2019 in Review

January 9, 2020 • 6 min read

It's already 2020 – yay for the new decade! 🎉, but I think it's still a good time to share what I've been doing last year. From what I could recall, last year was the best year of my life with the dynamic of ups and downs that I'm so glad to have, especially when I could finally pass them behind. Those too shall pass!

More About Personal Life

When I see it through the work-revenue standpoint, I don't think it's the best year of my career. What I'm grateful for is stability, where I could experiment on different things and move on when the outcomes don't match the expectation.

The most experience and dynamics that I got were happening in my personal life. It was a year when I stopped searching for myself and started to live my own authentic self. Along the way through the process, I realized truly that I don't have to mimic anyone else out there to be as successful as them. Trying so only made me lost, disappointed, and trapped into unnecessary anxiety that could go full-circle and deeper.

More importantly, I admit that I don't have all the things in life. Gladly that enables me to see I also have something I could be grateful and enlarge for. That way, I started to multiply and double down on what's already there – particularly the neglected skills, while building the ladder to new things and adventures that I was excited to crush.

Personally, I've been living my best life with my small family last year without any regrets. Definitely one thing I want to continue to do in 2020.

Dealing with Stress and Anxiety

As what we already know, there's nothing called the safest place on earth, nor full certainty in this life. When I looked back, I feel satisfied because I could change as a person from one that's easily distracted by everything that's happening around me, to the one that could differentiate between things that were happening inside me – which were usually in control – versus things that were happening out there – which were usually out of my control and not related to myself.

Back then at the beginning of 2019, I could easily feel stressed and somehow realizing exactly the time when I was in a panic attack. Gratefully, I have some friends that always care to me whatever happens in my life. They encouraged me to spend some time in a day - preferably at night before bed – to totally disconnect from work and engage myself with relaxing activities. That worked for me gradually! I even extended that to totally disconnect from other things except for my true surroundings.

I think it makes sense to say that 2020 wouldn't be easier – in any sense – than 2019. Having time to see what's real and not caught up with anything out there truly helps me to see tangibly that the life I'm living right now is definitely much better than what's inside my mind. I'd just move on and live my life fully!

The Awareness to Focus

I was haunted by an inconsistent schedule last year to bring some room for pursuing whatever good opportunities that lie in front of me. Turns out that brought more chaos than good to me. The worse thing was, I let that happened to me without considering what to do and what not, until one magical moment happens.

One day of December last year, I was playing a mini basketball with my wife for the sake of forcing myself to always learn new things. She is a good player, even much better than me. As you could guess, she always won over me with a good score. Then I forced myself to learn to beat her. I searched for the right way to shoot the ball and make it score to the basket. After some time I found that if I keep shooting and focus my sight to the ring, all of my beings will be forced to shoot the ball in the right way. Until then I started to win over her consecutively.

That experience taught me some very important lessons. If I have different things on my hands, I would think about what to do over them. Instead, if I just have one thing I only see on my hands at the moment, I would only think what to do over this one thing. The difference is if I just see one thing, I could dig it even further. I would see the left side of it, or the right side of it, or even twist it around and see it in many different forms.

Did you just learn something from the story?

I don't say that we have to focus entirely on our day. Instead, it's a matter of balance between zooming in and out, and knowing the time when we have to focus our attention entirely to get things done. It's something that I wanna cultivate with awareness in 2020. I want victory, so I gotta focus to win. I wish you do that too!

Turning Off All Notifications

Realizing that not everything is important has changed my life in a meaningful way. I've heard countless advice from people to turn off all notifications and check the phone when needed, but I was hesitant to do so because the phone has do not disturb mode. Even though I had that mode to be on at some interval of time, the notifications still arrive in front of my face when the mode is off. One day I asked myself – since I have so many apps on my phone – "Most of these notifications don't matter, why should I keep it this way?"

With excitement to discover what happens if I turn off the notifications, I switched the toggle off for most of the apps, and mute group chat notifications that I was a part of. Surprisingly for me, I felt like not missing anything, while maintaining a good schedule to put my attention to respond to the work in general.

Gaining back the freedom of not having to respond to all the things around me is a joy on its own. My focus is sharper, my attention's energy is maintained properly, and life still runs as what it is. Obviously, it's something that I was grateful to be discovered in 2019, and 2020 will be more strict with limiting my screen time on a daily basis.

Looking Ahead

As I've learned so many things last year, I won't stop the hungriness to learn in 2020. But more than that, I want to apply and reap the fruits from doing great habits in a consistent way. Anything could happen, but I want to make sure that I do everything that's inside my control in a great way. Focus, depth, and awareness would be the main things that surround me to face the next thing.

Jeremiah 9:24 NIV but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.

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Hi everyone! My name is Wilbert Liu, I'm a maker, designer, and software engineer. You could find me on Twitter or work with me to create your noble ideas!