December 31, 2020

My 2020 Retrospective

2020 definitely didn't end up going as I'd anticipated at all. It was a year filled with so many difficulties and heartbreaking events all around the world (some of which are still happening, and many countries and causes still require our help in spreading the word or donating what we can), and to top it all off, the COVID-19 pandemic changed our everyday lives in many ways (and hopefully, everyone will continue to do their best to follow all the necessary protocols to keep themselves and others safe).

That isn't to say that there weren't some bright spots in 2020! Even though I spent most of my time indoors and had majority of my planned activities and events this year fall through, I still felt like a lot of fun things did happen. New game addictions. New anime shows binges (and a rewatch too). Plenty of movie nights and game nights and karaoke at home nights. Adopting a pet. Getting a handle on a regular chores schedule. Setting aside more time for creative pursuits (including journaling and writing and blogging regularly again). Trying lots of new things (like making coffee in different ways, baking and cooking, workouts and more). Safely venturing out of doors to spend time with family and friends. Consistent & creative communication with family and friends, which involved a lot of laughter, fun, chaos and good news. 

When I started reflecting on what 2020 taught me, it really boiled down to just a few things. Make the time and the effort for the people and the things that you truly enjoy. Let go of what no longer fits you (literally and figuratively). Love fiercely. 

It was, truly, a tough year in every possible way. But we made it, friends.
Cheers to 2020 and all the good it brought (and good riddance to the terror, horror and stress)!

I rang in the new year with Macky and my baby sister Rachel at home. Our friend Jean came to visit for a bit, and we did end up taking her to some of our favorite spots (Black Tap, Marie's Crisis and Soft Swerve). Since this was going to be Rachel's last month with us in New York (for now!), we squeezed in plenty of quality time (including visiting both new and familiar dessert, coffee and brunch spots, a trip to the Guggenheim, seeing Moulin Rouge, going to karaoke). This was also the month we had a snow day, a book event for The Map From Here to There and I got to go to ALA Midwinter with Rachel & Kristin!

Macky, Rachel & I had a day out together that ended with seeing Stomp together, and Rachel & I also went to see Come From Away a few days later. Our NY fam had a colorful despedida game night for Rachel to celebrate our baby sister, visited Eddie's Ice Cream Shop one last time and also brought her to the airport for a very emotional farewell. I was actually pretty sick for a good chunk of this month. But I did manage to have a fun Galentine's Day with Rachel & Kristin, and attend two book events (the Berkley Romance event and The Stationery Shop event)!

I had the pleasure of being at the Chain of Gold book event with my friends, as well as a special happy hour hosted by Tor to celebrate The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. It was also time to celebrate my nephew Luke's first birthday, which was a lot of fun! It was in the middle of this month when things officially changed, as quarantine began and we started working from home. I spent a lot of time on video calls with family and friends, learned how to make that TikTok coffee and started playing Okami.

I feel like I started this month out throwing myself into working from home, managing the chores list and spending time spread out among all my hobbies. But I spent so many hours of my life in April watching anime (seriously, I watched a lot of anime) and reading fan fiction. And, at the end of the month, I finally caved and started playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons (but more on that later). I also have to commemorate this as the month that I finished reading Les Mis for the first time ever!

I spent a lot of time obsessively playing ACNH this month, and I'm not even mad about it. Otherwise, apart from the usual activities, not much happened that was out of the ordinary this month. I did spend plenty of time catching up with family and friends online, including finding out that one of my best friends was going to have her first child!

I finally found my reading momentum again this month, which made me really happy! I did still read a little less than I'd anticipated because I was distracted watching anime and still playing a lot of ACNH. I helped Macky make edits on his novella Cold Snap too, and was happy to finally venture out of the home to visit Rachel for a socially distanced picnic that we tried to make as safe as possible to celebrate her birthday together.

The ACNH obsession continued well on into this month, as did the anime obsession (as this was the month I started Black Clover). We also had some great new music drop this month, as James Bay released a new single and Taylor Swift dropped a surprise new album!

I'll admit to having a certain bias towards my birthday month, but it also helps that it was one of my busiest and most fun months of the year! Rachel & I got together at Gantry Park for an early birthday celebration, and I was pretty spoiled by my family and friends on the actual day. I had the chance to venture upstate with pals for a long weekend getaway (which was a wonderful break from being trapped in our apartment, the start of Magic the Gathering being a group obsession and also the week I found out another one of my best friends was having her first child as well!). Macky, Mel, Steven & I also got to spend a week up in Cape Cod (including a beach day and a chocolate making class), and it was refreshing yet again to be somewhere that wasn't our apartment. 

Macky and I celebrated our 7th (!) wedding anniversary! I started going into my office two days a week this month, which meant I'd occasionally take the subway (and all of that was definitely an adjustment). But we had a surprise gender reveal party, adopted our betta fish Nivvy, and I got the chance to go visit Rachel in New Jersey again.

It was another busy month! We celebrated my friend Jaymee's birthday, attended a virtual baby shower, started a Hello Fresh subscription and had a Halloween sleepover hangout with our friends Pat & Ian. I also got to watch James Bay's livestream concert from Shakespeare's Globe, started Crash Bandicoot 4 and had another lovely day out with Rachel.

The first week of November really felt like a blur, what with the anxiety I was feeling over the presidential elections. But the rest of the month was fun! I got to virtually meet James Bay (!), had a weekend away with pals, watched a Dua Lipa virtual concert, attended 2 virtual book events and spent a quiet Thanksgiving with the NY fam.

Even though the holidays definitely looked different this year, I did my best to get into the MerryMas spirit! I decorated the apartment and our two tiny trees, embarked on a quest to cross off all the items on our MerryMas to do list, spent a lot of time hanging out with family and friends virtually, and had our first snow day of the season. I also got to have a festive fun day out with Rachel in the city, a Christmas party with the NY Fam (and a post-Christmas hangout too), a virtual Christmas hangout with my family (including a rousing two rounds of Jeopardy). It was also really nice that I was able to take days off from the 23rd till the end of the year so I finally got the chance to unwind, relax and just enjoy the holidays!

Honestly, looking back at 2020 has really made my heart feel full. I'm grateful for that. And if you're reading this, no matter what your 2020 has looked like, I hope you know that I'm wishing you peace, love and joy in abundance as this year draws to a close and the new one kicks in.


  1. Such a lovely retrospective and message to tie up 2020 <3 We really started strong this year before everything devolved :-( But I'm glad we've maintained regular virtual hangouts and a shared Animal Crossing addiciton!


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