My 5 Life Lessons in 2020 - A Year of Awakening

The Year We Never Realized We Really Needed...

The year where everything happened? OR the year where nothing happened?  Or are we just seeing the tip of an iceberg - the cusp of what is yet to come? Even so, the experience of lockdown has been an awakening one. I was not in a 5-day work week before the pandemic but I was definitely in the office a lot more. I don't ever see myself going back from working remotely, nor do I see frequent public transport commutes in my near future. The two feet from my bed to my home office has been my entire world in the last 9 months, yet my view of the world has changed entirely. 

In my December blogs, I usually take a look back at the year with a gratitude list from the point of view as an artist and entrepreneur. However today, as one of the worst years humans have had to endure [in a very long time] comes to an end, it seemed poignant to write a list of lessons that I have learned - and that I hope many others have also learned. If not learned in 2020, at the very least, learned in the consequential events post-pandemic in 2021 and beyond!

1. Always remember your purpose. 

Staying optimistic during lockdown inside my little studio apartment that is no more than 300 square feet, has been hard. Especially as mental health can enter a phase of disillusionment, uncertainty and perhaps even paranoia as we are isolated more than ever. So it pays to try remain optimistic and stay ever dreaming about things you will do when government restrictions lift. During lockdown I have been writing in my "Purpose Journal" by "The Happiness Planner." It keeps me on track, and reminds me to continue to pursue my dreams. Especially to stay hopeful for my business, plans to travel and create a dream lifestyle with my family. What do you do to stay mindful of your purpose in life?  

2. Never stop having hard conversations. 

From the pandemic, to the ongoing racial injustices in the world, there seems to be a never-ending and ever-growing list of issues dividing us. But just as they divide us, they can also bring us together and potentially make us stronger as a collective. When we have hard conversations, and really talk it out, we can ultimately understand each other. Open-up your thinking, rather than seek to be right all the time.  

3. If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.  

This adage is attributed to Alexander Hamilton, Peter Marshall, and others. I like to refer to it whenever I am on the fence about a particular issue in my life. In a world where we can be easily influenced by the media, we should do our own research, take a stand for what we believe in, and for what we know in our hearts to be true. I especially feel this way with the recent social injustices in the US, and how this has framed my thinking on racism and political issues. What did you learn from the protests that ignited in mid-2020? Check out my blog about it here: 


4. 2020 is the year I thought I would get everything I want. Now I know 2020 is the year I appreciate everything I have. Melody Godfred.

You may have heard this quote circulated in social media by Melody Godfred. This sentiment could not be more true in a world where many of us feel that our freedom and rights have been compromised. This of course means different things for different individuals - how we experience it is certainly not the same. But what we know is that lockdown and government restrictions have placed limitations on all our lives more than ever. We can either dwell on what is out of our control, or appreciate what we have in this moment and look forward to all the possibilities post-pandemic.

5. In a time of crisis people want to know you care, more than they care what you know. Will Rogers.

This quote by Will Rogers really hits me hard. I feel I can't get on Instagram or Facebook without seeing two strangers in the comment section fill each other with "fake news" and accusations of "brainwashing." Not to mention calling each other names like "snowflake, sheep and clowns." There's already so much suffering in the world, why create more drama? If we can enter conversations knowing the others are struggling on some level, just like we all are in this unknown world, perhaps we can be more compassionate with even people we disagree with the most. In a highly divisive era, it is more important than ever to find common ground and understand that how we see a scenario might be different and that they are also struggling in one way or another. 

This year there has been a tug-of-war between the need to fight for our rights and freedom, and the need to uphold government restrictions for public safety. Where I stand, with the information at the time of writing this blog, I would argue that a pandemic that has killed almost 2 million people on Earth, is a justifiable reason to temporarily limit individual freedom. After all, according to Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms your rights are not absolute if it compromises the safety of others. 2020 has encompassed a wide range of struggles and experiences. One person’s fight to rightfully open their restaurant for indoor dining in the midst of a pandemic, is another person's fear that their autoimmune condition makes them particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. It is those who are most venerable that we should consider, and be open to understanding their experience of this crisis. The most valuable lesson in 2020: practice compassion in a time for crises, because we don't know exactly how much others are struggling.

As my good friend; an Aromatherapy and Holistic Health expert put so well:

"Here's to 2021 and more precedented times for families wishing to reunite across borders and continents. For community, businesses and our economy to rebuild and strengthen again. For more unity, not psychologically manipulated distrust on digital platforms that harvest our attention away from what matters most." Nat Dunbar, Owner and Creator of The Oil Diffuser Shop

I'll leave you with this quote for some final thoughts as we enter 2021. 

Until next time,

Ave Abellanosa
Owner and Artist




  • – Abewhicuh Emoowenu

  • – Ejesihto Owiibj

  • – Alowagule Iquscohag

  • – Abuzuhuxm Ugifiruwe

  • – Olqaro Opuefegul


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