“Being positive” proved to be the most negative phrase of 2020 or on the other hand, if you have ever heard someone saying “he/she is negative”, that was the most desirable thing you wanted to hear in this pandemic year. The year 2020, being one of the worst years in a century, changed lives of many people around us. Lot of renowned actors, sportsmen, authors, politicians, singers left the world in this very year. I lost my beloved grandmother too. The list will go on, but today, I want to talk about the positive things, “positive” as in “good” things that I experienced this year and want to cherish that as my memories of 2020.
The most important thing that matters is how you feel emotionally at the end of the day, while so much is happening around us. Since I was on a trip to India, I welcomed 2020 at my hometown. Couple of months was a golden time that I got to spend time with my parents, met old friends, and travelled to Pune after 5 years. We had our first Dubai trip this year and it was a mind-blowing experience of Burj Khalifa, Desert safari or a visit to the Grand Mosque. Looking back, we happened to wrap our India and Dubai trip at the right time and landed in US merely two weeks before the pandemic lockdown started. I feel very lucky that things turned out this way because either there could have been a risk of us getting stuck in transit (had flights were cancelled because of pandemic) or at worst, getting infected by Covid-19, both of which were terrible. So, 100 points to the emotional category because none of that happened and we reached US safe and healthy.
I started in .NET Runtime which was always a dream job for me. My team is great with lot of smart people and I got some great projects to start with. After few months, I published my first blogpost from official Microsoft handle. I also got an opportunity to give the first ever talk at performance summit @ Facebook.
With the culture of “working from home” that started this year, I got a unique opportunity to spend more time with kids. No team lunches or hallway talks anymore, but hey! you are doing family lunch now, every single day, getting small hugs and kisses from your kids every now and then between the meetings that you would have never got otherwise. Even a person who used to work from home earlier, their kids would go to school. But since schools also went virtual, it gave a special chance for parents to understand and see how kids are taught in class. No matter what job we chose, there would have never been an occasion for us to work, and our kid attend her school from the same room. With that, I did not have to wait for teacher’s feedback about my child’s progress. I knew what areas she is being good at and what things she should improve upon. That itself was a unique experience for my family and I put 1000+ points in my emotional bucket. In evening, I didn’t had to beat traffic to reach home, I could take out some time and teach my 5 years old biking, watch birds fly in the sky at a certain time, watching sunset and trying to identify various cloud shapes.
This year, financially, there were some savings that happened in various areas. No weekend restaurants, no parties, no ad-hoc shopping, no gyms, no kids’ classes, no day care fees, not much driving, so less to negligible gas, no movies, no outing, no hotels, no travel and so forth. I am sure many of you would have seen this reflecting on your bank account (in a positive way). Of course, it adversely hits the emotional and social being of a person, but I felt that one should at least try to live such a lifestyle for 10-15 days every year to cut down the expenses. The only expenses that went high this year were those of the grocery and things related to home improvement projects. For first few months, we even avoided doing grocery in person and preferred shopping online. It is worth mentioning that until that point, I did not realize that we always reuse the shopping plastic bags for our garbage cans. Online shopping delivered grocery in paper bags and so one day, we ran out of our plastic shopping bags to put in garbage cans and hence we ended up buying dedicated garbage can bags. Online shopping saved lot of our time and we utilized it in other family activities like barbeque in the yard, a short drive, a walk, playing board game and of course TV.
Socially, every one of us got impacted this year, but thankfully, it led me to give chance and time to call my friends and relatives (whom I rarely call) to check their wellbeing. We all learned to do drive-thru birthday parties and we hosted one for our daughter’s birthday that way as well. Meet and greet too happened by driving to the friend’s house and talking with them from your car seat. Totally different experience! Since kids always want to go out and play with other kids, we started educating our kids “socially distanced” playing, a term that many of us have not even heard until the beginning of this year. Recently, we started meeting at most one family at a time for lunch or dinner, but there is always a fear that lingers in my mind about the infection. To make sure that my daughter does not forget how the park looks like, I installed various play kits like ladders, slide, monkey bars and trampoline in our home and she likes playing on it. However, sometimes she does cry because she is stuck at home from last 10 months, and it gets difficult consoling her. But I take that as a trigger point for me and my wife that more time should be given to her, so she doesn’t feel that way. “It is tough, I know.”, I tell her, “but we are fortunate to have a safe place to live, money to buy food and luxury of working from home and attending virtual school. Not many people are that lucky this year!”, and she understands.
So, continue looking for the silver lining that the next year will definitely bring lot more happiness in our life.
Wishing you all a happy and a prosperous new year 2021!