2020: Another Decade

Hello 2020, Are You Ready for Me? Contrary to other years, this year wasn’t fast or slow. If I had to describe this past year in one word, I would say “full”. Yes, full.

2019 has been full of promise, opportunities, heartache, loss, celebrations, love, disruption, and peace. It’s been a mixture of all things good and all things terrible. The optimist in me would say there is so much to be grateful for, but the realist in me knows that this year tested me in ways I’ve never expected.

The Most Challenging Moment(s) of 2019

The most challenging moments this year revolved around my grandparents. I know I’m fortunate enough to say that I’ve known all four of my grandparents (on both my mom and dad’s side) for most of my life.

But because they’ve been around my life for most of my life, their deaths this year were especially hard to deal with. My mom’s dad passed away at the beginning of the year. And my grandma (my mom’s mom) passed away this past fall. It’s true when they say “when one half goes, the other half will follow within a year”. This is called the widowhood effect.

By definition, the widowhood effect is the increase in the probability of a person dying a relatively short time after their long-time spouse has died.

I completely understand the widowhood effect, because when I think of my husband Mark, I already know a piece of me would die if he left first…

This year was also challenging because it was another year that my grandfather (my dad’s dad) had to lay bed-ridden as a result of his stroke in January 2017. I hope to go back to Hawaii this upcoming year to see my remaining grandparents (my dad’s mom and dad).

These obstacles have torn, chewed, and spit out my views about death, life, and family this year. I’d like to think I’ve come out of it for the better. Because of my grandparents, I’ve learned that the life I live now will be stories for my future children and grandchildren. (Also, because of this year’s events I’ve come to realize that I’m scared shitless about having children. Speaking of which, we will have a separate conversation about children on this blog later this year.)

Nonetheless, I learned many life lessons like how I can’t sweat the small stuff; or that I need to work hard, work smart, and work for success… but I also need to take a break, spend quality time with my family, and enjoy the little things.

The Most Pivotal Moment 

You would think that paying off about $50,000 in debt would be a pivotal moment this year. But no, my most pivotal moment was moving back home.

Moving back home to the Orange County / Los Angeles / South Bay / Long Beach area was the highlight of my year because it represents having more time to be with family, it represents change, it represents refreshing new friendships, it represents solid friendships standing the test of time, and it represents leveling up in my career.

Jude Beck on Unsplash

My 2020 New Years Resolutions

1. Go on weekend adventures with Mark and Shadow.

The last few years have been about going on more dates with Mark. We will continue our dates at Disneyland this year, but because we have a fur baby named Shadow, this year’s resolution is an upgrade to go on more dog-friendly weekend adventures together.

Whether it be a roadtrip to San Francisco, a quick stop in Las Vegas, a hike at Yosemite National Park, or a breathtaking stop at Arizona’s Grand Canyon… I would like to dedicate more weekends in 2020 to nature getaways and roadtrips with Mark and Shadow.

Tabea Damm on Unsplash

2. Focus on a truly positive attitude towards money.

Manifesting abundance, wealth, prosperity, and money works wonders. You have no idea how many times I’ve gone back to my law of attraction-esque Pinterest board to remind me to have a positive attitude towards money so that I wouldn’t jeopardize myself with counter-productive thoughts. I would run through lists of mantras and tell myself, I am worthy of financial security and all that it brings to me… My wallet is overflowing with money… I am financially free… It’s safe for me to be a wealthy, powerful woman.

2019 was a pivotal year. I can proudly say that I paid off a total of $49,145.72 in debt. Whew! And now, I have approximately $26,000 of credit card and student loan debts left.

To say “it was a struggle” is an understatement. Sacrifices were made. Several lifestyle choices, activities, habits, and people were cut off. I made a major career move. Mark and I lived below our means, and we learned the power of (politely) saying ‘no’.

My 2020 Mantra: I set myself financial goals because I know I can achieve them. This time next year, 2020 will witness another type of “proud”. Debt will be a thing of the past. I will be financially free from any and all credit card and student loan debts.

In the wise words of Kuiil, “I have spoken.”


3. Less eating out, more staying in to cook.

Following the “save money” resolution, I plan to eat out less and cook more because eating out is an expensive habit. Luckily, I have a supportive husband who is all for this.

We agreed that we could eat out only if:

  • We are at Disneyland or DCA – because how can you not eat there?
  • It’s for a birthday celebration – because our families like to eat out for birthdays
  • It’s for a work lunch – (limited to once a month)
  • We are traveling – because trying food at the places we visit is important to us
  • It’s for a cooking/baking class – because we’re going to try some out in 2020

Note: Drinks also apply. We’ll only get boba once a month, and Starbucks twice a month.

This will be the perfect opportunity for Mark and me to hone in on our chef skills. I started dabbling in cooking at home when we moved in together, and I think I’ve gotten better over the years. Now, I just need to figure out how to make all my favorite restaurant-dishes and I’ll be set for life.

Subscribe to my YouTube channel for random live streams of my cooking! I like to cook, eat, talk, and check in on my subscribers from time to time.

Jakub Kapusnak on Unsplash

4. Travel internationally.

Counterintuitive to saving money this year, I had to add this to my list of new years resolutions because it’s on my list every year. I have succeeded in traveling to another country at least once every year for the last five years… and I’m not stopping now.

Mark and I already decided on our international travel.

Can you guess where we are going based on the photo below?

Berkay Gumustekin on Unsplash

5. Disconnect with social media routinely.

It’s easy to get caught up on social media and take a turn for the worst. I found myself going down a road I didn’t like on and off for the last couple of years.

I compared myself to others, I placed more value on the number of views on a video, than the number of people I’m genuinely connecting with, and I lost track of why I was/am on so many different social media platforms.

In 2019, I took a step forward and took breaks from social media without feeling the need to announce it (or feeling the need to come back so soon). It was helpful to do so because of the challenging moments this year. And I learned that it’s important to routinely take a break, even if you are expected to be “on” all the time as an active blogger, YouTuber, live streamer, or online “public figure”.

This new year’s resolution is a reminder to routinely go radio silent on social media so I can rest and recuperate. This resolution is also a reminder that I’m on so many different platforms because I want to represent something real. I want to share my story because it matters. I want to show the imperfect, various types of struggles with flaws and all. I didn’t have many people to look up to who looked like me growing up. Although I am glad we’re now moving towards more representation in media.

Note to my future self: Rachel, You are on so many different platforms because you love to connect with people through your writing, your videos, and your photos. You hope that in doing so, it would make someone at another corner of the world feel less alone in their struggles.

This is why I will always come back to this blog… to write and share my story.

Prateek Katyal on Unsplash

6. Read daily.

I believe that to inspire others you need to be inspired. Writing is home base, but reading inspired my writing long before I could form a sentence.

My mom read to me while I was in her womb, and when I was born the pages inspired my imaginative little mind. By first grade, I came home with an evaluation card that told my parents I had “12th-grade level” reading capabilities. How accurate were these tests? Not sure. But it just shows how much I loved/love reading.

This year is about bringing life to old passions like reading. It’s about revisiting the things that I enjoy but normally didn’t have time to do. In 2019, I finally found my way back to reading every night before I went to bed. It helped me disconnect and unwind before I went to sleep. I want to continue my nightly reads, and make it a point to read every day in 2020 (not just at night, but during the day too).

I actually read technical documentation every day at work, but I would like to go back to reading things that are not related to work.

Currently Reading: Scarlet from The Lunar Chronicles series

John-Mark Smith on Unsplash

7. Stream monthly.

I was so proud of myself for consistently doing weekly live streams for about three months. The Mabuhay Mondays series turned out better than I expected! It became a “safe space” for food, fun, and games; all while learning more about my subscribers and followers.

I took a much-needed break from streaming, but I’ll be back in 2020 with a more reasonable stream schedule.

Rachel’s 2020 Streaming Schedule: Click here to check out which days I will be streaming for 8-hours straight!

8. Grow this blog to 100K.

A tried and true Rachel-resolution-list is nothing without a sprinkle of something that is a long shot aspiration. I’ve lost a lot of steam on this blog due to not posting, so I will make it a personal goal to reach 100,000 blog followers in 2020.

The universe will will it so.

Thank you for getting this far into the blog. I’m so happy to be back, freewriting with a new perspective. I hope this post inspires you to challenge yourself (even when it feels like it’s impossible). 2020, will be an amazing year. If not amazing, then a healing one.

I hope you find love, light, and wonder as we begin this new decade together.


lots of virtual hugs and happy new year!

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About Author

I write about anything that comes to mind. I follow my neverending bucketlist to the corners of the world. I live by the motto to "study and live in all forms of culture".

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