Thankful for 2020 and Hopeful in 2021

Sunday, 3 January 2021

The year 2020 may have been one of the most challenging times for us but I'd like to remember the positive and my personal wins instead.

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The year 2020 will forever be etched in history as one of the most trying years in modern times. In the Philippines, it was one tragedy after another. Most notable of which were the Taal volcanic eruption, earthquakes after earthquakes, typhoons, human violence, and, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic that had completely changed the way we live today. 

Fireworks to usher in the new year 2021 and say goodbye to the year 2020

Thankful for 2020 and Hopeful in 2021 

    However, despite the catastrophes of 2020, it’s not at all totally bad, well at least on a personal level. I’m sure you’ve also had your individual wins during the year and it’s perfectly fine to celebrate that. I experienced some lows in 2020, that’s a given, but there were also highs. In the end, I still do have a lot to be thankful for in 2020 and I’d like to acknowledge that. 

    Here are some of the things that made my year 2020 colorful: 

    Family 


    Each day, I thank God for keeping my family safe and healthy. We know a lot of people who are close to us that have contracted COVID-19. They all recovered but I wouldn’t risk the health of my loved ones so we all take great precautions whenever we need to go out. 

    We postponed our planned family trip to Boracay early in 2020 because of the quarantine. We wanted to take our children to the beach but that was close to impossible last year. It’s a pity that our youngest son has not yet seen the beach but we’re hopeful that it would be soon. 

    Last year, our two boys celebrated their birthdays. Miguel turned two last January 5 while our youngest son, Rafa, celebrated his birthday last November 11. 

    We love celebrating our children’s birthdays, no matter how simple, and we are especially hands-on with the preparations. They were welcome distractions from the daily work from home routine and the confinement at home. 

    If there’s anything good that came with the COVID-19 quarantine, it was being able to spend more time with our children. We saw our youngest son grow and we got to play with them every day before and after work. 

    I have not seen my parents, both senior citizens, for almost a year because they are based in the province. Nevertheless, I’m still grateful that they are healthy, safe, and strong. 

    Career 


    It seems like I’ve been saying yearly that I’m hoping to leave the banking industry and make a fresh start in a new industry. I’ve been interviewed in a non-governmental organization, a group that I really liked. 

    However, my experience, my skills, and probably my personality were not the ones they were looking for. I stopped sending job applications, again, because of the quarantine plus it was the most practical thing to do. Work-wise, I spent a good chunk of 2020 working from home. 

    Blogging 


    I’ve not reached my blogging goals in 2020 but that’s not such a big deal for me. My blog traffic dropped because of worldwide travel restrictions so I focused on updating my content instead so that when all border restrictions are lifted, I would have updated and optimized content waiting for my readers. 

    In terms of blog collaborations, again, I’m nowhere near the level that I wanted to be. That’s when I realized that it’s because I’m not sending pitches to brands. I sign up for blogging gigs posted in Facebook groups but that’s just it. 

    I found out from fellow bloggers that I have to be proactive in sending collaboration proposals so I have to work on that this year. Even so, I got to work with some reputable brands that I really liked. 

    I worked with Colgate Philippines for the launch of their kiddie toothpaste variants. I also worked with Medic Hair for a social media campaign to drive their product awareness. Late last year, I was able to collaborate with Lola Remedios, a brand that we use at home.

    Before the year closed, I posted an announcement asking small businesses if they wanted to be featured on my website. This is part of my advocacy in promoting local small businesses, especially those that use online platforms. 

    I received numerous inquiries but I was finally able to do collaborations with Spektra Graphic Marketing Services and TheBasics Peanut Butter. These two turned out to be among the best brand collaborations that I've had in quite a while.

    I also received other numerous paid opportunities in 2020, more than what I had imagined and asked for, which gave me additional income during the lockdown. 

    I think one of my biggest blogging wins in 2020 was when I placed 7th in the Write to Ignite Blogging Project by ComCo Southeast Asia. The project aimed to get bloggers’ insights on the COVID-19 pandemic and how they are coping with it. Here is my winning article: Unli Dapa.

    It might not be much of a great deal to other people but for me, it was a huge achievement. That’s because I vowed never to join blog writing contests again after failing for several years. This time though, I felt that I had a unique experience during the lockdown and I thought that it was a story worth sharing. I was just glad that I listened to myself and gave it another try. 

    Finally, in 2020, I published a book. It was my biggest dream, to write my own book and publish it. Even so, I wasn’t too confident with my writing skills that was why it remained just a dream for a long time. 

    Select Travel Stories from the Different Regions of the Philippines
    My book

    I was glad that I answered an invitation from Ukiyoto Publishing, who told me that I can use my existing blog posts, repurpose the articles, and then turn them into a book. My first-ever book called “Select Travel Stories from The Different Regions of the Philippines” was finally published on October 31, 2020. It’s available in Ukiyoto Publishing Online Store, Amazon, and Google Play

    Personal challenges in 2020 


    One of our biggest challenges last year was that we had to stop our eldest son’s therapy for his global developmental delay due to the lockdown. 

    We tried replicating the activities at home but we are not professional therapists so we had no idea if they were effective in doing it or not, or which metrics to use to measure progress. 

    We were offered an online option but we felt that our son, who is just two years old at that time, was too young for it. We might just be wasting money and not gain the result that we wanted. 

    While we were working from home, our companies became more demanding but that was understandable because they just wanted to establish control. However, that meant that we could not also “steal” time to focus on our son’s activities. 

    Anyway, I’m not going to make excuses. I admit that we probably might not have exerted more effort into it. I don’t want to blame ourselves too much though because that was what the situation called for. 

    Per our last checkup, our son has little improvement and we were told that he had a lot of catching up to do. Our goal for this year is to prioritize his activities at home (reading, coloring, numbers, practical skills) and enroll him again in playschool, whether it’s in a traditional classroom or online. 

    Hopes for 2021 


    Like everybody else, I’m looking forward to the day when the COVID-19 pandemic will end. While we appreciate the time at home, we do want to spend time again outside without having to fear for our health. We want to travel again, to see our friends and loved ones, to eat out, and to be able to do the things that we took for granted before. 

    And just like you, I’d also want to be able to fulfill my dreams for myself and my family. I hope 2021 will be much kinder to all of us. 

    Happy New Year!

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    Hopeful for 2021

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