The Year That Was 2020

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A few days before the end of December is a good opportunity to remember the year that was. Threading back to what the world went through and how we dealt with many varied situations will give us an edge in knowing the best way to proceed in the coming year. We take this time to go through all lessons we learned, how we coped up, and what things worked.

There’s no hiding that 2020 was, by far, one of the most challenging years in history. In the Philippines, the Taal eruption commenced the year’s threat. It was followed by the spread of the virus from China that shut down the world. The left and right natural calamities continued the menace.

And now, as another year comes to an end and people from all walks of life try to make sense of how the world has changed, I take this opportunity to rethink many things. Powered by my mantra of positivity, always looking at the best in everything, I would like to list down the milestones we unlocked this year. 


Financial maturity.

Several days ago, JimBry asked me how much is the total value of my stock market portal. I checked, “A little over P350,000 including paper loss,” I said. He has more than P250,000.

We realized, together, we have more than half a million funds in stocks. We were surprised. Apparently, we were both busy putting money and buying stocks since the stock market crashed at the onset of the pandemic. And since going out is such a challenge nowadays, the funds we were supposed to spend on travels and dine-outs were unexpectedly diverted to our stock investments.

We thank heavens that we are part of the few who managed to get by the pandemic without burning our wallets. We all know that most people from a variety of income levels are stressed about their finances nowadays. Many of us live paycheck to paycheck, and debt is creeping up more and more every year. Luckily, despite the global struggle this year, we paid off most of our installments. For our family, this year was our lucky one.

This year, we realized that we were living with many unnecessary expenses in the previous years, and we want to correct that henceforth. We made a pact to imagine putting ourselves in this same environment that encouraged us to keep our budget even when things go back to normal. We learned the hard way, but now we have a clear vision of what’s in our account, what we owe, what we earn, what we spend, and what we have invested.

Let’s see where this “financial enlightenment” will bring us. The year 2020 taught us all the necessary skills needed to reach financial adulthood – unexpectedly.

Graduate school.

It has long been my plan to continue my studies, and despite my previous efforts, fate succeeded in pushing me away from enrolling in the past years. This year, however, fate made way for me to go back to school.

The need for schools to adapt to a new online learning reality paved the way for me to sign up for my long-term goal. Last September, I enrolled 18 units in graduate school. It will take another 4 long years until I earn my diploma, but at least the almost-forgotten plan has now been realized. The significant step to start is underway. 

I was accepted by one of the best universities in the Philippines, and all thanks to the pandemic – distance learning were materialized. It provided ways for me to go back to school without the need to be separated from Skye.

Freelancing career. 

I started my outside-corporate-world career back in 2012. Since then, I have enjoyed the no-need-to-travel kind of work. I am used to finishing my tasks within the comfort of our home. However, I never really went into full-time freelancing. I always have connected myself with a certain company for 8 years back. Despite me working from home, I am an employee working for someone, doing an 8-hour job every day. This year, I made a 360-degree turn. Last July, I severed my ties with my long-term employer and went out as a full-time freelancer. Meaning, since I am not anymore in contract with anyone, I can accept several jobs simultaneously. 

Just three weeks after resurrecting my account in Upwork (an account I created back in 2005 when it was still known as ODesk), I closed a deal with an Upwork client and a direct client. The salary I earn now is 3 times higher than what I got when I worked for 8 hours every day. Now I ask myself why I did not try this a long time ago. Oh well, better late than never. Alas, I am now part of the bandwagon in the freelance community. 

Homeschool provider.

With my enrollment to graduate school and transitioning to full-time freelancing, we finally decided to partner with a homeschool provider. If you have been reading Love. Eat. Wander., you will know that we initially planned to do indie homeschooling. That means we do everything – formulating our own curriculum, teaching Skye, computing final grades, and keeping records to meet DepEd qualifications. That becomes quite a burden with all the things happening at the same time.

This year, it is easier to look for a homeschool provider. In fact, we found one that offers an open curriculum, perfect for our lifestyle. We managed to enroll Skye in a Kindergarten Curriculum, but we are using Grade 1 textbooks.

We no longer have to worry about how we will deal with the Department of Education’s requirements in taking the Philippine Educational Placement Test (PEPT).

New skills unlocked.


JimBry, due to the boredom of staying home, explored other opportunities to improve himself. He said he wants to learn something new, which will serve as his hobby when he’s old and grey. Not just a usual hobby, it must be a meaningful one. He found the answer in wood crafting. Lol. 

He spent considerable time watching YouTube videos, and he also bought some woodwork equipment. True enough, after a month or two, he was able to unlock a new skill. Some of the projects he managed to create are bookshelf, tables, shoe rack, and plant pots holder, and I can they are of outstanding quality for a budding hobbyist! 

I remember the viral tweet of Jeremy Haynes, “If you don’t come out of this quarantine with either: (1) a new skill; (2) starting what you’ve been putting off like a new business; (3) more knowledge; you didn’t ever lack the time, you lacked the discipline.”

The husband earns a star.


It was a hell of a year, alright. But it also got over really fast. Much faster than any other year I can remember. We did not get much time to enjoy ourselves while we were in it. Mainly because, were not able to take our regular travel breaks. Yet, it was still a great year. Too many lessons learned.

It was the worst year.
It was the best year.

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