Before I share with you some of my most well-received lessons from 2020, I first want to say thank you to everyone and every situation that allowed me to do better this year, yes even COVID19. Speaking of coronavirus, I want to ask you to join me in taking a 30 seconds pause in honor of all the departed souls snatched by this pandemic.
2020 was supposed to have been my perfect vision. OK so I didn’t expect everything to go the way I had planned it, but heck I also didn’t expect everything to go haywire and off-track either. For those of us that made it and are still here, we are no special than those who didn’t. I share the pain of those who lost businesses and opportunities, and again even of those who grieving their lost.
Today’s date is December 30, 2020, it is a Wednesday, there’s already a vaccine for COVID19, but there’s also a newer and more virulent strain of this virus that is criss crossing its way around the globe like Abedi Pele dribbling a ball on a field. There are those leery of this new vaccine, and then there are those of you who let me do what I enjoy — digital storytelling.
Permit me to thank all my readers and supporters across the globe immensely for journeying with me on my digital storytelling train. Thanks to you we wrote and shared amazing stories [a few of them were told in video too], all of which greatly inspired me, opened my eyes to the possibilities the future presents when one surrounds themselves and their thoughts with positivity, persistence, and determination.
If 2020 didn’t break you it doesn’t mean you are too hard, be thankful for life
If there’s anything I’ve learnt from 2020 then it is these two things: that no matter how energized you are by a positive mental attitude, there’s something that can break you into pieces like you were nothing and leave you gasping for hope. The second thing? Well it is that it’s OK to fall and fail, for the best way to the top is always from the bottom, you just have to be humble and human enough to seek help and remember why you went down.
Hope is a good thing, and it is what I got from the situations and people that allowed me to tell their stories, in a way they were helping me make sense of this pandemic and myself. Most of the stories I told before lockdown painted a clearer picture of how blessed I was to be able to do the things I did. Like this January 2020 piece about Masao Meroe, an African-American who had freshly gained his Ghanaian citizenship. It made me more appreciative being Ghanaian, something I sometimes took for granted.
Masao’s story was my second of a 3-piece-writing adventure I took over a period of 3 months to discover what it felt like for foreigners obtaining Ghanaian citizenship. Unbeknownst to me, I was going to go on another adventure of writing series that I would title ‘Heroes of COVID-19‘ that will capture the stories of institutions and individuals who were bringing joy in their small ways to people straddled in front of a pandemic that had only started to show its true ugliness.
‘Heroes of COVID-19’ started in April 2020 and at the time of writing this piece, it had featured 12 compelling stories of people across Africa and the world that changed my perspective on life itself. There are so many more such people out there that I am looking forward to writing about in 2021.
The one lesson I wished I had learned earlier in 2020 was the art of slowing down, I wish I had taken more time to slow down, given myself more breaks, even if to just do some vegging out. It is OK to do that too, sometimes it’s not just OK to pause, but to completely come to a halt, and enjoy what life and nature have to offer — that way you might be lucky enough to discover the gifts inside you that are waiting to fill someone else up.
What I didn’t learn well in 2020 that will prepare me for 2021
I don’t know what 2021 has to offer, but I know whatever it is, I am taking it with the lessons from 2020 and setting myself up to do better by learning to not forget the lessons of the hustle so I can look at the bigger picture. Ghanaian digital marketer and consultant Edward Asare did just that. He reminded me of the fact that who you are is not where you are, rather who you are is what’s inside you, and so long as you’re nurturing it, you will flourish wherever.
Edward said to me during one of the few times that I interviewed him; “In the village, I just learned to accept myself, but not my predicament. I gave everything that I did my all, knowing that it was going to pay off one day. I however didn’t expect that day to arrive at this time, especially amidst a pandemic. I have been humbled by all…“
My name is Oral Ofori, I am a Ghanaian-American digital storyteller, and an information and communication research media consultant with about a decade and a half of experience telling the stories of Africans and how they positively impact the world. Thank you 2020 for all the stories you helped me tell, for helping me recognize the patterns I need to understand to do better in 2021.
Happy New Year in advance. Now 2021 lets get ready to RUMBLE, there are so many stories waiting to be told!
Written by Oral Ofori