TJE 48: Cheers, we survived 2020

2020. It’s everything nobody has expected it to be. A lot has been said about it. And more things will be said, as this one’s definitely for the books. A lot of cliches and superlatives can be applied to it. I wouldn’t be surprised if humanity ended this year. Ask a negative question, and 2020 will reply with YES. Needless to say, 2020 is weird. How did you do?

How did I do?

Like most (if not all) of you, I was very optimistic at the beginning. And the year did start well for me, with new opportunities. Like you, I was stunned. Anything could have happened. Calamities, both natural and man-made happen every year. But 2020 beckoned that one thing: the pandemic. And it halted us all. Like you, I struggled.

The lockdown signaled that the world was taking the matter seriously. I immediately thought this is a crisis. I should be on survival mode, and start looking for opportunities. That was a good pep talk. However, I struggled with the bad cycle of procrastination and frustration. Basically, I would think of things to do, but would be struck by laziness and procrastinate, leading to annoyance and frustration for wasting my time.

Then another opportunity came. But I wasn’t the one who found it.

My voice is good?

In varying degrees, I’ve been helping out/working for a close relative of mine for a few years now. The new opportunities I got at the beginning of 2020 actually was due to that. With the pandemic killing physical events, the business had to pivot. With unwavering determination, she rallied the company along and made the turn to virtual events 2 months after the lockdown. After we got our first client, the opportunities came knocking, and then flooded us.

Another skill of mine suddenly got tapped again. I used to do public speaking as a hobby. That came in handy as I became the default voice over for the virtual events we organize. I work in the company so I would know what’s up, how to run the event, how to trouble shoot and present, and as a top up, I can do the voice over or hosting. That made me conveniently, a cheap host, haha!

To be fair, it’s the first time in my life to receive many compliments about my speaking voice. And I found my proper speaking voice – the one that’s most comfortable and doesn’t strain my throat. Hahaha!

A Chance to Rebuild

And so 2020 became very busy. There were struggles with sustaining it of course. But one thing that kept me going was the thought of, “We’re locked down indefinitely anyway, so better build something. Anything.” Plus, we were very lucky to be that busy.

I opened up about my financial struggle in the past. And this year, I wanted to double down on rebuilding. And it did happen, just not in the form I expected. (Still a loooong way to go before FIRE though.)

“How I Survived 2020” – a self portrait

Self-imposed Lockdown

More on the lockdown. I rarely went out even when restrictions eased. To save time and lessen exposure, I even lived in the office for weeks at a time. (It’s not a typical office, btw, there’s a place to sleep.) From August to mid-December, it was as if I’m an OFW. And in that spirit, every time I go home, I would bring “pasalubong” and have a drink with my dad and brothers. LOL.

Why do that? Since I’m staying with the extended family together with parents, I thought I should protect the oldies and younglings by lessening my risk of exposure. And before I become carefree (or careless), I better build a financial cushion. Unexpectedly, this wasn’t difficult to do. Early on, I already assumed the worst and accepted that I wouldn’t travel for the rest of the year. And boom, this year’s ending and since lockdown: I have 0 travels since, 0 meet ups, and can count the number of times I got out with my fingers!

Apart from the convenience, I thought living in the office is my change of environment too. I don’t know. I just like being away from the family from time to time; and at this age, I enjoy alone time even more. But this year did nurture our family bond.

Finally, I want to mention two things to complete the concept of that self-portrait above.

Fitness

I set a physical goal at the beginning of the year, that I will be more fit – sustainably. In January, I started doing a home workout routine. I learned this exercise many years ago, but just didn’t have the motivation to do it consistently. This year, I reviewed it because for my goal, it’s the perfect routine. I don’t intend to be hardcore. I just needed a difficult enough exercise to increase my fitness, that would consume under an hour. I also didn’t want to alter my diet.

All I need is to feel good in the end. And I do. It’s not impressive, but this has been the most consistent year of fitness in my adult life. LOL.

Coffee

No need to explain. In a day, having my coffee moment is that one guaranteed happy story.

Day 366

I started the year with a personal project: #366HAPPYSTORIES2020. I imagined many things for it, but 2020 and its friend COVID-19 wiped them out. But that made the personal project more challenging, thereby, it became more special. It’s no longer just a project for a year with special numbers, but with a history-making event as well. And I finished it. Today, the 366th day of 2020, I end with a simple but profound story: I made it to the end of the year. I survived 2020. And you did too. And that’s a big reason to be happy.

Cheers!

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