5 Lessons For The New Year
Alhamdulillah, we made it folks. 2020 is officially over!? I can’t decide if it feels like it passed in the blink of an eye or inched along. I think we can all agree, however, that this year has been so unique and turbulent that it provided us with so much to reflect on. It challenged each and every one of us in unimaginable ways and brought the whole world together like we’ve never seen before.
The year ending does not necessarily mean that everything is behind us. But it gives us an opportunity to reflect on the last 12 months.
Here are the 5 main lessons I will be taking away:
1. The small things are truly the big things
Hanging out with family without a looming feeling of worry. Going on a coffee date with a friend. Praying at the masjid, shoulder to shoulder. Exchanging a smile with a stranger. As many of us spent this year with less people around as we would prefer, I think it’s safe to say that the blessing and power of people is something to seriously cherish.
Whether it was a virtual game night with your best friends or a socially-distanced picnic with relatives, this year challenged us to find alternatives and appreciate them fully.
2. It’s okay to take things slow— you’re not a machine
If you feel like you’ve been setback in your goals this year, you’re not alone. A complete shift in the way day-to-day life is lived is bound to make its impact! For some of us this setback came in the form of losing a job and financial difficulty. For some it was experiencing student life in a way different than what they were traditionally looking forward to. For some it was a general lack of inspiration and momentum towards one’s hopes and dreams. Again, you are not alone. But in these setbacks is a valuable lesson: it’s okay to slow down. Dips and lows in our educational, financial, and professional life are absolutely normal, because we are not machines.
It’s ok if you didn’t fly through your to-do list week to week or if you had to postpone some ambitions. It’s okay if you felt like you slept more and weren’t as energized as usual.
You deserve rest and every journey takes one step at a time.
3. It’s okay to ask for help
The burn out has been real this year and many of the outlets we use to recharge are no longer available in the same way. This year teaches us that in difficult times, community is not only important, but necessary. Always look for the good and genuine people in your life and know that just as you will be there when they need you, they can be there for you. Feeling lonely? Hit up a friend! Need respite from e-learning day in and day out? Don’t be shy to ask your sister if she could watch the kids for a few hours. We need each other. Point blank.
4. Turn difficult situations into opportunities
The difficult moments of this year offered us great opportunities to reconnect with people, with ourselves, and with our Lord. It may have been unconventional in this “new normal,” we’ve adapted to, but recognize all the beautiful outcomes that have come out of adversity. Whatever that outcome is for you, cherish it and know that everything unfolded exactly as it should have and you did your very best.
5. Trust God & be content with the present
None of us can anticipate what 2021 will bring. For many, this year brought about an abundance of blessings. For others, it was full of difficulty. For most of us, it was both. As we look ahead into this new year, we recognize that the most valuable thing we have is this very moment. Though life may not look how we want it to right now, there is so much available to us right now that is more than sufficient. While it is important to plan for the future, put in the work, and dream big, remember that God’s plan will always prevail. As Allah SWT says “...and whoever relies upon Allah - then He is sufficient for him…” [65:3]