Sarah Stultz: Lessons learned from the rocky year of 2020

Published 8:33 pm Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Nose for News, By Sarah Stultz

You know that feeling when you’re getting ready to leave the office after a long day at work and you breathe a sigh of relief when you walk out the door for the day?

That’s the kind of year it has been as we’ve faced a global pandemic and the many challenges that have come along with it.

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While the end of this year will not mark the end of the pandemic, I hope to breathe a sigh of relief that things are moving in the right direction as we soon close the door on 2020 and move into 2021.

Each time I face challenges in my own life, I try to take time to think about the lessons I’ve learned from those experiences as I move forward to the future.

Today, I thought I would do the same thing and think upon the lessons I’ve learned from this untraditional year that will forever be remembered because of COVID-19.

1. I don’t known about you, but it’s hard sometimes for me to deal with change, and this year has offered no shortage of that as many have had to literally halt their lives, change course and do things differently than they have in the past.

Some people have had to postpone major life events or goals, and others had to cancel them.

Though change is hard, there have been many examples of people who have taken life’s lemons and made lemonade. Those are the people I want to be like.

2. Most people genuinely care for their neighbors.

I’m using neighbors generally here, but on a weekly, if not daily basis, I have seen or heard about examples of kindness that people have given — to friends, family, co-workers or even complete strangers.

I know I have re-learned the value of a kind deed. Not only does it help the recipient of the kindness, but it uplifts the person who is giving the service.

3. It’s OK to slow down and have a day or a weekend when you don’t have plans.

Early on in the spring when people across the state, nation and world were asked to stay home to help flatten the curve of COVID-19 cases, many people found themselves spending more time at home with their families than they have in the past.

Events were canceled, and we were all limited to activities within the four walls of our own homes.

If you’re not used to being home that much, that may have been more of a challenge for some, but it was a reminder to slow down, enjoy family and to find a day here and there to just relax.

4. Teachers are amazing.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, teachers deserve more praise than they receive.  That became clearer than ever as we’ve gone into distance learning a few times this year.

On behalf of all parents, thank you to the teachers for your dedication to our children.

While these are only a few of the lessons I’ve learned, I encourage you to try to come up with your own list. Dwell on how we can move forward in a new year, and let out that sigh of relief.

Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Tribune.