It is now the end of this crazy year, so I wanted to complete it with more things that I’ve learned. Months ago, I wrote a post called 5 Life Lessons Learned in 2020. The good news is that I haven’t stopped learning. And this year has been one for the books. I will start with number 6 of life lessons I have learned this year to continue where I left off.

Life Lesson 6: I’m Not The Only One Using Humor to Cope

This year has produced so many memes that I can’t even keep up with them all. I have a friend who I have dubbed my “meme dealer,” and most of our texting has been 2020 memes over the course of the year. has a hilarious post that is all 2020 memes. I love that people can take a crummy situation and find the humor in it. While there is nothing funny about COVID, this year gave us so much other content! I’m going to miss the toilet paper shortage and murder hornet memes. And don’t forget about Tiger King. It’s that Carole Baskin! I blame her for everything! Also… thank you to Pluto the dog for making me laugh until I cried. Here is his video.

Also… The Holderness Family really kept me going during the quarantine. I feel like they are my new best friends. I was already a fan, but this year Kim and Penn became like family to me. They write songs and make videos about all the things I am thinking about. Kindred Spirits for sure. They are the funnier, better-looking, musical version of my husband and me. We always joke that at 12:01 on New Years’, everything will be better. Kim agrees. She knows stuff. Also, she responded to my comment on one of her tweets… which was pretty much the high point of 2020 for me. Here is the highlight video of all their songs of 2020.

Life Lesson 7: When We Can’t Celebrate Things the Way We Usually Do, We Get Creative

This year brought about so much creativity. It has been almost a year since the Coronavirus entered the United States. That means that we have had to celebrate every holiday without having large group gatherings.

When we can’t celebrate with our friends, we have a birthday parade or party over Zoom. My family created a “Birthday Drive-by Kit” to easily decorate our car and run a present over to a friend’s house. Sometimes we were a one-car parade. We wrote a “Quarantine Birthday” song that we would sing from the car. One time, we put money in a ziplock bag with a date written down that the cash will be released from quarantine, dropped the card on the grass, sprayed it with Lysol, and ran away.

One of my friends delivered crafts and cupcakes to her daughter’s friends, and then they did them together and celebrated over Zoom. I thought that was brilliant. So much thought was put into it. #momgoals

For Christmas, we came up with this Hilarious Way to Give Cash This Year. We put the bills through an entire sanitization process. It was a fun day coming up with the process, and hopefully, our nieces and nephews got a kick out of it too. You can read about what we did by clicking here.

In some ways, I think the holidays were more meaningful this year because we had to be intentional instead of going through the motions and doing what we usually do. Our quiet family Thanksgiving and Christmas was a wonderful, relaxing time with our little family. We played games together and focused on each other. While I miss my extended family terribly, this year has brought my little family closer together… both literally and figuratively. I also made tons of T-shirts. Personalized T-Shirts make everything more fun.

This was our life lessons of making the best of the situation. The shirts say Minecon Themed Dad and Minecon Themed Mom. We wore them as we watched Minecon Live for my son's birthday in quarantine.
This was from my son’s Minecon Themed Party, where we watched Minecraft Live. 2020 was so fun.

Lesson 8: I’m Happiest When I Am Doing Things For Others

I had a blast spending a week doing everything I could to bless my husband. I was reminded of how great it feels to devote more of my time to helping others. For the past four years, I was so focused on my career and stressed out because of it that I didn’t have much time or energy left for other people. I missed it so much. This year, we had many opportunities to do kind things for others, often anonymously. This is one of the most important life lessons that I gained this year.

Read The Benefits of Blessing Your Spouse

I was also on the receiving end when someone left a thoughtful gift on my porch in the middle of the night. Whoever they are split up the Twelve Days of Christmas to bless twelve different people, it feels great to know that someone thought about you even if you have no idea who they are.

A mystery gift of a cow, chocolate milk, milky way bars, milk duds, egg nog. coffee creamer, and dairy digestive was left in a milk crate on my porch. This was part of my life lesson learned about blessing others.
An 8 Maids a Milking gift was left on my doorstep by a mystery person.

On the news and social media, we saw a lot of angry people. In real life, I experienced empathy, compassion, and generosity. This is what I want to remember from 2020.

I plan to make secretly blessing others a goal in 2021. I want to bless more people than ever before anonymously. Hopefully, this will be a trend in 2021, as I have seen the generosity of so many show up during this year’s challenging situations. Even though we have experienced tremendous loss this year; I hope to love others better because of it.

Life Lesson 9: It’s Okay to Mourn When Things Don’t Turn Out As You Planned.

Even before the pandemic, my heart was broken because of an unexpected change that occurred. Then in the summer, my Sister-in-law passed away, leaving my brother a widower with 3 children. 2 of them are very young. Our vacation to the Mexican Caribbean was canceled. That doesn’t seem like much after the first two, but it was the thought of the trip that had been keeping me going. It was the one thing I had to look forward to. Finally, I decided to quit teaching, completely changing the future I had envisioned for myself. 2020 brought with it feelings of loss, and I had to mourn.

One of the life lessons I learned this year is that it’s important to mourn. When my mom passed away years ago, I remember going through the stages of grief. Every time I started to experience some new emotion, I would google it and realize that it was all part of the grieving process. 2020 felt like that all over again. The 5 stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I bounced between all 5 this year, and I imagine that I am not alone in that. Recognizing this fact helped me be more gracious to myself and others this year.

If you feel stuck in the depression stage, please talk to someone and get help. The whole world has experienced trauma this year; it makes sense that we might all be struggling.

Lesson 10: My Faith Got Me Through

Through all of this difficult year, one thing remained stable, my faith in God. Every time I was scared or unsure of the future, I would cry out to Him and I was overcome by a sense of peace. It truly was that peace that transcends all understanding described in the Bible in Philippians 4:7.

God has been faithful to provide when I took a huge pay cut. Jesus has been a comforter in difficult times, and He convicted my heart when I was critical of others. I am grateful to be leaving 2020 with a deeper connection to my creator than when this year began.

What life lessons have you learned this year? What are you grateful for? Leave a comment to help me continue to focus on the good things that came from this memorable year.

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  1. Pingback: Five Life Lessons Learned in 2020 | Messy Joyful Journey

  2. A wonderful reflection on a very hard year. A good reminder that there are ALWAYS blessings. Love you, Bear! Keep writing!

  3. Alyssa Hixenbaugh

    2020 was definitely a challenging year, but I appreciate the way you reflect on some of the good things.

  4. I love this post! There is so much positivity in this very hard year! I’ve learnt a lot in 2020 as well 😀

    • Laurence

      2020 was the strangest year and with new things comes life lessons! Really good to reflect on the year this way as I think it taught all of us a thing or 2!

  5. I love those life lessons, especially helping others and having humour. We certainly need humour to get us through these trying times.

  6. Terri Heuer

    I am so grateful that we did not contract Covid. Thank you for helping me to see the humor in all the icky stuff that went on in 2020. I’m so glad it is over and God gives us a new day in which to find the joy and peace and love…………….

  7. Very nice reflection. Lots of learnings this challenging year and looking forward to definitely a better year with a different perspective in life.

    • Carrie

      Thank you, Lala. It’s amazing how our perspective can change everything!

  8. It is wonderful to see that there are many positives that came from a pitiful year. I do believe people are being more intentional about positivity in all facets of their lives and this is a very good thing!!! Thanks for sharing such an uplifting post!

  9. Finding something positive in life and having something to make you laugh is always good, especially in these times when there’s so much negativity going around. Finding humor to cope can really be beneficial 🙂