Hi. It’s been a while since I wrote something here, and I never thought I’d ever neglected this blog for so long. I’ve been writing here regularly since 2011 (although it was becoming less frequent each year), but as you know, 2020 was a crazy year.
It’s two weeks into 2021 already, and although this is late, I still want to jot down some notes on 2020. While I usually do a month-by-month recap at the end of each year to look back on the highs and lows, there were not a lot of things happening last year. It was just about getting through the day and trying to survive. That said, I had a few important things that happened in 2020, and that’s what I’m going to write here. They make the cut as they’re either pivotal, a milestone, or just felt profound.
When I turned 27, I started to think a lot about becoming 30. Nevermind that I still had 3 years until I would that age, I just couldn’t help wondering. Will I have a Rachel-esque breakdown on my 30th birthday? Or will I be jaded with life then?
And then I turned 30.
In many ways, it came as expected, but also surprising. It surprised me that I didn’t feel anything about the day. No panic, no excitement. It just felt like another day. Maybe I was jaded, or maybe a workday full of meetings helped grounded the experience. I was never big on birthdays anyway, and 30 was no exception.
If I compare it to a decade ago, life feels more assuring and calmer at this time. I feel like I’m on the right track, in life and in my career. I’m not as naive as I was 10 years ago, but also not as carefree as I was back then. Sometimes I miss the curiosity and spontaneity of the early 20s me, and wonder if those wild times are well and truly gone, or if I could still capture that magic every now and again. My 20s saw me looking at life with so much zest and naivete, and now at 30, there’s a filter that tunes down everything. Whether it’s wisdom or skepticism, I have yet to find out.
There wasn’t any switch that came overnight. Any changes I felt has been gradual, and maybe that’s why turning 30 didn’t feel spectacular. I was expecting a grand turn of a chapter, but it turned out just like turning another page. Peaceful and normal, and a bit uneventful. I guess this is adulthood?
Birthday meal, made by my sister according to my wishes.
Buying a property
We were lucky that we could buy an apartment last year. We’d been saving for some time, but we actually didn’t plan on buying anything until 2021. But Corona happened, and with all travel plans canceled and no going out for drinks or food, we managed to save a lot this year. After many viewings, we found an apartment we loved in September. It was a love-at-first-sight kind of thing, and now it’s ours.
Understandably, as first-time buyers in a foreign country, we spent months doing research. From the rules, laws, what to look for, what to watch out for, and the process, you name it. It was incredibly draining and time-consuming, and I think this is the main reason this blog was a bit neglected. I was spent.
But now that it’s done, I can finally put my energy and focus on other things.
A stroll around the new neighborhood
I wasn’t sure about writing this here as it feels so personal, but I wrote about how my visit to Indonesia earlier in the year changed something in me. I had a newfound appreciation and longing for my old friends and family, and realized that I had to do something.
Adult friendships are hard. There are those who I don’t talk with anymore as we’ve grown apart so much, not because we had a fight or anything. And then there are some that I feel like slipping away. Every time, my heart breaks.
So that’s why I made it a focus for me to reconnect with my loved ones. Making time to chat, remembering little things and big things, and not taking relationships for granted. There’s not much else to say about this, other than it’s worth it. This will also still be my focus for this year.
It feels wrong to say this, but I enjoyed the time when we had to work from home and limit contact with other people. I’ve written before about my almost nonexistent social life, and about being lonely here. The thing about Coronavirus this year is that it highlighted how much of a relief it was to have a break from always putting an extra effort to make conversations and meet new people. I say extra because I feel that in Sweden, it’s ten times harder. And I was desperate to not just meet, but become friends with someone – that’s why I tried to go to meetups and gatherings. Having a break from that without the FOMO felt amazing.
Other than that, I just poured all my energy and focus into work. Things were fickle, and even before Corona, I always worried that I wasn’t good enough (and yes I’ve been told that I might have an imposter syndrome). In any case, I feel that I needed to put more effort to be invaluable. I had positive feedback in a performance review just before Christmas, so that’s a massive relief.
Oh 2020, what a ride.
Other year-end recaps: