We Made It Through The Year 2020

Thursday, December 31, 2020

This year definitely felt surreal; I felt like I was living a dream I was unsure of describing. I know we've used and seen a plethora of words in attempts to describe the year, and to be honest it's been tiring to see them used over and over again.. but it is what it is. We need to acknowledge that it has been difficult, but we made it through. 

Year-end entries are always exciting for me to write, and I've written one for each and every year since I started out as Hello Anna Jo. In case you would be interested in reading, here is 2017, 2018, and 2019. Every time I look back, I feel like I'm seeing my old self and how much I've evolved. If ever you do decide to read, I hope you get to take home with you some nuggets of wisdom from my younger self too. : - )

And here is my 2020 entry. I have to admit it's still hard to wrap my head around this year, but I will try my best. I often think about how I would look back at this time of my life, which I think is both a unique and strange one. 

The days were monotonous, and the end of it was nowhere in sight. Yet I learned so many things, which I'm truly grateful for. I think this was the year that challenged me to take everything as an opportunity, despite the difficult circumstances or when the situation has been less than ideal. I present to you, my reflections on the year that was, and the fruits of my ruminations from these past few days:

  • I've learned to value where I am now professionally. Earlier this year, I had the chance of taking on a new role within my firm. I was already nearing my third year as a young professional, and was hoping to grow and take more responsibility. As I was beginning to transition into it though, the lockdown happened and I was unable to fully ease into it comfortably as I envisioned to. All the in-person meetings became virtual, and I've had to make sure to efficiently pass my old tasks to our newest colleague. 

    I was very much used to being able to standing up from my work station and tapping onto the expertise of my more experienced colleagues who were a couple of steps away from me. But I've had to adapt, and to make sure things would still flow smoothly. 

    Unknowingly, these were forms of stepping out of my comfort zone, and I think we all did so in our own ways, as we were able to do well with shifting everything virtually. Also eventually, my mid-year promotion came, and it was such an unexpected blessing because I had already accepted and was at peace with myself with whether it was going to happen or not this year. One thing for sure though is that, I wouldn't have been able to do this without the help of my colleagues who were generous of their time to share their best practices, and my team leads who saw my potential. 

    I've also done a lot of job crafting this year. It's a bit of a reflection exercise in which you describe your job in your own words. No job is easy, that's why we're paid for it! But I learned that when we try to see it in a different lens, and focus more on what we enjoy and dwell on the impact we create, it will start to feel more like a mission. And that's energizing. I've doubted myself a lot ever since I started, but one thing I will keep in my heart and mind is that: I'm creating impact through whatever I do, and wherever I go. 

  • I've discovered and further enhanced my strength, which is building good consistent habits. I think this year allowed us to slow down, sit with ourselves, and look internally. It allowed us to craft our own routines and habits (that we actually love), and made us think of how we can be better at maintaining our health both physically and mentally. Some of the things I was able to incorporate this year were:
    • Sleeping early and waking up early
    • Eating MORE fruits and vegetables - imagine, my work break consists of peeling fruits 
    • Playing badminton, biking, or taking walks around my village, before work! - now these things, I know I'll never have the luxury of doing again if I were to go back to commuting to the office 
    • No social media Sundays

  • I finally took the leap and started taking on projects as a freelance writer. Although I'm not outspoken about this venture, and I believe only dear readers and friends who read this blog are aware, I've been helping others with writing articles. It's not a regular thing though; it's something I'm able to do only when I have enough time to commit. Writing has been my deepest passion for the longest time, and extending my gift of words to others, I feel, is a wonderful thing to do. 

    At the same time, it has opened my eyes to the reality of the pandemic. I've had to write about how others have been affected and I've had to research on numbers. It saddened me, how all these things felt so out of our control. Yet beyond the suffering of the world, also came the resiliency of the human spirit. I've also read stories of how people showed up for others, how people continually find solutions, and it gave me hope that we will continue doing so as we enter the new year. We don't have to just end with the bad, but we have to keep finding ways to help one another. Lending my words for these kinds of articles was a meaningful experience for me as well. 

  • Our rest is equally as important as our work. Earlier this year, I was always, always trying to be productive and finding the next thing to do. This was a habit of mine before the pandemic, and I realized that this doesn't work for me anymore. I used to dislike being 'bored', but I realized that we do need to be bored and embrace our idle times. This is the only way we can refresh and recharge ourselves to continue living and enjoying life.

    I also relished each and every weekend and holiday. I documented those days I took the time off and it made me realize how bad I am at taking time offs, and will continue working on consciously setting aside time for rest. 

  • There is joy in the spectacular mundane. I say spectacular, because every effort to uncover the small but certain happiness in our lives matters. If we were to keep looking for and reserve the celebrations for the 'grand things' in life, we may miss out on the small pleasures we experience everyday. We need to acknowledge them and to celebrate them, too. ; - ) I'd like to share with you a few of my spectacular moments in 2020:
    • Seeing new okra flowers whenever I took my morning stroll in the garden
    • Making art, lots and lots of it. This is probably the year wherein I made the most colorful paintings and oil pastel drawings. My hope is that if ever you randomly come across them here, or see them on Instagram, they would make you smile : - D
    • Spending a whole lot more time with my parents. I'm happy to be exercising a lot with my dad, and doing chores together with my mom. What brought me so much joy this year was buying their birthday cakes online. :")
    • Getting online deliveries, and not one was lost. We had an experience from long ago when a package we were expecting never arrived.. but we have received everything so far this year, so I'm positive all online purchases will find its way to us. 
    • Reflecting a bit on how we were able to connect virtually this year, I would say I'm grateful for technology. It has helped us with working from home, allowed the praise and worship team to collaborate for online church services, allowed us to have bible studies, and made us more creative in how we reach out to family and friends.

What a year it has been, and allow me to say once again that we've done well. To live simply and humbly, to strive harder, to stay safe, to virtually connect, and to everything else we were able to do under the sun, let it be known that we have done our best.

Have a blessed New Year, dear reader. : - ) Please know two things: we will get through this, and you are never alone. I'm praying, wishing, and hoping all the best for you. 


  1. This is such a beautiful wrap-up for 2020, Anna! I've never appreciated technology as I do now and I definitely agree with you on that. And art, of course! It had been a creative year for me as well despite everything that's going on. Again, happy new year to you ♥️

    Chia | http://chiasamson.com

    1. Thank you so much Chia! I LOVED seeing your paintings on Instagram, and look forward to seeing more :) especially delighted to have received one from you (even if it has holes from the earrings haha!), but super love the concept, and I hope you will continue to incorporate them into your lovely items. Take care always!

    2. Hahaha! Thank you Anna, enjoy the earrings ♥️

  2. I always like reading year-end wrap-ups. I love the part where you said that there's joy in the mundane because, yes, I agree. ^_^ Happy New Year, Anna! Cheers to another blogging year! xx

    Renee Alexis | www.renalexis.com

    1. Definitely, and I enjoyed reading through yours. Thank you so much Renee, and I'm truly glad we met in this space. Cheers to another blogging year indeed :")

  3. Happy New Year!! 2020 was quite a year, huh. Love seeing how you've grown over the years. So much has changed since that 2018 post I've commented on. It is great that you're enjoying your role at work. It is so important to enjoy your work. It is great that you got a promotion too. Great job!! Love the habits you have grown!! Love the social media part too. It's always nice to see those who pursue their interest, even as a side hobby. Good on you. Great job on all of your achievements in 2020!! Hope 2021 will be amazing for you!!

    Nancy ✨ mdrnminimalists.com

    1. Aww Nancy!! I'm so grateful to have met you through blogging, and I really do enjoy reading through yours. I'm always motivated and inspired with your life posts. It amazes me how we go back since 2018; time really does fly and here we are now in 2021. Definitely looking forward to seeing each others' growth, and especially with your blog with Mario!! :D wishing you all the best.

  4. Your wrap-up shows how productive you are and of course growing mentally and physically. It shows that you found the little but important things and prioritized them. I just met you (online) but your blog posts are nurturing. I also applaud that you spend more time with your parents. I wish I was as brave as you even with mundane things. "To live simply and humbly" there's passion in that.

    Happy New Year!
    (ahh I noticed you were on my blog as I was reading yours hahaha)

    1. Happy New Year, Kandice! Truly grateful we were able to e-meet :) I love seeing your photos; I think you certainly have gift for capturing moments and natural scenery.

      Actually! Yes, I left you a comment also :)) thank you so much, and may this year be another year of growth for both of us ♥️♥️

  5. “joy in the spectacular mundane” <<< yes and amen. If anything, I think we can all say that 2020 taught us to appreciate the little things. I know I certainly can.

    Hope your 2021 is wonderful.

    1. Indeed, no doubt about this one! Life really can be just simple. Even having the strength to live through the day is a wonderful gift in itself. Thank you so much for your time wit me on here, Keira, and wishing you all the best for 2021. ♡