2020 was the year of plans changed, of systemic inequities laid bare by a global pandemic. With all that 2020 demanded, just getting through this year is an incredible achievement in itself.
A lot of us are looking at a shorter than usual “highlights reel” this year. Maybe that reel feels entirely nonexistent. Maybe you actually thrived in these conditions. Whatever the case may be, I hope you can afford yourself some grace during a time that was difficult for so many. I hope you can feel proud of your resourcefulness and ability to adapt in the face of significant, long-term challenges. And if you experienced any painful losses this year, I just want to send all the love your way.
This year I was lucky enough to stay healthy and employed. Not being able to see my family for so long (they live in the opposite corner of the country) has admittedly been taking its toll on me. I am, however, thankful for more FaceTime than ever with my parents, siblings, and my sweet/funny
baby toddler niece. Whenever I feel safe enough to travel again, these are people who will be getting a too-long hug.
Other highlights, whilst I am counting my blessings:
- A trip to India: I got to visit Delhi / Agra / Jaipur with my S.O. and a few friends right before the pandemic hit at global scale (we were boarding the plane home as the first cases were emerging in Seattle). I am so thankful we got to see a little bit more of the world before being stuck inside our homes for months on end. One of the best things about that trip was getting to meet my S.O.’s [absolutely lovely] parents, and I’m so glad he got to spend time with his family before travel became a no-go.
- Speaking at Build: I gave an overview of what we’re building at Microsoft Edge on top of the Chromium project. This was: 1) my first time speaking at Build, 2) my first time “attending” Build, 3) my first online-only speaking engagement, and 4) the first time I’ve given the same talk multiple times at a conference (once at 1:30am PST!). It is truly bizarre staring into the lens on your computer and later learning that you were speaking live to a couple thousand people. 😱
- I was promoted to Senior PM! I don’t really talk about my promotions, but this one felt more meaningful to me. Perhaps because program management is something I’ve learned 100% on the job (whereas when I was a designer/developer I held a graphic design BFA).
- Blogging: I wrote 21 blog posts on things like sticky grid items, forced colors standards (still one of my favorite web platform advancements I’ve contributed to), quiet notifications, and you know, pens. A tiny group of friends and I have recently been getting together online to write blog posts. The solidarity is a really nice motivator, so if we’re mutual online/IRL friends, let me know if you’d like to join us!
- Good Things: my list of good things has been a solace to me in the pandemic more than once. This blog post goes into a little more detail. Feel free to fork and create your own personal list of good things.
- Moving in with my S.O.: over the summer we moved into an apartment together, and it’s been soooo much nicer than shuttling back and forth between our respective apartments on the weekends.
- A new-found appreciation for walks around the neighborhood.
I read 64 books this year! I’m slowly working my way through the shamefully-large piles of books that I own but hadn’t yet read. I’ve also been taking advantage of eBook loans from the library and eagerly awaiting my branch reopening for physical books.
My reads were a pretty good balance of fiction and nonfiction, and I discovered this year that I really enjoy food industry memoirs. Here’s a few favorite books I read this year:
- 10% Happier by Dan Harris
- Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
- Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker
- Eat a Peach by David Chang
- Eternal Life by Dara Horn
- Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
- Luster by Raven Leilani
- Sourdough by Robin Sloan
- Stir by Jessica Fechtor
- There, There by Tommy Orange
- The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
- We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry
Note: these are affiliate Bookshop links. Feel free to buy/borrow books from wherever you like, but consider supporting small businesses over *ahem* gigantic online mono-retailers.
Playlists of random songs I enjoyed or had on loop:
Continued listening quite a lot to the ladies of boygenius, as well as indie instrumental (not sure what you’d call that Album Leaf / Kruangbin / Tycho / Washed Out genre).
I’d like to discover and listen to more music in 2021. My listening habits have been lighter in the past few years as I’ve leaned more on podcasts (e.g. while doing chores or going for a run) and I now have a role where even less of my work activities can be done with music in the background.
I watched 32 movies this year, many of them during the holiday break. Favorites:
- Doctor Sleep (Kind of surprised how much I liked this one)
- Good Boys
- Palm Springs (Same surprise)
- Parasite (One of two movies I watched in the theater)
- Portrait of a Lady on Fire
I don’t track my TV watching anywhere so I kind of forget what all I watched…we have been watching and enjoying a lot of British series for whatever reason: GBBO, The Great Pottery Throwdown, Giri / Haji, Killing Eve…I’m not a big TV watcher so I’ve been amazed at the speed at which everyone seems to be binge watching Netflix shows. By the time I get around to a show, the zeitgeist has already passed.
2020 underscored my suspicion of year-long goals, as so much can change best-laid plans. In 2021, I’ll again stick to quarterly personal goals when aiming for something specific. That’s enough time to focus on a few priorities while remaining flexible.
There are, however, a couple “themes” I want to center in 2021:
- Trust in your own dang self.
- Find freedom and excellence through consistency.
- Remember that life is found in the small things.
Wishing you all good things in 2021. 🌠