2020 Year in Review

I’ve always wanted to get into the habit of writing more - especially at the end of every year when I can reflect on all my wins and losses. There’s no doubt 2020 was quite an eventful year for everyone. Thankfully, despite it all, I was able to make the best of it. Here are some of my highlights of 2020.

Highlights

During the first half of the year, my partner and I drove up north to taste wine in Healdsburg and Napa Valley. Being surrounded by vinyards and calmness was quite something that I really enjoyed.

Wine tasting in Healdsburg, CA

Wine tasting in Healdsburg, CA

We also drove down the scenic Highway 1 from San Francisco to Big Sur. I wasn’t a fan of the traffic, but the drive was breathtaking.

Road Trip to Big Sur, CA

Road Trip to Big Sur, CA

Lastly, one of my most memorable experiences last year was to drive down to Southern California to visit San Diego, Temecula Valley Wine Country (for more wine!), and Joshua Tree. Staying in the middle of a desert during the hottest time of the year (August) was crazy, but well worth it!

Our favorite wine tasting experience in SoCal was by far Europa Village.

Joshua Tree National Park, Desert Hot Springs, CA

Joshua Tree National Park, Desert Hot Springs, CA

This is one of my favorite parks in San Francisco. It also happens to be a block away from where I live. It’s probably the only park I visited the most in 2020. It’s the park where I went on morning walks to and one of the few places where I felt the most relaxed.

Alamo Square Park, San Francisco, CA

Alamo Square Park, San Francisco, CA

This is the same park during the 2020 fire season in California, which was reportedly the worst ever.

This also happened to be the first time I ever experienced something like this. Wild fires was not something I ever really worried about in Chicago, but it made me realize how fortunate we are to generally have access to clean air. Not everyone has this privilege.

I’m also thankful for all the first responders and people who helped respond to these incidents - especially during a pandemic.

Wildfires in California. Photo credit to @denisseayala

Wildfires in California. Photo credit to @denisseayala

If I had to summarize my highlights of 2020, I’d say most of it was exploring California (safely), hiking, and drinking wine (a lot of it).

I learned how much I really appreciate nature, disconnecting from the world, finding peace, and trying to be relaxed. My anxiety and stress levels have gone up significantly, but I’m trying to cope with it with the little things. Everything from putting my phone on “do not disturb” so I can be in the moment, to trying to let go of things that don’t really matter much (I’m still working on this).

All in all, it was quite the year and one I’m sure we’ll all remember for many years to come. Be safe. Be healthy. Be hopeful ♥️.

What’s Next in 2021?

I’m not really sure what to expect, but I’m hopeful it will be better than last year. At a high level, there are a few things I want to work on:

  • Read more - at least 12 books
  • Take care of myself - eat better, exercise more, worry less
  • Focus on people - build and maintain relationships, including my family

I don’t expect things will go back to “normal” in 2021, but like 2020, I want to continue to explore California safely with my partner. I also hope we can visit our family and friends in Chicago. I miss Chicago.