2020 Wasn’t a Wasted a Year

Looking back to reflect and ensure a better future for ourselves

Shuana Yap
Jan 12 · 6 min read
2020 is not a wasted year, look back but don’t dwell on it to make a better future for ourselves
2020 is not a wasted year, look back but don’t dwell on it to make a better future for ourselves
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels

We’re halfway through January 2021 and I do look back, thinking how 2020 was like for me. I didn’t have more time in 2020 than I did before this crazy year but I had enough time to reevaluate myself, my lifestyle, my health, and make positive changes.

Here is a little about how my 2020 went:

The ups:

Some of the downs:

  • Quit my job right before the pandemic. Yes, I was financially screwed.

There is nothing wrong with looking back at this abnormal year

The above ups and downs are just a part of the long list I have in mind, there is definitely more that I have learned about myself. More importantly, how the year has helped me become a better and stronger person.

There are numerous articles, posts, Youtube videos of people saying 2020 was a wasted year but I highly disagree. Sure, it didn’t turn out the way we planned but it was a year where we could further discover ourselves, what we enjoy doing and find new hobbies.

Created by Author

If there’s one thing that Spotify got right, it’s my top song — Life Is A Highway by Rascal Flatts. I was on a self-discovery journey and along the way, I discovered a lot about myself.

Now that we’ve moved on to 2021, I would rather see the positive part of 2020 and grow from it.

Mental Health Strength Is Important

Due to my struggle with getting a full-time job, my self-esteem and self-confidence took a deep dive. Let’s not get confused with these two terms as they are often used interchangeably. According to Claire Jack Ph.D.,

Self-esteem refers to our acceptance of ourselves and the value we place on ourselves.

Self-confidence refers to the confidence we have in particular areas of our lives.

It’s only until the 2020 pandemic happened that I realized how much I have neglected my mental health. It was probably not the healthiest prior to 2020 but the year definitely took a toll on me.

With so many job rejections, I felt like I was stuck in a forest. It seemed that with each step I took, a new tree grew and the forest just kept expanding. I couldn’t accept that I wasn’t going to make it out there of there, I didn’t have the confidence in myself to find a way out.

“Change what you can, manage what you can’t.” ― Raymond McCauley

I started reading self-help books, listening to podcasts to help myself. Although there are certain things that are out of my control, the only way I could help myself is to manage my mindset.

Time Is Of The Essence

Many started working remotely and the most positive feedback about working remotely is being able to save on commute time. Based on Upwork’s survey, workers can save on average of 49.6 minutes per day commuting.

A lot can be done in 83.6 minutes if you live in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, whether it’s spending more time with your family and children, exercising, writing your next post on Medium, reading the next New York Times Bestseller book, or even finding the right way to cook rice.

I started journaling in February 2020 and aside from the negative thoughts and emotions I had from job searching, I’ve led a totally different lifestyle from before.

  • I’m a lot more active, scheduling pilates or yoga in my daily calendar

What’s most important that many of us took for granted is spending time with family and friends. Many have lost loved ones due to the coronavirus but for those who have them just beside us, it’s time we prioritize them.

You Can Still Explore The World While At Your Desk

My plan was to travel to Asia after quitting my job but obviously, that didn’t happen. I strongly believed that by exploring different countries and discovering the beauty of other cultures, I’d be able to find myself and where my passion truly lies.

Hence, for months, I resented the pandemic.

Shuana Yap in Valetta, Malta, photo taken by Patrick Wong
Shuana Yap in Valetta, Malta, photo taken by Patrick Wong
Photo of Author by Patrick Wong

“It’s because of the pandemic and COVID that I can’t travel back to my home country, I can’t explore Asia” — whenever I’m in a bad mood, I put the blame on the pandemic.

What do I know? Would I actually be able to find my passion if I traveled? Would I be mingling around with the locals if I hop on a plane to Cambodia or Vietnam? Introverted me would probably prefer walking the streets alone or maybe even sleeping until 12 pm.

“Sometimes there is nothing you can do, and in those times, you must do something anyway.” — Garrison Keillor

So throughout the year, I sat at my desk and explore the world through books, I gained new knowledge through online courses, I learned about successful people through the internet and listening to podcasts. Even while job searching, I got to find out the story behind the success of the companies and what their mission is.

I didn’t get to hop on the plane to Asia but there were other parts of the world that I got to explore in 2020. Like businesses that had to pivot to save their business, I had to pivot to gain new knowledge.

Look back but don’t dwell

  1. Just because we’re in 2021, it doesn’t mean 2020 didn’t happen. It was a tough year but don’t be afraid to look back. We got through it, after all. Good job to us.

2. There are many people who had more obstacles than I did. However, I believe it has made us stronger, and that’s all it matters.

3. If you think I’m writing this and dwelling on the past, unable to move on, you’re wrong. I’m reflecting on it so I can make a better future for myself.

“Sometimes, you have to look back in order to understand the things that lie ahead.” — Yvonne Woon

I’m hoping, from the bottom of my heart, that 2021 will be a much better year for us!

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Shuana Yap

Written by

Self-development, books, and my life experiences | Improving on storytelling and writing | Also blogging at www.howivebeen.com

Change Your Mind Change Your Life

Read short and uplifting articles here to help you shift your thought, so you can see real change in your life and health.

Shuana Yap

Written by

Self-development, books, and my life experiences | Improving on storytelling and writing | Also blogging at www.howivebeen.com

Change Your Mind Change Your Life

Read short and uplifting articles here to help you shift your thought, so you can see real change in your life and health.

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