How do you even tell the story of 2020? It’s not your typical roller coaster year but more of a free fall in the hopes of surviving kind of a year. It’s a grind-it-out year but as anything in life, it’s always a game of reactions and making the most of what we have.
Year of the Franc
For the past 15 years, I’ve been writing Year of The Franc blogs as a recap of the year. Not all years have been equal but each year was a full story on its own. It had its feel-good moments. Each year had its own struggle. Lessons came every now and then. Success came with failure. Victory came with effort. If I were to go back to my 2019 post, 2020 was the year of recovery from all the exhausting activities I do year-round. Little did I know that it was also a year that everybody would take a pause, reflect, learn new skills and just strive to keep their sanity in check as we’re locked in community quarantine for most of the year.
Q1 – Pre-Quarantine Days
I started the year hopeful since I was doing away with events after being burned-out in 2019. Who’d ever thought that 2020 was such a surprising year that started with Taal Volcano eruption and the initial impact of Covid19. I was a little bit more focused and excited as I was preparing for several international races and hikes. I was able to enjoy a lot of time with family, friends and the outdoors during this period since I wasn’t planning any events.
I was also among the few who got to enjoy my birthday before the lockdown. As Covid19’s impact started to be felt, I was ticking down one travel plan after the other. Then, the world went into lockdown in the middle of March.
Q2 – The Lockdown
For an outdoor person that barely had a weekend at home, being stuck at home was a big adjustment. For the first few weeks, I was just in my room save a few pick up of deliveries. I was fortunate enough to be able to quickly setup a work from home arrangement. We were able to conduct several board meetings, an Annual General Meeting, finishing the Annual Report and the Statutory Reports. That’s my busy season in the comfort of my home.
The 2nd Quarter was a period of adulting. I started shifting from surviving on canned goods alone to being able to cook my own food. I was also doing my own laundry as its also my way of passing time. I also started taking up online classes from Social Media Marketing, Photography, Psychology of Sales, Trading and Investing, Physical Fitness and Nutrition, Digital Marketing and Creative Writing. I also took up Tax and Accounting updates.
Since I am used to multi-tasking, I was filling my schedule already so I won’t be bored. I would even do some stairs workout just to take away the monotony. After being stuck at home for so long, even crossing the street seems a foreign activity to me. Baby steps and I would eventually start going to the office for at least a day per week for essential tasks. Q2 was probably the toughest part of the year.
Q3 – Rediscovering Fitness
One of the races I joined before the lockdown was a Virtual Run, just because I liked the STAR WARS themed medal. Little would I know that it would be a start of running consistently again. I would insert short 5K runs over a 1-kilometer loop in the neighborhood in the afternoon and go to the nearby trails on weekends. Running with a mask was a struggle but I got the hang of it plus there were also breathable masks designed for running. Then it was one virtual run after the other and after a quarter of minimal fitness activity, I was back working out in the time of Covid19.
The weekend trails then became routine or more of an escape over stressful days at work. Then, some friends would want to join in. Funny, how you’d influence people to hit the trails by the hundreds through events before to sharing the passion one person at a time now because of restrictions. But, whether it’s 1 or 1,000, I’m glad to get people a little bit dirty on the trails.
There was also a shift in mindset as I started to try out investing directly in stocks. I was able to save a little during the lockdown and that was the seed money. With not much to expect today, I was more willing to future proof my expectations. It was a big shift in perspective.
Q4 Levelling Up
I remember being in the situation over a decade ago, where I had a chance to move up but I turned it down. I never regretted that choice as it gave me a chance to develop new skills, grow my network and try out a new field and make an impact. This time, I was ready! I accepted a bigger role even if it meant that I would have less time to do other things I’m passionate about. I felt and I believe I can make a difference and that’s all it took for me to say, challenge accepted. It’s a crazy year so might as well try new things.
Q4 even felt a lot busier at work than pre-Covid days so I had to make do with less workout time. It made those weekend escapes to the trail something to look forward. Even at the height of the busy schedule, we were still able to mount Pinoy Trails Virtual Run. I know it’s a tough year and some are probably still struggling. If there’s one sanctuary I had for over a decade now, it’s been running. A lot of people may have forgotten that too. We even had a minimal registration fee with premium inclusion just to encourage more people to join. It was a lowkey event but seeing hundreds of people running again even virtually is a victory in my books.
What’s different between in ending 2019 and 2020. In 2019, I was physically exhausted for all the events; while in 2020, I am mentally exhausted from everything that happened this year.
The Year That Was
It was a year to re-focus. Francramon.com shifts back to its intimate personalized contents. I might close down my own corporation (FREI) since it’s barely doing any trading business. I will cut down on my activities and events but I hope to continue to share my passion for fitness and the trails.
It was a year to appreciate. If there was something, I got to appreciate is having a small and meaningful circle of family and friends. Thanks to those zoom ‘kwentuhan,’ short coffee or lunch meet ups or a quick run or a feel-good hike, I got past the year that was.
It was a year to give back. 2020 probably took so much from us in all aspects. It was also the year we got to appreciate that small acts of kindness matter and mutual support is important as each person struggled. Together, it gets easier.
It was a year to learn. Years from now, we’ll look back to this year and see how this year have changed us. It’s a series of unfortunate events but even if we don’t feel it yet, we are a much stronger person towards the end of the year compared to when the year started.
It’s time to look forward. There’s nowhere to go but up. The future is always in our hands.