The Year That Was and The Year That Will Be

The year 2020 is self-explanatory. It was one, if not the worst year of the decade, and it surely introduced us the new way to live (most of it I’m used to even before, at least this year I do not have to explain).

This year was also a breakthrough to help more people, to serve better, and to be strong for anyone who actually needs a shoulder to cry on, a wall to be of shield, or someone to depend on. It all happened this year. I do not want to spread toxic positivity and I duly acknowledge things that made this year difficult – how we fight for survival, how we turn our lives around, how worried we are for ourselves and for our loved ones because of the virus, and how majority of us lost our jobs and income due to the current health crisis. It wasn’t pretty. It was a hard hit.

My greatest achievement this year is I have survived and still am. My family is still intact, my friends are in a good place, and for that I’m blessed, lucky even. In exchange to the goodness of the universe, I echo these blessings and luck to those who need help. While I know we can only do so much, not stopping and continue being of assistance to those who are in dire need will still make a lot of difference. Yes, we can do something. Even the littlest of help can go a long way.

There were too many things that happened to me during this year. Highlighst are: On May of 2020, I submitted my Doctorate application and got in (yehey!). I have been completing all needed requirements since December of 2019. Even before I have finished my master’s thesis, I know going further is an option; and it won’t hurt to even try, I say so to myself. September of 2020, classes have already began and while schedule is hectic, I enjoy it so far. This month, December 2020, one semester has ended. Time flies and now here we are, entering the year 2021.

One highlight of my every year is the books I’ve finished reading each year. While I do not blog all the books I’ve read, I sure take all the lessons and the ~feelings~ with me hehe. My annual goal is to read 30 to 35 books; I try my best to read as many books as I can, but sometimes I go through a single book twice or thrice if I really like it OR like this 2020, I have a lot of things in my mind that I wasn’t able to prioritize my book (or e-book) hauls. This year, I had anxiety attacks – there were a lot of reasons; one is the pandemic. It really is difficult. I also had to find my groove in doctoral studies and to concentrate on readings that are pertinent to my field of study, research, and future publications (cross fingers) hence the 10 books.

This year, I have only finished 10 books:

  1. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
  2. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (I’ve seen the film years back before I actually read the book. The book was even better! Read it!)
  3. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han (I’ve seen the Netflix film of this one before reading it entirely. It didn’t disappoint. It feels like high school all over again.)
  4. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han (That’s right, Peter Kavinsky.)
  5. To All The Boys: Always and Forever by Jenny Han (I’m already Netflix-ready for the other two installment hehe)
  6. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (Very timely to read this during the quarantine period. The lockdown made me relate/identify with Anne Frank)
  7. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson (Anyone in the workforce can relate haha there are so many takeaways that can help you process your emotions)
  8. The Marriage Arrangement by Jennifer Probst (One word: HOT)
  9. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (I know this is a TV series on Hulu (?) I haven’t seen it yet though but the book is worth the read)
  10. Management Communication in the Global Era by Gloria S. Chan (This was a required reading in my doctorate and it was a nice read. It was published by the Ateneo De Manila University Press in 1994; its contents are still relevant up to today.)

This 2021, I have put 15 books in my list (I’m ready to begin as I already have them in the shelf and in my Kindle). I think this is realistic given the hectic schedule of juggling business, academe work, studies, and LIFE:

  1. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  2. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  3. Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking
  4. 1984 by George Orwell
  5. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  6. After Dark by Haruki Murakami
  7. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  8. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  9. Must I Go by Yiyun Li
  10. A Promised Land by Barack Obama
  11. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
  12. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  13. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  14. The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
  15. Bared To You by Sylvia Day

I hope 2021 turns better for all us. This was not an easy fight but I wish we do not lose the courage to try and to move forward no matter how terrible things might be for all of us.

Also, have you also read books that changed your perspective or even your life at the most? Share it here!

Author: shainnehostalero

Shainne Hostalero, MDC is a social entrepreneur (owner and founder of Happy Shift PH), a communication scholar, and a writer.

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