A look back at 2020
Highlights from this year, equity in design, the money myth, and a bit of perspective
|Steven Wakabayashi||Dec 29, 2020||1|
2020 has been a roller coaster year for all of us. Pandemic, elections, unemployment, racism, riots, fires, and deaths… it gives me anxiety just even typing out words to describe what unfolded this year.
Last year, I set out to travel around the world to deepen my studies with meditation and mindfulness in my own rendition of Eat, Pray, Love. This year, I settled my roots in New York City.
A big reason I shifted from nomadic life to a permanent city residence was to focus more on the work. Although it sounded nice in the beginning to travel and work at the same time, I was spending a considerable amount of time trying to find the basic essentials - food, laundry, electricity, and internet. But I will say… the timing could not have been better that I had gone through this mental exercise prior to the pandemic.
I made a video wrapping up my Eat, Pray, Love journey on my Youtube.
A look at some of my highlights from this year:
Expanding my podcast into the Yellow Glitter platform offering monthly support groups for queer Asians and hosting our very first queer Asian mindfulness retreat next month in January. And with more registrations than anticipated!
Launching Mindful Sights, my first 501c3 organization, and hosting monthly meditation spaces for Asian Americans as well as creating a database of meditations freely accessible on our Youtube channel.
Launching QTBIPOC Design this summer and hosting monthly UX masterclasses for LGBTQ+ designers of color. (Also in the final stages of 501c3 certification and launching our own bootcamp course in the next few months)
But even more than the orgs, I am so excited to be co-creating these projects with a team of people who are passionate about the cause. Yellow Glitter is a team of 3, Mindful Sights is a team of 3, and QTBIPOC Design has blossomed into a team of 10.
This January, I incorporated my own design agency/consultancy, Stranger Creative, and have been able to lead some amazing projects, including launching Walmart Plus on their owned digital channels (website, web store, social)
Financially, I’ve hustled as well — almost doubling my income compared to my last salaried position. (I finally realize how much free labor we give away while working overtime in salaried positions.) The added capital has been instrumental to start and grow my nonprofits as well as taking care of my mother who lost her business due to COVID.
Average happiness in 2020 had increased substantially compared to 2019, potentially due to increased practice in meditation and mindfulness
Out of 40 books I’ve read this year, my favorites were: Don’t Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor (using animal training techniques to master human psychology), Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (an autobiography about the coming of age during apartheid intertwined with a mother’s complex love), Becoming by Michelle Obama (late to the train, but an amazing book on defying all odds as a Black woman from the south-side of Chicago), and Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford (a biography of Khan’s global conquest that established our modern-day trade)
This newsletter has increased subscriber count by 320% this year! Thank you for following my journey each week. 🙇🏻♂️
Although these are great milestones, I’ve been making a radical shift towards a different style of working this year. Perfectionism and burnout are too familiar experiences that are deeply engrained within me. Instead, I’ve been trying to lean more into the process and to enjoy the journey more than the goal itself. Milestones come and go, but the effort is what we truly remember. In flipping my thinking, I’ve been asking myself lately, “what can I do to enjoy this process more?”
Celebrate the little wins
Have more fun
Honor the space when inspiration arises
Could these be the unsung highlights of the year?
What I’m up to
For queer POC: Figma Masterclass Part 2 on Tuesday 1/12
For queer Asians: Gaysian support group on Sunday, 1/24
Equity in Design
Hosted one of my most important events - Equity in Design a few weeks ago, where we chatted about some really deep topics around diversity and inclusion impacting the design community. After the recording was captured, our community came together and had a deep conversation to connect, release, and heal deep-seated trauma experienced in the workplace.
The concept of money
Recommended this 2011 episode of This American Life, The Invention of Money, which talks about the fictional nature of cash, how it started, and how countries around the world are keeping the concept alive.
As always, thanks for reading!
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Have a beautiful day!