2020 – the lost year

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2020 – how do I begin with writing a concluding post to document the most uneventful year of my life?

Looking back on 2019, my post was titled 2019 – It’s okay to live the life you wished for which had been inspired from the book by Haemin Sumin. One year ago, my life was all about breakthroughs, challenging the norms, overcoming the stereotypes and being courageous. Whoever would have imagined that 2020 is.. as such.

I spent a long time thinking of this 2020 reflection post title and what would be the best adjective to describe the year and after countless considerations, I’ve decided to use the word lost.

Let’s look at the definition from dictionary.com

  1. unable to find one’s way; not knowing one’s whereabouts.
  2. that has been taken away or cannot be recovered.
  3. (of a game or contest) in which a defeat has been sustained.
  4. earn less (money) than one is spending or has spent.
  5. waste or fail to take advantage of (time or an opportunity).

Ouch, do you feel it? I feel like I have a story to share for every line above – be it my own or someone’s else.

Oh, and google search recommended me some phrases which include the word ‘lost’.

  • all is not lost
  • be lost for words
  • get lost
  • make up for lost time

If you get it and feel the emotions that come by with the word lost, I’m done with my article and that’s all I have to say.

(kidding)

As if the long-winded me can write such a short post. That wouldn’t happen any time soon, as long as I am the only sole writer of this blog.

2020 has been pretty much a lost year for many people, including myself.

{unable to find one’s way}

Upon arriving in Singapore back in March (somewhat cutting short my career sabbatical), I struggled with my next steps as I wasn’t ready to accept that my travel adventures were ending and that I had to embark on a job search in the toughest of all times. Although I was feeling pretty lost (at what should I do in life), I had been pretty chill about it and accepted that the prolonged unemployment was not a fault of my own and that I didn’t have to feel guilty being a liability to society. Then again, this was only made possible for me as I had comfortable savings (set aside prior to my sabbatical), plus I had a place to stay.

The prolonged time at home made little meaning for my days and I found myself blogging more, documenting my life and thoughts publicly, hoping to empathise and share comfort with whoever that is reading. Sad but true, the lack of k-drama locations blogging has caused my blog views to be halved and the absence of travel interest killed my revenue stream. To add salt to the wound, Google AdSense said that I’ve breached some clauses and the ads displaying on my site had been limited – 3 months and counting – which make it more pleasing to your eyes, ain’t it? I have a love-hate relationship with advertising revenue ><

So the irony for this year is that despite writing a lot more, I am earning a lot lesser. But it’s okay. I didn’t start blogging with the aim of earning money so I don’t really feel the hurt.

Anyway, while I am still feeling pretty lost about my life’s direction (then again, how many people actually figure it out and work towards it?) I’m still pretty thankful that I am currently employed in a job that doesn’t demand me to be on standby during weekends and public holidays. The past 3 days (eve of xmas, xmas, boxing day) plus the post boxing day (today) had been very comfortable for me to relax and wake up naturally without an alarm. This had been my life before employment and to be able to re-live them, feels pretty awesome. I’m not sure how long I am able to sustain the work-life separation (I no longer use the term work-life balance after a boss said work = life = balance) as after all, I’m still pretty new to the job and the responsibilities have yet to be stacked upon me, but until then, I’ll appreciate what I have.

{the feeling of something being taken away and cannot be recovered}

This definitely describes my travel plans for 2020.

I had been considering flying over to Melbourne on my way back to Singapore. With the assumption that I find trouble with job searching, I would head over to Germany to visit my nieces and perhaps brainstorm on some remote-working side hustle. Then, I’ll probably visit Korea in July and perhaps complete my Jeju self-drive plan that I’ve discussed with a friend two years back. Okinawa was also on the plan as I told my friend I will go over to NZ to practice driving overseas, before having the courage to drive in other countries. Okinawa had been planned for May if I didn’t recall wrongly and we almost booked tickets while I was still in NZ.

To add on, there were many of my HK/Taiwan friends who I was supposed to ‘host’ in Singapore when they do their transit from NZ to their home country.

Oh, and I wanted to do a ski trip in December in Japan as well.

And in case you’re wondering if I’m very rich or perhaps own a bank, these are all dreams which don’t cost a thing. My travel norm is perhaps just 2 trips a year or more trips if they are short trips. The disappointment I had in 2020 has caused me to not make any plans for 2021. Honestly, I have no confidence in travel anymore and not making plans for anything seems to be the best option right now.

Sad to say, I’ve also not been motivated to explore my own country as everywhere is simply too crowded. I am not a fan of queues and big crowds and the less explored places I have visited in the past, have now become crowded. I do go for random walks around my city at times but that’s pretty much about it. I have not re-visited the islands around Singapore (not even Sentosa) and I’m still on the search for less crowded places.

Oh travel, when will you be back? I don’t enjoy traveling permanently with masks too. Give me back my lost freedom ><

{a defeat has been sustained}

I think the world has lost the battle against COVID-19. With the strain mutations, we will be facing COVID-20, COVID-21 and many more.

I’m still figuring out how to live and grow with the new normalcy. I once thought that I can be very adaptable but I’m still figuring this out.

{earn less money}

Ouch, this hurts. Yes, my income had been affected as prior to my employment, my last paycheck was in Feb 2020 for mussels shucking. Sadly, I haven’t been disciplined enough in cutting down my expenses but I’ve cut down on the mini pampering sessions like facial, manicure and hair treatment. I still go for massage occasionally but maybe one day I’ll find a way to cut that down as well. I’ve cut down on my skincare and makeup too and I’ve only recently started buying clothes again (Haven’t bought much since 2019).

However, my spending is still rather high as even though I cut down on those, my expenses for electronics have been increasing. I bought AirPods Pro this year and will be upgrading my iPhone X to iPhone 12 next year. Furthermore, my desktop + macbook is rather old and I’m not looking forward to the day either gives up on life.

To add on, the economy ain’t doing well (and is not gonna be well for a while) so it is inevitable that our bonus and increment will be affected adversely. Who am I to complain >< Having a job is already a luxury in today’s situation.

{fail to take advantage of (time or an opportunity)}

The past year had made me lazy. I’ve been sleeping a lot more – this is a happy problem – and because of the lack of plans, I’ve been not motivated to wake up early. I’ve always been a night owl more than an early bird, and the entire surroundings have made me remained nua and restless this year. There were many more things I could have done or pursued but I’ve chosen to wait and procrastinate.

I don’t know what is going to make me a little more motivated in life but this had been a year where I told myself it’s okay to not do anything at all. No one will judge you for slacking, for relaxing, for taking a break and for doing nothing. Life is too short to hustle everyday or be too stressed and lose sleep.

It’s okay to not do anything at all, really.

Now that’s it for my negative emotions and it would be so sad if I just ended it right there but nope, I need to instill some positivity in my writing.

{I’ve not done a lot, but I’ve done some things that are worth mentioning too}

I re-designed a new logo for my blog but I have no idea what to do with the new logo.

I did up a cover photo for my inactive facebook page as well. I wanted to adjust the airplane window view, depending to the country I’m in. That was an idea but I have not gotten down to working on it.

I’ve also started blogging on non-travel related lifestyle posts. Lifestyle is such a vague term but I guess it includes my posts on e-learning, investment tips, and even books that I’m reading. To be honest, I started writing about money and investments because it was something that I’m rather keen but not that good in but I’m glad that my readers enjoy reading about my experiences – especially on how I lost money from my bad investments and what are the lessons that I’ve picked up along the way.

Sadly, I have not equipped myself with sufficient knowledge to continue writing in this area. Maybe it would be an area of interest for me in 2021 but now I’m pretty flat on it and I don’t feel like I’m the right person to be giving people information about investments when I’m not good at it myself. Still figuring things out.

Apart from my blog, I’ve also started baking more – from earl grey cookies to castella cakes to Japanese souffle cheesecake and I actually wrote a blog post, documenting everything that I’ve done during the 90 days of Circuit Breaker. I even wrote down the dramas and variety shows that I’ve watched. How did time fly by that fast?

Milestones for 2020?

I honestly can’t think of any, and my mind is pretty blank. Should I be proud of being able to keep my sanity in check? I guess I shall leave this as it is as 2020 doesn’t deserve too much of my attention and I hope that it would be a year that I could forget. Like I’ll be 90 years old and hopefully not remember any of this COVID-19 nonsense that has occurred.

This was what I wrote one year ago:

2020, it’s gonna be a year of weekend weddings (8 invitations to date). May I’ll make it to Germany (and Europe) too or perhaps I’ll go back to my Asian Love – HK,JP,KR,TW.

Hello to myself in December 2020. I’ll probably read this again before I write my reflections post for 2020.

I’m sorry to let myself know that December 2020 is nothing of the above and that I pray that the December 2021 ‘me’ would be happier and more optimistic about the future.

{Learning to love me more each day}

I know this must be sounding a little egoistic but that’s something I’ve realised through the year, be it for myself or for the people around me. I know that if we really go on the extremes, it could also mean that we are gonna end up becoming selfish people but I think there’s a variant that is acceptable in between. Many times, we give up our opinions, thoughts and preferences, in view of others, or perhaps the bigger picture. However, how often have you done a ‘check-in’ with yourself and ask yourself how do you feel? I’m still learning and reading up more about depression and I found that figuring out how to make yourself happy, is one important aspect that everyone needs to know and understand.

It is important to acknowledge your own emotions, knowing that you are having a bad day (or even in a slum) and having the conscious effort to overcome it. In life, you need to know what are the things that can make you happy. It could be as easy as the smell of coffee or the taste of your favourite bubble tea or the touch and warmth of a hug. One important step to understanding your emotions is to acknowledge and be aware of your emotions. The next step is to figure out what makes you happy. I know that it sounds like my thoughts are in a mess (as I’m still in the process of understanding it myself) but 2020 has taught me to spend some me-time on self reflection (on a regular basis).

It is okay to be selfish. It is okay to put yourself first. It is okay to make ‘me’ happy. Once you can get that logic, everything will fall into place.

2020 (and the years ahead) may be tough for you, or anyone around you. Do remember to spread the concern, spread the love and spread the awareness. Mental health is very very very important, somehow feel it should hold equal weightage as physical health.

************ Waited to receive my futureme letter from 1 Jan 2020 before closing off this post ************

In that letter to myself, there were talks of hopes/aspirations/desires and of course, many of them were left unfulfilled due to forces beyond my control.

Nevertheless, I am still happy and healthy – and that’s all that matters right.

Repeating this caption that I did for my IG:

2020 //

A year that flashed by,

A year that was lost.

Where I did nothing at all,

Or perhaps did everything I could.

It was so (mentally) draining yet it was also the most rested year (in terms of sleep hours).

It was the year where I spent the least money (travel was always my greatest expense) and probably earned the least money too (since graduation).

It was certainly a test of my patience, having to experience the slowness of time – staring out into space, watching eh sunrise, the sunset and also moongaze the night away.

I went on my long walks – from NZ to SG and enjoyed the me-time with my earphones.

I also probably read the most (and/or listen to audio) books, watched the most dramas/movies/YouTube, played the most number of computer/hp games, online shopped and baked the most in the past eight years of my life.

It has indeed been the slowest and flattest year of my life and it does feel a little empty as the year closes in.

There were many what-ifs and could-haves but there were also as many been-there and done-that.

While the near future is pretty bleak, it is something beyond our control.

What we can control however, are our thoughts, our emotions, our expectations, our time and our actions.

Do continue to seek health (espc mental), peace, stability and understand ‘being’.

// 2021 – Que Sera Sera

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  • I commented on this just after you posted it, but it looks like it never went through. I hope you are well, and soldiering through all the trials we are in just now. Take care. I think of you. :-))

    • Thanks for sticking around 🙂 Really means a lot to know that someone out there is still reading.. 2020 had been a weird year but 2021 is gonna be a rather challenging year for most of us as we have to learn to deal with the new ‘norm’. I’m doing well so far and I hope you’re doing good too!