"I haven't achieved anything in 2020"

Hello 2021, when one of the sentences I hear is "oh no, I have not achieved anything last year". All the New Year's resolutions for 2020 have gone down the drain, and the few that remained had not been possible because of a certain virus. So most of us spent the majority of the year licking our wounds. Or trying to be painfully optimistic that this would pass by summer, only to realise in November that it did not. Then it was December and the year was over. The resolutions are undone, great plans have not happened but the feeling of being worthless is very present. 

Please stop this train of thought right here and right now. Best of all, leave it in 2020! "Oh great, now I all my worries have faded away ­čÖä" 

It is hardly that easy and it will take time but your worth is not bound to your achievements or how productive your are. This is a mayor misconception - and not to sound too communist - you are not a machine or a product that is meant to function perfectly all the time no matter the conditions.

Of course, this concept of "function not matter what and do well," gets drilled into us as early as school. After all, you have to perform with no regards of what goes on at home, if your friends support you or if they actively hate you because you have no clue who Tokyo Hotel are ( no don't worry if you don't). It sounds silly, but those were serious problems as a teenager, and this even glosses over the children who lived with domestic neglect or abuse. 

In the end, it did not matter which effected you, you had to perform. You had to do well in exams, raise your wee hand during class, always be nice to the teachers, and reach the next checkpoint by passing this exam ... 

If you did not perform? Or if you did not reach this achievement? You automatically paid the prize. You failed your classes. There was disappointment from all around, teachers, fellow students, family, and yourself. So is it hardly surprising that when school already taught us that life is a to do list that you must not fail, that this sentiment would reflect in all aspects of out private and adult life.

Almost everything has to have goals: find a partner, marry, children. Find a job, reach a certain level in the company. Start running, run 10k, run a half-marathon ... read a certain number of books etc. Hardly anyone starts out trying anything new just for the sake of exploring, trying, and because it makes them happy even if they are shit at it. 

For example, when I tell people I run a blog I often hear "aww, and do you make money with it? :)" which I don't because I actively chose against it. This, of course, leads to bafflement because for them my blog's worth is coupled to its networth. 

Meanwhile, I measure it by how much I enjoy writing for it, if a book review gets interesting, how I can shape a sentence, and if I can make my point in a way that I want to. "Oddly" enough, I still get the views that new bloggers would crave for but in the end, it is only there for me and meant to do me well, give me an outle.

Is this sentiment wrong? No, of course not! After all, life is not a to do list where you have to collect all the achievements! 

Of course, you can't help the wistful look at your resolutions and seeing them crumble. For all that I know, half of the things on your list were not even possible due to various restrictions. This is hardly your fault and regret and sadness are perfectly normal responses to this. Those emotions, alongside stress, are sky rocketing ever since the first lockdown. 

On a daily basis you are bombarded with infection numbers, death tolls, how deadly this virus is, and on the other side are the maskless people, calling this a hoax. This is not exactly a relaxing environment and does not even take work into account: maybe you're an essential worker - having to work in all of this -, or your are in home office but are struggling with loneliness. Maybe you even lost your job.

Those are all very real factors that have an influence on your mental wellbeing. Days, weeks, and months with hardly a pause, and then you are still expected to perform well and write 1000 words per day to achieve an arbitrary self-set goal? 

The reason why you did not, was because either your mental health pulled the brake for you - which meant that you simply could not, feeling numb and exhausted. Or that you took this step yourself. 

Looking after your mental wellbeing is one of the most important tasks in life. Without it, nothing really works. Despite this being most obvious this year, hardly anyone mentions it. 

It is perfectly normal to feel sadness over not having achieved certain things this year but it is also important to look at why. After all, this year gives you very good reasons why exactly this has not happened. It was not your fault, and all the emotions you are feeling are valid. After all, 2020 was a shit year, and may it be remembered as such. 

However, your worth is not related to the achievement boxes you tick in the course of your life. 

Even so, there are a lot of smaller things that we do every day that get overlooked all the time: making someone smile, sending a nice message, encouraging someone, petting a cat, sharing a nice photograph because the other person will enjoy it, leaving a comment, sharing a funny story on the internet, or just making it out of bed to take the trash out. 

Instead of "I haven't achieved anything" and look at the small victories that can't be measured.

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