What happened to 2020? It is by far the fastest year ever.
It was supposed to be an exciting year for me because I left my first job of 12.5 years and starting at a new one with a regional business development role. My first day of work was on 1st of December 2019 and looking forward to doing something totally new after staying 12.5 years of in my comfort zone. And all of a sudden come April, Singapore just clammed shut, along with the rest of the world.
We heard news about the Wuhan virus (now covid-19) in late January right around Chinese New Year. Life was pretty much normal in Singapore and mask wearing was not a thing yet.
A few weeks later when everyone realizes that Wuhan, China seems to be closer to home thanks to the advancement of technology, it sent people into frantic buying of masks, groceries, and toilet paper.
Going into the lockdown was a shock to the system. When the Prime Minister announced the start of the lockdown, the sense of uncertainty was strong. The first thing on my mind was “This is it. This is the end of the world as we know it”
My immediate impression of the lockdown was like house arrest. But thank goodness it wasn’t. I’d “sneak” out every 3 days to drive the car for 20mins, go for evening walks around the neighborhood after dinner.
But it is not the case for the girls. To them, it is house arrest. The furthest they went from the house was the lift lobby just 5 metres from our home. For 3 months they’ve not seen the ground floor. We chose not to take the risk and bring them to the mall to get our groceries or meals. These were what we called unnecessary risks. Even though we could have minimized contact with others by driving. Staying at home ELIMINATES all contact.
Being a salaried employee and sole breadwinner of the family, I was worried that I would lose my newfound job. Thankfully all I had was to take a 20% pay cut from April to September and I could keep my job. 20% isn’t a small figure when every cent matters. But since there’s no where to spend the money during lockdown (no tuition, ballet, piano, swimming lessons for the girls), it was somewhat bearable.
Time passed really slow in the first week of lockdown. I felt restless and confused. It felt to me like i was skiving on normal working day. It was terrible. I frequently looked at my phone for emails and WhatsApp messages. It became like an obsession. I swore I can hear my phone ringing when actually it didn’t.
Week 2 onwards flew by, I realized that I was being silly being in denial that work still carries on. I won’t lie, working at home was difficult only because of my expectation that work wasn’t affected. I realized that it has more benefits. I don’t have to get out of my pyjamas for work. Toilet trips are way shorter. And when I felt it, I could do some workouts when I needed a break. The biggest benefit of all was I get to be in the presence of my family and they often become the source of my short breaks in-between work.
However one of the biggest disadvantages about working from home is that there isn’t any working hours. It seems like close of business is bed time. This is also my own doing as I had the insatiable need to respond to emails.
The biggest lesson that 2020 has taught me was the importance of being adaptable to change.
Change in life as we knew it, change in daily habits, change in working conditions, and change in the perception of what is normal.
It seems like 2020 is the year to remember for all the impact to the normalcy of life, but for me, 2020 is the best year because of the birth of our 3rd daughter!
Thanks for the memories 2020!