2020 Vision: A Year of Endurance
Welcome to The New World.
2020 marked the beginning of a brand new decade. We swung into the new twenties with a hope for change, growth, and prosperity on the horizon.
There was an abundance of change, alright, and unlike anything we’ve ever envisioned or experienced before. The COVID-19 pandemic changed everything — including industries, routines, behaviours, attitudes, identities, and our everyday lives as we once knew it.
In a sense, the rebellion of the Prohibition era came back, with people turning away from a society and culture driven by mass consumerism and turning towards alternative lifestyles led by social consciousness, supporting local communities, and embracing authenticity and simple delights. During a time of social distancing, we turned inwards to get in touch with ourselves and turned towards new ways of staying in touch with one another while staying physically apart.
It’s fitting that Classic Blue was the colour of the year for 2020. Invoking an infinite evening sky and classic blue jeans, the calm, elegant, and timeless blue hue represents our desire for a dependable and stable foundation and inspires us to be reflective and thought-provoking as we enter into this new era — this new normal.
In spite of all the curveballs thrown at us during this tumultuous year of unprecedented interruptions and long-awaited reckonings, we continued to try, try, and try again — to adapt to new ways of being, to find gratitude and light amidst the chaos and darkness, to spread love and kindness (to others and ourselves), and to maintain a state of grace throughout.
Our plans may be postponed for now, but with how far we’ve come in the past 365 days, I can see clearly that it’s never too late to create the life we want.
I have so much certainty that we’ll build that brave new world — together.
As this trying year comes to a close, I’ll always remember 2020 as a time of endurance. To try, try, and try again, and maintain an optimistic outlook and hopeful vision no matter what surprises we encounter next.
In 2020, I resolve to…
- Make a career change. (DONE. From tech startup to news media.)
- Travel to a new continent. (Hahahaha! Not this year! #thankscovid)
- Declutter my stuff and my life. (ALWAYS DOING)
- Move into a space of my own. (DONE! #lizandthevancity)
Memories of 2020.
I rang in the first on January and the start of the new decade with my Vodka Joyride ladies at a ‘20s themed party at Fox Cabaret. Throughout the month, I celebrated my birthday with the annual traditions of Red Robin, Denny’s, Starbucks, Sephora… you get the picture. I enjoyed many food and drink events, including a whisky tasting, the gluten-free expo, Dine Out Vancouver, the Hot Chocolate Festival, and Science of Cocktails. I won an employee award during Rise’s annual kickoff event. And I won a free trip to Taiwan, to be taken this year! The Good Place finished its series on a good finale note. The Golden Globes, the Grammys, and The Oscars presented big accolades to entertainment and entertainers I like, including Fleabag, 1917, Parasite, Awkwafina for The Farewell, Taron Egerton for Rocketman, Lizzo, and Billie Eilish. In world news, the headlines were dominated by the Australia bushfires, Harry & Meghan leaving the Royal Family, and the coronavirus outbreak. In Vancouver, we had what I believe was the biggest snowfall in years and Uber/Lyft finally arrived in the city after MANY years of back and forth!
February was short and sweet, with Galentine’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and Family Day giving me warmth and love when appreciating all of the great people in my life. But enough of the mush! This month, my shows went back on the air (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Bold Type, and The Flash) and I tuned into new ones (Awkwafina is Nora from Queens and Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist). I saw a few live shows in the city, including JFL Northwest comedy fest, Tove Lo at the Vogue Theatre, and a Brooklyn Nine-Nine creator talk with Dan Goor. I made progress on my 2020 goal of reading 20 books this year. And I spent a considerable amount of time working on my professional development, including attending workshops, having coffee chats, and upgrading my wardrobe (to balance out my jeans to dress pants ratio!)
March Madness lives up to its name once again. Somehow, I went from starting off the month on a high note by attending THE BIGGEST DOG MEETUP IN VANCOUVER to ending up in the tragedy of not being able to see or pet any dogs in the foreseeable future. And why? Because on March 11, that coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) from January was declared a global pandemic. And over the course of that week, everything in our world had changed and our entire way of life was completely disrupted. Cancel culture took on a whole new meaning. Events cancelled. Businesses and nearly all non-essential establishments and services shut down. Borders closed off. People either shifted to work from home or lost their jobs. And concepts like “social distancing”, “self isolation”, and “flatten the curve” became not just our new normal, but our collective civic responsibility. The three weeks in March that were impacted by COVID-19 felt like three years, and heading into April, we still don’t know what’s going to happen next and how long it’ll take for life to resume again. But all we know is that, like 9/11 two decades before, things will never be the same again.
Right before everything with Coronavirus went down, another more positive life change happened: after two and a half years on Rise’s marketing team, I made a career change by taking on a new role at Vancouver Is Awesome as their Content Manager for sponsored content! Starting a new job in the midst of a global pandemic presented me with a bigger learning curve and more challenges and curveballs than I had initially anticipated, but it has all been so worth it.
Coronavirus quarantine continued on in April. The stay-in-home orders remained in place for the entire month. As a result, I had to cancel a trip to Las Vegas to see Kelly Clarkson’s residency show, and all future travel plans remained up in the air (or shall I say grounded) until further notice. David Archuleta’s first concert in Vancouver was also postponed. COVID-19 impacted every sector and industry, including news media, which never rested in the midst of all the breaking news and updates. During all of my downtime at home, I documented my time in self-isolation through writing and video blogging, cooked and baked, decluttered and reorganized my space, caught up on my reading list, and finally signed up for Netflix (and binged Schitt’s Creek, That ’70s Show, and a crazy little thing called Tiger King). Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist , and The Flash wrapped for the season, which freed up a lot more television airtime (though the film industry is another one in limbo with production shutdowns). At least some of my favourite artists, including Kelly Clarkson, Adam Lambert, Dua Lipa, Kelsea Ballerini, Alicia Keys, John Legend, and Florence + The Machine are continuing to release new projects. I don’t know what we’d do without music in weird times like these.
May marked the beginning of the reckoning… I’ll get to that in a bit.
As we carried along during the second full month of COVID-19 quarantine, restrictions began to ease by mid-month when the province moved into Phase 2 of their Restart Plan. We began to see some businesses re-open their doors with soft openings (with an emphasis on sanitization and physical distancing) and small gatherings permitted in outdoor spaces (fewer faces, bigger spaces). I must say, I’m looking forward to seeing people in real life as opposed to virtual hangouts soon. But although B.C. is doing well with flattening the curve, but we must still remain vigilant with social distancing. The show went on with virtual American Idol at hyper speed, which resulted in Just Sam as the winner, and the show’s first Afro-Latina champion! David Archuleta, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Lady Gaga dropped stellar albums. I got back into watching Old Hollywood films starring legends such as Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor. I completed my 2020 Reading Challenge very early in the year too!
And by the month’s end, the reckoning began when the brutal killing of George Floyd at the knee of white supremacy and police brutality shook not just America by its core, but the entire world. Everyone woke up to the reality of the presence of systemic racism in their societies, and within themselves too through their complacency (silence = complicity). Suddenly, the masses were awakened to check their privileges, speak out for Black Lives Matter, and take action as anti-racists. The protests that erupted across the United States demonstrated how much work we all have to do to dismantle these oppressive systems designed against BIPOC. Much like what we’ve been grappling with throughout this whole pandemic, this moments feels like the start of a brand new world…
The pandemic and the unrest continued into June. What can I say that was positive about this month? I finally got a haircut after four months! I went out for brunch on the patio with friends and got the eggs benedict I had been craving for months! Queer Eye Season 5 came out! Jason Mraz, John Mayer, and David Cook released new music! And I finally got replaced my obsolete laptop with a MacBook Air! And that’s all she wrote.
What can I say about July that I haven’t already said about the last few months? I Netflix-ed (The Baby-Sitter’s Club, Down to Earth with Zac Efron, Dating Around) and Disney Plus-ed (Hamilton, Black Is King) and Apple TV-ed (Little Voice). I listened to new music from Ellie Goulding, Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, Kree Harrison, and more. I started to go on local walks and hikes and to picnic and (socially) drink again. I finally met my coworkers in person at the park! AND PET A DOG FOR THE FIRST TIME IN ALMOST FIVE MONTHS OMG.
Daily COVID-19 numbers ramped up to the triple digits in August, so that’s just swell. I tried to have summer fun in the sun as safely as possible outdoors (from Stanley Park to Queen Elizabeth Park to Rocky Point to Crystal Falls) while also enjoying simple at-home pleasures like baking cookies, reading books and magazines, lighting candles, watching Netflix (The Umbrella Academy), and shopping online. I did a VR experience (in space) and danced at a small outdoor patio show for Mural Fest with my quarantine group. In one of the saddest celebrity death news of the year, Chadwick Boseman died of cancer. Rest in Power, King.
Wake me up when September ends… has never rang so true for everyone, has it? The biggest development of this month is that I started working from the office once a week — let’s see how long that lasts before the second wave (or are we already past the third and fourth waves already?) of COVID-19 hits B.C. With it being the last month of summer, I took advantage of the last bit of nice weather (in between the rainfall and forest fire smoke) at the Stanley Park and False Creek seawalls, plus the North Van waterfall. There were some new music releases to look forward to, including new albums from Lauren Alaina, Amber Riley (RILEY), Alicia Keys, Sara Bareilles, Queen + Adam Lambert, and Carrie Underwood’s Christmas album. I watched Tenet, Mulan, The Personal History of David Copperfield, and Enola Holmes on VOD because RIP movie theatres. I also streamed Next in Fashion, Glow Up, Dickinson, The Great, Emily in Paris, and Insecure. I read two books from two of my favourite authors, Yaa Gyasi and Sophie Kinsella.
Well, that didn’t last long. Right around and just after the Thanksgiving long weekend, October saw a big spike in the COVID-19 spread in B.C., gradually averaging 200-300 cases in a day. That was to be anticipated with the colder weather and holidays drawing more people indoors with their contacts. Like I expected, Halloween as we once knew it was cancelled, and also like I expected, COVID deniers still partied on that Saturday night. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what the numbers are like in November… In other big news, I made the life-changing (and long overdue) decision to move out and will be moving to downtown Vancouver next month!
November marked the beginning of living on my own in the city! It’s been an adventure with un/packing, furniture building and room furnishing (with thanks to IKEA, JYSK, Crate & Barrel, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace), routine setting, cooking at home, and playing with cats! And of course, all of this coincided with increased restrictions on social activities and non-essential travel due to the exponential rise of COVID-19 cases in B.C. In the USA, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the election, providing a moment of relief for Americans (and the world). I listened to new music from Little Mix, Josh Groban, Clark Beckham, Shawn Mendes, Billie Eilish, and Taylor Swift. I binged the latest seasons of The Queen’s Gambit, The Queen, and The Mandalorian. I listened to Rachel Bloom’s autobiography and read Rupi Kaur, Amanda Lovelace, and Margaret Atwood’s new poetry collections. I celebrated the marriage of two friends through a lovely virtual wedding — the future of nupitals?
‘Tis the damn season for December and this year finally coming to an end! While this holiday season was certainly a lot different, I did my best to get into the holiday spirit — by volunteering at The Street Store in the DTES, listening to new Christmas music releases from Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Jordin Sparks, Tori Kelly, Haley Reinhart, David Cook, David Archuleta, Mandy Moore, and Carly Rae Jepsen, and watching Christmas movies like Holidate, Happiest Season, Jingle Jangle, Christmas on the Square, Dash & Lily, and Carrie Underwood’s Christmas Special. I finally took vacation time from work during the last two weeks of the year, which I spent watching The Prom, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Palm Springs, Soul, Wonder Woman 1984, and the first season of Bridgerton. I read Barack Obama’s A Promised Land and Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library to accomplish reading a book a week!
Overall, my 2020 was a balance of low lows and high highs, with the highlights being the fulfillment of wishes I have been working hard towards for years. But through it all, I continue to remain conscious about the challenges and losses that the next year will certainly bring. While the road ahead will be bumpy and my part in it won’t be perfect, I’m willing to keep on trying and seeing what comes next in 2021.
“Your life doesn’t have to be perfect for you to be proud. In fact, I think it’s the opposite: the more imperfect your life has been, the prouder you should be, because it means you’ve come that much further, and also probably had a lot more fun along the way.” – Naya Rivera
Music in 2020.
- Dua Lipa – Don’t Start Now
- Haley Reinhart – Change
- Janelle Arthur – White Horse
- Lauren Alaina – Getting Good
- Lauren Alaina – Getting Over Him
- Mandy Moore – Silver Landings
- Niall Horan – Nice To Meet Ya
- Kelsea Ballerini – Club
- Adam Lambert – Roses
- Tove Lo – I’m Coming
- Brooke White – Dreams
- David Archuleta – OK, All Right
- Kelly Clarkson – I Dare You
- Florence + The Machine – Light Of Love
- Jason Mraz – Look For The Good
- Sam Smith & Demi Lovato – I’m Ready
- Just Sam – Rise Up
- Carly Rae Jepsen – Solo
- Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande – Rain On Me
- Maren Morris – Just For Now
- Chloe x Halle – Ungodly Hour
- H.E.R. – I Can’t Breathe
- Beyonce – Black Parade
- David Cook – Reds Turn Blue
- Haley Reinhart & Casey Abrams – Free As A Bird
- John Legend – Wild
- Naya Rivera – Songbird
- Ellie Goulding – Power
- Taylor Swift – Cardigan
- Taylor Swift – Willow
- Billie Eilish – My Future
- Jordin Sparks – Unknown
- Tori Kelly – Unbothered
- Dua Lipa – Love Is Religion
- Kree Harrison – Chosen Family Tree
- Janelle Arthur – Chasing Ghosts
- Little Voice – More Love
- Sara Bareilles – Little Voice
- Alicia Keys – Underdog
- Amber Riley – A Moment
- Demi Lovato – OK Not To Be OK
- mxmtoon – ok on your own
- Maren Morris – Better Than We Found It
- Queen & Adam Lambert – We Are The Champions
- David Cook – Strange World
- Sam Smith – Diamonds
- Clark Beckham – Run Away
- Little Mix – Confetti
- Miley Cyrus & Dua Lipa – Prisoner
- Ed Sheeran – Afterglow
- Josh Groban – Angels
- David Archuleta – What A Wonderful Way To End A Crazy Year
- Mandy Moore – How Could This Be Christmas?
- Carly Rae Jepsen – It’s Not Christmas Till Somebody Cries
- Haley Reinhart – O Holy Night
- Tori Kelly – Let It Snow
- Jordin Sparks – Trapmas Medley
- Kelly Clarkson – All I Want For Christmas Is You
- Carrie Underwood – Let There Be Peace
Television in 2020.
- Saturday Night Live
- The Good Place
- Brooklyn Nine-Nine
- The Bold Type
- The Flash
- Awkwafina is Nora from Queens
- Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist
- Tiger King
- Schitt’s Creek
- That 70s Show
- Never Have I Ever
- Queer Eye
- The Baby-Sitters Club
- Dating Around
- Down to Earth with Zac Efron
- Little Voice
- The Umbrella Academy
- Next In Fashion
- Glow Up
- The Great
- Emily in Paris
- The Crown
- The Queen’s Gambit
- The Mandalorian
- Dash & Lily
Films in 2020.
- National Treasure
- The World is Burning (Ilana Glazer)
- Marriage Story
- Jojo Rabbit
- Ford V Ferrari
- The Irishman
- Miss Americana (Taylor Swift)
- The Traitor
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- The Call of the Wild
- Emma (2020)
- Birds of Prey
- Hooking Up
- Homecoming (Beyonce)
- The Crimson Wing
- Wings Of Life
- Dolphin Reef
- Two For The Road
- River Of No Return
- There’s No Business Like Show Business
- Bus Stop
- The Prince and the Showgirl
- Let’s Make Love
- The Misfits
- The Half Of It
- Becoming (Michelle Obama)
- War & Peace (1956)
- Father of the Bride (1950)
- Father’s Little Dividend (1951)
- When They See Us
- American Son
- Love, Antosha
- Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
- Black Is King
- One Day
- Black Panther ❤
- The Personal History of David Copperfield
- The Social Dilemma
- Enola Holmes
- Rebecca (1940)
- On The Rocks
- Happiest Season
- Jingle Jangle
- The Prom
- My Gift Christmas Special (Carrie Underwood)
- Christmas on the Square
- Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
- Palm Springs
- All My Life
- We Can Be Heroes
- Wonder Woman 1984
Books in 2020.
- Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
- Amanda Lovelace, The Princess Saves Herself in This One
- Amanda Lovelace, Shine Your Icy Crown
- Ed Sheeran: A Visual Journey
- Georgie Crawley, Henry the Queen’s Corgi
- Jenny Han, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before
- Jenny Han, P.S. I Still Love You
- Jenny Han, Always And Forever Lara Jean
- Abigail Hing Wen, Loveboat Taipei
- Carrie Underwood, Find Your Path
- Marie Kondo, Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life
- Simon Sinek, The Infinite Game
- Jodi Kantor & Megan Twohey, She Said
- Tahereh Mafi, Imagine Me
- Caroline Criado-Perez, Invisible Women
- Alicia Keys, More Myself
- Jia Tolentino, Trick Mirror
- Kiley Reid, Such A Fun Age
- Delia Owens, Where The Crawdads Sing
- Celeste Ng, Little Fires Everywhere
- Gail Honeyman, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
- Jasmine Guillory, The Wedding Date
- Jasmine Guillory, The Proposal
- Jasmine Guillory, The Wedding Party
- Jasmine Guillory, Royal Holiday
- Ibram C. Kendi, How To Be An Antiracist
- Ijeoma Oluo, So You Want To Talk About Race
- Layla F. Saad, Me And White Supremacy
- Taylor Jenkins Reid, Forever Interrupted
- Taylor Jenkins Reid, One True Loves
- Josie Silver, The Two Lives of Lydia Bird
- Toshikazu Kawaguchi, Before The Coffee Gets Cold
- Samra Habib, We Have Always Been Here
- Desmond Cole, The Skin We’re In
- Courtney Peppernell, Pillow Thoughts: Stitching The Soul
- Chris Colfer, A Tale of Witchcraft
- Brit Bennett, The Vanishing Half
- Emily Henry, Beach Read
- Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family
- Kate Spade New York, Things We Love: Twenty Years of Inspiration, Intriguing Bits and Other Curiosities
- Alicia Cook, Sorry I Haven’t Texted You Back
- Lang Leav, September Love
- Glennon Doyle, Untamed
- Yaa Gyasi, Transcendent Kingdom
- Lili Reinhart, Swimming Lessons
- Sophie Kinsella, Love Your Life
- Rachel Bloom, I Want To Be Where The Normal People Are
- Rupi Kaur, Home Body
- Margaret Atwood, Dearly
- Barack Obama, A Promised Land
- Matt Haig, The Midnight Library
“The medicine remains the same: more love.” – Sara Bareilles