2020 in Review

Marina Bay Sands area at night, 31 October 2020

We’ve reached the end of 2020. What a year!

2020 was full of unexpected twists and encounters. If you asked me last year whether I’ll be in the current position, I would say no. Rest assured there’s so much more that can be contained in this one post.

Work

For a start, this year, I’ve tasted working from home (WFH). When I was about to enter the workforce a few years ago, this has been in my bucket list. Initially, I thought that when I moved on from my current company, I would try to do remote work for an oversea company. This is so that I could taste how it feels like to do remote work. But 2020 has another plan, it forced everyone to work-from-home. For few months, I was working from home and I kind of fond of it? But after an extended period of not meeting colleagues, I was also glad that we’re in an alternate week arrangement: one week in office and another week at home.

Another big item is that I transferred to a different product line in a different role. I was previously a tech lead in a product line, in charge of the Web FE matters, and now a platform developer in the Web FE team. I had long reasons for doing so, but in short, I wasn’t doing well in that role and therefore I felt that it’s best to move on to this other role.

I’m actually glad to transfer to the platform team because I could officially focus all my time on the developer infrastructure tasks that I previously worked on in my free time. In this new role, it’s pretty challenging: I don’t know what I don’t know, but bit by bit, I peeled each layer till the task is done. The other challenge is about communication with other developers, since our work usually means there will be workflow changes for the other developers and it will be quite challenging to follow up for feedback and serving their complaints while keep working on other tasks.

There’s also so much less meetings in this new role. Meetings aren’t bad per se, but in the previous role, it could consume so much of my day that I can’t really commit on the big tasks.

On the other hand, somehow I submitted a proposal to teach Rust in the upcoming “React Knowledgeable Roster”. I started some preparations, but felt that the content is quite heavy. I do hope things turn out well, as I haven’t taught programming since I was in my high school.

People

It’s weird. At work, I haven’t met some teammates since April, when the “CB (lockdown) period” started! Now there’s some new teammates that I’ve never even met, and there are still some stuck overseas.

I’ve been reconnecting to my dear friends more than ever. There are a few that I kept in contact after all these years, like Leo and Lenny. The frequency of video calls are higher than ever. I am really grateful that we’re still connected till now.

This year, I’ve been spending a lot more time on Reddit too. More specifically, in r/singapore’s daily thread. Somehow I found a community from different background there and I rely on them to gauge what are the current trend in Singapore. I’ve gone to try out some of their food recommendations, like Chi Cha San Chen bubble tea and Don Don Donki’s warabi mochi, and they are actually quite good! The community there also have a good mix of humor and support. Felt really good being there especially if I feel lonely.

Other than that, I’ve also been joining some events from a Meetup group called Explorer SG. I’ve joined their trips to visit Bukit Brown Cemetery, hike along Singapore River, hike at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, and tour around the quarries around Bukit Timah. They’re pretty nice, but introvert me wasn’t able to connect very well with them. Mostly because they already formed their cliques and at times, I just wasn’t in the mood of initiating small talks with strangers.

This year, my roommate moved out and therefore now I stayed alone with my landlord’s family. This is due to the maximum occupancy rule of a HDB flat, which was introduced few years ago. Because of this, somehow I felt the need of more regular human interaction. That’s why I started to make time for joining Buddhist Fellowship Youth’s Saturday Service. So far so good, it’s been great meeting new people and also reconnecting with my faith.

Health

I was sick earlier this year when I visited my hometown during CNY. It was a food poisoning, affecting both me and my brother. Luckily, it lasted only for a day and didn’t ruin the rest of the trip.

On sports, I still regularly swim on the weekends, but it stopped during the “CB (lockdown) period”. During this period, I switched to online workout videos from Instagram and exercised at my room every weekends. It wasn’t as satisfactory as swimming, but at least, I sweat a lot and my body usually aches afterwards. After the pools reopened, I realized just how much I love swimming. That’s why I also started going to the pools nearby my place more often.

I’ve also tried to go for a run around the neighborhood a few times a week after work, but it was only when I’m working from home. It was actually quite tiring. My body, again, usually aches the next day after such runs.

I’ve been snacking a lot during the lockdown period, which causes my body weight to increase again, but looks like it gone down again after I got more active in the latter part of the year.

Conclusion

These are my 2020 hopes as written in “2019 in Review“:

  • Grow my knowledge: I didn’t specifically learn the items I set out to learn earlier this year; but random unexpected stuffs keep popping up and the most interesting thing I learned this year is about Poor Economics.
  • Maintain health of body & mind: yup yup, still doing sports regularly.
  • Maintain people relationship: I am truly grateful that some people are still reliable for this. I also started to get myself to be more outgoing.
  • Plan out 2020s: How could one plan ahead when I couldn’t even plan for next year?

2020 has been the unexpected year for many of us, but it was especially unexpected for me. I don’t think I could anticipate any of the events here: the role change at work, getting closer with closer friends, meeting so much more new people, and also doing more sports than ever.

I don’t really want to list down specific things to do in 2021, but will try to keep a year theme instead. For me, it will be the Social Year, in which, at this moment, it means I’d like to meet more people and sustain more meaningful friendships.

Now it has 2020 has come to an end.
What a year indeed.
Happy new year 2021!

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