Focus/Spotlight

New Year around the corner

Lessons learnt and ready

While celebrating the festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, this year the world is forced to strip down the superficial wonders of the holiday season and cherish the true meaning of the holidays. While we are all contemplating what the new year will have in its agenda, there are clearly a heavy set of lessons 2020 has taught us to last a lifetime.  

We spoke to some members of the public, about what lessons they learnt from 2020 and how they are ready to face the New Year. Here’s what we found out: 

 

Realizing the instability of life: Nimasha Dias, receptionist 

 

“This was a very challenging year for all of us. We realized the instability of life. The futility of holding on to things and making plans. I believe moving forward, we should learn to appreciate the present and make the best of our time.” 

 

Be resilient and deal with the challenges: Priyanka Perera, housewife

 

“Usually the New Year comes with a lot of anticipation and hope. Home repairs, shopping all of this is part of the process, however due to everything that has been on this year, there is no anticipation, no hope for the better. The only thing to do is be resilient and deal with the challenges we put forward.” 

 

Impermanence is the only constant: Mirthula Skandarajah, Attorney-at-law

 

“Impermanence is the only constant. Being set in your ways, making iron clad plans and basically thinking that ‘this is as good/bad as it gets’, is very detrimental to one’s personal growth. Stay open minded. The definition of resilience shouldn’t stop at ‘bouncing back’. We bounce back and we must ‘advance forward’. We know the issues going on in the country and around the world, it’s up to us to navigate through them and find contentment.”

 

Incredibly stupid and incredibly resilient: Yasodara Pathanjali, artist

 

“For me the biggest lesson is that we are a species that is both incredibly stupid and incredibly resilient. I take great comfort and joy in the resilient part, because it means that whatever we face as individuals and as a species we can overcome. And there’s such hope in that. I think 2020 is the year that as a world, we didn’t want, but needed. With all the awful difficulties there have also been some retrospect and change in perspective.”

 

Calmness is essential: M.F.M Fiham, student of University of Peradeniya, Science faculty 

 

“This year has been the host of many significant and important events, but two important events stand out with significant consequences: the parliamentary election and obviously the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

Parliamentary election is important not only because it decides the course of this country, but it provides a good example of how politics work in a modern society. 

The second issue on hand is COVID-19. Despite being a mass murderer there is an important hidden blessing and a message in the pandemic. We should be intelligent enough to decrypt it, but that requires an understanding, an analysis of the current modern society.

We live in a capitalist society where our lives are governed by consumerism. ‘Consuming’ is defined as recklessly wasting something. The life of modern man has been characterized by his incessant obsession to acquire goods to satisfy himself, to please himself, to gratify himself. 

In fact, the person with the highest number of goods is assumed to be a socially higher person. This suggests that the root of happiness, satisfaction, and gratification is in acquiring (not using) goods which means modern man has to continuously spend money which commands him to regularly earn money. 

Simply put, happiness and pleasure is necessarily a matter of the future that is unreachable and therefore something forbidden to man. This also demands the acquired goods to be discarded and thrown away as quickly as possible because new ones are coming to replace it.

Prior to the pandemic, man was busy consuming, and therefore in a state of anxiety, fear, depression and stress. The lockdown gave hardworking people an opportunity to relax and enjoy peace and calmness. 

Calmness is something essential and certainly logging out of the busyness of the world to remain in isolation with your family is very valuable and is a sure way to give guaranteed happiness unlike consumerism. 

Although online activities have tried to reconnect us back to the consumer society, getting rid of your phone for a month would not be such a bad idea.

These are certain things to deeply contemplate about. These are valuable lessons, our friend, the Coronavirus, has taught us. Happiness and satisfaction lies in simplicity.”

 

Stay humble: Timothy Alles 

 

“Life’s fragile. It’s important to always stay humble and curious to learn and adapt to what’s going on around your various social circles or settings. It put things into perspective, pushed us closer to our family or friends and apart from the daily grind we’ve been immersing our minds in.”

 

Don’t take anything for granted: Hosni Imtiaz, Director of Imtiaz Designers

 

“2020 has presented us with many unforeseen challenges. The most important lesson is that we should not be taking anything for granted. Another important aspect is adaptability. Most of us went from working in an office based environment to the concept of ‘work from home’ which was new to all of us. 

In general people take time to adapt to any situation, however this year we learned to adapt within a few days. Given the situation everyone was facing, learning to be more patient with myself and others is another lesson. 

It has been a very difficult time period for everyone, be they individuals, families, or organizations. People lost their jobs, small businesses were facing issues, and the economy was not doing well. This year has taught all of us to become more and more humble in life.”

 

Things are unpredictable: K. Senarath, Marketing Representative

 

“I believe the best lesson to learn from 2020 was the unpredictability of things. Most of us had jobs at the beginning of the year and had plans to travel, celebrate special occasions etc but the events that unfolded within the year made it so that most of us were restricted from movement, rendered unemployed and was unsure of the future. 

While we were given opportunities to spend more time with ourselves and get away from our busy lives, we were rendered important. It was a year of learning and I hope we take everything we learnt to the coming year and face what 2021 has to offer without fear.”

 

Try to keep moving: Karen Hapuarachchi, student

 

“Even through times when you feel dormant, try to make a move. As long as you keep working, things will take time but will come through. Never take things for granted. Always save money. 

I think it has definitely been a tough year with the pandemic. What I really want to mention is that ‘the rich will always get richer’ but the poor have become poorer. For those that could manage this pandemic without going through a financial crisis, good job. 

But what has to be mentioned is that there are people who go on days without meals and the media never shows that side. People always want to distract themselves. Also to the people who have lost their jobs because of this pandemic, it has been very tough for them and I hope they find a better opportunity.”

 

Be patient when life throws us curveballs: S. Udayasiri, Marketing Manager

 

“With everything that happened this year, it feels impossible to hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The biggest lesson to take into the New Year is to be patient when life throws us curve balls.”

 

Adapt ourselves to future challenges: Amalani Perera, Fashion designer and entrepreneur

 

“As a fashion business owner, leading my company and my team through this uncertain time has been a challenge. However, it’s important to take a moment to think about the highs and the lows and what we’ve learnt this year, taking those lessons into 2021. 

Especially, adapt ourselves to any unknown challenges we may face in future. And remodel the brand accordingly. For example innovation and investing in technology can make all the difference.

Further in 2020, people have had to lean on one another for support. This not only means supporting one another at the workplace but supporting our larger communities, as well.”