2020 was nothing I imagined.
I won’t deny I still feel somewhat dismayed by how 2020 turned out. I feel some kind of lacking, like a lot could have happened if only coronavirus didn’t happen. Compared with the several past years—which, like for most people, always began with false optimism that didn’t get any sort of follow-through—2020 was the year for me. It had been the most promising of all the this-is-my-year New Years in my life. It had a perfect, very concrete jumpstart. A lot of actions were taken, the progress was tangible, and the path was already paved. I had a clear direction, the sky was very clear. And my North Star was shining more brightly than ever.
And then the gray cloud came.
The reality of coronavirus hit us in late February. I remember it clearly; February 27, I was set to travel to Seoul with a close friend. The mayhem was already hovering over us, but since lockdown wasn’t officially implemented in the Philippines yet—despite news that many tourist hotspots in Seoul were already a ghost town—we kept firm on pushing through with our most awaited trip. Then, the day before, we received emails that our flights were canceled. THE DAY BEFORE OUR FLIGHT. Imagine the heartbreak.
Then, the Philippines began its lockdown on March 15.
It was devastating, dispiriting, depressing for the first few months. It’s like my soul left my body and I just walked the earth pointlessly like a ghost. The first few weeks and months of lockdown, I was just waiting. I didn’t want to do anything until it was over so I could pick up on my goals. (Little did I know the lockdown was going to drag on for several more months…)
I was a potato.
As for the things that happened at the beginning of 2020—first, I finally had the courage to submit my resignation from my job at the time. It was an awesome job; it was probably the best I ever had. But there was something new and greater waiting for me up ahead.
If it seems I’m being vague, I am. That “something” is my ultimate dream, the “vocation” I mentioned at the end of my 2019 wrap-up), which I’d rather not discuss openly even on my blog right now. (I’ve told my closest friends about it, and they know how devastated I am for all the plans ruined.)
I know some people like to put their big goals out there. It’s said to help motivate them more to take action when they announce their goals publicly, which is nice if it works for them. But in contrast, I’d rather work quietly until there’s already something tangible to celebrate. That’s just my style. Also, I’m afraid of getting jinxed, LOL. For me, my main motivation is the day when I can finally brag about my accomplishment, and I’m a very impatient and eager girl so that’s definitely a big motivation for me. I can’t wait to get to the end goal.
So, after my resignation, I quit working for about two months. For those months, I was still trying to—almost pathetically—crank the motor for my ultimate dream. There was still a sliver of hope so I wasn’t letting go. Until around July, I was undulating like a nauseating roller-coaster—hopeless to hopeful, hopeless, hopeful, depressed, determined, demotivated, resolute… It got to a point where it was dizzying and so heavy in the heart that I wanted nothing more for it to end no matter the outcome.
That’s why in July, while I was very sad, I was quite relieved because the roller coaster ride had finally ended (for now) even though it wasn’t the result I was hoping for.
When it was clear that the roadblock was not going to be cleared soon, I redirected my focus to other “local” goals. Things that were within my immediate reach. I couldn’t stay holed up in misery forever if I wanted to get somewhere.
I started by cleaning my room. Really, the first step to clearing your mind is clearing your room clutter. I hate to admit but my room was disgustingly untidy. Scratch papers and dust everywhere. Documents, backpacks, folders, notebooks, and my laptop piled on top of one another. Coffee mugs stationed on top of the desk and the cabinet and the computer.
When I decided and started to clean my room, it was the impetus to get myself moving again. It’s like my soul was lost in the shambles, and it had returned to me after I cleaned up!
I wrote a lot. On my journal and on this Daybook (hence the many overdue Jeju travel entries).
I did some little art projects, like this photo book of my 2019 Jeju adventure, the best travel I ever had. I also practiced my video editing skills and did a little travelogue of my second-favorite travel, Japan. (Actually, Taiwan is also my “second favorite” so it’s a tie up on the list.)
Proudly, I have also been more active in donating. It’s hard to do grunt volunteer work nowadays, so I just set aside a portion of my money for donations.
I was able to practice my kindness. Whether it’s the year’s circumstances that changed me or just my natural growing process, I experienced growth in terms of character although it’s also always a work in progress.
Moreover—actually, it’s funny. In hindsight, 2020 isn’t all that bad. I found more time for hobbies and interests that were always previously put aside. Probably the best of all is gaming. Yes, I like gaming. And ever since Pewdiepie in 2012, I’ve always imagined how it’s like to do game-vlogging. And I’ve been playing a lot lately, so maybe I’ll get to try that soon. It’s something very different from what my friends know me as. Which is refreshing for me too.
This wrap-up serves to acknowledge the difficulties and challenges that I overcame in 2020, and celebrate the good things that happened regardless. 2020 happened completely outside of the plan, but I’m still grateful for the chance to do other things. The jumpstart that I had at the beginning of the year will serve as an inspiration for me. It just proves that I can accomplish a lot when I put my heart and effort into it. It means I can do it again when the right time comes. And next time, I’ll be sure to see it through to the end. Concrete actions, concrete progress, concrete results.
Special recognition to the things that kept me sane and entertained in 2020:
• Running Man (Korean variety show)
• BTS, especially Kim Seok-jin
• My journal
• Mcdonald’s in my town, which was open for delivery during the early stages of the lockdown LOL
• My old college laptop, Raprap—who has officially retired after I bought a new laptop (THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE). It’s a ten-year-old Acer Aspire One Happy netbook that outlived even my last PC and stuck with me when I needed a laptop on the go. And it’s still working!
This 2021, I’ll be sure to pick up on my adventures. No matter what. My ultimate goal is still going to have to wait a bit longer, but that goal is still definitely at the top.