2020 Year in Review

Reflecting on 2020 and looking ahead to 2021.

To be honest, I didn’t want to write this post. Even though 2020 definitely was the most successful year for me from a career perspective, I did let other areas of life slip, and that is a hard thing to own.

But then I thought that accepting the failures and sharing them will be a helpful exercise to move on, regroup, and try again. Also, we are in the middle of a pandemic, so I'm not going to be too hard on myself.

So here is my recap. Ups and downs of 2020, work-related and personal.

I Started a New Job

Past August I accepted an offer from 10up. If you don’t know, 10up is a leading agency that works with clients like Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Starbucks, ESPN, and many other well-known brands.

To say I was excited when I saw the offer in my inbox is an understatement. I was happy, terrified, and sad (that I’ll have to leave Rareview) at the same time.

This wasn’t an easy decision. I have worked with Chuck and Rob at Rareview for almost four years and we became good friends. I still miss our projects, daily calls, and Slack conversations. Transition months were a hustle, but eventually, things worked out. We parted on good terms and remain in touch.

I learned many lessons related to work this year, but if I were to pick one it would be “Visualize”. I remember how I went to WordCamp San Francisco in 2014 and as I was sitting at one of the sessions I had a clear thought: “I want to be a part of this”.

I still don’t know 100% what this is, but I do know for sure it includes building something that matters, contributing to something bigger than myself, and being surrounded by like-minded people.

I was very junior at that time, but I kept learning and building themes with the idea of this in my head. Then through working with Rareview, WordPress VIP, and now 10up, I feel like it starts to fall into place.

It doesn’t feel all that magical every day with the deadlines, project iterations, emergency hotfixes, and late-night work. But if I zoom out and detach from daily hustles I feel like I’m moving in the right direction.

I Lost My Grandfather

This was the saddest moment this year. We all know that death is part of life, but when it touches your family it’s never easy to handle. It felt especially hard because I couldn’t attend the funeral. My mom video-called me and I said my last words through FaceTime.

But as hard as it can feel, life goes on.

Grandpa, thank you for all the things you taught me, I still think of you.

I Kept Running Every Day

Yup, at the time of writing, my streak is 736 days!

Some stats: In 2020 I went for a run 391 times (19 more than in 2019) and ran a total of 1113 miles (218 miles more than last year). The number is probably a bit higher because my tracker died a few times during the run.

One of my running goals for 2020 was to complete the NYRR 9+1 program. Basically, it is a way to get a ticket to NYC marathon by running 9 special races and volunteering once.

I did complete it, but most of the races were replaced with virtual ones, so it wasn’t as fun as I anticipated, but I can’t complain.

So now I have the ticket to the marathon, the only caveat is that I don’t know exactly, if I'm going to run it in 2021, 2022, or 2023. Because the 2020 marathon was canceled, all participants were granted a ticket to one of the future marathons. And because the capacity is limited, NYRR changed the rules and can't guarantee a ticket for 2021 specifically. Which is fine.

I Learned Snowboarding

That is I learned to get down the mountain on the snowboard only falling a few times and still enjoying the ride. I went to Mont-Tremblant with friends in February before the pandemic started to unfold.

I get it now why people do it. I still struggle a lot, but when I was able to catch the moment, It felt like flying. It’s challenging and relaxing at the same time. Definitely want to spend more time snowboarding in the future. It’s a healthy way to have a break from work when you need it.

Things That Didn’t Go as Planned

As I mentioned in the beginning of the post, there are things I let slip more than usual in 2020.

I wrote five out of 36 articles I planned to write in 2020, didn’t get to 36 books I planned to read, and dropped from 20% to 15% body fat instead of 10%.

Looking back at 2020 I think there are two reasons this happened: One, I am yet to build daily habits to get there. Two, my mind was pre-occupied with other goals.

My reading was sporadic, I read “Rich Dad Poor Dad” in four days and was struggling through “Effective Executive” for a month. Then I didn’t read for weeks, and this pattern repeated a few times with other books.

I was only writing when I had ideas for articles, and haven’t finished most of my drafts for various reasons.

Things are a bit more complicated with getting leaner. I am in a good shape already and feel much stronger and healthier than I ever felt. Garmin still tells me my fitness age is 20. Getting to 15% was easy, 10% is a mindset shift and a longer journey that I am still on.

Also, as cliche as it sounds, work took the main stage for me this year, first half of 2020 I was focused on a few key projects at Rareview, then transition to 10up and learning the ropes there felt more important than getting to a certain number of written articles and written books, or number on a scale.

That is not to say I am giving up on these goals. I am going to regroup and approach them differently.

Intension for 2021

Looking forward to 2021 and ahead I want to set one intention: build more healthy habits.

I feel like running every morning changed my life. It is one of my anchors now. I do it without thinking and it makes my days better.

I feel similar when I read, it makes me feel fulfilled and grounded. So as the first intention for 2021, I’m going to start the year by focusing on building a habit of reading and move from there.

This doesn’t mean I don’t have other projects I want to realize in 2021, I just feel like without building healthy routines it is practically impossible to achieve anything.

So I’m going to take it one step at a time.