Farewell, 2020!

In a few hours, 2020 will be officially over. We’ll say goodbye to it and welcome 2021. Naturally, just like with any turn of time, we’d hope that 2021 would be a better year.

It was also my wish on 1 January 2020. In a short blog post, I had wished that 2020 would be as orderly as the string of numbers that bears its name. Little did I know it would be to the contrary.

Twenty twenty was a chaotic year. Things went awry. The pandemic has changed many things that we had taken for granted to be the normal course of things. For me, it means I could no longer have face-to-face classes with my students. And, like many others, I also had to get used to working from home.

Staying at home all day and interacting with the outside world only through the internet is nice every now and then, but not for a prolonged period of time; not without knowing when it will end and when things will return to normal again.

I have to admit that teaching and working from home was ‘fun’ for the first few weeks. First of all, it was a novelty. Then, it also relieved me from the daily worries about the commute and the traffic, the thing I hate most about traveling to and from work. But as weeks turned into months, the fun evaporated. A prolonged absence of meaningful face-to-face interaction with other people and lack of physical movement imposed by working from home have taken a toll on my physical and mental health.

My health has deteriorated precipitously over the past few months. Never before have I had so many symptoms of health problems in such a short period of time. I gained weight like never before. My cholesterol and blood pressure have been stubbornly hovering above normal — all despite my attempts at eating healthily. I also feel that I have become less agile and more lethargic lately. I feel 2020 has made me much older in twelve months than in any other twelve-month periods before.

Despite the challenges it posed, 2020 has given me a lot of things to be thankful for. I still have a job when many have lost theirs. I even received a long overdue promotion this year. My finances have largely remained in order despite some reduction of income. We could still travel and enjoy sometime off despite the pandemic and travel restrictions. All in all, 2020 was a good year with some challenges. I hope 2021 will be a better year for you, for me, and for us all.

And just like in the previous years, although I won’t be celebrating the change of the numbers tonight, I’d like to wish you all “Happy New Year!”