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7 Life-Changing Lessons I Learned From 2020

Akaisha Kaderli January 2021 new

Guest Blogger: Akaisha Kaderli

“Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome” – Marine slogan What a year!

We have heard from friends and family how happy they will be to see the year 2020 in their rearview mirror. Can’t argue with that.Yet, in my opinion, 2020 brought us great lessons, from which we can benefit.

Solid Plans Often Break:

“Stop settling, start livingNOW.”

Often our Readers will say they have just a few more things to settle, a few more “I’s” to dot and “T’s” to cross before retiring. They’re waiting for the health care issue to be settled, waiting for the bonus check next year, waiting to hit “this” particular financial number, waiting for next year to sell their properties, … they’re waiting…

Personal Financial Independence was put off until this imaginary perfect time, and then finally, for 2020 they planned a year of travel. But BAM! COVID broke out or, in some cases, one of the spouses became gravely ill with a disease and that not only shook them up but forced them to shelve all excursion plans.

Ask yourself, “What are you waiting for and why?” Then ask yourself if you have a Plan B for these unexpected situations.

Lots of people wait until they graduate from law school or get the degree or wait until they get married, or until they buy that perfect house, or until they hit that magic number to retire – in order to be happy.

They live for tomorrow and forget all about the pleasures and happiness of today.

Stop settling, start livingNOW.

You’re not going to get anything in Life by playing it safe. There are no guarantees.

1. Lesson Learned: Faith over Fear, Don’t Worry be Happy

We Only Have Control Of Ourselves:

I get push back on this one, sometimes. Usually it falls under the “You don’t understand” category.

But if you think about it, stuff happens.

We can’t control a loved one getting ill, can’t control that our children or spouse don’t do what we prefer. We don’t have a lot of say in international peace relations. Whether our children get divorced, COVID breaks out, there’s a huge business loss or politics don’t go our way – all we have control over – is our response to the situation.

If you are feeling out of control on your moods, get help. There are lots of tools to clarify your mind and calm yourself down and lots of services available to you. Don’t let the stress build up until you have an even worse situation happen.

2. Lesson Learned: Life Is Not In Our Control – Only Our Response To It Is.

Relationships Change:

Relationships were cemented or lost this year. Yeah, this was a big one.

Once again if you think about it, when you got married, had a child, moved cross-country, got that promotion, contracted a serious illness, got divorced, retired early or hit any other life milestone, did some friendships recede?

Most likely.

Life is change and sometimes your better future lies ahead of you, without those loved people in them.

Yes, it IS difficult to let go of habits and people. We’ve all been there at different points in our lives. It’s better to process the loss and continue to move forward, creating the life of our dreams, than to become bitter and angry over the loss.

In my opinion, 2020 was a year of clarification.

What I mean is, yup, things fall away. Sometimes beloved things and people. I think this helps us to focus on what really matters to us. This is a blessing in disguise and you will be stronger for it.

3. Lesson Learned: As you grow, some relationships won’t make it into your future.

Fear Seemed Ever-Present

When we are afraid of something, chances are, we don’t know much about it. Our perceptions are skewed because of this.

Remember the old saying – FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real?

Take control and choose to find out more. The knowledge you discover will give you options and open up doors for you. Question the thoughts you are thinking and the beliefs you are holding. Fear does not serve you in any way and will only force you to contract, limiting your options even further.

This is a choice.

You can either learn and grow or contract and suffer because of it.

4. Lesson Learned: Fear is related to ignorance. Choose to learn more

People Retreated Into Perceived Safety:

There is no safety, there are no guarantees.

Remember Helen Keller’s quote:

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”

You can either live your life or live in FEAR. Make the most of life every day. It’s later than you think!

For instance, the S&P 500 Index had an above average year outpacing the normal 10% returns. I bet you didn’t see that coming. The fact is that none of us can predict the future and can only make educated guesses based on past experiences, both in the financial future and in our lives.

5. Lesson Learned: Life is a risk every day. Manage it.

Anxiety Appeared Everywhere:

This is a good one, and it surprised me a bit.

Living the “life of my dreams” I hadn’t realized that I was still carrying friction and tension in assorted areas of my life. Billy and I started getting massages more often. I began going to a chiropractor, and my customary yoga became more important. We upped our exercise routine and I meditated more.

Anything that just didn’t “fall into place easily” or no longer worked … we dropped.

This gave us more physical energy and cleared our minds.

6. Lesson Learned: Make things easier on yourself in any and all ways.

Don’t Stop Living Your Life:

When things change beyond our control, we must find the advantages in the situation and make the most of where we are.

We cooked lovely meals at home. Billy began a garden. We traveled locally and enjoyed the glorious weather that Chapala offers. And, we went out to breakfast on Sunday mornings, and I spent more time at my art table.

We kept up a travel schedule in the Year of the Pandemic, adapting to changing regulations. When others chose to remain in place, we saw opportunities in bargain flights and empty hotels. We visited four countries on two continents.

In January we flew to Colombia, returning to Chapala, Mexico. Throughout the year we made six trips to our favorite beach, Chacala. Billy had a shortened trip to Guatemala due to COVID closures, and one trip to Puerto Vallarta was cancelled. I visited the US and then we flew and bused between Puebla, Cuernavaca and Oaxaca, only to return to Oaxaca a couple of weeks later. Billy flew to Puerto Vallarta then taxied up the coast to Sayulita and once again to Chacala.

For me, while 2020 was challenging in many ways, I learned lessons that I might not have been able to absorb had it been an easier year.

7. Lesson Learned: Make the most of where you are. “Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome”

How about you?

Looking back at 2020 can you find some positives?

About the Author:

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their award winning website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible available on their website bookstore or on Amazon.com.