2020 Story

2020 Story

What a crazy year it's been. 2020 will go down in history as an infamous year; a year when everything changed. Time magazine declared 2020 "The Worst Year Ever", at least, in living memory. Due to the spread of COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019) worldwide, and the resulting border closures and restrictions on movement and human contact, life as we used to know it has been overturned.

Where we once assumed the pandemic would pass us by in a few months (like prior outbreaks) and life would then return to normal, as the months dragged on, it has become apparent that life will never be the same again... we will never go back to what life was like 'pre-pandemic', and will all have to adapt to a new normal.

2020 has brought some of the highest highs, the lowest lows, and the middlest middles - particularly the recurring themes of disconnection, fatigue, and helplessness. There's been unfulfilled dreams and plans, but really, just surviving and getting by this year is an achievement in itself.

Things that were once held in high-importance, like work clothes and plane tickets, became less so, while everyday items, like toilet paper and soap, suddenly became all-important. Countries and cities we wish to travel to are all but impossible, not until international travel opens up again in 1 or 2 years time. Industries, businesses, and jobs have been up-ended. For all the bad this year, there has been some good as well, and for that, I am thankful. Here's 20 questions I reflected on for 2020.

Face Masks - Once A Rarity, Now A Critical Everyday Necessity. Design Credits: Kedy’s Bakes

1. What is the most important lesson you learned this year?
A: That Resilience (physical, mental, emotional) is a trait that can be actively developed, and should be developed early on in life.

2. What is the best thing that happened?
A: The start of Phase 2 of reopening in Singapore in June 2020. The joy of simply being able to go out and about, and see other people face-to-face again.

3. What challenges did you overcome?
A: The adjustment to working from home. Till today, I still prefer to work mostly from office, as my home isn't the most conducive for work.

4. What new skills did you learn?
A: Coaching skills, and speaking and writing with clarity. Also reading between the lines, though I require more practice.

5. What did you enjoy the most?
A: Oddly, delivery services. For groceries, food, clothes, household items and essentials. Prior to the circuit breaker in Singapore, I'd rarely used delivery services at all. Then overnight, it became almost a necessity. Now with the reopening, I'm using it less, but still more often that pre-pandemic. I enjoy the simple convenience it offers. Also, posing our new mascot, Sharkea Blåhaj, the IKEA Shark.

Did More Home Cooking; Cheese & Ham Platter

6. How did you have fun?
A: New computer games, with One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 and Kingdom Rush Vengeance being the most notable here. Watching the free Cirque Du Soleil compilation shows on YouTube. Catching up with friends when reopening began. Going on Staycations in Singapore - at Studio M Hotel, M Social Singapore, PARKROYAL COLLECTION Pickering, and One Farrer Hotel.

7. What new habits did you start?
A: Definitely mask wearing.

8. What accomplishments are you proud of this year?
A: Announcing the establishment of the Academy in November 2020 is probably the greatest achievement this year, after 6 months of planning and hard work.

9. What did you learn about yourself?
A: That I am still capable of learning and adapting to change. That I am capable of so much more. That willpower matters when facing challenges.

10. What character trait did you develop most over the past year?
A: Charima, and the ability to connect quickly with new people via small talk. A key trait and skill for business development.

2020 Top Nine
2020 Top Nine

11. How did your relationships (family, friends, work) evolve?
A: Met fewer acquaintances this year, not unusual, because when you have so little human contact, you treasure spending time with people that matter to you. Gave up dead-end relationships. Intentionally made time for close friends. I used to add everybody I met on social media... these days, I do less of that.

12. What was the best decision you made?
A: To focus on experience and outcomes, and worry less about the trivial matters.

13. How did you manage your finances this year?
A: Not as well as I'd hoped. Expenses went up, while earnings went down. Still, there was some recovery, and I managed to maintain a reasonable amount in savings and investments. Also managed to donate more to causes I believe in this year - particularly those dealing with mental wellness, education, and youth.

14. What career milestones did you achieve?
A: Got promoted, which was a surprise. In a year of rampant downsizing and retrenchment, I'm incredibly thankful.

15. What have you not done this year that you wish you had?
A: Definitely travel. All gone up in smoke.

16. How has the pandemic changed the way you view life?
A: That I should do the things I plan for, rather than putting it off. That I should be more intentional about how I spend or invest my time.

17. What did you do for your physical and mental health?
A: Attended a mental wellness workshop. There, what the trainer said impacted me: "Self-Care is not selfish". I think intentionally carving out and blocking dedicated time to exercise or relax is important, and I would like to do more of it.

18. What new experiences did you have?
A: The above mentioned Staycation experiences were a highlight. Had some memorable meals with delivery services such as Fresher and Yummy Bros; and dining out at Boomarang Bistro & Bar, Cavemen Restaurant & Bar, Torio Japanese Restaurant, Awadh, Three Meals A Day, Coba Coba, Tabbouleh Lebanese Cafe And Restaurant, The Sampan, Beast & Butterflies, Dim Sum Haus, and Smiths Authentic British Fish And Chips.

19. What’s on your bucket list?
A: Mostly travel related, but these now have to be deferred to 1 or 2 years later. I want to update some of the old posts on this blog (eg: Morganfield's), but it's slow-going. To diversify and grow my portfolio of investments. To own an apartment!

20. Who should you thank before 2020 ends?
A: My Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who has blessed and sustained me throughout this year. My family, for being supportive. My bosses, for believing in me. My colleagues, for being an awesome team to work with. My friends, for all the good times we shared.