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"No is a complete sentence." 21 women share the most important lesson they learned in 2020.

2020 has been without a doubt one of the hardest years. For many, the hardest year.

We learned how to socially distance, scanning QR codes became common practice and the word 'unprecedented' was used far too much (sorry). And that's just the start of it.

While we all get ready to farewell 2020 for good, we must admit the year has taught us some extremely valuable lessons that we'll take into 2021.

So we decided to speak to our Mamamia community to hear what lessons they learned in 2020. Here, 20 women share their words of wisodm. 

Before we get started, watch a 2020 Zoom call from the future. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia

1. "No is a complete sentence." - Bec 

2. "Mine is not so much a lesson but an important reminder about how important GRATITUDE is. You don’t have to journal your thoughts on gratitude, but it’s important to acknowledge what you have and what you (potentially) take for granted." - Jo.

3. "COVID taught me to say yes to a career change as it proves you can plan everything but have your stability change in a heartbeat. Best thing I ever did." - Sara.

4. "Self respect. I left an emotionally abusive relationship (cocaine abuse, verbal abuse, love bombing) and part of me was scared to leave a relationship during a pandemic out of fear of loneliness and regret that might come from being single and having the time to over analyse the situation. I knew his behaviour was toxic three months into the relationship but it took me another 14 months to finally leave him for good. The emotional and physical energy I put into this relationship and trying to excuse his behaviour and supporting his ungrateful ass is mind-blowing. But thanks to the best of best friend and a healthy dose of courage, I’m now in a better place than I have been since early 2019. I learned to trust my gut and stand up for myself. I learned to love myself a little bit more." - Klara 

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3. "I learned that putting energy into things that truly matter to you is the most rewarding feeling there is - friendships, education, family, work, non-human companions, gardening - whatever floats your boat. Don’t let anyone push you off your path onto theirs just because they struggle. Help as much as you can while respecting your own boundaries even if that means being alone during a pandemic." - Klara.

4. "Some of the best family experiences and memories come from a forced quieter time. We did puzzles, played cards, learnt all the words to 'Boom! Shake The Room'. My three kids didn't leave the house for eight weeks and we were so lucky to have a backyard and they were so lucky to have each other." - Justine.

5. "No matter how in control you are, you can't control everything!" - Nikki.

6. "Routine is king when everything is going to sh*t. Still getting up every day and doing something makes things seem that little bit more normal." - Merryn.

7. "I am running my own race. People have opinions or give unwanted suggestions, but my race is my own and I will run it my way. I also learned that I love being at home. I love being around my children, I love cooking and developing recipes and watching my family devour my creations. I love watching my kids run around in the backyard, jump on the trampoline or run under the sprinkler. I love the simple things. I don’t need much. I just need my family." - Peta.

8. "Trust your gut and don't be afraid of change." - Michelle.

9. "Things happen that are out of your control. All you can do is choose how you respond, and act on the information you have available at the time." - Emily.

Listen to What I Eat When, Mamamia's new podcast that’s all about meals, moments, and memories. In this episode, host Silvia Colloca speaks to Jessica Rowe. Post continues below.

10. "All this time we've been saying how important it is to teach kids resilience was completely unnecessary. Kids are incredibly resilient. They have adapted to homeschooling, online learning, not seeing their friends, back to school with no parents on-site and no assemblies. They also accepted not seeing family members, the need to sanitise constantly, not touching anything and being aware of germs. The kids have amazed me. I feel like it's us adults who need to learn from them." - Karen.

11. "Put a ring on your finger that you can look at any time you want that makes you smile." - Elisabeth.

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12. "I can be a bit of a homebody at times and it also can feel easier to stay at home than trying to wrangle my little kids to go out and do things, but 2020 taught me that there's a difference between choosing to stay home and having to stay at home, and how it feels when that choice to do things (even little things, like going for a drive) is taken away. So now I've been trying to get out of the house with the kids more and when events come up that I think I or my kids might enjoy, I'm trying to push through the 'it's too hard' feeling and go." - Laura.

13. "After losing a family member suddenly and expectedly, I've realised nothing is guaranteed. And don't go to bed angry." - Vicki.

14. "Don't wait to do the things you want. Use the expensive wine glasses, wear that dress that you'd been saving for a special occasion. Don't wait as we just don't know what's around the corner." - Christine.

15. "The importance of a positive and healthy home. I've never been a homebody but this year has taught me an important lesson in looking after your home space and energy to make it a place you want to be."

16. "It's okay to have a bad day." - Lyn.

17. "Sometimes you have to accept that friends aren't always forever. And it's okay to move on. We grow and we change and all of us are on our own path. Not everyone comes with us." - Sarah.

18. "Normal never existed! New things just happen." - Sarah.

19. "You're stronger than you think you are and you have the ability to process, then live with, an ongoing and seemingly endless catastrophe. I hope never to have a year like 2020 again, but it has definitely been a formative experience for me, at a time when I thought I'd stopped having such experiences." - Tristan. 

20. "I learned (and am still learning) that it’s ok not to be in control all the time. It’s ok that the house isn’t spotless when someone comes over, or that the kids don’t behave the way you want them to when you’re in public (do they ever??). Letting go a bit of that control has been strangely difficult but also quite freeing." - Truan.  

21. "I need much less of everything than I ever realised. Less clothes, fewer accessories, less eating out, it goes on and on. I wasted so much pre-COVID. I have donated bags of clothes, linens etc. over the last few weeks and it feels so good. The things I do need are not tangible or material. Family, friends, love - I cherish those more than ever now." - Chloe 

Feature image: Getty.

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