A Life Less Analog, Entertainment, Technology

My favorite things: What made 2020 bearable for me

Technology column header

Happy New Year, everyone! I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, or that everything will suddenly be better just because 2020 is finally over. I do believe, however, that many of us have changed a lot in 2020, and that the lessons we learned in that challenging year will help us in 2021. So I’m sharing a list of my favorite things that made 2020 more bearable for me and kept me (mostly) sane.

2020 has taught me that I don’t need a lot of people or things to make me happy. In fact, it made me realize that I should focus my energy on the people who really matter, and the things I truly value and spark joy in my life. Here are a few of my favorite things.

Bonding with my family

The lessons we learned in 2020 will help us in 2021. Here is a list of my favorite things that kept me (mostly) sane in that challenging year. Image credit: Sam Alarilla
Image credit: Sam Alarilla

Whether we were watching the tvN K-drama “Start-Up” together on Netflix, playing Kahoot! at home, or dressing up in our unicorn onesies for our group photo, bonding with my family is definitely my favorite thing.

I don’t know how I could have survived 2020 without my wife and daughter. The importance of spending more time with them was the biggest lesson I learned in 2020, and it’s something I will continue to do in 2021. Life is too short. Spend more time with the most important people in your life.

Stanning BLACKPINK

The lessons we learned in 2020 will help us in 2021. Here is a list of my favorite things that kept me (mostly) sane in that challenging year. Image credit: YG Entertainment
BLACKPINK is the revolution. Image credit: YG Entertainment

I’ve liked BLACKPINK since 2017 when I heard “As If It’s Your Last” and really loved the song. It was also a thrill to see its music video being played in a scene in the “Justice League” movie — one of the few good things about that film, by the way.

2020, however, was the year I truly fell in love with BLACKPINK and became a diehard BLINK. BLACKPINK had a phenomenal year in 2020, and I can’t wait to see them soar higher in 2021.

Working from home

Papito, who is also a rescue cat like our other fur baby Moomin. Image credit: Ellen Alarilla
Papito, who is also a rescue cat like our other fur baby Moomin. Image credit: Ellen Alarilla

I love working from home. In fact, I’ve been doing it for many, many years now. As as a proud member of Generation X who also happened to become a tech journalist, I’ve been digital for over two decades now and have been working from home — working from anywhere, actually — and championing it before it was even called work from home.

So while I’m not happy about the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m glad that working from home has become mainstream. Expect this trend to continue not only in 2021, but also in the years to come.

Deleting Facebook

You've been zucked. London Street art. Image credit: Annie Spratt on Unsplash
You’ve been zucked. London Street art. Image credit: Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Facebook is a cancer. One of the best decisions I made in 2020 was to finally delete my Facebook account. It’s been months, and I am so much happier without Facebook. I look forward to the day when no one will be using Facebook anymore.

I have also tried embracing alternatives to Big Tech, such as using Ecosia as my search engine instead of Google. Berlin-based Ecosia is a social business that lets you plant trees by using its search engine. To date, Ecosia users have helped plant over 100 million trees. I have also been using Firefox as my browser instead Google Chrome or Safari.

Reading more

Image credit: Screenshot of digital book on Scribd
Image credit: Screenshot of digital book on Scribd

I’ve been a bookworm since I was a kid, so reading is definitely one of my favorite things. For many years, however, I haven’t been able to read as many books as I wanted. Several apps, however, have made it easier for me to get back into the habit of reading. For instance, I’ve been participating in the Goodreads Reading Challenge for the past few years, and it really motivates me to keep reading. My 2021 Reading Challenge goal is to read 70 books. Yesterday, I finished my first book, “Haiku: Classic Japanese Short Poems”.

I prefer to read digital books instead of physical ones, so these three apps are my best friends: Kindle, Scribd, and comiXology. I don’t have a Kindle E-reader, because I just use the Kindle app on my iPhone and iPad. Meanwhile, I’ve been a fan of Scribd for years. It’s the Netflix for books, which gives you access to tons of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, and even comic books for a monthly subscription. Lastly, comiXology doesn’t just offer digital comics from the usual suspects like Marvel, DC, and Image, but also the works of a lot of publishers from different parts of the world.

How about you? What are some of your favorite things?