2021 – did it even happen?

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It is the 31st of December and here I am trying to rush out my final blog post of the year.

A week ago, I was working on my pandemic-travel post to the UK but somehow, I didn’t manage to find the time and determination to complete it. There are far too many distractions in my life than to focus on writing a travel piece which would probably not be well received as.. travel is still pretty much a forgotten dream for many. The covid situation had been looking a little positive for the past two months before the omicron variant ‘sudden attack’ which reversed the tracks for many things. 2021 has indeed been somewhat of a standstill – where we take two steps forward and then three steps backwards and this whole cycle repeats and right now I can’t even decide if my 2021 had been better or worse than 2020.

2020 had been a year of confusion, trying to adapt to the new ‘norm’ and there were quite a number of disappointments cause I had many hopes and aspirations for 2020 in the pre-covid days. On the other hand, I started 2021 with zero expectations as I kind of felt a little jaded of ‘hoping’ and just decide to let things/opportunities ‘come what may’. As a result of that, I reflect upon my year and I don’t really remember much. As there was no excitement, no hype, nothing to look forward to (except for perhaps my only overseas trip), I don’t really remember what I did or what I achieved (had it been nothing at all?) Which was why I questioned.. ‘Did 2021 even happen?’

For the most part of 2021, my life had been pretty much like clockwork (minus-ing everything covid related). I work on weekdays, go out on weekends, meeting the same group(s) of friends as I did for perhaps the past few years – this is something that makes me really happy. Although I don’t outwardly express my emotions most of the time, I feel really happy and thankful after each meetup with my friends. It takes a lot of effort to make time for one another, especially when each and every one of us is moving along with life. My parents still meet their friends, class/schoolmates from >40 years ago and things are really much easier with social media apps like WhatsApp. I wish that I can continue to do such meetups and gatherings when I’m at my retirement age too. I guess I’m a pretty social person after all.

Apart from the usual things I do like watching Netflix, Disney+, I am glad to continue my habit of reading/audio-book listening. Some books help me to calm my mind down, some books comfort me and tell me that there could be more to life and some books just allow me to space out and be with that protagonist at that moment. I wish I had read more in my younger days but I’m glad to have discovered this hobby in New Zealand, and continue on since then.

Another random thing I started doing in 2021 was to.. paint? Won’t deny that I think I have a little art flair and sometimes I do stop and appreciate my own drawing.

This was my first watercolour painting where I followed a YouTube tutorial and wow, it was six months ago back in June!

 

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And this was the last watercolour painting I did this year, a few days ago. Inspired by the Van Gogh exhibition I went in Manchester.

 

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If you’re keen to checkout my other artwork, you can follow this hashtag #flyhoneystarsdoodles

Apart from reading and painting, another ‘pastime’ of mine was to bake. It kind of started during circuit breaker (aka lockdown) and I guess it is something I think about frequently whenever I feel bored at home. To date, I’ve baked brownies (more than 10 times?), brownie cookies, pandan cake (still trying to master it), banana cake (always an option when there are bananas turning bad), brioche (tried once, love it but seems a little too butter overload), scones and other bread options. At the same time, I’ve also discovered the love for oven-roasted vegetables and attempted the feta cheese tomato tik-tok recipe. In fact, I just went to bake a brownie an hour ago as I just felt like doing ‘something’. Yea, that’s my life now.. doing something, getting distracted by another thing and then come back to this something. I don’t plan, I don’t resist the ‘feel’ and I go with the flow – fluid and flexible like water. Okay, I’m getting a little cheesy here.

One thing I really hope for the new year, apart from travel, would be the freedom and choice to attend large social gatherings. My extended family had been doing this our whole lives and suddenly everything is muted for two years. What used to be a 30+ people affair has streamlined to awkward small circles with.. somewhat different atmosphere. Last year, we could still hang out in groups of 8 but this year, the cap is 5. I’m not sure if it is such a strict thing in your country but it’s quite a big deal over here and most of us are rather compliant as we do get fined or incarcerated if we are caught flouting the rules. Apart from family gatherings, I’m also curious about how life would be when we are returning back to the office for good. Work from home does have its merits but the lack of face to face interaction and doing virtual team bonding just feels plain weird. While I am not ready to embrace the morning/evening commute, I’m still tempted to step back into the real office life which I left behind back in May 2019. So much of staying at home has kind of shaped me to be lazier and a greater procrastinator. Oh wells

Why do things seem more and more bleak as I type ><

2022 – likewise as last year, I don’t want to place any expectations for the year ahead and I’ll just continue to be like water – fluid and flexible.

Cheers and happy 2022 everyone!

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