“Acknowledging the good that you already have in life is the foundation for all abundance” – Eckhart Tolle
If you have read my previous blog post, GRATITUDE is one of the 7 values I want to uphold in 2021. Today is January 1, 2021 and I want to look back in 2020 and reflect on the things I am grateful for. Although I have had a lot of material blessings and gifts last year, I would like to focus on the non-material things I am grateful for in 2020.
- New Learnings
We all had extra time during the lockdown. During the quarantine, I learned a lot of new skills and life hacks. I learned how to cook. I learned a few basic Korean words (not bad). I learned how to operate a livestream sound system. I learned new songs. I learned how to podcast. I learned how to do weight training without a trainor. I learned how to plan my own meals and count calories. I learned how to pet a cat.
2. New Friends
How is it even possible to make new friends during the lockdown? During the first few months of the lockdown, I tried singing and hosting at livestreams and met cool and awesome people there. A few of them were my idols. Some I finally met in person. One thing I will never forget during my short stint in livestreaming was my virtual birthday celebration which was attended by more than 50 new friends. It was surreal to even experience this during one of the darkest and bleakest moments of human history.
3. New Team
During the first month of the pandemic, I was tasked to head a section with around 18 people and it was very challenging. I was scared at first because this is a “new territory” to enter even though we work in the same company and see each other everyday. But they gladly welcomed me in the group. They opened up, they showed their vulnerabilities and they shared their life stories. I also had a paradigm shift with some of the people I misjudged before. It was a humbling experience and I cannot wait to work with them in 2021, pandemic or not.
Bonus: I celebrated my 10 years in service at work this year! Woot woot!
4. Pandemic Businesses
My line of work is helping Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises(MSMES) to grow. This year, even during the pandemic, I have met a lot of inspiring entrepreneurs who decided to put up businesses even when the economy is down. Their bravery is contagious.
5. Volunteer opportunities
Our home church announced that they are on a deficit because of the Pandemic. Since churches were on lockdown, only few offerings were gathered. Our elders decided to seek help from the “creatives” of the church and they asked me to lead the creative team. They asked us to create content for fund raising. It was a roller coaster ride because we were asked to mobilize and create content with all the limitations brought by the pandemic. On the other hand, for some reason, it was very helpful especially for my mental and spiritual health. In the end, we were able to raise Php 400,000.
6. Shameless expression of creativity
2020 allowed a lot of people to BE THERE and to not give a fuck. For the longest time, I have a love-hate relationship with social media and other online platforms. But we are not getting older. So this 2020, I tried to BE THERE, shamelessly and courageously. Like what I have said, I tried creating content via a Livestreaming app. I revived this 2-year old blog. I launched a podcast. I did some tiktok videos (don’t judge me) and singing some Disney and Broadway songs. I remember a hearty chat with a good friend and she told me that she will start creating content because the pandemic made her realize that life is short and unpredictable.
7. Mom’s continuous remission
My mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 Cancer in 2018. It was a terrible time for the family. But she survived it. In April 2019, her doctors declared her Cancer Free. This year she is still Cancer free. In September 2020, I got her labs and her Cancer levels were very low. I have had anxieties here and there every time she feels under the weather and every time she calls that her stomach is aching. But she got through!
8. Relatives surviving Covid-19
3 of my close relatives, which will remain anonymous here, were infected. Two of them were confined and one was put into a quarantine facility for asymptomatic patients. It was a difficult time for us especially we are the typical close-knit Filipino family. I am grateful that they survived the virus.
Bonus: Speaking of Family, we were able to celebrate Lolo’s first death anniversary during the pandemic.
9. Complex feelings and emotions
Worst cry ever. Almost suicidal thoughts. Mental breakdowns. Social meltdowns. Betrayals. Obsessions. Anxieties and panic attacks. Desires gone wrong. I experienced them all this 2020. And why am I thankful? Maybe because sadness and all these emotions make us human. And showing these emotions, publicly and bravely, allowed me to connect with more people and to understand people on a deeper level. I always love the idea that all of us, are fucked up. And that is powerful and beautiful at the same time.
Growing up, I never liked the word “survive”. I find it a bit negative. Instead, I usually use the word “thrive” for a more positive approach. But 2020 is very different, obviously. “Survive” is the only fitting word to use this time. And I am thankful to the Universe for allowing me to survive, for giving me what I need to survive and for giving my loved ones the chance to survive during the Pandemic.
2020 was a challenging year, but hey, if we only write and count what the universe provided us in the past, we will realize how blessed we are.
Happy New Year and have a mindful and virus free 2021!