We ask questions of our community of partners, young authors, parents, teachers and students on issues that matter to them.
This issue’s question: What is your biggest takeaway from 2020
Seriously, I’ve never thought about that. 2020 seemed like a year everyone wanted to forget happened. Surprisingly, for me, 2020 taught me a lot about myself.
I discovered that I can still get work done even when I am in a lockdown and forced to stay home. My energies were focused on putting together our latest coffee-table book, 100 Fabulous People You Must Meet In Your Lifetime. I was able to run Young Author workshops for two new country awards: the Malaysia Young Author Award and the Philippines Young Author Award. And with help from Gwen, my amazing editorial assistant, we organized the finale of the Asian Young Author Award. Imagine more than 100 guests from Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, the U.S. and India assembled in one location….this wouldn’t be possible! With video conferencing via zoom, we did it!
I think it’s about focusing on the possibilities rather than the negativity surrounding us.
Ah 2020, the defining year for those of my generation, and especially for me, being my final year of studying. 2020 changed my studying landscape, as the year I was looking forward to be the most active in extra-curricular activities and networking, was instead spent locked out of the physical realm and banished into the online. It’s hard to describe my feelings of 2020, as everything seemed so disillusioned, as though I was encased in an illusionary bubble, where the struggles and problems of others seemed so distant, yet so near. I was fortunate enough that I did not have to worry about the negative implications of the pandemic, but I was also in fearful anticipation of what the future would hold for me. My biggest takeaway by far, is the realisation of the importance of online technology, as the lockdown, online classes, and everything else online has showcased. For me particularly, it is now to gain skills that are transferable and applicable online, as that is where the future is headed.
For me, my biggest takeaway from 2020 will be learning how to slow down. I am, admittedly, quite a workaholic. If there is free time, I need to occupy it with something productive. I have always been aware of this bad habit, but never actively tried to solve it for I love what I do. If I loved it, it wouldn’t be stressful right? Of course, that mindset led to unhealthy consequences, both mentally and emotionally. The three-month lockdown (in Singapore) forced me to relook at my priorities and learn what it means to truly rest. In true workaholic fashion, I picked up new skills, dressmaking and embroidery. But in the lull periods, I reflected on what ‘resting’ means to me. Although I still haven’t found the answer of what ‘resting’ is, I believe that contemplation taught me to pace myself better in tackling issues, placing my mental health as priority while accomplishing my goals.
If Anne Frank was a mom during World War II, I am her embodiment in the middle of the Philippine Covid-19 Lockdown. I lived in constant fear, cooped inside the house, not only for myself but for my children, one being a newborn during that time. Surprisingly, I took solace in watching post-apocalyptic zombie movies – knowing well that the horror has come to life. Every time I rewatch it, I am comforted that like in movies, this will come to pass.
What got me through 2020 was hope for my children. Unknowingly, my fear prepared me and my children for the worst and yet did our part to keep the virus away from our household. We had sanitation systems in place, SOPs and I even wrote a letter to them just in case. There’s still fear, but I’m staring it in the eye – with my face shield on.