As the orange edge of the sun dipped into the horizon, the plethora of extraordinary sounds filled my building compound. Squeals, shrieks, giggles, howls, chuckles, mummers, chatter…the kids had come down to play.
While casually sitting on the bench in the corner, I would often reflect on the past year. It has been a tumultuous and chaotic roller coaster ride and our lives have changed like never before. Many a time I would find myself struggling to balance this new normal.
While watching my daughter and her friends fervently play every day, I soon realized the simple yet profound life lessons the children unconsciously imparted on me. Paradoxically, I was at the learning end, if only I opened my heart and mind to their innocent teachings.
So, I humbly present my life lessons from 2021, which I feel will also help us develop better coping mechanisms as we step into the hopefully pleasanter 2022.
1. The 3 Rs:
Something which comes naturally to all children, and all parents will agree, is their ability to find play in every setting. Be it the simple building lobby or a lush green patch, to the mundane concrete compound or fancy equipment turf play areas. They just Reassess the space, Realign their game and Refocus on the play. So simple and yet so profound. 2020 has given us the biggest practical lesson on recalibrating and rebuilding our lives. It has been a constant process of adjusting and should not stop in the future. Whatever the new year holds for us, be it choppy seas or still waters, we just need to Reassess our environment and situations, Realign, Refocus and keep sailing on.
2. Resilience and Pivoting:
Be it cycling, skating, or sprinting, when an obstacle comes in their way, most children maneuver around it and continue on. And yes there are some who dash and crash, but they recover soon and resume their play, even if it’s after a few days of rest. This just shows their remarkable resilience in play. Similarly, we need to change our perspective of failure and think of it as a mere obstacle and maneuver around it. Experiment, fall, get up again, and keep learning, without giving up. Pivot like a start-up, if plan A fails, go to plan B. The new normal has taught us that we are stronger than we think, have many more capabilities than we thought, and immense grit to survive. So let’s continue pivoting with resilience into the New Year.
As parents, we keep reminding our children to use whatever toys and books and resources they have before buying anything new. Further, the lockdowns made us realize that we don’t need to go out that much to be happy. Be it children or us adults, we really don’t need as much as we think we do. So, minimalism is yet another very powerful insight of the past year. We just need to find happiness in the simple things of life. We have learned to trust our own capabilities, extensively use our ingenuity to create DIY solutions, dip into our inner wisdom, and lastly extemporize with our skills. The New Year is not going to drastically change the new normal, but our mind-set in finding happiness in the small pleasures of life will drastically change our emotional well-being.
The word says it all. Gratitude is the key to happiness. Stuck at home, humbled us, and gave us a new perspective of our life. Be it in 2021 or in the New Year 2022, being thankful and belief in goodness, should never be lost. Indulge in small acts of kindness and see how it impact lives in a meaningful way. Be humble, be thankful, be benevolent and always find a connection with the higher power. Let us truly be happy to be alive and healthy for yet another day. Positivity will never fade away, it will only resurrect with time. Life is wonderful, beautiful and filled with goodness. We just need to show gratitude to truly experience it.
5. Keep dreaming :
Children are born dreamers. Most of their games revolve around their rich imaginations and ability to conjure up wonderful adventures. They giggle with pure glee and are filled with creative energy when they indulge in pretend play. Similarly, we adults need to harness our creative juices rather than squashing it all the time. It is very easy to feel dejected with the current times, succumb to the gloom and fall into the web of worry. The epidemic has taken away our normal life but not our ability to dream. Yes, the road ahead is tough and untread. Yes, we can go on analysing and over analysing our futures. Or we can dispel all melancholy and choose the superpower of our dreams. To dream a better future and work dedicatedly towards achieving it. Invest in your own self and your dreams, that is the best investment you can make.
“Don’t be pushed by your problems, be led by your dreams” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.
As we inch closer to 2022, it is up to you how you perceive and respond to the New Year. Will 2022 be a cage or cocoon…the choice is all yours. Happy New Year!