4 Positive Things That I Learn During This Bitter-Sweet 2020


For most of us, this year is such a nightmare and a disastrous year. We never imagine before that we will encounter the year where the pandemic and predicted global economic recession really hit us hard. As an impact, some people have a tough time during this year from losing the source of income and mental health issues.

Personally, I feel it. I have lost my job (thankfully I already get it now), have a hard time sleeping, and excessive anxiety. To think about the future, with this kind of situation, it makes me really frustrated and feels I can’t go anywhere and stuck at a certain point. I have a time when I am really afraid to move and feel anything that I do will be useless now. All of these negative thoughts really bug into my mind with this uncertainty kind of thing.

But it comes to cliche quotes

Life must go on

No matter how hard life is, this is your life and you have control over it. Whether you decide to stop for a while or just move forward, it’s your choice anyway. I see that a lot of people who lose their job, they start to open their business, doing another hustle, or focus on their volunteering activity. Either way, looking at those facts, I see that even we are in the hard situation like this, if we take it in a more positive way, the good things will happen and come to you.

Moreover, I also think maybe this year is a kind of “test” for me to come out from my comfort zone and become the newer version of myself. And life is full of challenges, right? And if we can surpass this, I’m sure we may grow to a better person who readies to face any challenges up ahead in our life.

So, I decided to have more positive thoughts when facing this year, and I realize it teaches me several lessons.

1. Prioritize The Spending

For us, who works with daily 8–5, we really used to stable income which is coming from your monthly paycheck. However, the harsh truth that I learn from this pandemic is

There’s no such thing called a safe company or safe job

Even you’re working on the largest company, the possibility of being terminated always exists. When it comes to the phase of “downtrend on economic cycle”, the possibility is increasing. This also occurs for freelance, entrepreneurs, and sometimes this hit harder than an office worker. Even they already used to uncertainty as their income can change in each period, this pandemic really makes the demand somehow lower significantly and impact significantly as well to their income.

As the income can be reduced significantly when the global situation is not on our side, this really teaches me the importance of how to prioritize my expense. If you know about the priority matrix that you usually use to manage your task, you can use it too to prioritize your expense. But instead of using “effort” as your axis, you can replace it with the number of expenses.

I started to list all of the spending components that become my “routine expense” on a daily or monthly basis and put it to the matrix. When the situation still not in a safe condition, I only do the expense that includes on quick wins group. As the conditions are getting better, we may start to consider to spend the things that have a low expense, low impact, or high expense, high impact. I also start to unsubscribe any services that I don’t really use for a while.

2. Spend Time What to Really Matters

We used to have limited time outside our work. But as we limit our self to go outside and most of us still working from home period, we diminish some time components that we really used to do it before. For me, those components are commuting time and social time. I need more than 2 hours and 30 minutes for commuting to the office and home. It’s quite wasting a lot of time and energy. For social purposes, I also did it on an almost daily basis, usually on after working hours. Even though it’s really nice to spend your time with your friends, colleagues, or whoever it is, but sometimes it drains your energy and you have less time for yourself.

As those time components are reduced, I have time to re-frame my focus and goals. I have more flexibility to manage my time and allocate my time more to the things that I really love to do. Beside personal purpose, as a person who born and raises in Asia, family is important. I have more time to spend with my family, which I don’t really use to do before. And I really cherish that moment.

3. Push me to learn new things

There are reasons why I decided to learn new things during this self-isolation thing this year:

  • Get bored. Let’s be honest, at some points this year, without a doubt, we have to feel bored. With restricted access to outside, you just stick on your home, doing the daily routine without knowing when this condition is coming to an end. The way I overcome boredom is by trying new things at home. The most classical things that you may hear during this period, people start to learn to cook a new recipe, gardening, or new language and I am included. But this really helps me to consider that every day is a new brand day.
  • Excessive time. As I told before, we eliminate some components of our time during this period such as: commuting time and social time. That’s why we seem to have “more” time remaining outside our work. That’s why I believe this is a perfect time to learn new things.
  • Flexibility. The world is full of innovation. Every new thing is coming so rapidly, creating another new knowledge and skill to be tapped in. But that one is no main reason why I decided to learn new things but the fact that we can’t rely on a single source of income nowadays. Acquiring a new skill may open you to other opportunities to diversify your income sources. Personally, right now, I am learning about stock analysis for trading to have additional income sources (even though not 100% safe). But I am still eager to learn new things to diversify my source of income.

4. Happiness Comes Internally

No matter how hard you try to be positive, if you really depend on an external factor to be positive then I must say that it is hard for you to stay positive. Not only in 2020, but we also heard a lot of negative news that really raise our anxiety. And this number really grow significantly in 2020 as we heard about the pandemic, global economic recession, the rising of crime rate, trade war, and so on.

I know, those kinds of phenomena may impact us. But instead of thinking more about external factors that we can’t control why we don’t focus on our self. Let’s just use energy to focus on what we have and utilize it. 2020 really teach me how to be grateful. When you can feel really grateful and happy internally, you can find even a simple thing can lead us to happiness. Isn’t it beautiful?

Final Thoughts

There are still 4 months to go in 2020, but the condition right now is still far from 2019. I don’t know what will go on up ahead during the rest of the years. But with this kind of situation, we’ve been tested to be more positive. Just assume, this is like a life mission or challenge that given to us to accomplish. And like in the video game, if you can resolve this, you will level up. So does your level as a person.

Tech Start-Up Employee | Part-Time Traveler| Introvert | Just Write My Thoughts in Various Aspects of Life