Goodbye 2020

December 31, 2020

What a year that was. I still can't seem to wrap my head around everything that happened in this year. But first of all, I am thanking the Universe for keeping me and my loved ones well and alive. Not everyone made it 'til the end of the year. 😥

For me, this year gave me lots of time to do some introspection and to progress in my healing journey. It also became crystal clear to me the things that's important to me. And I learned to prioritize them this year more than ever. I also learned to be kinder to myself and to give myself a break if I feel I needed to. As much as we all just wanted to forget and move on from this year, it is still important that we remember the learnings that we've had this year because that's how we will grow and become stronger as humans moving forward.

And on that note, I list down here my takeaways from the year:

  • Health is wealth. No year has made this more obvious than 2020.
  • Life is all about the human connection... and the Internet will never replace that. With 9 months (and counting) of work from home, I realized the value of the connections that I have made with my friends and colleagues. The strongest friendships that I have really stood out, and I thrived on our jokes and laughter during our occasional zoom sessions. Although the bouncing back and forth of energy will never be replicated by the 2D versions of my friends, at least I still was able to connect with them and share with them my thoughts and feelings even if it's just virtually (for now).
  • Routines are life-savers. During the first few months, I was okay. I was kinda thrilled actually (when I'm not thinking about the safety of my loved ones) because suddenly I had all these extra time on my hands each day. I would blog a lot (hahaha look at my post history during Q2-Q3) and even exercise everyday! I had a number of personal projects in progress and I was just maximizing the extra time that was suddenly available. And then around July, I hit a bump on the road, and my momentum slowly halted to a stop. And I was starting to think dark thoughts again. That time was a blur. You know what brought me back to the light? Taylor Swift's folklore album release!!! Which leads me to my next takeaway-
  • Music can get you through hard times. I have proven this again this year. It's really a healing experience to just be moved by music. I really missed going to concerts. I miss that adrenaline high as I experience the energy of live music on stage. 😭 It might not be so soon that I would be able to experience the concert scene the same way as before, but I will continue to search (and even make) music that would inspire me.
  • It's important to have hobbies outside of work. I have been known by my colleagues to extend at the office, even staying for 3+ hours after our shift everyday. I realized this year that that routine was actually not healthy at all. Now, the opposite was happening during all these work-from-home days - I would do my work during the shift, end on time, then start on my personal projects next. I have been writing more, exploring new skills to master (Machine learning! Music theory! Baking!) I even had the time to learn more about Buddhism and proper training for cats and dogs (through Coursera courses).
  • The goal is not to win, but to learn. I used to feel intimidated when trying new things, thinking that I might not do well enough or I might commit mistakes. Now I learned that by failing to try, I gain nothing (and it would just be added to my long list of what-ifs 😨). However if I did try, I gain everything because even though I make mistakes, I learn something. I get to earn something from experience. Through this new mindset I get to be (a little bit) braver when faced with new challenges in my personal/work projects.
  • Take in one day at a time. The answers to my worries have always been inside me. During overwhelming moments, I always went back to my life mantra: take one step at a time. If in March you told me we'll be stuck in our homes for the rest of the year, I think I would have gone berserk. But instead, I didn't look far away that much and just planned my tasks week per week. Maintaining a bullet journal really helped. Now I can't imagine my life not having a journal with me.
  • Gratitude can move mountains. This is what Buddhism Coursera course taught me. To escape the curse of the Hedonic Treadmill, practicing gratitude helps. It's similar to the notion of "counting our blessings." 
There's a lot more things that I learned this year that did not make the list, but I hope I would be able to carry them all onwards as I continue my life journey. The marathon is still not over, and I need to stay vigilant for me and my family. But I pray that the next year would be better for the world overall. I miss the old normal, but I have to accept that things would not be the same, and it will take time for things to "stabilize" again. Still, I am hopeful for a better future ahead.

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