2019 review: family, work, love, self, health

2019 was a fantastic year in all front. I worked hard and it paid off to improve our quality of life. I am grateful to have a supporting husband, two angels, a welcoming work environment, new relationships built, old ones consolidated, a mentor that took me to a higher level of my professional life. This is a quick recap of highlights.

Family: in our second year in Manila we all got very comfortable with the lifestyle. Kids love their school, we know where to go/buy things, move around with the traffic became less of a hustle that before. Each of us has something going on while at the same time enjoy the togetherness as a family. A crucial contributor of this was the husband started working in February. This changed the entire dynamic of the family and love relationship. While things were not bad before, anxiety was always present, mood swing happened more than I would like. Starting a new job brought stability in family dynamics and definitely brought confidence on him and me.

Kids: they are growing so fast. Sofia developed new friendships and “prefers” spending time with her friends more than ever, which I think it is great. Sofia is also getting used to the concept of responsibility and homework, mainly piano and mandarin. Both activities combined probably take her less than an hour, but she is complaining less and understands that’s her “job” and role. We also started to discuss about responsibilities and my experience of getting where I am without parents help but hard work. Not only the fact that I studied a lot, but also how I organized my days, seek help when in doubt, plan steps ahead, etc. It might sound too early to institute these ideas to a 7 years old, but whenever she asks, I tell her the truth instead of adapting to what a 7 years old might comprehend. To my surprise, she seems to understand those concepts. Sofia is very curious, resourceful, fast learner, persistent, likes challenges, brave, and very resilient. Grandma says Sofia has all my virtues. 🙂 Lizzy also progressed a lot last year. Her social skills improved as she plays with other kids more, and for the first time went to a play date alone at someone else place. Yet, she remains to be the baby at the house. I still call her baby because she’s still squishy, chubby and cute. When I hear her talk with her cute baby voice, my belly smiles. Lizzy’s personality hasn’t come up fully yet but I can tell she’s a very sensitive and caring person, probably even more than Sofia. That’s such a loving character. I am eager to learn how she develops in 2020 as she turns 4.

Love: our fifth year of being back together marked our best year so far. A big factor was the new job obviously but also because we learned about other more every year. What we like and don’t so we adjust ourselves to improve the relationship. We had less confrontational fights. I learned to walk away when we are both in the heat. I learned to deliver the message without expecting consent or acknowledgement. As a result, we enjoy each others company more while preserving our intellectual independence. In 2019, two of my close friends got divorce and both cases merit divorce. It once again confirmed that marriage is hard work. It needs a lot of compassion, patience, thinking, effort, and love put into the love account for it to work. But the reward is worth it. I am looking forward for another great year together. Each year we build experience which has a compound effect in relationship in the long run as we build memories together.

Work: 2019 was my best year in term of career advance. I grew as a professional, as a colleague, and as a mentor to others. The reason was the perfect combination of hard working, masterful planning, focusing on relationships, introspect and forward looking thinking mindset. It is not that I didn’t have these before but it was in 2019 these became virtue and created value to others and my work. My biggest takeaway is how important is relationship building in any environment, especially in work place. Only when we value relationship, we can build trust, and only with trust we can do well our job.

Self: I continued to grow into my roles as wife, mother, colleague, friend but most importantly, I grew as a person. I valued time alone and took advantage of work trips to self-reflect. I became more patient and did less impulsive actions. I found this change was important at work and at home. I used to react to things and acted on them when I am in the hype of emotional rollercoaster, some actions that 24-48 hrs later I wouldn’t have done. Knowing myself, in 2019 I pulled myself back to calm down and revisit the action. Most of the time my choice of action changes, it considers a broader picture, and less defensive.

Health: 1 year vegan anniversary came and gone, and I decided to continue because I feel good physically and mentally. My biggest achievement in 2019 was actually nudging the husband to adopt plant based diet as well. He was a heavy meat eater. If one day I didn’t cook anything animal related (eggs don’t qualify), he’ll get mad at me. But in 2019, subtle changes led to nowadays that he eats oatmeal for breakfast every day if we are not traveling, vegan lunch that I prepare for him, and mostly veggie and plant sourced protein for dinner. When we travel, he’d eat animal protein, but he’d switch back to plant based meals when we come home. I am super happy about his shift, and most importantly he did the shift by his own decision. My role was making sure good vegan food is abundant at home.

I ran my third marathon in Melbourne in 2019, ticking off the third continent goal as well. Running continues to be my favorite activity, to clear my mind, to stay fit and healthy, to learn about new topics with podcasts. It is my daily escape and ME time. I also started doing yoga more in 2019, maybe 1-2 times a week to build strength, calm my mind, and institute stillness. I plan to do more in 2020.

I turned 39 in December and I feel like I am in my 20s physically. I am a true believer of lifestyle (food, exercise, sleep) playing the biggest role on my overall health. The best part is this way of living comes nature to me, I don’t even need to practice restriction/discipline anymore. 🙂

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