Darren Lawrence

2020: Things lost or things found?

How would you describe your 2020?

Last weekend, The Guardian included a supplement entitled ‘The Lost Year’, all about the pandemic. The lead article was brilliantly written, well researched, and made many points I agreed with. But I found myself bristling with the suggestion that 2020 has been ‘lost’.

A year ago we had high hopes for 2020, as so often we trust that the next year will bring better things than the last. Of course it turned out differently, and I agree that coronavirus has changed many things. I don’t have my head in the sand, I know that for many people 2020 has been simply terrible. As someone who loves life, and our way of life, it has been extremely sad to see that altered and in many ways the life we knew will never be the same again.

But to describe the year as ‘lost’ is a very different perspective to mine. That may be the experience of many, but it just isn’t true for everyone. What became clear to me throughout the year through talking to people, through a number of polls I ran on Linked In, and from other observations and sources, is how so many people have experienced this year in lots of different ways. Some things have changed for the worse, some for the better.

There has been loss, but at the same time things have been gained, changed, reflected on, and appreciated. Even in the article, there is mention of ‘the power and beauty of nature and humanity.’ There have been so many examples of good things and inspirational moments as well. Obvious and high profile examples being Captain Tom Moore, Marcus Rashford, Joe Wicks, key workers, scientists creating vaccines – but you will have your own personal experiences too.

Yes of course there was loss, in terms of loved ones, plans, events, jobs, and that has had a huge impact. But 2020 can’t be written off and consigned to the historical dustbin! We lived through it, we coped, adapted, learnt, became more grateful. From adversity comes strength.

So I would like to invite you to reframe 2020 more positively. Think about your favourite memory, a song, a person, a relationship, a moment, a book, a cause, movie, or photograph.

We can choose to think of it as a lost year. Or we can choose a more positive and optimistic view.

My year has seen my relationship with my children deepen due to 3 months of homeschooling. It’s unlikely we’ll ever have that amount of time together again.

I appreciated what is on my doorstep, closer to home, be that people, family, friends, or the beauty of nature.

Old friends brought together by a regular Zoom quiz.

Regular contact with work colleagues going further than just conversations about work.

The pace of life slowed a little and that has certainly been one of the positives for me.

Any time that we live through can never be lost. It may not be as we want it to be, but we still experience it, take the good and the bad, move through it, live and learn.

In ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ – Victor Frankl says ‘Having been is also a kind of being, and perhaps the surest kind.’

We can think of it as a lost year, and write it off, or we can reframe it as the year in which we finally realised the fragility of life and the things that matter to us most. I sincerely hope 2021 is better, but let’s not blank out 2020.

How would you describe the 2020 you have experienced? Does the ‘lost’ description make sense to you, or would you use another word?

Darren Lawrence is a certified Personal Development Coach, with particular interest in change, productivity and wellbeing. Darren works with both individuals and organisations to help them achieve their goals. For more information about how coaching can help you through times of change please get in touch using the ‘contact’ tab above.