2020 - What a Year
Many around the world wish they could erase 2020 from their life (or at least from their memory).
2020 WAS a Challenging Year:
- A year of deaths, fears, and isolation
- A year of social distancing, finger pointing and mass hysteria
- A year of ugly politics, brutal violence and social divisiveness
- A year when education shuttered, healthcare spread too thin and economy collapsed
- A year, that for many, was filled with self pity, complaining and binging
2020 Was ALSO a Year of Changes, Opportunities and Hopes...
- A year that forced us to calm down, slow down and reflect on what’s really important
- A year where social distancing, lockdowns and quarantines actually deepened our important relationships
- A year where life as we knew it paused, and we had to re-invent and innovate to survive
- A year where we learned to value and acknowledge those who are essential for our survival (medical personnel, cashiers in the supermarket, street cleaners and so many others...)
A year where we got a chance to start all over again...
So, we thought to share with you...
Why We Are Grateful for 2020
1. The Ultimate Challenge
Every first of January, I take on myself a new challenge to push myself out of my comfort zone.
The 30-day cold shower challenge has transformed my health, my energy and my mindset.
One year later, I’m still taking a cold shower every day.
Being comfortable in the uncomfortable is the main reason why 2020 was one of the best years of my life.
(If you didn't get it, read the last sentence again. It's important!)
2. YouTube Success? Not So Much... YET!
On the first of January 2020, we also started a new business experiment - producing a daily YouTube video to share our knowledge and experience to support our audience.
The experiment didn’t turn out to be the business success we were hoping for.
BUT...we learned so much from the experience, developed skills that will serve us for life, and made a difference in the lives of thousands in the darker and lonelier days of this year.
3. Cancer Can't Win Love
As COVID-19 hit - my parents (in the header picture) became isolated in a far away land...
I started calling them on Zoom every single day.
Quickly, this intimate and caring communication transformed my relationship with them.
All the way to me sitting next to my father’s deathbed - in his last weeks - holding his hand.
When he took his last breath next to me - he was complete... and so was I.
That was the most precious gift I could ever ask from him.
4. Love in Days of Corona
During the long weeks of lockdown, I spent most of my time reflecting on my life - figuring out what is really essential and meaningful for me.
I chose to focus on deepening and strengthening my relationships with my loved ones. As a result - my intimate relationships and close friendships are on a whole different level than they were just one year ago...
5. Mountain vs. COVID
As the hysteria around the pandemic increased - I chose to focus on improving my health, energy and immune system.
I decided that my "vaccine" would be a daily aerobic and strength training and frequent hikings.
Doing those basics improved my fitness so I could climb Mount Teide in Tenerife (3,715 meters) twice in one month. If I can do that... I can take on COVID 🙂
6. Big Disappointment Leads to New Passion
Our biggest goal for 2020 was a 6-month, adventurous, world road trip.
As our dream and plans came crashing down with the closure of borders, I chose to isolate myself at home for an intensive 20-day only-water fasting.
It was one of the toughest adventures I had in my life... but it brought many changes, and the biggest one was... finding my new passion.
As someone who was never interested in cooking (or in food, for that matter), I came out of not eating for 20 days - completely obsessed with preparing, cooking and eating healthy, tasty, beautiful and creative food.
Since then - I spend 2-3 hours in the kitchen every day... my happy hours...
7. Standards of Living vs. Quality of Living
As a consequence of the pandemic - our working income dried out.
As soon as we realized that it’s not temporary and that the financial crisis that would follow - will cripple almost everyone for years to come... we took a hard look at what is really essential and meaningful in our life.
And although we always lived a modest lifestyle, we surprisingly managed to lower our costs of living by more than 60%, while increasing our quality of living in almost every area.
We’re now happily living on a tiny budget, and not even considering going back to our past lifestyle.
8. Growing Food at Home
As we looked at what’s most essential and meaningful for us - we realized that living sustainably and eating from our land takes priority.
We chose to replace our long road trip with intensive work in the garden - growing more and more of our vegetables, fruits and eggs...
Today, a big part of all our meals is grown in our own garden - which means not only cutting costs - but mainly eating healthy, organic, in season, ecologically friendly food...
9. Growing Brain Cells
As working time dwindled, social meetings disappeared and surfing the internet or social media became boring, predictable and negative - I found myself with more free time on my hands since I can ever remember.
I chose to dedicate my newfound time to studying new topics.
For almost a year now - I spend 2-3 hours every day studying classical music, gourmet cooking, advanced economics, philosophy and social sciences.
My brain is on fire generating countless of new neuron pathways every day.
10. Netflix is Dead
As I spend a big portions of my day learning new stuff and connecting with my loved ones - one old time-waster has simply disappeared from my life.
I used to love movies and normally watched one every night.
No more! COVID-19 definitely killed my movie addiction.
1. Home, Sweet Home
As our tiny island got into its first lockdown in March 2020 - all the volunteers who shared our vision and home flew back to their families.
For 3 years, talented, exciting and inspiring people from all over the world were an integral part of our daily life, making our life and theirs richer and more meaningful.
However, once they were all gone, I discovered that even though I loved having them around... I missed my home, my space, my energy...
As they left, I reclaimed my own home and made it into a haven for me again.
2. Zooming the Year Forward
As lockdowns were introduced everywhere, all the live events I was registered to participate in were canceled.
But instead of losing a year, thanks to Zoom, I took part in seven important and valuable conferences and seminars from the comfort of my home.
I have learned more this year about the craft and art of writing than ever before from the top world experts who shared their wisdom so willingly virtually.
3. Best Movie Script
As a result of this intensive learning from great minds and well known authors, I wrote a new screenplay within 30 days.
Not only did I write it so quickly, it is the best script I've written in the past 3 years.
All thanks to the knowledge I gained and the time and space I dedicated to writing.
4. Cold, Colder, Freezing
On the 1st of January I joined Nisandeh in his 30-day cold showers challenge.
It took me less than 7 days to get "addicted" to the feeling that comes after taking a cold shower at 5:00 am on a freezing cold day… It’s an exhilarating experience… You should try it.
I haven't taken a warm shower since.
5. Heart to Heart
Being locked down on an island sharing the house with only Nisandeh - we turned our attention to each other and to our relationship.
Having no outside disturbances allowed us to spend a lot of time together and truly listen and speak from our hearts.
We probably wouldn't have the depth of insight into each other's soul if the outside world had a stronger hold on us as in the days before COVID.
6. Simpler Life
Having our working income disappear would have scared me to death in the past. But this year, it helped us transform our relationship with money.
For years Nisandeh focused only on profits, while I was the one looking at our expenses.
This has changed this year, and we tackled together the new adventure of simplifying our life. It was a lot of fun... and still is.
7. Second Chance with Alzheimer
During the first lockdown, our elderly neighbors, who normally live in the UK, got stranded on the island.
When my parents got sick, my father with a stroke and my mother with Alzheimer, taking care of them fell on my sister’s shoulders, and I always felt guilty for not being able to be a part of it.
Now I got a chance to care for this wonderful couple in their 80s, especially as the wife is suffering from Alzheimer just like my mom.
It was a very special gift to be able to care and be there for them, every day, for more than four months.
8. Giving Everything Away
As our business model collapsed, we decided to focus on bringing light and hope to our loyal community by giving away all our spiritual, personal development and meditation courses for free.
This allowed me to return to creating and presenting a part of our teaching that has always been close to my heart and in the previous years took a back seat to the business curriculum... now I got the opportunity to share it on a deeper level.
9. Dinner Together - 3,000 km Apart
The worldwide lockdown presented for us, as a family, an unexpected gift.
Our daughter is living in London, leading a busy life as a young woman trying to make her mark in her chosen field.
Her busy lifestyle didn't leave much space for us to meet (online or offline).
COVID-19 has pretty much put her field of work (live entertainment) into a coma.
She still keeps herself busy, but now we have a weekly family dinner on Zoom, which brought us closer together than ever before.
10. Entering the 21st Century
Living off-grid has its advantages and its romantic halo.
But living off-grid and trying to run an online business and personal life can become very challenging when the internet is slower than carrier pigeons and breaks down every other week, leaving us with no external communication.
Trying to get the service companies to fix it was a weekly struggle for years...
However, Corona-times made the internet companies realise that they must find a permanent solution for the problem.
And finally... about 2 weeks ago we joined the 21st century by having our own fiber optic line, which means we can still enjoy life off-grid, AND still be connected, if we wish, to the outside world… hello world!
So... those were our 20 things to be grateful for 2020.
Now It’s Your Turn
You can choose to focus on the negativity, the pains and the fears... and try to dismiss, suppress, deny or forget 2020...
You can realize that with all the challenges, 2020 was a wonderful year too...
And be grateful for all its gifts and opportunities.
If you’re willing to do that, we invite you to come forward... commit to being positive and grateful and be an example and an inspiration to others... by sharing what you are grateful for in 2020...
Remember... what you focus on expands...
- Focus on negativity and darkness and you’ll get more of those.
- Focus on positivity and hope and you’ll get more of those.
We can’t wait to read and get inspired.
And until then...
Make it a great holiday season and a very happy New Year.