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How Did 2021 Go?

As far as I am concerned, 2021 was as tough as if not tougher than 2020. The situations were different but the anxiety and stress were at the very least of equal measure.

But 2021 had more tangible gifts while 2020 had invisible ones that blossomed to make the 2021 gifts possible.

I am here to count the good of the year, and to un-dwell on the not so good.

So my good list goes:

- Despite the constant feeling of not having had enough time nor strength, I was able to draw and paint enough that when Art Mart opened up applications in November, I realized I had enough to go on.

- I finally became part of a circular economy that does a serious waste segregation program to save the oceans and to recycle as much as possible.

- I got out of my dayjob comfort zone and expanded into the very thing I had always avoided for many years because I felt I was not good enough. It turned out I had gotten good at it and at least half of my paychecks this year were from doing it.

- I have won Mondays. I now implement a 4-day work week, with the occasional variation. Because I got out of my dayjob comfort zone I was no longer stuck with the parameters of the old. I was able to claim back more hours, ask for better pay, and work with a relatively lighter load.

- In addition to no-work Mondays, I have also significantly reduced the work hours I spend each day regardless of the deadlines. I log out as soon as the sun begins to set. I don’t force myself to plod through if I’m exhausted or sleepy. I work in intense bursts (with a long burst in the early morning) alternated with long breaks. But I get a lot done in six up to eight hours this way, broken up throughout a day instead of a typical locked-in eight-hour structure. I no longer do overtimes for dayjob projects — it’s an inefficient use of time and energy. I realise that I have gained enough confidence in my skills that I can make clear decisions and plan ahead on how to tackle a task. It simplifies and shortens the actual work period needed. I have stopped getting overworked, literally and figuratively, on getting a job perfect out of a desire to continuously prove myself or justify my right to do the work and the paycheck I’m earning out of it.

- I made my living space a good space. I finally recognised the limits of making do and instead I made decisions to let go and start over. I invested a bit of money, effort, and time to fix my room and my studio in such a way that it now significantly contributes to my overall well-being on a daily basis.

- I have recovered my reading habit which I had lost for the past few years. My mind and soul are feeding from books again.

- I have claim on the kitchen again and have been cooking more meals. This was something I sorely missed when I was living on my own with my own kitchen. I have been able to break a few bad household habits enough to make kitchen work less stressful.

- I opened up an art shop on Lazada, with a small capital gifted by a friend. I’ve broken even and started to earn tiny profits. It’s a decent meantime setup while I couldn’t yet afford to upgrade this site into a business site.

- I paid more attention to my overall health and wellness. I invested in supplements that are now helping through the worst of days.

- Because I broke out of my dayjob comfort zone, I now have a potential job to consider. A discussion is yet to be set but if it works out, I can gain some kind of financial stability and security in 2022. The pandemic has its gifts too and I am one of those who appreciate them. It has made possible having a job that combines the best of being freelance and being employed — something that was only feasible for a very few in pre-pandemic times. (Send me good vibes.)

There may be other things I missed but these are the ones at the top of my head. I have to write them down to remind myself, to look back on as I move forward in my journey.

A few more things to be grateful for:

- a landlord who has not kicked us out despite our being behind on rent for months

- unexpected gifts from people that came at exact moments when needed

- perfect timing of dayjob projects coming in with just enough pay to get us through a difficult period

- getting lucky enough with the public health system to receive the exact benefits we needed when my dad got sick and needed surgery

Always of course I am grateful for art, books, and music. And magic, love, fairy tales. And for my tribe from around the world who are always ever near in spirit and in my heart.

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