I had high hopes for 2020. And now that it is over, I can look back and say it was a year of learning. Some of it was good, plenty of it was terrible, but all of it was eye-opening.

I’m glad 2020 is over, but I’m not that mad about it. It taught me a lot, and for that, I am grateful. Even the ugly lessons, the most painful ones, teach us something.

So while many call 2020 a dumpster fire, I’ll dub thee a surreal dystopian nightmare that taught me a lot about who I am and what I need.

On that note, here is my rundown of the year: my highs, my lows, my lessons, and my hopes for 2021.

My highs of 2020? AKA my bragging board

Career Highs

  • I wrote an article for one of the top news publications in the world. For a girl with no formal writing training, that is massive. It’s not going to be published for a few weeks, but you will hear about it as soon as it goes live. I’ll be shouting from the rooftops.
  • I lost a few writing jobs when Covid hit (not a high). However, it forced me to pivot my career path and expand my knowledge base, which opened doors to new opportunities. Bottom line? I upskilled like a madwoman.
  • Speaking of upskilling, I started running a Pinterest assistant business that I really enjoy. It’s incredible to watch a website/blog/business grow because of my efforts to direct traffic to their site.  
  • Besides adding Pinterest to my repertoire, I’m hired to create email newsletters, write blogs for other people, and ghost-write on any topic under the sun.
  • I realized how much I love learning new skills. I took a lot of different classes, but I really fell in love with and mastered Canva­ ­­– a graphic design tool. So now, I can create anything: brochures, flyers, invitations, eBooks, social media posts, you name it, I can make it. That means I can design your eBook and write it too!

Sand In My Curls Highs

  1. Sand in My Curls has 39 keywords on the first page of Google! That means if you search for terms like:
    • Living in Malaysia
    • Expat Malaysia
    • Penang Hawker food
    • Moving away from family
    • …and loads others, Sand in My Curls is on the first page of the Google results. That is an incredible accomplishment since people pay thousands of dollars to get on the front page of Google, and I haven’t spent a penny on advertising. It means all of my SEO and Pinterest courses have paid off.

2. Sand in My Curls has grown 600+%. Yup, that figure is right. My monthly views have increased from 1200 to 8500. My DA has gone from 5 to 23. All good stuff!

Random Highs

  • After 3 years of embassy appointments and paperwork, Mark finally got his Italian passport! If we want to move to Italy, we can. I can get a 2-year visa. But with Mark’s new passport, he can live anywhere in the EU, which is even more exciting. I’m all about options. I’ll just have to figure out a freelancer’s visa of some sort.
  • Spreading my wings career-wise makes me feel like a more well-rounded person to hire. That means I can freelance for so many different people, from all walks of life, in all niches.

The Downright Dirty Lows

  • Covid. I could stop there. But 2020 was bigger than a virus for me. However, I am so incredibly sorry and sad for those of you who have lost loved ones because of this douchebag of a virus.
  • Gramma dying and us not being there. The worst part is that had it not been for Covid, we would have been there when she died. I would have been able to say goodbye and show her how much I loved her. For that, I will always be heartbroken.
  • The riots in America.
  • Watching the news and seeing the violence and destruction in Chicago was devastating. I’m glad my gramma wasn’t there to see it because it would have killed her.
  • Losing some consistent writing work.
  • Every. Single. Debate. Actually, American politics was the cherry on top of a fly-ridden shit pie.  

What I Learned from 2020

  • Wearing masks everywhere is weird.
  • Wearing masks everywhere is normal.
  • The new normal is that nothing is normal.
  • Having a career feels incredible. But expanding my knowledge to other career paths is just as rewarding.
  • Side gigs are my new hustle.
  • I’m OK not leaving the house for days on end.
  • I’m totally cool with following the rules for the greater good. When I see Americans fighting for their “rights” not to wear masks, it makes me sick to my stomach. In Malaysia, we have to scan a QR code that tracks us as we check into every mall, store, gas station, restaurant. I realize I’m being “tracked by the man.” And I’m OK with it. I got news for you buddy, as long as you have a cell phone, you can be tracked.
  • Malaysia is REALLY far away. I need to find a way to spend more time in the same hemisphere as my family. Being trapped in Malaysia (or any country) made me long for family more than ever.
  • I’m spending a lot of time on my blog, but it’s not bringing in money, so I need to change that. If anyone out there wants to discuss the best way to monetize my blog, reach out.

What I Want to Achieve in 2021?

  • I’d like to boost my writing career and get more clients. That being said, or erm, written, if you know of anyone who needs ANY kind of writing done, I’m your girl. I’ve written about taxes, real estate, investments, medical tourism, travel, cybersecurity, you name it. I’ve written for magazines, websites, and blogs. The best gift you can give a freelancer is a referral. So thank you in advance.  
  • I’d also like to continue using my killer SEO and Pinterest skills to boost website traffic. Most people don’t know that Pinterest is a massive search engine and drives traffic to websites, just like Google, Facebook, and YouTube. Instead of placing ads, I create targeted, SEO-researched Pins to direct traffic to websites. Need more people’s eyes on your jewelry business? I can do that. Need more people to know about your blog? I can make that happen.
  • Since I’ve mastered Canva. I can design anything. If you need a brochure, eBook, social media post, flyer, a menu created, I’m so your girl.   

The Final Countdown

For me, the last day of 2020 felt like I was finally able to close a chapter that was droning on for far too long. January 1 was the beginning of a new book. A book that we are all the authors of.

2020, you came, kicked us while we were down, and you tried to conquer. But you failed.

2021, I see you and raise you exponentially. I expect a lot out of you. So, as my very wise gramma used to say, “from my lips to god’s ears,” some good shit is about to come. (OK, I added the last part, gramma was too much of a lady to swear, but I’m not).

And although I am more a believer in the Universe’s powers than one god’s, I’ll do anything to get my point across.

2021 is going to rock our world. And I’m picking the music. So, you better be listening.

PS: Thank you for all of your support in 2020! It doesn’t matter if you’ve been with me from the beginning or this is your first post. I am grateful you take time from your busy life to take a peek into mine.

PPS: I’d love to hear about your 2021 hopes and goals! Reply with them in the comments below.

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