LIFESTYLE | Let's Have a Look Back at 2020, Shall We?

I almost want to laugh in a sad way at this reflection post because I think many of us are finding a certain camaraderie in 2020. We are both relieved and in disbelief that it's over and 2021 is here and it's supposed to be better, right? Shit happens every year, but this year that same shit hits a little bit harder because you can't see your family, friends or escape for a vacation or do anything outside your bubble. Well, you COULD do all of those things, but then you would be a huge dick since the rest of us are trying to keep COVID at bay and protect those who are most vulnerable, including my asthmatic husband. While I had a bit of a tough time at the beginning of the lockdown being off work, there came a point where I felt like I had mentally let much of the financial worry go and just decided to "ride it out" which has sort of been the motto in the back of my mind for the last 7 months. I am grateful every day that my husband and I have a job to go to as I know others have not been as fortunate and so even though I have my days where I struggle to wake up and go to work, I am happy to be there and I am also happy to be home safe and healthy with my little family. Hugo's grumpy face sums up a lot of what 2020 has been like and he is also annoyed that my husband is now home 24/7. He shows up looking like this on all his Zoom calls and stares everyone down. 

I had six goals for last year:

  1. Use an accomplishment/memory jar
  2. Focus More on Local Brands and Brands Who Have Been Supportive  
  3. Read more
  4. Learn to cook alone more often
  5. Max out my TFSA and RRSP contributions
  6. Give positive feedback where possible

I will be adding: 

  1. Watch 50 movies I have never seen

Since the year essentially went on pause for most of us around March 13th-14th, I couldn't really do any of the financial planning stuff since I was off work for 2 months, but I was able to focus or "redefine" a few of the goals I had set out to accomplish.

Use an accomplishment/memory jar

A lot of the accomplishments I would add to this jar were either work or blog-related and I stopped adding work-related things once I went back to work at the end of May. Going back in a pandemic and trying to do things normally, but with some added tweaks of sanitizing, mask-wearing and distancing just didn't feel like cause for celebration. With regards to work, everyday that we didn't have to quarantine and that all of us were healthy was accomplishment enough. I did add a few blog-related accomplishments like a paid opportunity "taking product photos for Maskeraide" (Harper made an appearance in the Pineapple Jelly Mask photo) or having my "first virtual event with Guerlain", but for the most part, I didn't measure this aspect of my life too much in 2020. I shall try to do so for this year, but I'm still feeling a bit ambivalent towards it.

Focus More on Local Brands and Brands Who Have Been Supportive  

When I was told to come back to work, I took it as a sign to truly focus on local, Canadian and small business brands and I can proudly say that almost 80% of my beauty/bath purchases were indeed from local and Canadian small businesses! Cheekbone Beauty and Jojo's Bath Bombs were both wonderful discoveries and I continue to keep track of what percentage my dollars go to small businesses vs. places like Sephora. I look forward to continuing this trend in 2021 and discovering more Canadian brands! I have a list going in my Google Keep if anyone is interested!

Read More

I had a goal of 25 books in my Goodreads Reading Challenge Goal and I was doing alright until I started reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. It was a looooong 1000 pages and took me so long to get through because it was quite slow until the last 300 pages. This book killed me and slowed me down horrifically and I am sad that I didn't accomplish my goal, but I will try again! I tend to read long books sometimes and TAKE awhile to read them so as much as I would love to have a 50-100 book goal like others, I just can't. I used to be able to power read, but now I am too distracted with blogging and Netflix so I tend to read solely in the tub for about an hour or at work on my lunch.

Learn to Cook Alone More Often

Ha! So, this "wish" came true when I stopped working as many of us started realizing that being stuck at home meant our daily lives revolved around when the next meal was! My husband was working full time from home which meant that all of the grocery shopping and meal planning fell to me since I now was itching for something to keep me busy. I became super domestic and looked to YouTube every day for things to make. I cooked all of our Chef's Plate meals, did the shopping and baked every few days. I remember making dinner and while veggies were roasting in the oven, baked a chocolate cake ala Jenny Jones! My husband thought I was depressed or going through some sort of crisis, but honestly once the CERB kicked in, I felt better about things and more motivated to make the most of this time at home. Work was stressing me out for the better part of over a year and now that I am back with a smaller, but really good team of colleagues, I realize that you can be happy at work!

Max Out My TFSA and RRSP Contributions

I tweaked this goal as the pandemic made me realize that I did not have an 'Emergency Fund" which a number of financial advisors say should be anywhere from 3-6 months of savings to cover essentials like rent/mortgage payments, food, vet emergencies, loans, etc. These funds should be easily accessible, but never touched unless you find yourself in a similar predicament to what we just went through. I calculated that I needed $15,600 to comfortably cover 6 months of essentials (this is my half assuming my husband is also able to cover his half of things). And yes, we still divide everything by two and have separate accounts.

I started this Emergency Fund goal once I went back to work and aggressively started to save and curb any unnecessary spending. I hit my goal on December 18th and have now resumed putting money aside for RRSPs! I know that this type of goal is not possible for those who are still on CERB or EI, but whatever your financial situation, I learned that I spent too much on things that didn't matter and that it is worthwhile setting aside some time and figuring out an actual number of what you REALLY need to survive. This act alone made me feel like I had control in a situation where I truly had very little of it. You can tell I'm not a meditation, wellness type person when it comes to feeling better about things. My form of therapy comes from making spreadsheets...while wearing a sheet mask.

Giving Positive Feedback

I stopped doing this directly (sending an email to head offices) after the pandemic started because every business is just trying to make things work and people in general are more understanding of delays and lack of staffing because of what the pandemic has done. I also haven't had too many dealings with sales staff since I buy mostly online now or from the owners directly so I my feedback is given through social media when I unbox. We have been trying to do one night of takeout from a local restaurant though to support the restaurants we love so we have been amalgamating support and feedback all in one.

Watch 50 Movies I Have Never Seen

Keeping track of movies started last year when we decided to watch all of the Marvel movies in chronological order so starting with Captain America: The First Avenger and ending with Spiderman: Far From Home which takes place after Endgame. I currently use Letterboxd to keep track of everything and really like the layout! I wanted to start with watching ALL of the Studio Ghibli movies as I have only seen three of them! We shall see how I do as I often opt for sitcoms or episodes of shows instead of movies in the evening. 30 minutes just seems easier to digest, BUT we got a Disney+ subscription for Christmas so the first movie I need to start with is Soul!

I hope everyone is safe, healthy and feeling as ok as they can be on this first day of 2021. While it sounds like I was productive this year, I've had my ups and downs too and we all handle things a bit differently. Stay well and cheers to a New Year!

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