This time, for something slightly different - and I'm promising - it isn't a rant for once!
I do not wish to give too much credit for the past year or to buy into all the "2020 was evil" hype.
Yet I cannot deny that the drastic changes brought upon the events of 2020 did partially aid me in reaching this sentiment and acted as a catalyst of sorts.
With that minor disclaimer out of the way, I shall proceed:
An unlikely turn of events - partially caused by the pandemic - lead me to reanalyze my approach to life in general and to my daily tasks and affairs.
In the following lines, I shall highlight my conclusions and my new approach(es) going forward, in the hope that others might relate to them or find them useful.
This is an oft-mentioned one, and for the longest time, I couldn't wrap my head around it.
I always missed the point of this well-known saying, but now I do get it.
Put simply: if you don't have yourself, you don't have anything at all. For the self is where it all begins, and one cannot interact with the outside world if they cannot interact with themselves.
I know, we all have obligations to keep, tasks to tend to, and people who require our attention - but none of those can be properly done if oneself is neglected.
In a time of extended isolation (not that I'm saying that in any negative sense!), one's core ties and close people really shine through.
These are the people that will always be willing to help, always willing to support and make sure that you're in a good place (whether that is physically or mentally).
And these aren't necessarily people you'd talk to everyday - though more often than not they are your closest friends.
So, nourish those ties and make them stronger! Make sure to offer them help as they offer you their help.
I like solitude - I won't deny it.
I just enjoy being with my thoughts on my own.
If you haven't tried it, give it a shot! I know it might seem too hard or demanding in the age of hyper-connectivity, but our minds need to rest too, and solitude is one way to achieve that.
With that being said, be careful: solitude might be relaxing and calming, isolation is anything but that. If you feel the need: reach out, you can use the anonymity that the internet still affords you to make "breaking the ice" a bit easier, there are many people willing to listen and provide a warm community.
No matter what, know your strengths and realize that you are capable of a lot!
We, Homo-Sapiens, have been able to survive thus far mainly because of out extreme adaptability.
Every new pitfall and obstacle is another adaptation away.
Yes, being flexible and adaptable can be uncomfortable at times, but try and try again and you'll get it most of the time.
As an aside, I won't deny that some things are hopeless - but if there is anything that my friend Ivan taught me which I'll never forget, it is this:
Even in the face of certain suffering and death - one can still try and one must still do what they can, this is the way of life.
Dare to dream far, you might not get there - but without dreaming you'll never get there.
Dreaming and imagining: these two things allow us to probe possible futures, for better and worse.
In a sense, we can partially predict the future, directed imagination is our tool for that: yet one must be diligent as to not fall into fantasy!
Everyone says "you have to work hard", I say that that's only partially true.
Working hard will work most of the time, but it is very costly - both mentally and physically.
Always work smart - and only work hard when that isn't enough!
Remember to take some time off for yourself, yet try to keep from falling into hedonism.
I will not detract from the "usual" stuff such as games, porn and drugs - I think they do have their place.
Yet one shouldn't let them become the norm, for that will reduce the reward gained from them, and might turn them into an impediment.
Instead, try to find activities which make you more "well-rounded": reading, learning a musical instrument and engaging in the arts are some of the "classics" that come to mind; but really: the sky is the limit!
Many will try to bend you into their own vision of the world, some of them you cannot avoid and are more powerful than you are.
Never bow down to them, yet be clever about it - always look for a way to get through without compromising who you are and what you believe in.
Echoing an earlier point, the "productivity trap" makes us feel like we need to "do something", when in-fact some non-productive activities can be more helpful and useful to oneself.
As a personal example: for the longest time, I thought that engaging my artistic side or even maintaining this website were harming my studies and productivity:
Ironically, the more I engage in these activities the clearer and calmer my mind is - and I get to expand my abilities, which helps one in life generally.