I Didn’t Accomplish Much in 2020—And That’s OK

By Chandra Pepino For Belo Medical Group on December 29, 2020

I started the year 2020 feeling incredibly hopeful. Didn’t we all? And what a beautiful number. 2020, like perfect vision. Like a good year was almost prophesied to happen, by virtue of that number alone. It turned out to be one of the worst years in recent memory, and possibly history, considering we felt the throes of a global pandemic reminiscent of the 1918 influenza crisis. Healthcare systems fell apart. Governments did their absolute best—and sometimes failed—to keep their people provided for while in isolation. The whole world became crippled with anxiety, grief, and incalculable loss. When was this year going to end?

So who could blame you, me, or anyone, for not accomplishing much in 2020?

I had myself a list of big plans for the year. I had just gotten back together with my boyfriend, and we vowed to work—really work—on our relationship, so that the mishaps and drama of 2019 wouldn’t happen again. I made a budget plan on Google Sheets so I could visit three new countries: Taiwan, Vietnam, and South Korea (my goal was to strengthen my travel history to be able to get a Japan visa by 2021). I wanted to move to Cavite with my boyfriend so we could rent a house for the same amount we were paying for a condo in Metro Manila. I could go on, but you catch my drift. I had plans. Goals. Things that I had hoped would cement my young adulthood and allow me to prepare for my late 20s the right way.

Then 2020 happened.

First of all, it was in late 2020 when I had to end my relationship. During a point where my finances were still precarious, I had to strike out on my own because my partner had cheated on me. The ECQ period in March, of course, showed my travel plans out the door. Moving out of Metro Manila no longer made sense, either, as I was no longer with the person I planned to move out with. Little by little, over the course of the year, my plans fell through. And in comparison to previous years, my accomplishment list was looking sad.

Until I realized there are little things I could be proud of myself for. I managed to nurture many good habits: practicing meditation, being consistent with my skincare, never forgetting to wear sunscreen, and working out regularly. These aren’t as impressive as a new stamp on my passport or a bigger bank account, but they’re habits I can carry with me well into my 80s.

We’ve been conditioned to think that overwork is the norm. That if you’re not tiring yourself out via 12-hour days or foregoing weekends for the aggressive pursuit of IG-worthy hobbies, you’re not going anywhere in life. But let’s remember that social media is a curated highlight reel, and that your real life happens when nobody’s looking. These values bled into 2020, causing people to break down while working from home, their physical and mental health compromised. But of all the things that could happen in your lifetime, a global pandemic isn’t something to ignore. Even though you never contracted COVID, the fact that it has brought the world to its knees means it’s affecting you more than you think.

It’s okay to end the year just feeling grateful that you’re healthy, employed, and have a roof over your head. It’s okay to write off this year as a dud. It’s okay that all you want to do is eat Christmas leftovers and ring in 2021, never looking back. You did the best you could, and you deserve all the congratulations just for making it to this point. Here’s to a new year.

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