Lessons from “Harry Potter” That Got Us Through 2020
No matter where you live, chances are 2020 has been as rough a year for you as it has been for the rest of us. Fortunately, no matter how difficult things get, we Harry Potter fans can always draw on some of the lessons from the series to get us through the tough times of our own lives. Here are a few reminders from Harry Potter that were particularly helpful throughout 2020.
Plans are good, but flexibility is better.
We all had some sort of plan for 2020, but with the arrival of the pandemic, pretty much all of them have gone out the window. Having to cancel things we’ve been looking forward to is hard. Fortunately, our buddy Harry is the master of flexibility and has shown us time and again that having a plan is good and can be super helpful, but the ability to pivot and keep going forward when things change is even better. When Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s plan for breaking into Gringotts went awry, what did they do? They improvised!
There have been so many great examples of people putting this into action and finding other ways to meet their goals, or even finding new goals; zoom weddings, work-from-home solutions, and new hobbies are just a few. While it’s not always the same as the original, people have discovered new ways to gather that may never have been explored if it weren’t for the current situation.
It’s okay to ask for help.
Asking for help can be an extremely difficult task, and this pandemic with its never-ending isolation has been the ultimate test for those of us who struggle with it. If this is you, it looks like we’re not alone, because Harry is notoriously bad at asking for help throughout the series. But soldiering on alone just because we don’t want to inconvenience someone – or admit weakness – is not the fastest or best way to a solution. Asking for help or even just sharing your worries with someone else can actually be a huge source of relief, especially in situations like isolation when our mental health is pushed to its limits. Even if whatever you’re struggling with doesn’t necessarily have a straightforward solution – like being isolated – talking about it and having someone to share your problems with can lessen the load considerably.
Friendship will get you through any situation.
Having friends and family to connect with during a year like 2020 can make all the difference. We know this because – let’s face it – Harry wouldn’t have gotten anywhere without Ron and Hermione. While this hasn’t been the best year to make new friends in person, it has been an unexpectedly good year for connecting with people who maybe we haven’t talked to in a while or who live far away from us. Spending time with friends – whether you live alone or with roommates or family – can make all the difference for mental health and lessen both anxiety and loneliness. Watching a movie together over streaming services, video chatting while playing a video game, or just good old-fashioned talking on the phone goes a long way toward making any bad situation a little better.
The fight for freedom is never over.
2020 has been an eye-opening year for some people in recognizing the racism that permeates our society. With the protests that sprang out of the US and the many instances of police brutality, the Black Lives Matter movement has gained support across the world. People are speaking out, and others are beginning to listen and to examine their own culpability in the systems that continue to marginalize people of color.
With the rise of white supremacist groups and the debate over the US presidency, which probably filled your news feed even if you live outside the US, many people were shocked to see how prevalent these sorts of beliefs are. In some ways, we can find examples of this same feeling in the return of Voldemort to the wizarding world. Many people thought the fight was over, but the ideas that fueled his rise were ever-present amongst the magical community. Of course, in our world, people have always been speaking up against racism and prejudice even if it seems like a newer conversation to some of the more privileged. Regardless of how informed you were before this year, 2020 has shown us all that there is so much more to learn and so much more work to be done for equality.
Hobbies are essential.
Finally – let’s talk about hobbies! With all the isolation and unexpected time at home that 2020 and the pandemic have brought us, so many of us have taken up new hobbies and tried new things. Whether it’s nurturing your own sourdough, quilting, or ballet, having something that brings you joy outside of your regular responsibilities is an important act of self-care. I mean, what would Harry have done without Quidditch to take his mind off things?
So there you have it. 2020 was a roller coaster of a year for us all. Hopefully, 2021 brings change, respite, and in-person hugs with the start of the new decade.