Millennials and Gen Zs reflect on 2020 and share their hopes for the future

2020 was an extraordinary year. It was a year that brought the whole world to a standstill, yet somehow also pushed people and industries into the future. For young adults especially, 2020 was a defining moment that may forever impact the direction of their lives. And while they may not know which direction they are going just yet, they are stepping into 2021 with a renewed outlook on life, and are living with intention. Read on to learn how this year has made some young adults feel more grateful, as well as what their hopes are for the year ahead.


While it was widely agreed upon that the pandemic was the defining event of 2020, young peoples’ personal stories paint the picture of just how drastic this chapter of their lives truly was, and how different each of their life experiences were during this tumultuous time.

“Having to evacuate college early had the largest impact. It was my senior year, so suddenly having to leave my friends and professors behind—possibly forever—was kind of tragic. Finishing up my studies with online classes was also quite difficult, because I lost a lot of motivation. It felt like the structure of my life had dissolved because of this loss.” — Sai, 21, WA

“Quarantine made me realize how important school is to me, and also how my family and I aren't close.” — Beth, 15, CA

“Covid-19 [has had the] biggest impact so far. It has made the biggest dent and affected my life in a strange way, [helping me] reconnect with friends and family and bringing us closer.” — Robert, 29, WI

“The pandemic has had the most impact on my life. I've started to take care of myself and practice mindfulness and it's made a huge impact.” — Seth, 16, PA

“Working from home has had a tremendous positive [affect on me. It has made me] stress less and provided mental health benefits for me.” — Stephanie, 33, NJ


Although the events of 2020 entirely upended the lives of Millennials and Gen Zs, it’s evident that the pandemic put life into perspective for them. Some told Cassandra about something they took for granted in the past that they now cherish, showing how—from the big things to the small things and everything in between—some young adults are feeling more grateful than ever.

“I try to be grateful for my surroundings and try to appreciate the little things more. Just basic necessities like having a comfortable home, a great job, the ability to work from home, and not worrying about where my next meal is coming from are some things that I am more appreciative of given [what’s happened in] 2020.” — Aleks, 27, VA

“I now cherish greatly the time I spend with my cousins and friends. I very rarely get to see them, and it reminds me of how much they really mean to me. Seeing my friends now, I realize how much we have in common and how much it really boosts my mood to see them.” — Aeryn, 17, MA

“I used to take school for granted but now I cherish it, as it is gone.” — David, 18, AK


We asked young adults what was coming up for them in the future. They shared their hopes, their plans, and their new priorities in life. From reconnecting with family members to transitioning to traveling the world, some young adults have a new outlook on life and are living with more intention. Read more about the emerging young adult trends Cassandra identified in our 2021 Outlook report.

My 2021 bucket list is [to] live like there is no tomorrow.” — Akriti, 15, NY

“Travel to as many places as I can.” — David, 18, AK

“Transitioning. That's going to be number one on my list.” — Shane, 29, TX

“For me to possibly get pregnant next year. [And I want to] buy more investment properties.” — Daphne, 24, CA

“Take a trip to Germany [and] Japan. Reconnect more with my brother. Buy a reptile for my home.” — Robert, 29, WI

“Nothing. [Just] to be happy, healthy, and have fun in life.” — Tina, 25, IL

Cassandra Daily will be on hiatus for the holidays from Wednesday, December 23rd, through Friday, January 1st, and will resume Monday, January 4th. Have a wonderful and safe holiday!