5 Lessons Learned in 2020

I was called the Poster Child for 2020.

“Care Less” by Melissa Whitaker

In a recent Facebook post regarding accomplishments for 2020, an acquaintance replied that I was the “Poster Child” for 2020. My first response was, MEOW, what a B**** slap. In the past, I would have felt guilty that I could have even offended someone because that was not my intention. Now, after the year 2020, I realize her response was not my problem.

I think everyone can agree that 2020 will go down in the history books as the worst year on record for politics, pandemics, social anxiety, the climate, protests, racial inequality, and many more issues. However, there were lessons I learned in 2020 that make me excited to enter in 2021.


Pursuing a dream without a safety net is terrifying, but living a life for others is more stressful, unhealthy, and a betrayal of who you were meant to be.

In April of 2018, I set a goal to quit real estate and be a full-time artist by January 1, 2020. I was terrified to take that leap and when 2019 started coming to a close my anxiety level increased. I closed my last real estate deal and turned in my broker’s license on December 23, 2019. I had 1 art commission in the pipeline and no idea how to begin an art career, but I felt like a HUGE weight had just been lifted off of me and it was time to be me.


If you have a passion for something don’t worry about what other people might think. It’s your life, not theirs, so do what you love. You’ll be happier in the end.

People questioned me about leaving a real estate career and some even said I was crazy for doing it. I look at it more as I was crazy to be a real estate agent for 17 years. To deny who you are simply because you want to make others happy will only make you miserable and that’s CRAZY.

Real estate was stressful and unhealthy for me. I was constantly on the go and walking a tightrope of a deal after deal. Stopping at the gas station and picking up a Little Debbie snack cake would help me power through until I got home and have to reply to multitudes of emails, phone calls, and text messages.


Finding your passion and living it is liberating.

Many people struggle to find their passion and others know their passion but will often suppress it because they feel it’s not acceptable and they will place it in the “it’s just a hobby” box. When I took my artistic passion out of the hobby box in 2020 I felt limitless and I still feel that way.


It doesn’t matter what people think about you, because ultimately people only care about how you make them feel, not what you do or say.

2020 has been a trying year for everyone. There is not one person who is coming out of 2020 unscathed by the polarization that the year has rendered. It’s what we do with what we are given that can make all the difference.

And finally….


Ultimately I’m going to make someone unhappy no matter what I do or say, so might as well make myself happy. That way I know at least someone is smiling because of me.

Artist | Illustrator | Photographer Writing about art, life, inspiration, and the journey of self-discovery. https://melissawhitakerart.com

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