Were you one of those folks who thought 2020 was going to be “your year?” Yeah, so did we. Many of us began the year with new resolutions, goals, and plenty of excitement. While for many of us things were off to a great start, they quickly spiraled downhill with the start of the pandemic. Life was great, and we didn’t know what was about to hit us! Then COVID-19 struck and our lives were turned upside down.

2020 will go down in history books as the year that changed us all. It changed life as we knew it. We learned how to slow our lives down and give up things we really wanted, take on new responsibilities that we didn’t actually want, and find ways to cope with and manage our new lives. Although we’ve all wished that things would return to normal as quickly as possible, one thing is for sure. Last year taught us many life lessons.

What Were Those Lessons?

OK, so most of us wouldn’t agree that 2020 was the greatest year ever. Sure, many positive things may have come out of it, but the reality is that for many of us, it was one of the hardest years emotionally, mentally, and financially we’ve ever had to endure. However, there’s a purpose underneath it all. Through each hardship faced in life, there are important lessons learned and while last year wasn’t necessarily everyone’s “favorite year,” adversity sometimes teaches us some of our favorite lessons.

Here are the top three:

Stop and Smell the Flowers

Both literally and figuratively. Don’t ever feel guilty for having to slow down. Keeping yourself busy all the time isn’t always something you should strive for. The pandemic forced many of us to stop and smell the flowers. COVID-19 had a way of pausing our lives and slowing us down, not only when it comes to work, but within our personal lives as well.

Many of us welcomed this wake-up call, while others took some time to settle in to this new normal. If there’s one important learned lesson that you can take with you into the new year, it’s this one. Work a little less and live a little more. Enjoy the little things in life like buying yourself flowers and setting aside a little “me time.” Finding some work-life balance is something we’re all still figuring out, but a lesson we’re glad we learned, nonetheless.

Never Miss a Chance to Let Someone Know What They Mean to You

Life is short. COVID-19 changed so much, in so little time. Hospitals everywhere were swamped for months, and we were sometimes forced to say goodbye to loved ones a little bit too soon. Although 2020 made us fearful of being too physically close to one another, we also learned how interconnected we actually are with each other.

Not to mention, we learned the importance of never missing a chance to let someone know what they mean to us. By volunteering and following social distancing guidelines, we began to step up and take care of one another.

Say It With Flowers

In 2021, vow to be compassionate and look for ways to connect with those you care for the most. Can’t see them in person? Leave some flowers at their door. Want to spend some quality time together? Schedule a Zoom date. We can overcome these hard times this year, but only if we care for one another.

Count Your Blessings

The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Last year, we all lived similar realities. We each stayed home, many of us made more family time, and made use out of the things we already had. Rather than worrying about the things we don’t have and all the things we wish we had, 2020 taught us to just be.

That can mean spending less, decluttering more, and making room for dreams and expectations. It’s important to live and enjoy the things we have today because tomorrow is never a promise.

Carry These Lessons Into 2021