What I Learned in 2020: Stay Positive, Test Negative

Overwhelmingly, 2020 was one of those years where it was really easy to ruminate over every awful circumstance that came my way. Yes, a lot of my plans fell through. Yes, my graduation day, which I had been looking forward to for 5 years, was basically cancelled. And yes, a lot of messed up stuff was — and is still — happening around the world. Despite COVID-19 and the devastating news updates that seemed to pop up every morning, I also realized how privileged I am to be here reflecting on what was a bad year for all of us.

Today’s blog post is focused on gratitude, because I haven’t been practicing it enough.

I am grateful to be Canadian.

Here, we have free education, health care, and benefits like CERB that get us through the toughest of times. We have the luxury to quarantine at home with our families, where our biggest challenges are figuring out which Netflix shows to watch next (P.S. I highly recommend The Queen’s Gambit and Alice in Borderland).

Despite our country’s commitment to Diversity & Inclusion, I have learned that there is a lot of progress yet to be made, and many systemic issues that still prevail. Before #BlackLivesMatter took the world by storm, I was ignorant of the challenges that our Black communities face; but I am grateful for the opportunity to recognize my privilege, educate myself about this topic, and share my learnings through my platform.

I am grateful to be working.

Everyday at Microsoft, I am inspired by incredible teammates and leaders who are diligent and determined. Although I wasn’t expecting to work from home, I am still glad that I had a couple of months to meet my team and go to the office at the beginning of the year. On top of that, my transition to remote work was seamless, thanks to today’s technology and platforms like Microsoft Teams.

During such uncertain times, many of my friends and family have been struggling to find work. In the past year, I have been trying to help and support these peers through the resources and services on my blog. Recently, I have been trying to talk more about personal finance, which is a huge challenge that millennials have today.

I am grateful to be with my family.

During my university days, I was so busy with school, work, and extracurriculars and cared only about my social life with friends. I barely spent time with my family because I thought that they would always be there when I got home. Then I went abroad to Singapore for 5 months, and came back home for 2 weeks only to move across the country right for work.

I didn’t realize how much I took my family for granted until they were no longer around me day in and day out. Living on my own was a lot tougher than I expected… On top of doing my own household chores for once, I felt lonely, and I was terribly homesick. When I finally came back to Calgary to work remotely, I was so thankful to be a part of my lively household once again.

I am grateful to be here.

As someone who has always been so focused on working towards my future, I have finally realized how important it is to be present in the here and now. Since taking a High Performance Mindset course with Dr. Michael Gervais, I have been making bigger efforts to become more mindful and present. Not only is practicing mindfulness better for our performance, it is better for our health.

As we’ve made huge changes in our lives over the past year, our mental health and emotional wellbeing have suffered. Fortunately, there are many resources out there (e.g. Headspace) to help us adjust to new changes so that we can become more resilient human beings.

I am grateful to pay it forward.

As a Woman of Colour and First Generation Canadian, I recognize that I may have to work harder to prove myself or to get the same opportunities as some of my peers. I am proud of how I have earned my way to where I am today, but I recognize that it is not without the help and support of so many others. Through my blog, I hope to share my learnings and empower others to join me on my journey of personal and professional growth.

Although my platform and following may be small compared to others, I am grateful to have my own voice and talk about the topics that I think are relevant to today’s millennials and young professionals. Hopefully, I can make an impact worthy of the one that my mentors and peers have made for me.

Everyone can agree that 2020 has been a tough year for all of us, but everyday is a chance to start over or try again. Recently, my partner and I have been sharing “3 Grateful Things” with each other every night, and it’s been really nice to end our days on a positive note (even if we did have tough days). Whoever is reading this, I hope that you will take a moment to reflect on what you’re grateful for and just embrace it!