MY 2020: Wasn’t how I imagined it, but could have been worse

How turning events into learning experiences helped me appreciate the year even more.

Ardini Insyirah

All smiles and giggles especially when there’s music.

Published: 16 December 2020, 2:01 PM

In this MY 2020 series, Youthopia writers explore everything that happened in the past year – the good, the bad, the ugly – and also share their hopes and dreams for 2021. What’s yours?

Like many of us, this year was not easy for me. 

This is the last year in my diploma course, but I spent the majority of the time learning from home. I was also supposed to have a busy time in the office for my internship, but instead I’ve been working from home. I had plans for concerts and travelling with my friends and family. But thanks to the pandemic, all my plans were thrown off track. 

While the year did not go the way I imagined it, I’m glad I still managed to make plenty of good memories.

Life not going as planned? Check

Being a homebody, I didn’t have a lot of complaints when the circuit breaker was first implemented. 

However, even someone who loves staying at home will begin to feel insanely restless when they can’t accomplish the things they’ve set to complete for the year. 

I had imagined my last academic year in school being filled with laughs with my friends over lunches and hanging out after classes. Instead, I spent the majority of the time doing home-based learning so the only time I actually spent with my friends was over the computer screen.


Keeping close ties with my friends and family was something that made staying home more bearable. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/ARDINI INSYIRAH


This, however, was not an entirely bad thing. Since we could not physically see each other, we took extra effort in checking up on one another. We’d spend almost everyday Skyping after class, talking about everything we could think of. 

So while I didn’t get to spend time with them the way we planned to, we learned to adapt to the situation and that only brought us closer.

This year was bittersweet as one of my closest friends flew off to Australia to pursue her studies. I was incredibly proud of her for chasing her dreams even if it meant that we’d have to go our separate ways. It’s been 10 months since her departure, and though I still miss seeing her around in person, our bond is at the strongest it has ever been as I found creative ways to connect with her

She meant to come back on her school break, but given the circumstances, that did not happen. We don’t know when she’ll be back here again but we can only hope that it’s sooner rather than later. In the meantime, we stay in touch as much as possible.


Rex Orange County’s concert in Singapore was first postponed before it got cancelled in October. PHOTO CREDIT: BANDWAGON ASIA


I had planned to see Rex Orange County live, but like any event this year, it got cancelled. I was bummed of course, but this is one of the few things that I had no control over. 

So my next best option was to keep myself entertained with all kinds of music in the comfort of my own room. I think this was common for a lot of people as the TikTok audience seemed to have grown during the time we were all stuck at home.

Making do with the situation

Positive thinking is an important attitude that everyone should have. PHOTO CREDIT: VIKTOR FORGACS VIA UNSPLASH


If there’s one thing I believe in, it’s the power of a positive mindset. No matter how bad the situation may be, one should focus on the good things and take the bad ones as lessons to improve.

Once the circuit breaker was over, I spent a lot of time outside. Whether it was spending time with my friends and family or spending some time alone, I was determined to salvage what was left of the year that thus far had been spent away from them.

So I went out almost every weekend. Wild Wild Wet, picnics, hikes, catching sunsets, anything that let me spend time with the people I loved most. I wanted to make as many memories with them to make up for all the lost time this year, and I became more comfortable with showing appreciation to the people around me and it helped in building stronger relationships with them.


Catching the sunset along the Marina at Keppel Bay. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/ARDINI INSYIRAH


Spending quality time with my loved ones was one of the best decisions. I found myself appreciating the year a lot more and I no longer viewed the year as a waste. 

This year, I am also glad I was able to invest more time on myself. I got more active and practised a lot more self-care. Not only did I set aside more time to work on my fitness, I also practised setting boundaries like saying no when something is uncomfortable for me.

While the circumstances this year threw off my plans, it also brought other parts of my life back on track. Odd isn’t it?

I still remember a quote my lecturer mentioned: “A bad experience is still a good lesson.”

Reflecting before creating new resolutions

Stepping into 2021 with new goals. PHOTO CREDIT: MORITZ KNORINGER VIA UNSPLASH


As the year comes to an end, many of us are starting to set new resolutions. Some of us may still be pushing to complete the goals that were set this year. While the pandemic may have put a few things on hold, we can still look on the bright side and identify the smaller things that we have achieved over the year. 

It is important to reflect on the year before we can start creating new resolutions. How can you set new ones without reflecting on what went right or wrong in the past year? 

So start by counting your wins and losses for the year. From there, you’ll realise that the year wasn’t all bad. You will also notice the areas in your life where you need to change and improve on which will help you create better New Year resolutions.

For me, I aim to be more flexible in 2021 in order to adapt to change better. I also want to continue being more accepting of struggles because I’ve learnt that that’s how you learn and grow.

2020 was an interesting year that came with a lot of lessons that I will carry into 2021. I am uncertain of what the new year will bring and while that scares me a little, I’m ready to start afresh. Are you?

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