Aging (2020 in Review)
Aight, 2020. Here we go.
Warning: This is for some reason really lengthy (and rant-y) so again, you can skip to the Bullet Lists, for, well, bullet lists.
I don't even know where to begin with this year. Someone mentioned somewhere, probably on Twitter, that the reason why time moves faster when you get older is because 1 year takes up a smaller and smaller percentage of the total time that you're alive as you age. How is it this time of the year again already? *cue internal scream*
I remember sitting in this same spot on my couch, with the same shows playing on Netflix in the background last year, typing this customary Year in Review journal entry. Time moves fast and slow. So many things had happened since and yet, nothing had happened at all.
I feel like I blacked out for some parts of 2020. When the pandemic started, we had to establish new routines and habits. Like everyone else, I threw myself into cooking and smoothie making, we went for daily walks to compensate for the sudden aggressively sedentary lifestyle, I clung onto the goal of reading more in order to feel a sense of progress. As hard as I tried to stay away from hustle culture, I too somehow got swept into believing the "new-found time" should be spent doing more things.
Somewhere along the way, my anxiety worsened and the only thing I was capable of doing was numbing my brain out with internet stuff while curling up in bed in the dark waiting for tiredness to finally knock me to sleep. The days started to blend together ceasing everything around me into a state of limbo. Then it got better. Then it got worse. Then it got better again and the cycles repeat.
Someone emailed me asking about my creative practices, things like how I'm maintaining my creativity and sanity, whether I have a project that I started in quarantine and what inspired me. What could I have said. I was struggling, oscillating between random short spurts of energy and the dull ache of exhaustion. Accepting that the most “normal” thing to do in this abnormal time is to do nothing and just stay afloat is hard. I don't say this enough to the folks around me, my team, my friends, my communities as I watch them increasingly, too, becoming worn down by the pandemic dread: Nothing happened, and that's okay. We are surviving a pandemic and we’re still here. That is enough.
I eventually forgot to reply to the email.
Many things happened
I can’t advocate doing nothing without acknowledging that I am in a position of extreme privilege. I am not an essential worker, I am not a migrant worker, I have a job, savings, insurance, a house, healthy families and friends. I don’t have children.
A bunch of good things happened this year too when I’m not aching from the odd sleeping schedule. Others not so great. Again, I’m mostly privileged and grateful.
My families met before the pandemic took hold of Vietnam and Singapore. I didn’t get to spend a whole lot of time with my parents and brother and I regret it now but I’m glad we flew back in January. I miss the cold Hanoi air on my skin and the earthy smell of my quaint neighborhood as I fall asleep to the familiar sounds of my childhood. I miss reflecting on life with my mom in the kitchen as she cooks dinner, debating with my dad on politics at our tiny dining table, sharing strictly parents-need-not-know secrets with my brother in our now shared bedroom. I stop myself from counting all the years I have left with the family I'm so lucky to be born into. Too much anxiety. Instead, I try to call home more often.
I am learning to accept that wherever I am now, I’ll always be longing for “home”. I miss SG when I’m in Hanoi, I miss Hanoi when I’m in SG. I miss the whole world out there when I’m confined to this little island. Hah, to be "local" in different places is to have two homes and to never simultaneously have both.
CB (lockdown period in SG) was a little rough. But we are jolted out of complacency when it comes to the things that really matter. Last year I talked about seeing friends only as often as once every couple of weeks or even months. This year, I am reminded that I need them more than most things in life. Stripped bare of inessential things, isolated from the distractions and the crowd, I just want to stretch my arms out for a hug, look across the room for a cheeky non-verbal WTF, and laugh in the presence of each other so we could see tears (and sometimes snots) running down the other's face. Someone says "resilience is the ability to retain the things we care about most, despite the fact that everything is different." Friendship is definitely top of my list. I will hold on to it for dear life.
After CB, a couple of my closest friends needed to move away due to retrenchment and visa issues. I was more stressed about their jobs than I’ve ever been about mine. We soon learned though that the circumstance has finally pushed us to do all the things we’ve been putting off. Saying goodbye was hard, my whole support system shrunk to an even tinier circle. They’re alright now and even happy so I am content. Somewhere in a selfish corner of my mind, I still want to be just a train ride away from the people I love.
One major highlight of the year was getting married in the middle of the pandemic. My parents, brother and T’s sibling video-called in. I hated that my family wasn't here. But "we" just work, and had plans so we did it anyway. It was still a cosy, perfectly imperfect little gathering. Never thought I’d get married. Or to be precise, never thought that I’d enjoy being married. Alas here we are half a year in and so very happy. Who would've thought that marriage is also synonymous to freedom.
I got my pass to stay without needing a work visa. For the first time in 12 years I felt relieved. For a while, it was hard to speak up and take risks. There’s always a nagging fear of losing the limited stability as a foreigner working in a foreign country. Now I feel a little more at home in the country I’ve spent all of my most formative years studying, working and living in, a little more brave and free, a little more myself at work.
That being said, there are so many more things I'd like to say but I can't or won’t. Not yet anyway. I'm still trying to figure out if it is because of cowardice or if it's the pragmatic, practical, realistic (safe) way to go about things. Am I protecting my freedom by limiting it which is oxymoron, or am I merely trading all of it for safety?
Free work & people
I talked about free work last year and am happy to report back that I spent a huge chunk of 2020 on it. The work I do this year centers more and more around community. In isolation, we need our tribes more than ever. Yet, I felt a smidgen of disconnect and a whole lot of discontent.
After 9 years of working, 2 years doing design meetups, and by some goddamn miracle, 5 and a half events this year, I am conflicted. On the one hand, a whole lot of FUN and I got to meet so many weird, quirky, interesting folks in the field. On the other, the same “first world problem” sentiment has grown into a full blown moral crisis: am I also living in a bubble, surrounded by equally privileged people, talking about hella privileged non-issues? Am I perpetuating some impossibly high and false expectation of what it's really like to join "the Designer’s club"? Am I reproducing the same subtly racist, sexist, exploitative, “virtue signalling” driven tech culture through our events? (The answer is probably yes for all of the above.)
When all the fun and newness wear off, there's so much to mull over and think through about what it is that we are really trying to bring to others, whether it's truly of value and how to do it right.
But more on this later.
For now, what did I tell ya, many things happened even though nothing happened at all.
My learning has fortunately become more directional and purposeful. I set out to read more about inequality, climate change and community and found gems in the books I read, events I attended and people I met. A couple of new and more specific themes emerged from the quest. At this juncture for me, there seems to be way more questions than answers.
2020 is marked by a significant increase in my climate anxiety. We are doing so little to tackle this planetary level issue that we cause. In the mean time, the fires, the locust plague, the floods, the typhoons, the land slides and of course the melting of the ice caps coupled with the ongoing air, water, soil pollution. This is the most urgent and important fight of our generation and beyond. And yet, we haven’t even begun to reshape our relationship with nature, material and energy consumption and production. I feel simultaneously shielded and cheated by my circumstance, environment and institutions. Will we also be the transition generations between pre- and post-ecological collapse?
The weekly articles I consume to feed my worries pointed to this crucial connection to inequality: Climate change is tightly linked to inequality between nations and between the rich and the poor. More specifically, richer countries that are the biggest polluters enjoy a slight boost in economic development as the planet warms while poorer countries, mostly concentrated in the Global South, are the least polluters but also bear the brunt of climate change’s impacts on economic growth. The lifestyles of the richest people are also multiply more carbon-emission intensive.
Of the 19 countries with the highest total CO2 emissions over the period they looked at, from 1961 to 2010, 14 experienced an economic bump from warming. In contrast, the 18 countries with the lowest CO2 emissions per person (less than 10 tons per person in total over the years between 1961 to 2010, or about as much as the average American blows through in about seven and a half months today), took economic hits of over 25 percent.
Climate change does not only affect economic inequality. Erik Olin Wright noted in “How to Be An Anticapitalist in the 21st Century”:
The value of equality/fairness implies that it is unjust for the health burden of toxic waste, pollution and other environmental harms to be disproportionately borne by poor and minority communities. It is equally unjust for the adverse effects of global warming to be concentrated in poor countries, and this injustice is intensified by the fact that the carbon emissions that have led to global warming were mainly generated by activities in wealthy countries.
— Erik Olin Wright, How to Be An Anticapitalist in the 21st Century
In Mobility Justice, one of my favorite reads this year, Mimi Sheller echos the sentiment while also proposes the lens of mobility justice to connect "injustices from the bodily scale to the scale of planetary infrastructure space".
Mobility justice is one of the crucial political and ethical issues of our day. It focuses attention on the politics of unequal capabilities for movement, as well as on unequal rights to stay or to dwell in a place. It is concerned with sexual harassment as much as transport access, and with racist violence as much as resource extraction. It allows us to think more clearly about the intertwined relations between bodies, streets, transport systems, urbanization (including not just cities but also suburbs and rural hinterlands), regional and transnational infrastructures, national borders, and wider planetary mobilities. It reveals the relation between the urban crisis, the migration crisis, and the climate crisis.
— Mimi Sheller, Mobility Justice
In the new year, I want to continue to explore this relationship between multi-level inequality and climate change, particularly the colonial and neocolonial power relations that cause it, and capitalism’s resulting neoliberal ideals of "freedom, individualism, and entrepreneurial life" centered upon "reproductive geographies of single-family home ownership, automobility, and voracious energy consumption". I also want to explore climate change in relation to restorative justice which focuses on repairing the harms done, the coming together of the victims/offenders for discourse and mediation and finally the transformation of the existing relationships between them. The last point is perhaps the only way forward. This learning hopefully will provide a clearer idea of which policy to support, which to oppose.
Personally in my tiny limited capability, it’s important to continue changing my relationship with material things around me; less stuff, more (life-timey) durable, multifunctional, aesthetically beautiful things that I can take care of and fall in love with. Some progress has been made on this front (more in the Bullet lists section below).
In “The Art of Frugal Hedonism”, the authors also suggest saving money while relishing the good stuff and living a sustainable life by “blurring the lines between your functional and social relationships” to create “a[...] rich and complex feeling of being part of an ecology that you look after and that looks after you.” It ultimately just means exchanging, sharing things and asking/giving help amongst your support circle. It’s hitting two (or three?) birds with one stone. There’s a whole chapter about cooking and recipes too which I also want to do more of. Fewer takeouts duh.
Lastly, a major cleanup of my cloud storage as well as email is in order. The “invisible” energy consumption of my online activities has been persistently occupying the back of my mind this year.
As the field of software studies insists, even information technologies and “virtual” media have a materiality, which is also a temporality that is energy-dependent.
— Mimi Sheller, Mobility Justice
Racism, sexism, ableism
How do we talk about 2020 without talking about racism, sexism and ableism? The Black Lives Matter movement has sparked protests in all 50 states in the US and cities around the world. Since October, Polish women have braved tear gas and police brutality to fight against the Court’s ruling to ban abortion. Some governments and public’s attitude towards letting older people and vulnerable people die in the pandemic to achieve herd immunity speak loudly of the entrenched ableism in our societies.
This of course leads to an increase in discourse here at home around racial discrimination, sexist bias and ableist worldview as well. It is naive to say that racism doesn’t exist here, if we don’t feel the effect of it, perhaps it’s high time to reflect on our social identities and privilege.
Some social identities hold power and privilege, others do not. Even within us, there are parts of us that hold some power and other parts that are oppressed. This is why we work to understand our identities within society; we need to always examine our whole selves.
— Tiffany Jewel, This Book is Antiracist
I am a female presenting, cisgender bisexual woman who happens to be in a heterosexual relationship. My pronouns are she/her. This means I move through the world without much aggression, whether in terms of legality or social interaction, against my sexuality because it’s not visible. I am also Chinese passing in a Chinese dominant culture. I speak fluent English without much of an accent in an English speaking environment, which gives the impression that I am well-educated and I belong or deserve to be here. I am also mostly able-bodied. I don’t think much about these aspects of my social identity, I have a leg up in life.
But I am also a woman, and when my last name is visible, I am also Vietnamese. I may not then in a workplace have the same privilege as a dominant race (and white) cis male does, my assertiveness is seen as bitchiness and well, don’t get me started on pay.
All of this is to say that there’s an intersectional matrix of domination in every society, embedded in the institutions, in our interpersonal relationships, and internalised within ourselves. If we benefit from this system, we do not have the lived experience of those oppressed and are most likely complicit in maintaining and even reproducing its harmful effects in our everyday interactions and decisions. (Donate to TWC2)
An example of this failure on my part is the lack of diversity in the events we organised for FOFSG. We’ve only had 2 events with 4 female speakers out of the 7 or 8 that we’ve hosted. We are not inclusive and don’t have any minority speaker at all. Another example is in the daily design practice that I do, the assumption and the default of “THE user” is always that of an imaginary but young able-bodied person. Accessibility is never the status quo.
Realising this is one thing, acting on it is another. Given that I have a lot more agency when it comes to the free work that I do vs. the paid one, I’ll start there. There’ll be mistakes along the way but necessary to become a better citizen, organiser (and hopefully designer too).
This bridges nicely to the next theme I want to reflect on i.e. design and tech ethics.
Design and tech ethics
The more I learn about design ethics, the more I learn about its limitations. First of all, we still work within a capitalist society, in profit maximisation and more recently investor driven organisations. If the business model is unethical, how much can we do to actually make significant impacts? I know there’s a call to not work for these organisations but it’s often from folks who are already successful in their careers and in a position to make these choices. Not to mention, BIPOC, queer, trans, disabled folks need every opportunity they can get.
Secondly, despite all the “seat at the table” talks, the reality of it is that the decision making power in organisations doesn’t always fall upon the design team. In this pertinent transcript of his talk at Mind The Product, Cennydd Bowles noted:
[...] I still see teams taking irresponsible decisions with damaging consequences. I think it happens because these consequences are unfortunate by-products of the things the product community values, the way PMs take decisions, and the skewed loyalties I think this field has adopted.
Finally, there have been amazing efforts to create ethical design toolkits and principles out there as well as books to teach us how to be more ethical in our practice. But are they enough and do we know what we don’t know we don’t know? I’m referring to the blind spots we may have designing for people different from us and especially vulnerable communities. Furthermore, design ethics methodologies aren’t yet mainstream, think GV’s Design Sprint mainstream embedded into our everyday process. They are also yet to be incorporated into any popular UX or design curriculums. Accessibility though, which is an important part of design ethics seems to have picked up steam in recent years and it’s giving me a lot of hope.
So, how do we move forward? I don’t know enough to have concrete answers for any of this. My hunch though is that the effort needs to be both top down and bottom up. Regulations need to be in place to guide business decisions (like GDPR) and as seen in the last couple of years, the pressure of organised groups of highly skilled tech workers can also have a great influence on companies to drop unethical practices. Day to day, in our own capacity, we can learn, we can raise awareness, then organise and act, in any small way that we can. Maybe, just maybe, design ethics will become as hip and as popular as design thinking now and we’ll be able to, not just amongst ourselves but also with our partners in engineering and product, discuss ethics in technology, from the way we design, develop to the way we deploy and profit from technology.
Design continues “to reproduce the matrix of domination” (Sasha Costanza-Chock, Design Justice) through the inaccessible technology we build for the imagined default user, the people we unwittingly choose to exclude, the way we consider ourselves as the experts designing and all the while gatekeeping the design practice from those less privileged than us. It’s only going to be increasingly more important to learn and practice design and tech ethics, given how much damage we have done and will continue to do. And this practice I believe needs to be rooted in a more in depth understanding of the sociopolitical time and space we’re living in.
To understand what constitutes design and tech ethics, we need to also learn from and more importantly, listen to ethicists, sociologists, marginalised groups, intersectional BIPOC, queer, disabled feminists and activists, those who are most affected by the current system whose work is leading the way forward to a more just world.
It’s particularly annoying this year to see tech thought leaders making speculations about COVID. I don’t know, don’t we have epidemiologists for that? ( I can’t even spell epidemiologist without Googling.) It’s one example of the attitude somehow pervasive in our circle about who is most capable to tackle certain (or any) issues.
[...] there’s a tendency to equate being “good at technology” with being “a smart person”—and it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that these are learnable skills, which some people have more time than others to learn because of privilege. [...] Tech-oriented teams in particular have a tendency to come across as people with unattainable specialized knowledge and mysterious processes that are beyond ordinary people’s ability to access. If we don’t push back against this with intentional openness and inclusivity, everything we achieve will be short-lived. We’ll also miss the chance to become more humble and collaborative versions of ourselves.
— Cyd Harrell, A Civic Technologist’s Practice Guide
There’s inherently nothing wrong with being an expert designer or engineer. But just as there are experts in technology, there are experts in science, in politics, in sociology, in psychology, philosophy and ethics. We seem to want respect from everyone, without extending the same courtesy to others. This manifests also in our daily quest to blame our partners at work for not understanding the work we do or the jargons we use, and too, in our relationship with the users we’re designing for.
Design Justice, Sasha Constanza-Chock wrote, offers a more inclusive way to look at design practice, from “equity (we need more diverse designers, and more diverse imagined users)” to “accountability (those most affected by the outcomes should lead design processes)” for the simple reason that it is not possible to truly understand the lived experiences of others, especially marginalised groups, with our current research methodology. The author highlighted an example where nondisabled designers overestimate the loss of function of disabled people and thus design able-normative solutions that don’t fit with the disabled person’s life experience. The design solution may be an augmented body part while what the disabled person needs might be infrastructural changes instead.
As Wittkower says, ultimately, attempting to imagine other people’s experience is “no substitute for robust engagement with marginalized users and user communities. … [systematic variation techniques], although worth pursuing, are strongly limited by the difficulty of anticipating and understanding the lived experiences of others.” A design justice approach goes further still: beyond “robust engagement,” design teams should be led by and/or in other ways be formally accountable to marginalized users.
— Sasha Constanza-Chock, Design Justice: Community-led Practices to Build The World We Need
This reminds me of a quote on the wall of my favorite exhibition Treasure of The Natural World at ArtScience Museum: “In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” And Hidden Figures’ “we all get to the peak together or we don't get there at all.” There’s a place for all of us, in fighting COVID, in working towards an equitable future, in building organisations, products and services. We just gotta go together and give credit where credit is due.
Talking about giving credit where it’s due. Design Justice has given me a lot to think about when it comes to working with and for communities, specifically the idea that the design process which engages communities could become extractive when the credit or benefits aren’t distributed evenly. The expert designer gets monetary rewards as well as recognition. The organisation gets profit. The community gets neither. This may very well be applicable to community organisers.
Very often we at FOFSG engage folks from the community for volunteer work. They either join the core team or help facilitate our event workshops. We also ran a recent interview with participants where we learned how COVID affects their lives and work in order to understand which area we can help. Even though FOFSG is not for profit, I feel we still need to be more cognizant of the different ways we might be unfair or extractive in our approach. This could mean a more thoughtful token of appreciation. Apart from swags, perhaps we can also highlight our facilitators and volunteers’ profiles and help them highlight their work with us on their CV or LinkedIn. It could also mean rethinking the way we engage folks to make sure they also have ownership and credit over the community that we’re building together.
This leads me to my next point: What does it mean to “build a community”? So far all we’ve done was hosting talks and workshops.
Stop thinking about your community as just an audience. Instead, treat these people as collaborators. Even with your first activity, carve out ways for others to participate. People are showing up to realize a shared purpose, not to watch you realize it for them.
— Bailey Richardson, Kevin Huynh, Kai Elmer Soto, Get Together: How to Build a Community with Your People
To build a community means to do something together. Otherwise we are only event organisers and not what our title actually implies i.e. community advocates.
Messiness & failures
If I’ve sounded harsh or rant-y for the entirety of this year in review it’s because, well, that’s the mood that I’m in. It’s also perhaps who I’ve become lately, old and grumpy. I know though there’s always going to be messiness and failures along the way when you try to do anything at all and I am learning to accept that sometimes I expect things to go the way they couldn’t possible go.
Making friends with vulnerability and acknowledging that design or organising events or doing life is not a linear process, it’s not a straightforward diagram, it’s messy, it’s complicated and sometimes just doesn’t make sense, is hard but an important part of coping with our own internal judgement.
Maybe acceptance will even give us the much needed motivation to say I fail, as I should. So we can pick our tools of choice, organise our community, and continue on the work to remedy without necessarily falling into a paralysing depth of impostor syndrome feeling so small to address issues so big, or worse an apathy to the problems at hands.
The husb calls me a ball of anxiousness so I guess I have a lot of work (or er, meditation) to do.
Luckily, I am taking a break 🌈.
After a long long long long burnout and a couple of trips to the docs, I’ve decided and am finally in a good place to take a break. It’s been 2 years since the last time I felt fine. There has been a lot of physical pain which I thought would go away quickly. But finally it didn’t. Lying on the gurney watching the ceiling lights flash before my eyes while being rolled into the day surgery unit was an experience I’d probably never forget. I’m lucky because whatever I had wasn’t serious but it was enough to scare the hell out of me. And my pocket. Mentally too, I’ve been stuck in a mind space that feels like a glass box keeping all the excitement and attachment to people and things outside of and apart from me. I am so very tired.
It’s Day 3 of my first ever “sabbatical” and I bursted into tears walking to the post office because I suddenly missed my brother, then proceeded to realise how much I’ve compartmentalised this year and hid all the touchy-feely stuff in a chest and buried it under a bunch of to-do list items. You know, totes unhealthy stuff.
Now that my body has relaxed into its new shape, that of a human bun cum couch potato, I look forward to not knowing what I need to do the next day, boredom, spontaneity, definitely plenty of books, trees, quietness, a better relationship with sleep, ample time for my stomach to heal, lots of crying over good movies and more family time. A long break is probably good for now, but eventually when I am ready to get back out there again, I sure hope to bring along the human bun state of being with me.
✨ Bolded are my most-est favorites.
I wanted to read 40 books this year but a little more than half way through the year and 20 books in, I fell into a not-so-brief period of depression and did not pick up reading again until the last couple of months. I'm 13 books short of my goal. What I lacked in quantity, I think I made up for with variety. It’s not enough but it’s a start.
Books I read this year
You can find some personal notes about each book here.
Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha | **Currently Reading
I Will Never See the World Again: The Memoir of an Imprisoned Writer by Ahmet Altan
What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets by Michael J. Sandel
A Civic Technologist's Practice Guide by Cyd Harrell
Designing Disorder: Experiments and Disruptions in the City by Pablo Sendra and Richard Sennett
Get Together: How to Build a Community With Your People by Bailey Richardson, Kevin Huynh, Kai Elmer Sotto
Design Justice: Community-Led Practices to Build the Worlds We Need by Sasha Costanza-Chock
Skim by Jillian Tamaki, Mariko Tamaki
On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
This Book Is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell, Aurélia Durand
There is No Outside: COVID-19 Dispatches edited by Jessie Kindig, Mark Krotov, and Marco Roth
The Art of Frugal Hedonism by Annie Raser-Rowland, Adam Grubb
Copywrong to copywriter by Tait Ischia
The Unknown Unknown: Bookshops and the Delight of Not Getting What You Wanted by Mark Forsyth
The New One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard
UX Design for Growth: How to Optimize Your Product For Customer Conversion by Molly Norris Walker
No One is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg
Whistleblower: My Journey to Silicon Valley and Fight for Justice at Uber by Susan Fowler
How to Be An Anticapitalist in The 21st Century by Erik Orin Wright
Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez
Lurking by Joanne McNeil
Exhalation by Ted Chiang
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Free Lunch by Rex Ogle
Mobility Justice: The Politics of Movement in an Age of Extremes by Mimi Sheller
This Could Be Our Future: A Manifesto for a More Generous World by Yancey Strickler
Our Women on The Ground by Zahra Hankir
The Ethical Design Handbook by Trine Falbe, Martin Michael Frederiksen, Kim Andersen
Movies, documentaries, TV series I love
Particularly into crime documentaries this year and spent hours watching investigation videos on Youtube as well. The human mind is a curious place.
American Murder: The Family Next Door
Don't F**k With Cats: Hunting An Internet Killer
Dirty Money series
NEVER TOO SMALL (Youtube series)
David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet
I'm watching shows with more diverse casts and I'm thoroughly enjoying them. Representation matters and I’m stoked to see more of what the world actually looks like on TV. Also loving family and YA series that tackle some real issues the common folks (like myself) face every day. My most-est favorites are definitely the first two on the list.
One Day at A Time
The Queen's Gambit
Never Have I Ever
Lily and Dash
John Clancy's Jack Ryan
All feel-good, pick-me-up movies and lots more animated ones. My brain wants them good chemicals. I want to definitely watch more "foreign" and “local” films that aren't from Hollywood next year though.
Always Be My Maybe
The Half of It
Hotel Transylvania (1, 2 &3)
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
The Holiday (rewatch for the 1000th times)
Albums I've been digging
Daughter of the Sun by vbnd
+HWA+ by CL
For Ever by Jungle
Rumours by Fleetwood Mac
Cuz I Love You by Lizzo
Resolution (Single) by Matt Corby
Podcasts I listen to
Design Matters with Debbie Millman
City of The Future
The Sidewalk Weekly
Zero to One Humans (made the cover art for this podcast!)
Late Nights with Trav and Los
Get Together by People & Company
Favorite things I own
I spent most on books and tech this year and bought mainly secondhand clothes. I love the durable stuff I've owned for years and some of them started falling apart which required some sewing and superglue-ing but I'm so not ready to part with them yet. Really hoping to continue buying old stuff (and keeping new stuff well) if I really need to make a purchase, so that I can love them for years to come. Additional perk of being married is that I get a bunch of hand-me-downs from the husb as well.
Kindle Paperwhite (2 years)
Sony Headphones 1000xm3 (hand-me-down from the husb)
Peak Design Everyday Sling 3L (2 years)
iPad Pro 11 inch & Apple Pencil (1 year)
Palladium Black Leather Boots (5 years)
Bluelounge Backpack (6 years)
All the second hand jackets I bought with my mom from Vietnam this year (1 year)
Second hand wide leg pants from Salvation Army (1 year)
Aeries wireless bras and underwear that make me feel like my body isn’t oddly shaped (1 year)
A bunch of XL T-shirts that I wear “to work” 95% of this year (hand-me-downs from the husb)
Bisexual pin, Figma pins (1 year)
Nikon L35AF 35mm (1 year)
Favorite softwares and apps
Tiktok (haha yeah)
Well, I guess this is it for now. Seems every year the Year in Review is getting longer and longer. I’m really liking this tradition.
Many things have not changed. I want to continue with the maintenance work: more learning and reading, more meaningful friends and family time, more me time to recuperate and recharge. I don’t know yet what new goals I’ll set for myself after the break but following the thread of things I want to continue exploring, an alignment between my interest, what I find deeply meaningful and the paid work that I do seems to be in order.
2020 was rough, 2021 might still be difficult. I’m eternally grateful for all the things that I have and the people I love.
If you’re reading this, I hope you’re well and safe where you are.
Bye for now, internet peeps. And Happy New Year.🌸
Find me at www.zoeydraws.co or check out other journal entries.