2020 – an Extraordinary Year

“If we had not winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.” ~ Anne Bradstreet

If there is a single word to represent the year 2020, that should be: extraordinary.

Here is year 2020 in review.

The worst wildfires in Australia’s history destroyed over 12 million acres of land, and taken over three billion lives of wild animals. The WHO announced the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China, and the first COVID-19 case is confirmed in the U.S. The impeachment trial of President Trump began. Basketball icon Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others were killed in a tragic helicopter accident. A Ukraine-bound plane crashed shortly after taking off from Tehran airport; Iran’s government later admitted it mistakenly shot the plane down. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced to step down from the royal family.

The United Kingdom finally exited the European Union. The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers in a stunning Super Bowl comeback. Parasite became the first non-English-language film to win Best Picture at the Oscars. The Senate voted to acquit President Trump at his impeachment trial. Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man, was fatally shot after being pursued by three white civilians in Glynn County, Ga., and solidarity events were held across the nation. Harvey Weinstein was convicted on multiple charges in a high-profile court case. Joe Biden won the South Carolina primary, notching his first win in a run that would eventually gain him the Democratic presidential nomination.

The WHO declares COVID-19 a pandemic and lockdown began in countries around the world, triggering a global economic reaction that caused the worst single-day point drop at stock market. The highly anticipated Tokyo Summer Olympics were canceled. Racial injustice remained at the forefront of people’s minds as Breonna Taylor was killed by police during a botched raid in Louisville, Ky. The first COVID-19 relief bill was passed in the U.S., helping millions of people and businesses. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson tested positive for COVID-19. Tom Brady signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after a legendary run with the New England Patriots. Tiger King hit Netflix and became a quarantine smash. Yahoo celebrated 25 years.

Nova Scotia suffered one of the deadliest mass shootings in Canada’s history. Much of the U.S. was in lockdown mode, with New York hit the hardest by cases of COVID-19. It continued to hit all economic sectors, with unemployment rising to 14.7 percent in the U.S., the highest rate and the largest month-over-month increase since 1948. Yahoo Life, a new vertical focused on all things mental health and wellness, launched.

George Floyd was killed after a police officer kneeled on his neck for an extended period, setting off worldwide protests and a racial justice reckoning. Political protests calling for democratic leadership and economic reform began in Belarus, and separate protests erupted in Hong Kong after China voted to impose strict national security legislation. Costa Rica was the first Central American country to legalize same-sex marriage. Cyclone Amphan hit India, causing significant damage and becoming one of the costliest cyclones recorded in the North Indian Ocean. “Murder hornets” became a new fascination as they reached North America for the first time.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared the country “COVID-free.” China’s economy bounced back into growth following a record Q1 slump. Global protested in the wake of George Floyd’s killing escalate as citizens called for police reform and justice. The Supreme Court ruled against the Trump administration’s attempt to rescind the DACA program in a 5-4 decision. India won a two-year seat on the United Nations Security Council.

The Trump administration considered banning TikTok, setting off a debate on whether the app posed a security threat to the U.S. Allegations of a toxic workplace emerged at The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Glee actress Naya Rivera drowned in a California lake. Beloved TV host Regis Philbin passed away. The NBA resumed its season in a “bubble” at Disney World, and Formula 1 announced it would resume racing, beginning with the Rolex Grosser Preis von Osterreich. The first four weeks of the Indian Premier League experienced a sizable surge in viewership, even surpassing the viewership of the English Premier League.

Joe Biden announced Sen. Kamala Harris of California as his VP running mate, making her the first woman of color on a major-party ticket. California wildfires raged, fueled by dry heat and extreme temperatures, showcasing the volatility of climate change. Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was left partly paralyzed after police shot him seven times in the back in front of his three children. A huge explosion of ammonium nitrate stored at a dock in Beirut killed over 200 people. The sudden death of Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman shocked Hollywood and fans alike.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away, setting off a major political battle over her replacement. Tributes to RBG, as she was fondly called, pour in from around the world to honor the feminist icon. President Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett as RBG’s replacement. Biden and Trump had their first debate, which highlighted bitter exchanges and name calling and sets off a meme titled “Will you shut up, man?” in reference to a remark from Biden. Naomi Osaka won her second U.S. Open title.

The Senate confirmed Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. President Trump and the first lady tested positive for COVID-19, in addition to over a dozen others associated with the administration. Two legends in film and music passed away: Sean Connery and Eddie Van Halen. The NBA set a successful example for a sports comeback as the season ends with zero positive COVID-19 results for players within the Orlando bubble. LeBron James and the L.A. Lakers went on to defeat the Miami Heat to win the NBA championship.

With much anticipation, Election Day arrived and more Americans voted — including by mail — than in any other election in U.S. history. Joe Biden was declared president-elect, winning both the electoral and popular vote. The U.S. formally exited the Paris Agreement. Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek died after battling pancreatic cancer. India resumed international cricket in Australia for the first time since March.

COVID-19 has killed over 1.6 million people worldwide by now. The first COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the U.K., followed by the U.S. The rollout of the vaccine created a sense of optimism across the globe as cases continued to surge across the U.S. The Electoral College casted its votes and officially affirmed Joe Biden’s victory. Fashion designer Pierre Cardin and Musician Fou Ts’ong passed away.

As you can see, we have been experiencing a lot of challenges and unknowns throughout the year. But external adversities often raise the best out of us to encourage us grow out of our comfort zone and to adapt to a new norm.

Been forced to working from home wasn’t so pleasant at the beginning. Soon after I noticed the level of stress reduced significantly by saving around 90 minutes commute time per day, I started fully taken this advantages to either learn something new or closely monitor daily stock market. The gains from investment of our family portfolio reached the highest in year 2020.

Cutting back from interacting with colleagues at work and social activities at weekends I saved the significant amount of money paid for business attires, fancy fashion and cosmetic. After years’ effort I finally downsized my wardrobe to half in year 2020.

After bringing in couple of inexpensive excise machine to set up home gym I have been excising at least four times per week. With the help from healthy home cooked meals I successfully reached the goal of weight-loss for year 2020.

The most important benefit I have gained by working from home is to spend a lot more time with my families. Especially I am so proud that my daughter has grown so much. She developed her self disciplined to find a balance among her online school work, daily excise routine and house shores. She has become so good in cooking that she volunteered to cook family dinner at least three times per week.

The people in our generation didn’t feel the pain from first and second World Wars, Korean War, Great Chinese Famine, Chinese Cultural Revolutions, etc. We were fortunately born and grown up in a fairly peaceful era. While we were expecting our lives continue as we expected, year 2020 brought us with ordeals and lessons from which most of us became more grateful for our community and stronger to face the challenges in the years to come.

I am looking forward to stepping into year 2021, with less fear and greater confidence!

Happy New Year!

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