It goes without saying what 2020 has been. Who would have thought that an unkempt seafood market in China could claim 1.9M lives and change drastically how we live? Natural calamities like forest fires, volcano eruptions (see photo above) and typhoons occurred this year, as well as human conflicts rooted from various socio-political divide around the globe.

Unemployment rate here in my country peaked at 17.7% in Q2'20. Knowledge workers like myself are stuck at home, still clocking in and out, while trying to keep away from physical contact—and not to mention, our sanities in check.

Amidst the havoc, however, time flies. Here we are with the new year, and here I am with some personal realizations:

2020 granted me clarity on things that matter to me. What can't I live without? What are just distractions from living my truth?

I also appreciated all people in my life, yes I mean all. My family, friends, colleagues and even kind acquaintances whom I exchanged messages with on social media made this year easier to bear.

I wouldn't want to romanticize our institutionalized struggles, but I'm reminded of this passage from Principles by Ray Dalio:

In time, I realized that the satisfaction of success doesn't come from achieving your goals, but from struggling well.
Now imagine instantaneously achieving (your goal). You'd be happy at first, but not for long. You would soon find yourself needing something to struggle for.
I can say that being strong is better than being weak, and that struggling gives one strength.

Suffering is hard to wrap our heads around with, which would entail long and winding theological discourse. I'm not qualified to explain where God is and how He perceives of those who suffer. It's something beyond my limited mind.

Instead, as an average human being, I can just focus on what I can control and draw strength from this situation we're thrown into. Very Heidegger, I know.

We should all learn from time's neutrality: to grasp the opportunity to start anew, and to stay consistent.

In other words, to learn from the bad and to appreciate goodness. - EM