Honestly, I don’t know what to make of this year.
2020 was a blur.
Where I live, we weren’t officially quarantined until late-March but I was already working from home before then. At the time, I was extremely excited to commute to the office anymore but that feeling was short-lived. The hardest part of this year for me was consistency, accountability and balancing relationships.
I am someone that needs some kind of structure to be productive—but not have to do the exact same thing without fail. In other words, I had non-negotiables. So, when I found out that gyms were closed indefinitely, my mind slowly shut down. And eventually, I was a husk of the person I once was.
But maybe—leaning on probably—that was a good thing because I can rebuild.
How? Two things: introspection and inner work.
This year may not have been the greatest year because I did the bare minimum, but it also wasn’t the worst. I was able to dive in deeper, be more vulnerable, expressive, and challenge myself unrelated to my successes and career. It was like rediscovering what it’s like to be me without any distractions.
That said, today is December 31—the final day of 2020. That means, tomorrow is not only a brand new day but it’s a spanking, brand new year. For the first time, I don’t feel like I have a lot of expectations going into the new year (especially after the mess we’ve just been through). I just want to keep on winning—even if they’re small wins.
This brings me to this part of journaling: noteworthy things I learned, what I’m leaving behind, and what I’m looking forward to.
What I’m leaving in 2020
- Making excuses and/or validating my own responses. I can’t be the only one with this on their “leave in 2020” list. I am done with making excuses for myself and for others. And if someone doesn’t like what I said: DID 👏 I 👏 STUTTER 👏 ?
- Not taking breaks. I didn’t take any time off this year. Even when my 18-year-old cat passed away in my arms and I was engulfed in sadness and grief, I stayed working. I ended up firing on all cylinders until I burnt TF out. I do not recommend repeating or doing. EVER.
- Matching energy. It’s not worth it. I find that it’s even more draining to match energies. I’m all or nothing. Anything less than ‘all’, I’m shrinking myself to fit where I’ve outgrown or don’t belong and that’s not a place/space/time I want to be present for. If it ain’t a “HELL YES,” it’s a “hell no”.
- Not making time for my own agenda. For the last few years, I’ve worked almost non-stop and felt good about what I accomplished in that time. However, I realized I haven’t really made anything outside of my job. I haven’t really been exploring, creating things, having fun, connecting with people on my wavelength.
- My old behaviours, patterns and actions. Essentially, my old self. I’m not the same person I started this year as. I did some hard-ass inner work. I was very uncomfortable. I did some healing. I did some growing. I’m not perfect but I’m slowly becoming more me.
What I’m looking forward to in 2021
- Travelling (freely) again. I didn’t realize how much travelling fueled my creativity until it wasn’t a safe option anymore. If I didn’t live at home with my parents, it would’ve been a risk I was willing to stake my life on. Maybe that’s a little dramatic and a bit of an overstatement but I miss being inspired by things that feel brand new to me—whether it’s space, people or time.
- Cultivating deeper connections (and growing new ones in healthy soil). This one is something I’m always working on. I’ve heard/read that relationships are like a mirror of the one you have with yourself—and the better the relationship I have with myself, I realized that I want to cultivate more wholesome and valuable connections. That’s it. That’s what I’m choosing for me.
- A better future. I was just reading ‘This Could Be Our Future’ by Yancey Strickler and on the Universe, this man is inspiring TF out of me. In his manifesto, he talks about how the world we live in is run by the idea of “financial maximization”—meaning that we think the best decision is the one that makes us more money. The solution? To change the balance of our values because we don’t need more crap (thanks, Capitalism), we need a better future. And yo, I’m going to manifest that happening with my dream team.
- Focusing on myself. S/O to my therapist I started seeing this month, I’m looking forward to getting to know myself more; freeing myself from my past trauma; building new tools to help me fight the good fight. I don’t want to put myself in a position where my peace is intentionally (and consistently) disturbed. So, if that means I’ll be single for a while, so be it. I’m good.
- New challenges. This year was definitely a challenge but like YouTube personality, DeStrom used to say repeatedly, “Another Day, Another Challenge!” The best part about facing new challenges is that I’ll never be bored, too comfortable or both—I’ll keep going forward. I want to keep growing and keep discovering things that inspire me and make me better than I was yesterday. More lemons, more lemonade.
And that’s a wrap.
I learned a lot this year—and I hope you did, too.
If there’s anything I want to leave you with—aside from my two lists—is that healing and growth are not linear. In fact, is anything in life meant to be linear? This year may not have been anyone’s best year because of the pandemic but it's one that we got through together with the power of the Internet.
Please remember that you are strong. You are brave. You are beautiful. You are not alone. And most importantly, you are more than enough.
See you next year ❤️
Annie Ngu is the co-founder of the Women United Project, an author, a writer and a UX designer at EnergyX. She lives in Toronto, ON spending her days finding new beats, reading, creating and growing her internal garden. She’s on Twitter @AnnieNgu