2020 shook everything we knew, making our everyday lives unrecognizable and our plans for the future uncertain. We all hope that 2021 will bring a positive change, but the only sure thing is that none of us will take for granted certain things in the coming year.

I have no intention to discuss social distancing measures we all witnessed in our countries over the course of this year or their effectiveness. Let’s just say one simple truth we will all agree with – these measures have changed our lives dramatically.

We can endlessly talk about the ways the pandemic disrupted the normality of our lives, but it turns out that there also are a few life lessons we have learned from it. And among the most profound ones is that we had been taking so many things for granted before the pandemic started.

So we can use this frustrating global crisis to deepen our understanding of life and develop our ability to find happiness in the simplest joys.

5 Things We Won’t Take for Granted in the Coming Year

1. Freedom

2020 has demonstrated how free we had actually been before the coronavirus pandemic started. We had endless opportunities for work and leisure. But as it always happens in life, we start to appreciate something only after we’ve lost it.

In some countries of the world, you can’t now even leave your house freely, without having a good reason to. To go for a simple walk in the park, you need to fill out a special form or get the so-called movement permit by phone.

Even if you are a reclusive introvert just like I am and don’t go out often, I’m sure that you miss the freedom of having the option to. After all, this is what freedom is about – knowing that you have different opportunities and options to choose from.

2. Family

I’m not talking only about our family members we lost to the pandemic. I’m also talking about physical separation. We now have none to few possibilities to visit our nearest and dearest who live in a different city or country.

With air travel having been limited or suspended and many countries all over the world closing their borders, meeting your parents or siblings who live far away becomes a nearly impossible task. Who could imagine that reuniting with your family would become so difficult?

3. Traveling

The same goes for traveling in general. I bet that many of you regret not taking that trip and postponing your travel plans for ‘better times’. As it turns out, ‘better times’ might never come.

I don’t want to sound gloomy and still hope that we will soon regain the possibility to travel. But the 2020 pandemic has taught us that we should not take for granted basic freedoms and opportunities we all used to have.

And most importantly, we should take those opportunities more often if we don’t want to live a life of regrets.

4. Stability

Stability is probably the most common thing we all take for granted. Just like health and happiness, it’s one thing that we notice only when we lose it.

And it’s not true only about financial stability but also wellbeing in general. When your life follows an established path, you have the luxury to make plans and be certain about your future.

Now think about the people who endured wars. They lived their lives, fell in love, started families, chased their dreams, and suddenly, they couldn’t do any of that any longer. Imagine how much they missed the pre-war stability in their countries.

Of course, we are much more fortunate than those who had to deal with the devastating consequences of wars. But I believe we too feel in a similar way about the current situation. Every one of us has felt a deep longing for the pre-pandemic world and normal life.

5. Human contact

Even introverts and loners struggle when they stay without human contact for too long. Now imagine how difficult it must be for extroverts all over the world to do without their regular social activities, such as going out, partying, and getting together with their friends.

Even the most reserved of us miss social contact – if we don’t like partying, it doesn’t mean that we don’t enjoy having dinner with our best friend or hosting a small family reunion.

Distancing yourself from everyone feels unhuman and can have an adverse effect on our mental health. This is especially true about children, whose psyche is at the development stage.

While our needs for social interaction differ, we all crave contact with other human beings, especially those we most care about, such as our friends and family members.

As this unfortunate year is finally heading toward its end, let’s take a few moments to appreciate the life lessons it taught us. Hopefully, the coming year will bring us the opportunity to reunite with our beloved ones, chase our dreams, and make plans for the future.

And let’s make ourselves a promise to never take for granted simple life’s joys again.

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