2020 may not have been my best year, but I don’t know that I would count it as my worst year either. It certainly started out rough and had some bumps along the way but I had many positive things that happened along the way. I spent the last two weeks of 2020 asking my EFL students their goals and bad habits, both professionally and personally, and I thought I’d do a wrap-up blog with my own answers to the questions I asked them.
Did you have a professional/personal goal in 2020 you were able to accomplish or did the pandemic throw everything in a loop? If you’d asked me this question in early 2020 I would have said my hopes and dreams had been crushed by the pandemic. I was supposed to go back to Vietnam and start my new career as an English as a Foreign Language teacher. But the pandemic and border closings put a halt to that. However, I started tutoring adults online with a really cool company that provides me with the flexibility I need. And then in October I was hired by a Mexican language center to do several hours a week teaching Business English online with the hope to be in person in 2021. I did not set a personal goal early on in the year, but by mid-year my health had gotten out of control so I did a complete reset and was able to lose some weight, decrease my aches and pains and take back control over my health.
What professional/personal goal do you have for 2021? Professionally, I want to complete a training course on teaching business english (I’ve signed up for it – just need to actually start it!) and read at least three professional books. On the personal side, I want to continue with my weight loss and eating a more whole foods plant based diet. Combined professional/personal goals are to become conversational in Spanish and move to Mexico.
What bad habit(s) did you break in 2020? I’ve always been a fast food consumer – even knowing it’s not good for me. But early 2020 had me eating fast food multiple times a week and sometimes more than once a day. So in September I cut out fast food. I had a week moment in late October and it made me feel very yucky and I haven’t eaten it since – I don’t even crave it or think about it.
What bad habit(s) do you want to break in 2021? Limiting my time on social media. Unfortunately I’m not doing all that great at minimizing my time just yet, but I am slowly working toward it.
What was the best thing that happened in 2020 professionally and personally? I spent the first part of the year being very angry and depressed that I was ‘stuck’ in the US and not able to start my new career in Vietnam thanks to the borders closing due to the pandemic. But I started to realize that this was a sign that Vietnam was not where I needed to be and started looking at other options. That’s when the position in Mexico came about and I feel very comfortable with the idea that this is where I’m supposed to be at this point in my life. Vietnam will always be there so it may be an option in the future. In addition, in Vietnam I would have been teaching young kids and in Mexico I will be doing what I ultimately wanted to do – teaching Business English. This was my five-year plan and I’m thrilled to be able to do it now. Personally, I’m very thankful that I’ve been able to develop deeper relationships with my niece and nephews – something I would not have been able to do if I was half a world away.
What lesson did you learn in 2020? The lesson I learned in 2020 is really a carry-over from my time in Morocco….that everything will work out, maybe not the way we want or when we want, but they will work out. And most of the time they work out for the better.
Do you have a word or phrase for 2021? My word and phrase for 2021 are ones I’ve used many times over the year, but they help keep my focused and help me make the right the decisions: Health and Make Healthy Choices. This is in everything I do, from the foods I eat, to the books I read and movies I watch, to the friendships I maintain, to self talk.
Yes, 2020 was a rough year for many people, but there was also much good that came from our slowed down life and more time spent with loved ones. Here’s to a happy, healthy, productive and adventurous 2021!