What 2020 Taught Me

What a year it’s been! I think most of us can agree that this year has been forever chiseled in the timeline of man. We’ve cried many tears and hopefully come to appreciate the little things in life. I’d like to share a little on what I’ve taken from 2020 in hopes some of you will also reflect and build upon.

January 26, 2020 came with a shock of 9/11 magnitude. We all know where we were when we got the news. On that day, I woke up to a phone call from my dad informing me that Kobe Bryant had died in a helicopter crash. We all didn’t believe it. We all pinched ourselves. And just when we were beginning to dry our tears… we got confirmation GiGi was gone too. 🙁 

May those 9 precious souls in that helicopter rest in peace.

A moment of silence for all others we’ve lost in 2020:

Kobe, GIGI and the other passengers 

Kirk Douglas

Irrfan Khan

Jerry Stiller

Naya Rivera

Regis Philbin

Chadwick Boseman

Sean Connery

John Lewis

Alex Trebek

Tiny Lister

Many many others

And then, there was the pandemic. Not a soul on the planet has been left unaffected. We’ve learned so much about mankind in such a short time. I’ve never been so proud of my fellow healthcare workers. Despite being at times forced to work under substandard conditions without adequate protective equipment; despite constant attacks at times from politicians and some patients; despite losing family, colleagues and friends also on the front line; despite coming home every day and placing loved ones at risk; so many have stepped up and kept pushing. All front line workers have stepped up and showed the best humanity has to offer.

Despite the desolation 2020 has attempted to drown us in, this year has been one of the most productive years I personally have had. Here are my 5 top lessons I’ve learned in 2020.

1. Cherish Life

Two weeks into the lockdown, I lost a close buddy to the virus. He was only 44, a father of 6, children’s bible school teacher and former college basketball athlete. It really caught us all off guard as he was the first person in the entire city to die of COVID-19 and not at all the type we were told would die. This certainly changed my perspective on a lot of things in life. I have since spent a lot more time with my son and wife, and checked on friends I haven’t heard from in a long time. This has been the year to forgive and let go, lend a helping hand to does in need, and working to understand those who are different than you are.


2. Work Harder at Your Why

This year has made us answer tough questions. Some were forced out of a job while others have completely changed career paths recognizing they weren’t getting fulfillment from their job. Many of us have roadblocks keeping us from being great and capitalizing on our why. As for me, I had to take the bold step of leaving my job of 5 years and moving with my family to a whole new city. It was a very scary decision moving from a life a comfort during a pandemic but it was time. It was import I set the table to capitalize on my why/purpose.


3. Health is Wealth

This virus has thought us how fragile life is. No one can cheat death and we certainly can hasten it with our actions or inactions. You can’t buy time or health. Many of those who died from the virus suffered from underlying health conditions some of which could have been prevented. I have had to rethink my priorities and now see health as a commodity. Just as I can leave a financial inheritance to my children I can leave a health inheritance. Teaching healthy eating and exercise habits to my loved ones is one of the most valuable things I may pass on to them.


4. Do it Yourself

This has been the biggest take home for me this year. 2020 was a year full of sacrifices. Many times we just have to make-do. One observation I have made is some people used this time to learn and better themselves while others became even more dependent during this time. I have had some patients lose weight now they have began cooking and eating out less while others have succumbed to the “Quarantine 15 (lbs).” Personally, I dabbled into gardening to grow my own oranges and hope to do more in the future. The cool thing about doing it yourself is you can do it your way. Many of you are aware that my brother, Dr. Dale and I took on the extremely challenging project of creating a movie (www.BMWCmovie.com) which will be played across the country in February. It was extremely difficult especially during the pandemic but it was worth it. We saw the need for this type of movie so we did it ourselves. Recently, I was looking for an animator for an upcoming project but the prices were ridiculous. My brother then reminded me, “Why not do it yourself?” Guess what folks, I’m about to be an animator! Sometimes running into roadblocks or hearing “no” can be the best thing that ever happened to you.

Fresh oranges! Gardening is fun.


5. Spend Time in the Word

This is always number one in my book although I don’t do as good of a job as I feel I should. I find it essential to have an anchor in life. It is good to find that source of meaning and positive guidance that transcends all. See at the end of the day, people can fail you and flashy things will eventually fade and get boring. Ultimate joy cannot come from material things or people. There is another source worth learning and spending time with.

I don’t know about y’all but I am super pumped for 2021. I’m in a new city, I have a new baby on the way, and I’m working on holistically bettering myself every day. All the work I put in during 2020 hopefully will make me a better physician, husband, father, friend, Christ follower and overall man in 2021. I want to congratulate so many of you who have made huge and bold moves in 2020. I’ve chatted with some who locked down this year and took the MCAT,  applied for grad school or medical school. Congrats to those who have and some who got accepted. I am super proud of you all! Special shout-out to all our PreMed Monday crew out there! It’s been an honor getting to sharpen one another over the past year and grow together.

Let’s get it!

“Breathe” Self-portrait drawing I did this year. It captured so much of  the struggles many of us felt this year  battling COVID-19, health disparities, and racial injustice. Keep up the good fight and keep getting into good trouble.

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Dr. Dale

Man bro! This is absolutely beautiful!!!! 2020 was rough, but still much to be thankful for!

3 years ago

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Oumou Fofana

I really enjoyed this read thank you so much!

3 years ago

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Aysa Marshall

Thank You for this!!! 2020 was a bit much but it should make us stronger!! Very encouraging read. I’m so sad to lose Kobe 😣 AND then Chadwick Boseman…they are both incredible brothers that will never be forgotten.

3 years ago

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Aysa Marshall

We lost a lot of people this year, may they all rest in peace

3 years ago

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Dr. Daniel

Thank y’all. It is rewarding to reflect on challenging times and find the silver lining. Happy New Year family!

3 years ago

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Dr. Daniel

Thank y’all. It is rewarding to reflect on challenging times and find the silver lining. Happy New Year family!

3 years ago

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Milan Sheth

I am thankful for the PMM crew and this platform for bringing continual inspiration!

3 years ago

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Chrystal Amini-Hajibashi

Very powerful Dr. Daniel. While everything is well said, the parts that particularly spoke to me were “Health is Wealth” and “Do it Yourself”. Growing up in poverty my father always said health was most important and certainly he was right. He sacrificed work time to spend with us and give us a strong foundation in exercise and nutrition. I am forever thankful, and I am inspired to pass that on to others now with your example. In regards to doing things ourselves, having a specific vision and knowing when to change gears when road blocks appear everywhere is golden advice. It’s such a gratifying feeling to know that doing it yourself ultimately got you to realize that vision better than any other expensive or mentally draining way. I’m so sorry to hear about your losses compounded with the countless amazing others we’ll never meet, but I’m very inspired by your positive attitude. Thank you so much for your guidance during PreMed Mondays, it was a lifeline for me throughout this year, and it has changed my life towards a trajectory that will help me until my last day. Thank you, and thank you to everyone else in the PreMed Mondays family. Much love.

3 years ago

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Chrystal Amini-Hajibashi

Very powerful Dr. Daniel. While everything is well said, the parts that particularly spoke to me were “Health is Wealth” and “Do it Yourself”. Growing up in poverty my father always said health was most important and certainly he was right. He sacrificed work time to spend with us and give us a strong foundation in exercise and nutrition. I am forever thankful, and I am inspired to pass that on to others now with your example. In regards to doing things ourselves, having a specific vision and knowing when to change gears when road blocks appear everywhere is golden advice. It’s such a gratifying feeling to know that doing it yourself ultimately got you to realize that vision better than any other expensive or mentally draining way. I’m so sorry to hear about your losses compounded with the countless amazing others we’ll never meet, but I’m very inspired by your positive attitude. Thank you so much for your guidance during PreMed Mondays, it was a lifeline for me throughout this year, and it has changed my life towards a trajectory that will help me until my last day. Thank you, and thank you to everyone else in the PreMed Mondays family. Much love.

3 years ago

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Queenie Wilkins

This was an awesome post! Congrats on the upcoming addition and the oranges! That’s so awesome!

3 years ago

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Queenie Wilkins

This was an awesome post! Congrats on the upcoming addition and the oranges! That’s so awesome!

3 years ago

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Dr. Daniel

Yo Queenie Wilkins! Thanks. Lil man is already making me lose all my hair. I’m sure you feel me. Now its about to be double trouble.

3 years ago