As an obsessive planner, the idea of a blurry future terrified me. From post-graduation plans and career goals to eventually getting my own place, I had everything planned to a T. Preparation was my thing, until the pandemic hit. Everything turned unpredictable and I knew I was set to face a massive life-changing lesson.
Lockdowns were spent rethinking my goals. The cancellations that came with them taught me that guarantees do not exist in our world. The devastating impact of the crisis left me questioning my priorities. With a lot of lives at stake due to COVID-19, I learned to appreciate the privileges I had. From spending time with my family to embracing JOMO, investing in the present became my ultimate mission.
I would be remiss if I denied how difficult implementing these new changes in my life was. In fact, it’s still a work in progress. But one thing for certain, I don’t intend on wasting the lessons I learnt. So, for once, I’m taking my new year’s resolutions very seriously.
I know that I won’t be welcoming 2021 the same way I had 2020, and I know I’m not alone. With the year coming to a close, I caught up with six other young Arabs to find out what their reflections are.
Looking back on 2020, I learned a lot about health, politics and economy. Coming from a family who works in business, banking and health, they helped me shape my thinking of the capitalist system we live in. Before, my goal was to work in corporate but when COVID-19 hit the economy hard and everyone was getting laid off; I knew I cannot rely on one job as a source of income, and started searching for ways to make money on the side. My 2021 resolutions aren’t going to be very different than last year’s. I am hoping to focus on charitable work and join organizations that help the underprivileged. I’d like to have a positive impact on my community.
Despite how chaotic this year has been, I am still set on my life choices. Although I might be more keen on prioritizing my career choices over other things. I don’t believe in setting resolutions so my expectations for 2020 were very low to begin with. It didn’t stop the year from disappointing me though. After missing out on so much during 2020, I intend to set 2021 resolutions that are more experience-oriented. I will certainly go into the new year more prepared that anything can happen and we can even lose someone, either due to COVID-19 or other reasons
Mohamed Ali, 22
During the pandemic, I had to rethink my plans and life choices more than once. With lockdowns, I learned to focus more on my community and what I can achieve here. Technology is also becoming an important part of our collective lives and as a designer, I had to learn how to use it for creative purposes. With the circumstances changing around the world and new social movements are rising, my resolutions, choices and mindset had to change accordingly. I think in 2021 younger generations will learn to be stronger and more persevering. I really hope that the new year will bring us more clarity in our paths and that we will be able to get through all of these hard times.
I can honestly look back and say that spending time with myself has made me a different person. Being disconnected from others taught me to be independent, to rely on myself more and not need my social circles to validate me. I’m set on working harder to improve myself and also focus on my spirituality. I didn’t necessarily have resolutions for 2020, but with the lack of action in most of my days during lockdown, I can’t wait to experience more hopefully when the conditions ease. Although I’m still very scared of what the future might hold and at the possibility that 2021 could be worse.
2020 made me want to hurry up and start doing what I really want because you never know when everything crashes. You actually need a backup plan for everything. I also learned to take care of me and my environment more. It was challenging to keep going after my 2020 resolutions with everything going online. But that’s the new normal now and I eventually got used to it. I think my 2021 resolutions are just going to be an update of last year’s but hopefully we will be getting our IRL experiences back.
I think the pandemic didn’t really give me a choice, and just changed a lot of things for me. When everything started, I’ve just moved to Spain, but less than 2 months later I had to move back home. One thing I learned is that there’s no need to try to plan our future too much, everything is so unpredictable, and it all happens for a reason. So maybe my 2021 resolution is to not have any specific resolution, but to just always try to seize opportunities, adapt to the circumstances and try to not get overwhelmed by what’s happening.