of both, we've all experienced some form of lockdown or isolation over the last 365 days. For many of us, this has caused anxiety and isolation like we've never experienced before.
However, throughout the darkness, the criticism of politics, dwelling on what is wrong, and frustrations with ever-changing rules and regulations surrounding the virus, as the world came to a shocking and utterly sudden halt, we have undoubtedly changed our perspective on what really matters in life.
And, with a little hope, maybe some of the lessons we've learned during COVID-19, we will carry on with us post-pandemic, making us a better and more united society.
So SooToday wants to know, what life lessons have learned over the last year?
We asked some of our staff that very question. Here's what they had to say:
Embrace every moment, and value the time you have
"2020 has been something else. I've experienced loss, isolation, depression, cancelled plans and travels, and the heavy uncertainty of a global pandemic, as most of us have. But when all is said and done, when I reflect over the last year, I have learned to slow down my busy life and appreciate every moment, and all the little things.
I took more time to read, do yoga, meditate, and relax than I ever have before. Cancelled travel plans meant more time with my little family (fiance, stepdaughter and dog) than ever before, and it highlighted to me how precious simple moments at home really are.
2020 has taken so much from so many of us. But I hope to carry on making every moment count, saying 'I love you' often, and appreciating every minute spent with loved ones."
- Riley Smith, Assistant Editor
Slowing down and appreciating the small stuff
"2020 felt never-ending. Uncertainty, isolation, and cancelled plans affected us all on some level. But as I have reflected on the last year, I can so gratefully acknowledge that 2020 gave me some great things, too.
I moved to a new apartment right as the first stay-at-home order happened. While that experience itself was a bit challenging, it gave me the chance to spend more time with my little old dog. We went on more walks than I think either of us ever has before, and I got the opportunity to slow down and simply enjoy her presence. My collection of books was read, and some re-read again.
2020 is a year we will never forget. But I hope going forward that I make sure to slow everything down, tell the people I love that I love them, and take more opportunities for walks in the sunshine. Appreciating the small stuff goes a long way. "
- Kylee Garson, Content Administrator
Making sacrifices and cherishing loved ones
“As for many of us, the COVID-19 pandemic at the beginning of 2020 entered my life completely unexpectedly. The feeling of isolation and uncertainty about the future was difficult to deal with, but at the same time it taught me a few things.
In the past year I learned how important it is to reach out to friends and family and to maintain those close relationships. I also learned that sometimes we need to sacrifice doing the things that we normally enjoy in order to do what’s best for others around us. Lastly, I learned to appreciate what I have and to live in the moment, because we never know what we will eventually be calling the ‘good old days’.”
- Zaafina Naqvi, Assistant Editor
Take nothing for granted
"I, like most others in my community and across the globe, have endured many extraordinary lows speckled with a few unusual highs during this unprecedented year of the pandemic.
"The constant sense of dread and uncertainty has been, and continues to be exhausting. Fatigue and brain fog are very real and challenging struggles. But these hurdles have forced me to seek out and focus on the positive aspects of my life, my surroundings, and my community.
"Some of those things I've (re)discovered have clearly been taken for granted in the past – things like the comfort of home, the satisfaction of a well crafted home cooked meal, and the company of loved ones. They'll never be taken for granted again.
"Through a wider lens, I've watched my community come together to support each other in often simple, but sometimes astounding ways. From individuals doing everything they can to support local struggling businesses to creating little pockets of joy to lift people's spirits, while others have banded together to help charities surpass fundraising targets by means of virtual events.
"I don't think I've ever felt more pride in my community.
"Personally, I've learned that everything I need, I can find right here in my home, in my community, and without hassle. I've also learned that what I truly need to be happy is actually very little.
"And I've learned that I can spend pretty much an entire year 24/7 with no one but my husband and not want to kill him. So, that's a plus.
"Yes, there are certainly things I miss – the excitement of travel, giant shopping sprees, and late night adventures with friends. But that just means that once we return to some sense of normalcy, I'll be sure to cherish and savour every last tiny little drop of those moments."
– Donna Hopper, Village Media Community Editor
Certainly this crisis has brought out some good things.
More empathy, more awareness, greater strength to hold on during challenging times.
So take some time to reflect and tell us, what have you learned? Let us know by e-mailing your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will be posting your responses next week.