It’s not too late to wish you a Happy New Year, is it? We’re only several days in and so much has happened, politics related in the USA. Nevertheless, here I am, sitting at my desk, looking back at 2020 and why I’m in some way, thankful for the year. There were lots of ups and downs last year but I believe 2020 and the pandemic changed me for the better. It’s because of these downs that I was able to pick myself up for 2021.

I spent most of 2020 stressing myself out as I quit my job just before the pandemic with plans to visit my home country and to travel. Though I did travel to Paris last January and that was the best trip of the year. The only trip of the year, in fact. We can talk about this later.

So how, you may wonder, did the 2020 pandemic change me for the better?

Spotify 2020 wrapped marketing campaign
This was my 2020, which I am thankful it happened as it has changed me for the better!

Take A Leap Of Faith

To others, I made an impulsive decision for quitting my existing job without another job secured. It also happened right before the pandemic but who could’ve predicted that? I wanted to travel, explore the world, experience different cultures. So I took a leap of faith and quit.

Take a leap of faith. You will either land somewhere new or learn to fly.

Kandyse Mcclure

It wasn’t quitting the job that destroyed me, it was the pandemic and not being able to leave the country that left me devastated and lost.

In addition to that, I wanted to transition into a different career path and due to the pandemic, people were losing jobs, how am I going to stand out?

While going through the year, I questioned myself multiple times – did I do the right thing to quit my job? Now, I’m glad I took that leap of faith as 2020 gave me a chance and changed me for the better.

Learn and Unlearn

As I mentioned, I was struggling to stand out among the crowd to get a job. The only way I could think of is to gain more skills. Especially for jobs that I was going for, I needed technical skills. Like many others, I signed up for online courses and learned new things.

I am also thankful I got a job, albeit a part-time one but a job is still a job. What is important for me is to be able to not only contribute to the business but also learn and gain skills on the job.

Whatever that I was learning through online courses can only get me so far. Having that part-time job also made me unlearn whatever I thought I knew in order for me to learn how I can really help the business grow.

Learning to learn and unlearn things is definitely my 2020 highlight and that’s why I believe the year has changed me for the better as I wouldn’t have experienced this if I didn’t quit my job.

Reading and Writing

I’ve always loved reading but over the years, numerous excuses like I’m so tired from work, there are too many tv shows to catch up on, I want to explore New York City made reading less of a priority… I have books on my shelf left unread and my Kindle is just sitting there, collecting dust.

Being paranoid of the coronavirus, aside from leaving my house to run important errands and going to work, there was ample time for me to read. Although I didn’t read 52 books in 2020, I did read. At least it’s a good start, I am proud of myself.

I wasn’t writing a lot on my blog in 2020 but it doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it. In fact, I’ve also created a Medium account and writing on it too so check it out!

Limit My Social Media Time

I must be honest and say I am not 100% off social media as I love Twitter and I am still actively tweeting. Not fleeting though. However, I am not using Instagram and Facebook much these days, only if it’s work-related or if I want to check out cute corgis.

not using social media Instagram in 2020
How much time I spent on Instagram

I am definitely not on TikTok though which I think is not the best decision but I’m doing it for myself and my mental health.

Being on my personal Instagram account, I see a lot of my friends in Malaysia still hanging out in cafes/restaurants, I’m going to admit that I am a little envious. Well, it’s because there’s no indoor dining in NYC and I have no friends here. And I’m really paranoid of going out too much too.

As for my howivebeen Instagram account, I want to stop comparing myself to the people on the platform. The year was already driving me crazy, I don’t need to put more pressure on myself by comparing myself to people on social media.

Related post: 8 Useful Mobile Apps To Use During The Pandemic

Taking Care Of My Health

I made a rash decision to run the Brooklyn Half Marathon in 2019 even though I hate running so much. My feet were hurting so much when I reached the 10th mile and I basically had to limp all the way to the finish line.

Lazy me took a whole year to drag myself to the doctor to figure out why both feet were hurting. Thankfully it’s a tendon issue and I go for physical therapy every week to strengthen it back.

One of the things that I’m proud of myself too is creating a morning routine having pilates and/or yoga a part of it.

yoga exercise mental health physical health 2020 pandemic
I exercised more in 2020 to improve my physical and mental health

We’ve heard a lot of cases where being at home 24/7 can make or break your family relationship or bring out the worst in you. A lot of people struggle with their mental health too. I promised myself that I will work on my mental health as 2020 was a really crazy year for me too. Put being unemployed, struggling to find a job, getting ghosted by recruiters altogether, my self-confidence was seriously affected. I was also anxious over every little thing.

Being Cautious With My Spending

My income wasn’t like it was when I had a full-time job and I had more important expenses to cover so I definitely had to prioritize what I’m spending on.

Furthermore, I don’t think I need a pair of fancy boots for fall when I barely even go out. Or a makeup palette because when will I wear makeup in 2020? Nope, don’t need that. I do need to invest in a lot of sweatpants for the winter though.

more cautious with spending in 2020 pandemic
More careful with my spending in 2020, one thing that has changed me for the better

On 31st December 2020, as I was enjoying dinner and the last few hours of this memorable year, I reminded myself of what I have gone through the past 12 months.

Yes, it wasn’t the best year but I’m grateful that I didn’t have a long list of things to worry about. I did feel like 2020 have changed me for the better:

  1. Taking a leap of faith isn’t that bad after all
  2. There’s so much to learn but it’s important to unlearn certain things too
  3. I never thought I’d enjoy reading and writing
  4. Limiting my time on social media has helped my mental health
  5. Taking care of my physical health is equally important
  6. Although I’m not a minimalist, there’s just so much I can live without

Everyone’s story and experience of 2020 is different. How was your 2020 experience like?