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Action Replay + Gratitude List: 2020

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It feels good to be back here, it has been a while, I know. I wouldn't say that this was an intentional break from blogging, just that other things kept me busy and I decided to focus on that. Before I knew it, the year was done! 2020 has been called a lot of names by many people, but if I were to be honest, I'd say that 2020 was not the worst year of my life. In fact it was a pretty good year for me. I know that it was a tough time for the world and we lost many people, but if there is one thing that 2020 taught me, it is to make peace with the situation at hand. Thanks to this, I come out of 2020 a much better and a much calmer person. When I look back at what I was ten or twelve years ago, and then look at who I am today, I surprise myself. My partner (I'll no longer be using the word husband) recently told me that I have mellowed down so much and he doesn't see that angry tyrant in me anymore. We've been together for a decade, so he would know. I completely agree with him. Life has thrown so many situations at me and I have come out of them with more lessons than I can remember. Time, books, my inner circle - they have made me a better person and I see a drastic difference between the person I am today and the one I was a dozen years ago. A good difference and I couldn't be more glad.

My word of the year for 2020 was 'Balance', a pretty bold move, while choosing that. 2020 helped me achieve that to a large extent. March 16th 2020, this is the day I started working from home and continue till date. Personally, I have always been someone who hated working from home. My office is under five kilometers from where I live and it has always been a sacred and safe place for me. I like the people I work with and have some close friends to talk about everything under the sun. This was a beautiful set-up that I had for myself and 2020 shook that balance for me. I won't lie, it took me a while to make peace with the situation and get used to working from home. Initially, it was utter chaos. Work-personal life balance went for a toss without defined timings for anything. I was working on multiple critical projects and as always, my primary focus was on work. Thankfully, I have an immensely supportive partner and I was able to sail through this phase with his help. With time, I set up a schedule, planned things ahead and was able to achieve a better balance than before. As a creature of routine and habit, I don't know how to function any other way.

When Bangalore went into a lockdown, we felt crippled. We are social people and eat/drink/meet people outside often. When this was curbed, it got to us. Both of us are fiercely independent people who value our freedom the most, so the situation make us feel shackled. Thanks to being privileged, we did not face any shortage in anything. Our local kirana stores started delivering groceries home when Big Basket and Amazon halted their services. Same with our local pharmacy. 2020 taught us the importance of maintaining good relationships with the right people. With time, we realized our privilege and were just happy to be safe and sound. Soon, we started stepping out every now and then to avoid lethargy. We went to visit our parents, went out for drives and started taking away food from restaurants too. Once the restaurants opened up with their safety protocols in place, we started eating out. Slowly, life came back to normal and we couldn't be more happier about it.

We had planned quite some travel in 2020, starting with our anniversary trip to Spain and Portugal. We has received our visas and everything was set. With just a month to travel, we had to cancel the trip thanks to the rapid increase in the number of cases in Europe. It wasn't a risk that we wanted to take. I know that it will be a while before we can think about traveling to Europe again, but we continue to hold on to hope. We did travel quite a bit though. We went to Coorg for a few days and later spent a week in Goa. Of course we didn't travel as much as we wanted to, but I'm glad that we were able to getaway and escape monotony for a while.

When I say that 2020 made me a better person, it has a lot to do with the books that I read. I had set a target of 50 books to read in 2020, but thanks to the new balance that I had achieved, I was able to read more than a hundred. I read some brilliant books in fiction and non-fiction (I'm slowly warming up to it now) and they helped me take a different look at life and taught me many vital things. One of the biggest highlights of 2020, reading wise, was discovering Audible. Majority of my reading was actually listening and I totally loved that experience. I'm a proud member of Audible and I will continue to be so. Same goes with Kindle Unlimited. I have discovered a plethora of brilliant stories via Amazon Original stories. If you have been thinking about investing in either a Audible or Kindle Unlimited membership, think no more. Just go for it. It is a boon for us bibliophiles.

You can read about my Audible experience here. You can follow my reading journey via my Goodreads page or my Bookstagram account.

2020 slowed us down to a large extent and maybe it was nature's way of telling us not to take it for granted. Expectedly, 2020 did come with a huge share of gratitude. 

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~ Work: Still my primary focus in life, but I'm no longer the crazy workaholic that I was before. I have managed to strike a pretty good balance between work life and personal life. I worked on new projects this year that frustrated and challenged me at the same time.

~ Lockdown: The lockdown was a blessing in so many ways. I spent every minute of the lockdown with my partner and it is one of those experiences that we'll cherish forever. It taught us how blessed we are and made us more humble and mindful.

~ Friends: Although I couldn't meet most of them, regular video calls and chats helped us support and keep each other sane. I cannot stress enough, the importance of having the right people around you. Cut out the toxic people, the cribbers, the so called anchors who weight you down. It is not easy, but sure is vital.

~ Health & Nutrition: Remember I spoke about a secret project last year? Well, let me spill the beans. As a food lover, I've always been fascinated by produce and eating fresh and healthy. Since my partner is vegetarian, his protein needs were a cause of worry for me. Fascinated by the concept of nutrition, I took up an online course and I now am a certified nutritionist. I have made significant changes in the way we eat this year and we are seeing the benefits of it. I intend to do a course on diet planning next, to get this into a full circle. There is so much more to food than what you see on the plate.

~ Yoga: As a hyperactive person, cardio was always my go to workout. This year when my fitness center started their online classes owing to the pandemic, I started doing yoga regularly. I used to practice yoga before too, but just the basics and not regularly. When I saw the changes in my mind and body thanks to regular yoga, I knew that there was no turning back. I now practice yoga regularly and it keeps my mind and body healthy and calm.

~ Atomic Habits: Yes, the book. While it is a great book, it did not tell me anything that I already didn't know. Funnily enough, I was always following the principles mentioned in the book. I just didn't know that what I was doing was called atomic habits. This book gave me immense validation about my lifestyle and it is a great feeling to know that you are on the right path.

~ Sustainability: This year we decided to go organic and stay away from mass produced products. We signed up for a subscription package with local farmers and we get fresh, organic fruits and vegetables delivered to us every week. We segregate our waste and have eliminated plastic from our house. I also decided to move towards sustainable fashion and apart from a dress for my birthday, I did not buy any clothes this year apart from workout wear.

~ Blog: I've had this space since 2009 and what a roller coaster ride it has been. I have been appreciated for my writing, trolled for being the person that I am, multiple complaints posted to my parents and in-laws for the things I've written and what not! Yet, I have held on to it. This is my space and nothing and no one can take that away from me. It was ignored for a while, yes, but not forgotten. This year I decided to revamp the site and write more regularly. Step one done.

~ Books: Gosh, I just cannot imagine life without them. My bookshelf at home is overflowing and I might need a complete room for my books soon.

~ Love: Tomorrow, the partner and I celebrate a decade of being together. 10 years! Wow! The reason I decided to not use the term 'husband' anymore is because it no longer is a positive word. There is something controlling about it. Restrictive even. This person is a perfect partner to me in more ways than one. There is no room for gender bias in our home or in our relationship. We don't complete each other, we are two whole souls who exist together beautifully. The year wouldn't have been easy without him by my side. He's my constant support, my critic and my number one cheerleader. Together, I know that there is nothing that we cannot do.

2020 has been a good year for me and I'm not going to deny that. With positive news coming in about the vaccine situation, hopefully 2021 will be a tad more better without the cloud of paranoia hovering over our heads.

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Happy New Year, everyone! How was your 2020?

Linking this post to Vidya's Gratitude Circle for this month.


Comments

  1. I'm glad to hear that 2020 on the whole was a good year for you despite the restrictions from Covid. Overseas trips getting cancelled suck! I was meant to go to Belgium and Amsterdam but yep, had to cancel. That said, the situation in Europe is not making me want to go there any time soon. Congratulations on becoming a nutritionist! And for consistently practising yoga. And of course, your reading habits are always great :)

    I hope 2021 is a good year for you Soumya! And happy 10 years together with your partner!

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    1. Thank you, Sanch! Europe does seem a distant dream now :(

      I hope you have a wonderful 2021 too <3

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  2. I am happy to see that 2020 wasn't a crappy year for you. I spent first half of the year in regret about the cancelling of our travel plans, so I understand how hard it is to cancel everything you planned for. It is such a pain. Congratulations on finishing the course. Learning something new always gives us pleasure... doesn't it? I didn't read as much as you this year but I still had a fantastic reading year compared to the previous years and that's an achievement for me. Any plans on writing favourite books of the year post?

    Hope you have a fantastic 2021.

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    1. Thank you for checking up on me, Harini :)

      Travel plans getting canceled was the worst part of the year. But yeah, the situation was so bad we just couldn't risk it. Reading has been excellent for most of us this year and that's a good thing!

      I just posted a top reads post.

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  3. Whoa congrats on becoming a certified nutritionist - I need to chat with you about this. I am so happy yoga has been keeping you grounded and hopefully your insomnia is at bay too. Love this piece about how 2020 has been a positive for you. I have had the same feeling but dreading to voice it as its been a terrible year on an overall scale. I think the Universe decided to step in and control all of us as the world was indeed going insane before this. Maybe Corona is what we needed to take a step back and re-evaluate everything we know and own. Holidays sound lovely and yes the normal is slowly creeping back in our routines which is a heartening thing to see. Cheers to a fantastic 2021 ahead.

    P.S: You are a fantastic person Soumya; proud to call you my friend -XOXO

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  4. 2020 was something memorable to many, but it left some horrible memories for me,
    Bye bye 2020.

    Hope there will be some good happening in 2021.

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    1. Hopefully 2021 will make up for what 2020 wasn't for you. Fingers crossed!

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  5. Wow! You've made the best of 2020... Congrats on completing the nutrition course & good luck for the diet planning course.

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