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At the end of each year, I like to do a reflection about the year that has just past. Needless to say, 2020 was a really tough year. The global pandemic transformed our lives in every way imaginable. For me, 2020 was a year about learning to cope with uncertainty and to take a step back from my usual fast-paced lifestyle.
Things were still pretty calm during the first quarter of 2020. As usual, I was busy with my PhD studies. Outside of that, I tried to keep myself busy. I spent most weekends going skiing. Once an avid snowboarder, I switched to skis in the end of 2019 and never looked back!
In January, I also volunteered at the Youth Olympics which were being held in my city. It was super fun and inspirational to watch the athleticism, passion, and dedication of world-class youth athletes. I felt truly blessed to have been selected to take part in the Olympic movement and I really hope to be able to volunteer in future events! Yes, wishful thinking!!!
In March, the WHO announced a global pandemic and a few weeks after that, we were in lockdown. I had a trip planned for Iceland for two weeks and was luckily still able to go despite all of this chaos. My friend and I had a fabulous time in Iceland and there were nearly no tourists to speak of.
We were in lockdown for two months which meant that everything was closed besides essential shops (grocery stores and pharmacies). There was also a ban on private gatherings of more than 5 people.
In Switzerland, we were quite lucky in that we could still go out whenever we felt like it unlike our neighbours in France and Italy. I usually went out for a daily stroll just to get out of the house and get a change of scenery.
My friend has a chalet and I was able to spend two weeks there as well. It was so nice to be in nature and away from people!
We started easing out of lockdown in June. Borders reopened and most countries were promoting tourism again. I decided to travel while it was still safe. Of course, I exercised all precautions and followed all the local regulations.
To be honest, with all the uncertainty, I actually preferred to stay at home for a change. This was the first summer I spent truly exploring what Switzerland has to offer. I went hiking all over the country and explored so many regions that I otherwise would have avoided.
The highlights for me were Grindelwald and Zermatt. I loved hiking in these areas. Under normal circumstances, I would never go hiking in these places because I just felt they were overcrowded with tourists. The Covid pandemic allowed me to truly see and appreciate Switzerland’s beauty.
I also had a crazy idea of biking the entire Lake Geneva (Lac Léman) with some friends (200km total distance). Highly recommend!
I had a lot of plans for 2020 that fell through. First, I was supposed to attend a conference and visit my family in April. This was not possible due to Covid. Now it’s been over 2 years since I last visited. Covid really helped me to appreciate my family and recognise the importance of having your family nearby. I will visit as soon as it is safe to travel again.
The second major disappointment of 2020 was that I was supposed to go back to Asia again for my research exchange/volunteer project. I feel sad because the community that I am working with is suffering immensely and I cannot be there physically to help. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I can return by July 2021 and continue my work there.
Dealing with loneliness during Covid was not easy either! You want to see friends and family but at the same time you want to stay home and eliminate the spread of Covid. I was constantly facing this dilemma and only really went out if we were doing an outdoor activity.
2020 marked my first year experiencing “lifestyle creep.” This year, my spendings went up by 25%. Gosh!!!
Due to Covid, I realised that my apartment was just way too small. There were so many things that started to irritate me about it – I had no space, my neighbours were loud, there was very poor lighting.
I took advantage of the pandemic and decided to find a new apartment while demand was low. I was lucky to find a new apartment just footsteps from the lake. Even luckier was that I was 1 of 3 people who applied for this apartment and the owner chose me in the end! Under normal circumstances, there would have probably been over 100-200 people applying for the apartment and I would never have stood a chance of being picked.
Goals from 2020
1. Make advancements in my PhD
2. Start transition to life after Switzerland
I did a lot of exploring of Switzerland this year so I wouldn’t regret it if I were to leave one day. I would say that this goal has been largely achieved! I still have a few more things I’d like to do before leaving though! All things considered, I’ll probably be staying here for at least 1-2 more years.
3. Continue working on passion projects and volunteering
I’m working on another project with one of my best friends. It’s going very well and it’s taken most of my free time.
I am still keeping this blog alive but I don’t really contribute much to it anymore. Sometimes I read my older posts and cringe but I still keep the posts up for sentimental value. My lifestyle has changed so much that I can no longer relate to myself from 3 years ago. But the posts are still fun to read and I’m glad they’re still helpful to my audience.
4. Continue doing everything I love (hobbies)
Thanks to Covid, I had all the time in the world to work on my hobbies. I was playing piano and guitar everyday. Also, I was doing a bit of yoga everyday before bed. Of course, I had to stop doing ballet, tap dance, and figure skating because the facilities were closed due to Covid. I also managed to go skiing about 25 times in 2020 so I made huge improvements there as well!
Also, I hired a private Spanish teacher and am doing weekly classes. I love these conversational classes so much! They are what I look forward to every week. If you’re interested in learning a new language, I highly recommend Preply. Use my code for 30% your first lesson!
5. Continue growing my passive income
2020 was a great year for growing my income through investments. I invested a lot of money during the financial downturn. I also have holdings in Bitcoin and the value of cryptocurrencies have just skyrocketed lately! I somehow managed to grow my net worth by 33% and it feels great!!!
Goals for 2021
1. Finish my PhD
2. Grow my passive income
3. Make more time for loved ones
4. Maintain good health
5. Continue doing what I love (hobbies)
6. Social media detox
7. Lead a more minimalistic life.
I shared my 2020 review and my goals for 2021. How was your 2020?
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