A year on: how are you?

It has been over a year since COVID hit around the world, leading us to adapt to so many sudden changes. If I’m being honest with you, I had thought this would all pass in a few weeks minimum or a few months but never a whole year. Here we are though, who woulda thought?

Not me.

I’ll be referencing this video of Paul Rudd forever. 😂

Last year, I wrote a post about how I felt when it all kicked off then another one late last year. Reading back on these posts feels like a totally different world, I feel like I was a totally different person then. I have to say, I was a lot more positive this time last year than I am today. Understandably though, right?


Hey, how are you?

Social Connections & Relationships

It’s funny because the thing I was most bummed out about was the fact that we had to cancel a lot of our travel plans. Fast forward to today, I think the fact that I haven’t had my usual social contact with friends, family and folks I’d meet at meet-ups/events has officially got me down. 😓

I’ve always been someone that gains energy from other people. I used to enjoy being at meet-ups, soaking in conversations and building up those connections. During the winter, my motivation to make an effort to reach out to people declined sharply. When I began to prioritize it again recently and my mood improved in correlation, it become evident to me how important it is for me to have those connections.

The video above is probably one of my last face-to-face talks I’d done in 2020.

Although I’ve not been able to meet anyone face-to-face, I’ve enjoyed making connections online. If you didn’t think I could be even more annoying on Twitter, then you’re mistaken. 2020, made me do it. 😂 I’ve been actively connecting with new people on social media since the pandemic began and have recently been more involved in community focused groups on Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces. I noticed how my mood is lifted after an hour or so connecting with new people on these platforms.

Nothing will beat face-to-face interactions with the right people, but hey, this has kept my energy levels up.

Taking a selfie with someone at a meet-up
A 2019 meet-up, remember those? I was caught on camera taking a selfie 😂

I’ve also spent a lot of time with one person in particular… my partner, Matt! A lot like others living with their partners, I’m sure that I’m not the only person who thinks that we all need our own space at times. Actually, I think it’s healthy and vital for a relationship not to be joint by the hip at all times! It’s been difficult obviously given the circumstances, but I’m so grateful for the patience we’ve been practising with each other (mostly his patience towards me — I’m a handful 🤭)

What’s the saying again? Couples who spent 100% of their time during the COVID-19 pandemic together, stay together. 👩‍❤️‍👨

Starting a new job remotely

Late last year, I handed in my notice and officially left my first tech job. Family and friends had their doubts with me leaving a pretty stable job in the middle of a pandemic, but I knew that it was the right thing for me to do. I’m now over 3 months into my new role and still very much enjoying myself 😊

It doesn’t come without it’s challenges however! If I’m being honest, I think that I downplayed the challenges that I would face when I left my old job. How difficult was it really to onboard to a whole new company? Remotely? Much more difficult than I imagined, apparently. 😬

My first day on the job was tough. Logging in to a whole different Slack channel with names that I’m unfamiliar with sent me down a pit of anxious thoughts. I remember thinking, “Why did I do this to myself? I’m so uncomfortable.” But as days go by, I’m settling in and adapting to the company’s culture. After all, it is that uncomfortable-ness that you need to grow. 🌱

Traveling

I’ve pretty much scrapped the idea of traveling anywhere this year. I think I finally came to terms with the fact that I won’t be swimming in an open ocean or exploring a new city. It’s weird that I haven’t been on a train in over a year as well. 😱 My frequent work trips as well as mine and Matt’s weekend trips around the UK seem like a distant memory.

My last trip abroad was to Lisbon for WebSummit (2019)

It sucks, but I like look back at the good ‘ol times with a new sense of appreciation. 2022 has some exciting adventures, I know it 😊

Money

The only real positive from the year that has been is that I’ve managed to get into some really healthy money habits. For the first time in my life, I’ve saved more than ever and improved my financial knowledge along the way. What I said last year was true: “Wow, I’ll probably save a lot of money because I won’t be traveling or eating out as much.” Yup. 😂

Being alone in my thoughts most of the time had me thinking about life more. I realised that one thing that I value the most is freedom. Inspired by the lockdown? Yeah, most likely. I’m inspired to continue this money habit even when we get “back to normal” Whatever that means.

Health – exercising & weight gain

I have definitely adapted to home workouts over the course of the year. I’ve kitted up my living room with the most vital equipment that I need to get a nice workout in every morning. In addition to services like Apple Fitness+, I’ve enjoyed adapting my workouts to what works for me in the current circumstances.

Pauline outdoors during her daily walk
I’ve been trying to exercise more outside (i.e. go for more walks and runs safely) It’s boosted my mood!

I’m happy with where I’m at but miss certain things that I can’t do anywhere else but the gym because of equipment or space. For example, leg machines were some of my favourites to help build my leg muscles but I’ve found myself using all the bands set-up in strange places to try and replicate the same thing. Sometimes, I think I need a medal for the effort that I put into these exercises every morning 😂 A new addition to my home gym is a foldable treadmill which I’ve used to get my steps in as often as I can when I don’t go outside.

Despite trying so many different things whilst working out at home and working remotely, I’ve had inevitable weight gain as I still just don’t move as much as before. Especially recently with my new job, as I’ve gotten stuck in something I’ve forgotten to get up and move!

I’m embracing all the weight gain over the year with kindness. It’s already been a tough year for all of us emotionally and beating ourselves up over stupid numbers on a weighing scale only adds to it. I’m keeping at a healthy weight, but not trying to get too upset when I see that I’ve gained over the course of the year. I hope that you’re also all practising this self-love more than ever. 💜

Racism

Racism against Asians was a concern last year after I had an incident where a man threw verbal abuse at me on my way home from the post office. Today, it’s an inevitable concern as further hate crimes against Asians grow across the world.

A photo of an Asian woman holding up a sign that says "Racism is a Virus"
Photo from @racismisavirus

It’s been upsetting to watch unfold and has caused me to feel an additional level of paranoia when I go for walks. Anxiety of COVID around AND anxiety of a random off chance someone will throw some abuse at me because of my roots. It doesn’t feel worth it going out for some fresh air some days. I’m sending all my Asian brothers and sisters lots of love during this time 🙏🏼 I’m sorry that people are awful sometimes.


The Future

My optimism has been tested by the day with this pandemic, but I can’t deny that things are looking up! As vaccines rollout, the number of people protected from COVID is growing. 💉 The more that number increases around the world, the more we can all not just get back to normal but hopefully learn from the tough times and be better. I’m excited for that future. ✨

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