What a year ha? All through this month, our editorial team did a fantastic job on our special series “the year that was….” Being the extraordinary year that it was, it would be unfair if we didn’t give it the attention that it deserved 😉
I decided to go a little different and build a timeline of 2020, of how it’s been for me, for My Swiss Story and the world in general.
I entered the year with the right mix of confidence and nervousness, I had actually built my vision board this time, chalked out my goals (like in a beautiful notebook ) only to realize (later) that nothing was going to go as per plan 😉
Learning #1: Invest time in planning and goal setting, but also be flexible. True resilience implies constantly adapting to changing times
January was of much significance; I conducted my first session for PWG (Professional Women’s Group) Basel for the series “How to find a job in Switzerland”. It was one of the most gratifying experiences, to bring a group of smart women together, to share my personal story, and to initiate the creation of a supportive community!
Post this, one of the nicest things happened to me, I got to visit home (Delhi, India) and I didn’t know that this was a blessing in disguise
Learning #2: Always, count your blessings and remain grateful
The year had clearly started on a good note, I remember that I was advised to wear a mask on my way back to Switzerland – I wore it but I was not alarmed (at least not yet).
A trip home always makes you homesick and the start of a new assignment was making me anxious. They always say it can’t be as bad as you imagined it to be. But this time it WAS!
Nothing went as per plan, things started getting and feeling chaotic! My #1 priority is my daughter, and if I slip even a little bit as a caregiver, it makes me feel inadequate. So, this downward spiral had to be fixed! And so I did what I should have – I asked for help!
Learning #3: “It takes a village” mammas, whether it is your husband, your in-laws, your parents, your neighbors, your community – ask for help!
Slowly, but surely the pandemic was making its presence felt. But I was still occupied in my version of the world, which in my opinion was completely falling apart.
Learning #4: Perspective, is an important word! In the bigger scheme of things, you are extremely tiny, and your problems are even tinier!
Something hit us, and we had no idea that a bat could F@#§ with our life and all of a sudden, planet Earth did not seem large enough. Our problems, our wants, our needs turned out to be the same. There was panic – some of it was worthy and some of it was not! The world was undergoing a little bit of an overreaction and rightly so.
Stocking up on food/other essential supplies, toilet paper shortage, the % of alcohol in your sanitizer, and N95 masks (which were the best and ugliest ones) had taken over all the other world problems. My problems at work had sorted automatically, perspective, I was reminded of that word yet again!
By now, the underrated movie of 2011, Contagion had become the Oscar winner of 2020! We had collectively done a great job in spreading panic! The “2011 Matt Damon” led the way….
My commute was widely reduced, the distance from my bed to my office desk was bearable. While technology was bringing us closer; human beings were learning some great lessons.
Lesson #5, #6, #7 and #8:
- We need a lot lesser than we think to keep us happy!
- Meeting people was overrated and underrated at the same time!
- Virtual ways of working were efficient and effective
- Homeschooling was the hardest part of parenting
I celebrated my last birthday in my 30s, and it sucked big time and by now I was sufficiently depressed. I was feeling constant overwhelm, I wasn’t being the best mom in the world, I was not baking banana bread and making dalgona coffees. I was very disappointed with a lot happening around me and then all of a sudden, one day I went for a walk alone and I realized all I needed was some fresh air.
Lesson #9: I had made a connection with nature; I had no idea that all the boring quotes about nature and its healing benefits were actually true. A walk in the park can cure ailments, and how!
Lesson #10: I am in no way preaching – “disregarding feelings, nor am I advising on turning a blind eye to pressing issues”, but fresh air can help you collect your feelings and organize your thoughts. Sometimes we are restless, and we can’t put a pin on the “why”.
I haven’t mentioned my blog yet, I was writing articles constantly and my creative outlet was constantly rescuing me in this challenging year!
Learning #11: Never stop doing what you love, it might not bring you money; but then money cannot buy happiness.
I had floated my first lockdown project, and it bombed. It was a “Humans of NY” kind of an initiative and I had also realized how selfish people were.
A pandemic might have changed the narrative, but it had definitely not changed the fabric.
My second project: “COVID support series” with about 20 women authors was a HIT, people could offer their expertise and promote their business. It was a win-win; local businesses needed the exposure and a new avenue (aka guest post submissions) for My Swiss Story was born.
Lesson #12: Create as many win-win situations as possible, it brings you both success and joy! “Collaboration” became my word of the year!
This was a significant month for me. Work had stabilized; I was also prepping up for my PMP certification and we introduced an editorial panel at My Swiss Story. I brought in a team of 5 women, all experts in their own field, an advisor, and My Swiss Story had just turned a new leaf!
Lesson #13: Sometimes you gotta be impulsive and trust your gut feeling!
I also passed my PMP exam, I was “above target” in all the areas of assessment.
Lesson #14: Hard work always pays off. Simple and sweet. It does.
Things in Switzerland were normal, we did not wear masks, the cases were minimal, and summer was looking like a celebration. We could not leave the country, but Switzerland is surely not a bad place to be stuck in 😉
Lesson #15: Don’t celebrate (by queuing outside the Apple Store) till you’re out of the woods!
Things back home, and the world, in general, were not good – their schools never opened back up (our children were gearing up for their summer break), Trump was constantly making jokes about the Chinese virus and K-dramas had become a thing!
Even though it was hard to concentrate (subtitles), Marriage contract and Crash Landing on You had topped the charts.
After a good summer break, where many of us hiked and climbed mountains, gave the hotels and restaurants business – the kids were ready to go back! (Phew!) By now, I was neck-deep in work – the year was going well, we were churning out great content on the blog, I had been covered in a number of publications and the new normal was no longer NEW!
Lesson #16: Don’t bite more than you can chew!
But I did, I am quite a cautionary tale, aren’t I? 😉 I decided to do the second part of our travel book of 2019 – 21 Hidden Gems of Switzerland was going to have a Volume 2.
I realized I needed help, I was working a lot and I recognized that I needed to delegate. This was when Preetika (the beautiful girl in the picture above) became an integral part of My Swiss Story.
Lesson #17: If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make an impact, you got to learn to delegate.
PS: I was also featured all over Switzerland as the “influencer of the day” on all trams and gas stations by Nau.ch, and this was a special day!
My daughter turned 10 this month, we celebrated her birthday in a park where we could be socially distant. But, I believe, we were not! 😀
Lesson #18: Kids grow up too fast ☹ Squeeze in as many moments as possible with them!
I was a lecturer at my alma mater, and this was a big win! I was excitedly nervous, the good kind of nervous and I think the journey had its moments of crests and troughs.
Lesson #19: There is no appropriate age to discover a new passion.
Just like I discovered my passion for teaching at 39 and content creation at 35! I always thought “performing arts” was my passion and that I was done with it… but you gotta take the chances. This year, I took another chance and I am so happy I did.
While things were looking up, my health was looking down. It was looking down upon me and tapping on my shoulder. There would be days when I could no longer sit on my desk – my shoulders were sore all the time and this was not just exhaustion but also overwhelm and anxiety.
Lesson #20 I owe this one to my mom, “one day at a time” and that’s exactly what I did.
Lesson #21: You need to unwind and that does not mean sitting in front of the couch and turning on the TV! But it means spending quality time with yourself – it means light exercises, it means stretches, it means deep breathing, it means a cup of coffee in peace, it means a sheet mask, it means a long bath with a candle and it means a massage! Take care of yourself!
Lesson #22: Eat your supplements!
21 Hidden Gems of Switzerland came out and it had over 500 downloads in the first week! I was so happy, not just for me but for everyone that had contributed.
Even though I had many significant milestones this year, my most treasured one was when I could enable a connection between my daughter and her favorite author Jeff Kinney!
This was my month of recognition – I was recognized at my workplace during the performance discussions and I got good feedback from my class for the module I was teaching! November is usually a good month – Diwali, our anniversary, and shopping are always on the list of things to look forward to.
Lesson #23: Patience pays!
I slowed down in December and started celebrating “the year that 2020 was” and how it has been such a teacher! I expressed gratitude for all that I have and all that I got! And I started to wrap up my assignments, I started missing folks back home immensely. Not like I was not missing them all through the year – but it is a feeling that a lot of us can resonate with. It’s just that time of year!
Lesson #24: You don’t need much in life; food, shelter, your loved ones and WiFi.
Publications I was Featured in
Brands that I worked with
My Swiss Story has many bright ideas and strategies for the new year, but for things to be awesome, we need some time to unwind with our loved ones in order to come back in 2021 with a fresh perspective!
I would like to thank all our readers for all their love, support, and valuable feedback during 2020, we hope to churn out a lot of quality content in the new year!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year