Some wisdom from 2020

Elena Azais
7 min readJan 1, 2021


The lessons I learned in 2020 are countless, I am a different person with the same core values. However if in 2019 I wasn’t sure what my core values were in 2020 during lockdown I had the tiMe to find these and then choose how to live my life accordingly. Here are the greatest lessons I learned.


Learning about social issues and mental health opened my eyes and allowed me to break free from the misconceptions I believed in before. You never know what someone is going through and by learning about different people’s experiences I have increased the knowledge I have of these conditions. I now pay more attention to what I say and on the effects that my actions might have on myself and others.

Being open minded is life changing!

Being open minded has led me to learn so much from others and make friends that I wouldn’t have made otherwise. I stopped judging others, my fear was to get judged and labelled as something I am not for a long time, so why would I do that to others? Being open minded has made me a better person and also opened doors that have allowed me to achieve more.

The importance of trusting my instincts & doing things impulsively.

This to be practiced all the time however in moderation it is just amazing. I hold myself quite seriously most of the time and the impulsive decisons I take are the ones that make me feel alive and have fun! From hugging the wall of the vice principal office at my school to singing in a taxi ( i have been terrified on singing in public for the longest time) these are all times that I look back at and smile. Trusting my impulses allows me to break from the rigidity of everyday and it has made me grow in confidenceconsiderably, trusting my instincts and acting on those takes a lot of courage but it pays off immensly. Both trusting instincts and doing things impulsively also pay off in the long run. As one practices listening to oneself one learns what insticts are good to follow and which ones are not, teaching one to self regulates by knowing themselves rather than by repression these and never knowing.

Time is so precious.

Being intentional about the way I spend my time has made me truly live in the moment and drop anything that didn’t make sense.Therefore I should not waist it doing things I am not intentional about. Either enjoy or invest it, don’t waste it!!

Being alone is ok.

learning how to be alone mades you independent in a way that you don’t need anybody else but yourself to feel good. When I first slept alone in a hotel room in Oxford I cried myself to sleep. I missed my family, that I hadn’t seen for 3 months, and felt really lonely. However with time I got used to it and learnt things I can do when I am alone and consider it an opportunity rather than a inconvenience. This has made me also vey independent. I travel alone by plane, book my taxis alone, schedule my calls and show up promptly (most of the time).

Beauty is relative.

Each one of us has a different definition of beauty, but a quite similar image of beauty in our minds. This year I learnt that our features are nothing but genes being expressed. This year I stopped calling people beautiful without knowing them, I changed my definition of beauty into what a person’s values are and how that effects their desion making. My friends and family members are beautiful because of their personality, regardless of the way they look. This has led me to save so much time that I would have spent worrying about the way I look and to stop making conclusions about someone’s values or personality from their looks.

Nothing I have today is guaranteed to be there tomorrow.

In the beginning of the pandemic my dad told me he was very worried about our economic situation and that we might have had to move house to a smaller one and sell his car. That didn’t only scare me but it also made me realise for the first time that everything I give for granted, not just my home but also the people in my family could disappear overnight. Especially with covid, knowing that my dad could have been at danger for his life and that the virus could have taken a big toll on him was scary to think about and brought me to really appreciate what I have by being present.

Everything is temporary.

I first heard thing when watching a video about depression where suicide was defined as a ‘permanent solution to a temporary problem’. I thought about this a lot and realised that covid is temporary, school is temporary, TKS is temporary, when I feel sad or happy it is temporary, my internship was temporary and lastly 2020 was temporary. A year like 2020 has a set time when ends while other feelings or experiences don’t but it doesn’t mean they won’t end. Understanding that everything is temporary leads me to live in the moment as there won’t ever be another equal one and also to truly enjoy every opportunity as it is finite. Especially when the workload feels like too much to ever finish and the pressure is high knowing that everything is temporary leads me to avoid any unnecessary feelings like stress that won’t change the outcome of this short experience.

I am the only one in charge of my I feelings and productivity.

It is all about what is under my control and what isn’t. Understanding that my actions, thoughts an feelings are under control is such a powerful one. No one makes me feel anything, I choose to feel things according to other people’s actions. How other people act I can’t control but understanding what is in my power pushed me to fully take advantage of that and doing all I could for something to happened the way I wanted it to. Conscious that if it doesn’t turn out the way I want it to I made everything in my power to made sure it did. This led me to get rejected twice but not feel unhappy with myself: it didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to but I knew I did everything that was in my power so when they said no it was fine because their response simply wan’t in my power anymore.

I know myself more than I think I do.

It was only when talking to a friend when he asked me who I am that I replied that I didn’t know. He asked me more questions and as time went on, we talked for more than two hours about who I am and by then end he pointed out that after all I know very well who I am. Knowing who I am allows me to stay true to myself, be authentic and understand what happiness, love, success and sadness look like to me and how much importance I give to each of these. You probably know yourself more than you think you do too and my advice for anyone who thinks that they don’t know themselves is to really look into these aspects they think are unexplainable and not give up but take the effort to search for the asnwers.

Question everything!

I started questioning all aspect of life starting from misconceptions I didn’t question when encountered to lies I told myself to feel better. My search for truth and knowledge mostly because of curiosity made me also take better decisions.

Biohacking, the best kept secret

This year I educated myself on how my hormone levels vary throughout my cycle and it’s implications. I have gained greater insight into why it is that I feel a certain way in certain days of the month and why that is ok. It has made me accept myself more through understanding. It has changed the way I approach periods, rather than a week of bleeding instead as a process that is always happening and I learned how to adjust my routine accordingly.



This year I want to truly accept myself, in particular my thoughts and feelings. I want to be ok with being sad sometimes, understand when I need to be alone or need a hug and work on my wellbeing by listening to myself. As I am very ambitious I can often overlook my successes and move to the next big thing, in 2021 I want to recognise my successes and celebrate them as well as my failures: no excuses for being a shitty person.

I want to have fun.

When I did my internship especially I was so so serious, I wanted to make a good impression of course but I was actually limiting how much I enjoyed the experience. I want to make sure that I have fun along the way and enjoy the fun side of things too.

Bias towards action.

My dear friend told me that what she learnt this year is: if you want something, ask for it, work for it or it won’t happen’. I have wanted to build a network with lots of interesting people for a long time and never quite got around to it because of my fear of having meeting so this upcoming year, starting from January I want to have a strict amount of meetings a month and work hard to build the network I have wanted for so long.

Become more of an interesting person.

I want to read more and in general consume content that adds value, learn from my meeting and my friends and become an overall more interesting person. To do so I will keep on exploring where my curiosity takes me and look for answers to the questions I have!



Elena Azais

15 yo student curious that writes articles on technologies and mindsets!