2020: A year for growth

2020: A year for growth

January 8, 2021

We all know 2020 was a shitshow. It was a year of unexpected challenges and struggles, and a year of testing the limits of your wellbeing and your career. I’m sure I speak for more than myself when I say that I’m happy to put 2020 behind me. 

That being said, it would be a shame to suffer through the past year without learning anything. Amidst the awful, there was awesome. In some ways, 2020 was like having a bucket of freezing cold water dumped on my head—it woke me up! And forced me to slow down. 

Leading up to the New Year, I thought back on how much I felt I was missing. Missing my friends and family, travel, experiences, concerts, conferences, parties, hugs—the list goes on and on. But on a chilly December day, I sat down with my phone and reviewed my photos from 2020. January and February were filled with travel photos and food photos from impressive restaurants (Yes, I’m THAT person!). But from March onward, there were so many photos and videos of my children and I, of my dog Ollie, of all the meals we were creating at home. I realized, I may not be having what I typically considered “experiences,” but I spent a whole 10 months having new, different experiences at home. I created memories with my family that I’ll cherish forever. 

Last year was the year to slow down. To live a more simple life. To learn to be more comfortable in your own home, with your family. To learn to be more comfortable with yourself. For myself, having COVID-19 forced me to slow down even more and heal. I learned that coloring books help me to relax. And I learned—the hard way—that I shouldn’t wait to be sick to listen to my body and take care of myself. 

But that’s not all. Here are some bright spots in the dumpster fire that was 2020:

We got scrappy. Nearly all businesses—including TapOnIt—had to make quick decisions in order to survive the first wave of lockdowns. Companies needed to be nimble enough to transition employees to work from home, pivot to offer new services and delivery options, and come up with creative new ways to generate revenue and increase brand awareness and loyalty. I’m proud of the agility demonstrated by my team at TOI. Our out-of-the-box thinking was critical to surviving coronavirus lockdowns.

Zoom became a verb. Zoom went from being a platform I occasionally used at work, to a tool so common that my 92-year-old grandmother now uses it. Communication and video tools, like Zoom or Microsoft teams, stepped up their game in 2020 and enabled many businesses to seamlessly transition to remote work. And anything that keeps the economy running and people in work deserves some appreciation. 

Technology brought us together. Zoom extended beyond the professional realm and enabled people to connect with their friends and family in a time when it wasn’t possible to see each other. A Zoom wedding isn’t exactly a dream wedding, but it offers an opportunity to celebrate special moments with faraway or at-risk loved ones. Small intimate ceremonies reigned supreme, where you could safely celebrate with your immediate family.

It’s a small world after all. Last year proved that it’s more than just a cliché, the world is more interconnected than many of us could have ever imagined. In 2020, people came together to flatten the curve and limit the spread of COVID-19. It was a wonderful reminder that together, we can accomplish just about anything. 

Local love. It took a pandemic, but communities rallied around their favorite local restaurants and shops in hopes of ensuring their survival at the end of lockdown. While it may have been too late to save some amazing retailers and restaurants, I’m so proud that Americans have finally realized how important it is to support their local economy. Moving into 2021, I hope we continue to eat and shop local, and realize that even though online retail may be convenient, it’s not always the right choice. 

I’ve never been one for New Year’s Resolutions. I don’t like to set goals that I may not hit. And if 2020 has taught me anything, it’s that we can’t plan for the unexpected. This year, I’ve created a simple list of things I’m planning on doing in an effort to do more and be better. Things like hug my family and friends more (once allowed, of course), read more books (and actually listen to them!), color more pictures, and take Ollie on more walks. Above all, I wish to spend 2021 living with gratitude and appreciate those things that can easily be taken for granted—my health, my home and my family.

Happy 2021! What are your hopes for the year ahead?