Colorado lake, woman on stairs and Chicago skyline in 2020 collage

20 Things I Did in 2020

Finally, 2020 is over! While most of us may want to forget this past year, it’s nice to look back on the memories we made, and the moments that got us through such a tough year. As I look back at all the things I did in 2020, I realize that 2020 was a period of growth and reflection. Every day was not all sunshine and rainbows, but I did find moments of positivity, and I hope you did too.

Here are 20 things I did in 2020, the good, the bad, and everything in between.

1. Spent my birthday in Chicago for the first time with some of my closest friends.

2020 was off to a good start because my birthday is in January! This was the first time since living in Chicago where I actually spent my birthday in the city. To celebrate, I got together with some of my closest friends at Paradise Park. We devoured delicious pizzas and huge drinks, dancing and singing along to the music under thousands of Christmas lights.

Group of girls at Paradise Park bar in Wicker Park, Chicago

2. Lost my job.

Once March hit and the pandemic began, I lost my job. Although I was sad to leave my coworkers and a fun work environment, it made me take a step back and realize what I really wanted in a career. I remember going through the motions and feeling burnt out, unhappy with the city I was living in. I was only one-year post-grad but I still felt like the path I was going on wasn’t for me.

3. Spent a lot more time with Ben.

Like myself, Ben also lost his job. We went from barely seeing each other during the week to all of a sudden seeing each other 24/7. I’m glad we still like each other because we learned to cohabitate in a 600 square foot studio-like apartment!

Couple posing in an apartment

4. Felt inspired to start up my blog again.

After having my blog for two years I really didn’t put much effort into it. But now with all this time, writing on my blog gave me something to work on while being unemployed. Ben helped me along the way to teach me more about Google Analytics and search engine optimization, and I’m happy with where it’s going.

Computer with coffee on a table

5. Started doing yoga.

At this point of the year, I was feeling mentally drained. Yoga helped me through the first few months of quarantine after I discovered Yoga with Adriene’s YouTube channel. She has a few 30-day yoga series so if you are up for a challenge, I definitely recommend it! Pandemic or not, yoga is something I think anyone can benefit from.

Woman doing a 30 day yoga challenge

6. Fell in love with drinking and making matcha lattes.

I started getting matcha lattes from coffee shops not too long before I started making them myself. Once I became addicted to matcha, there was no stopping me. Creating this delicious drink was a daily “treat” if you will, and definitely something I didn’t have time to make before when I was working.

Woman drinking matcha tea in the morning

7. Baked lots of banana bread and blueberry muffins.

I’m not sure why baking banana bread was a thing in 2020, but I always loved baking especially when I was bored. Regular flour was a hard thing to find at the beginning of the pandemic, so I began experimenting with other types of flour such as almond flour. Shout out to the convenience store that opened beneath my building right before the pandemic started!

Fresh baked banana bread muffins on the stove

8. Traveled home to San Diego for 5 weeks.

During the year I’m sure all of us felt the need to go home or be closer to family. This was something I really needed. I just had to get away from Chicago for a bit and finally see my parents and my dog. Going home was amazing! I was so happy to see my friends and get some of that California sunshine!

Arriving in San Diego was one of many things I did in 2020

9. Read lots of books.

Again, with all the time I had, I tried to find new ways to occupy my time. It used to take me forever to read a book because I was too “busy”, but this year I learned to prioritize it instead of looking at my phone for hours. I especially love reading before bed now, as it allows me to relax before my head hits the pillow.

10. Cooked many more meals at home, and got creative to try new recipes.

Ben and I love getting take out food, but this year we really tried to cook different meals than our usual spaghetti or salmon. We grilled tons of burgers and started using our kitchen tools again like our crockpot and waffle iron!

11. Spent the 4th of July with my best friends!

After spending some time in San Diego, we decided to fly back to Chicago for the 4th of July. I spent it with some of my best friends and we all had a blast cooking hot dogs, eating delicious Oreo pie, and walking down to the lake at sunset.

3 women posing on a pier in Chicago on 4th of July 2020

12. Traveled to Colorado.

Probably my favorite thing I did in 2020 was travel to Colorado. This has been on our bucket list for a while and I’m so happy we had the time to do it! We visited Rocky Mountain National Park, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, and Pearl Street which were some of my favorite places we went to.

Woman sitting at an empty red rocks theater in 2020

13. Went on many walks throughout my neighborhood.

I will forever be grateful for what a 30-minute walk can do for the mind and body. Whether I was by myself listening to podcasts, or with my best friend talking about life, walking really helped me to get away from my small apartment and get some fresh air.

Taking a walk in Logan Square was one of the things I did in 2020

14. Celebrated our 4 year anniversary!

Ben and I spent our four-year anniversary by going on an hour-long Chicago Architecture tour and going out for dinner afterward at The Whale Chicago. Being a tourist in your own city is a great date idea with your partner!

Couple in Chicago about to take an architectural boat tour

15. Experienced a loss in my family.

Probably one of my lowest points of the year was losing my grandpa. It came as a surprise to the whole family and really affected me because we were so close when I was growing up. Being surrounded by family helped me through this tough time. We got together and reflected on the full and amazing life my grandpa had by looking through thousands of photos he kept.

16. Flew back home to San Diego, where I would ultimately stay for the rest of 2020.

I’m truly happy to call this place home and lucky that my parents are always so welcoming. Moving back home with my parents is something I never thought I would do, but it was the right stepping stone for me as I began to explore more job opportunities out west.

Park with palm trees in La Jolla, CA

17. Got a “big girl” job.

Speaking of job opportunities, I finally landed a job at one of my dream companies and was able to start working from home. After months of interviews and rejections, I began feeling discouraged that nothing would come along, hanging onto this feeling of being “stuck”. But perseverance is key when job searching because every rejection is only getting you closer to the perfect opportunity.

18. Completed many hikes in Joshua Tree National Park.

Last year I got Ben an Annual National Parks pass, thinking we would already be living in California and have all the time to travel on the weekends to national parks. Well, we mostly ended up just going to Joshua Tree National Park during the year mainly because it is the closest park to us. We hiked several different trails and went at different times of the day so it felt exciting and new each time we visited.

Joshua Tree National Park entrance in 2020

19. Started playing tennis again.

I use to play tennis in high school, so getting back on the courts felt so good. It’s a great way to get outside and get moving (and a great social distance activity!) I’m hoping I can take this into the new year because I forgot how fun it can be!

20. Had a low-key Christmas and New Years’ with my parents and Ben.

The year ended on a quieter note as California started to go in lockdown again. I was still so lucky to spend Christmas with my parents and Ben. We had a seafood dinner, watched Christmas movies, and baked tons of Christmas cookies!

Couple in front of a Christmas tree in 2020

What was something you did in 2020?

I wish you all a safe and happy new year!

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