Looking on the bright side: The best things that came out of 2020

Illustration of a person in pajamas relaxing on their couch, with a cat on their lap, and working on a computer
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It’s no secret that for many of us, 2020 sucked, horribly. I, like many others, spent an unhealthy amount of time wallowing over the tragedies of this last year. I mourned everything we lost and took for granted — the hugs, the canceled study abroad trips, the ability to simply gather with loved ones without fear and even the dusty lecture halls of UC Berkeley. But today, we are not here to dwell on all the could-, should- and would-have-beens. As unforgiving and upsetting this last year was, here are some of the best things that 2020 gave us. 

Never having to wear real clothes 

Quarantine means staying home all day, every day. This also means never having to wear real clothes anymore. Now, we’re able to stay nice and cozy all day in our sweats, shorts, T-shirts and sweaters. Several brands have even released comfortable hybrid work clothing! Casual at-home loungewear is trending now more than ever, and I, for one, am not complaining. 

New hobbies 

Who even had hobbies before 2020? Before the pandemic, most of us were busy running around tending to clubs, classes, jobs and social lives. Then we suddenly found ourselves with too much free time and nowhere to go, and Netflix just didn’t cut it anymore. Some of us sought solace in nature, hiking and biking more than ever before. Others took up baking and cooking, picking up important life skills. Many developed interests in health and fitness, taking advantage of this time to exercise and stay healthy. Not to mention all the reading, gardening, PC-building, board games, knitting, painting — the list goes on. For the first time, we were forced to slow down from our busy lives, breathe some fresh air, get creative and value our health. 

More self-care

Most of us weren’t quite sure how to cope when COVID-19 turned our lives upside down. We found ourselves increasingly anxious, stressed and frustrated. But throughout this time, we also began to prioritize taking care of ourselves, both physically and mentally. We went on walks, started skin care routines and sometimes, just spent a full day in bed with our favorite TV shows. But no matter what or how, we finally acknowledged the importance of resting and recuperating without the guilt of not being “productive.”

More time with family

This last year, many of us spent more time with our families than we could’ve ever imagined or planned to during our college careers. For some, quarantine was a chance to heal broken relationships. For others, it was a blessing in disguise. Some of us even adopted pets! Many families were finally able to sit down, talk, eat and simply enjoy one another’s presence — something we now know won’t always be a given. 

If there’s anything this chaotic year taught us, it’s to appreciate all that we have, especially the simple things. We’ve learned that being home with family, having a roof over our heads and even being able to attend Zoom classes are all things that we easily take for granted. This last year, we were able to develop interests, wear the comfiest clothes every day and practice better self-care. As the start of 2021 doesn’t look all too different in terms of our day-to-day lives, we can bring our gratitude for these things into the coming year, using it to motivate ourselves to power through the tougher moments. So, thank you, 2020, for the bright blips of good amid the bad. Thank you for the tough love, the drama and all the lessons learned.

Contact Kristie Lin at [email protected].