Where there’s dark, there is always light. Just like the ancient yin yang symbol, the dark and light are necessary for balance. The yin yang symbol reminds us that life is a balancing act and most fulfilling when we learn to embrace its dualities: the ups and downs, good times and bad times, and the joys and challenges.
I haven’t prioritized time to think about last year. It was definitely a dumpster fire, but there is also a lot I can be grateful for. Reflecting on the dualities of last year led me to write a “yin” and this “yang” blog post.
We can’t deny that 2020 was such a difficult, gruesome, gut-wrenching, stress-inducing year… (see Living through a Pandemic blog post to read more about my reality of last year), but I also can’t deny the good things that happened in 2020.
Here’s a list of all the good things that happened last year:
- I got a promotion at work — I know this is a big deal considering many people faced reduced hours, getting laid off, or receiving a pay-cut. I am very grateful for the opportunity to level up at work.
- Mark and I moved into a loft — We moved twice last year, ended up in a beautiful loft. I’ve been manifesting us living in a loft since 2017 and it finally came true!
- I received negative results over and over when I took my COVID-19 tests — I take tests often because my industry is considered “essential” and I never really stopped going on-site. As a safety precaution and for peace of mind, I upped my frequency of taking tests because I had a scare. It was actually food poisoning and I was negative. For me, every negative that I receive is a good thing and I’ll take it as a win.
- Mark recovered from his surgery — What should have been a routine procedure almost took a turn for the worst. I have PTSD from the day I had to wait outside of the hospital, worried about Mark, and hope for the nurse to call me back with status and news that he was okay. It took a few months and he’s still dealing with some repercussions of the surgery, but he is okay now, and he is alive, and that is all I could ask for.
- (On a lighter note) I defined my signature style more this year — I’ve always loved the Blair Waldorf (preppy and feminine) meets Olivia Pope (corporate rule-the-world clean lines) meets Kathryn Bernardo (conservative and warm) meets TWICE (athleisure and glam) style. I believe that “if I look and feel cute, everything will be alright” because “looking and feeling cute” brings me confidence and confidence helps me know everything will work out as long as I hold my head high. So, with all the craziness of 2020, I focused on my style and what makes me feel good. I also only purchase quality over quantity now. (Unless it’s socks… I’ll purchase socks in quantity because I always lose them.)
- My love for k-pop, specifically TWICE, grew — My love for the internationally-loved Korean all-girl group, TWICE, grew so much that I listen to their songs before doing major presentations to amp myself up! A lot of my signature style is influenced by their style as well.
- My friendships grew stronger — Continuing the conversation of “quality over quantity”, there is a handful of people in my circle where our friendship grew stronger and I am forever grateful for their love and support during such a weird time. Something as simple as FaceTime and checking in via text meant the world to me last year, and being in a pandemic helped me appreciate any time spent with friends.
- I’ve grown as a self-taught chef — Okay, maybe “chef” is pushing it, but not being able to go to places like BCD Tofu House, KBBQ, or Filipino restaurants challenged me to work on my cooking and recipes. I now have my staple seasonings, oils, and sauces. I’ll have to tell you all about it my FILAM FLUFF GIRL eating/food show series.
- My nephew, Lucas Bryant, was born — Considering the scary state of the hospitals right now, I was relieved to know my sister has a safe delivery in September.
- We enjoyed Disneyland and Disney California adventure as a family — Even though Disneyland closed down in the Spring, I was grateful to have a few Disney days with my family before the shutdown. We have not been together there for years! It was awesome going together AND seeing Galaxy’s Edge together for the first time for my dad and brother’s birthday.
- We discovered one of our favorite boba places — BOBA GUYS! Granted… it closed down because of the pandemic, but we had boba from this place until it ultimately closed down. The tea was amazing, the boba was to die for, and the people were super sweet.
- The movie Parasite won! — Raise the roof for Asian Pacific Islander Representation! This was an emotional win because the entertainment industry finally recognizes another whole group of talented people who have been pushed to the side for too long.
- I started my Engineering Master’s Program — I’ve been noodling on the idea of going back to school again for a while, so finally making the decision to join a Master’s Program (let alone a STEM program) was a huge deal. I’m currently in my second semester and have eight-ish classes left to take. Let’s do this!
- I finally downloaded TikTok — To say I was “addicted” is an understatement. Haha, when Mark downloaded it, he deleted it after a week because he didn’t put it down. (But he eventually downloaded it again.) TikTok, although addicting, is a great way to learn new things, dance and sing without judgment, and find other people who are interested in similar topics! I’m officially stuck on the almost-30 TikTok, #dogsoftiktok, booktok, corporate millenial TikTok, Filipino TikTok, Hamilton and other musicals TikTok, zodiac and horoscope TikTok, manifestation TikTok, and mental health awareness and healing therapy TikTok.
- The Netflix phenomenon Crash Landing On You was premiered and I watched and re-watched episodes all year long — 2021 Update: I’m super happy to find out Hyunbin and Yo Ji So are actually together in real life now!
- I won a logo contest at my company — This is a big deal to me because I got to leave a part of me in the organization I work for.
- Hamilton premiered on Disney+ — I have always wanted to watch the show on Stage, but watching it on TV was just as moving, AND watching it with GTMR on KBBQ night made it even better!
- I went on a black to blonde hair journey — It was a long and windy road, and most of the time I was a red-haired Filipino. But I reached my goal (the blonde) and kept it for about three months before I turned it black again in 2021!
…and more personal memories before the shutdown:
- My oldest goddaughter turned 8 and had a Star Wars-themed birthday party
- I got to see my besties, Christine and Steph, after not seeing them for ages
- I attended my first major Zoom event, a 50th Anniversary
- GTMR virtually hung out a few times in 2020
- My BGF Jesse moved back to California
- Adventures with Shan and Rach continue in South Bay