on-going mostly unedited stream of thoughts

documenting 2020 in pictures & some words

This was the post I meant to write yesterday, but I guess in psychoanalytic fashion I had to express what was truly plaguing my subconscious first. I do not wish to twist 2020 in a positive spin, yet because of its conditions I was able to experience some new dimensions of life and myself. Here’s an attempt to document them:

Falling in love with the bicycle

Cycled a road bike for the first time

I’ve ridden bicycles on and off throughout my life but I’ve never really liked it much. I think there were two missing factors: my fitness and the bicycle itself. I had bought a second hand foldie for food delivery, it was a moderately enjoyable ride but that was it. Food delivery improved my fitness, and it piqued my interest in bikes because I wanted to see if I could improve the riding experience in order to deliver food for longer periods of time. The process to satisfy my curiosity made me slightly bike crazy.

So, towards the end of 2019 I had gotten my first road bike which turned out to be a giant blessing in disguise, because the pandemic induced a severe shortage for bicycles and now it is impossible to get a good one at a reasonable price. Also, being able to cycle my road bike every morning during the lockdown was probably one of the few things that kept me sane.

The love for my road bike deserves an essay on its own, but the tldr is cycling on a road bike is almost a completely different experience from cycling almost anything else (maybe mountain bikers would beg to differ). It made me completely fall in love with cycling and with bicycles, and now I am amazed at how wondrous is this piece of mechanical machine.

Changed my bike’s handlebar grips for the first time

Riding long distances gave me pain in the hand, so I had to change the grips. Removing foam grips is truly a pain in the ass, and it probably took me a much longer while than it would take an experienced mechanic. It is only a small task, but it whetted my appetite to do more to the bicycle. I am hoping to build my own bicycle one day.

Memorable random experiences

Saw numerous beautiful sunrises

The only reasonable time to cycle long distances in hot and humid Singapore is early morning, and I got to witness some truly amazing sunrises.

…and some sunsets

The lack of movement during the pandemic made us take some evening walks, and that gifted us with incredible sunsets.

Delivered parcels & bouquets

Before the virus became a serious concern, we spent the first couple of months trying our hand at being a parcel courier. I have a lot of respect for couriers now. Being adhoc couriers gave us the opportunity to discover some very interesting places and businesses. I would totally continue to do it if I wasn’t worried about catching the virus.

Let my partner cut my hair for the first time

I am sensitive to feeling weight even if it is my short hair on my head. Before the pandemic I would cut my hair at least every month. Throughout our relationship my partner offered to cut my hair several times but I would always say no because I am vain about nothing else except my hair. I couldn’t tolerate my hair growing to become a mop eventually, so I reluctantly let her do it. She did a surprisingly good job of it considering she had zero training, so now she cuts my hair. I’ve also become a lot less conscious about how my hair looks now.

Mechanical things

Replaced my 2013 11″ Macbook Air’s battery

This Macbook Air of mine has a ton of sentimental value, so I was sad that the battery started to be incapable of holding a charge last year. A few months ago I plucked up the courage to replace the battery on my own, and it turned out to be way easier than I expected. It makes me a sad that Macbooks (or anything made by Apple) are impossible to repair ourselves now. Also this machine is still functions pretty well for a seven year old laptop.

Tried to repair my xbox

Encouraged by the success of my Macbook Air I tried to fix my xbox (which is basically a glorified bluray player because I don’t really video game) myself. The hardest part is actually taking off the plastic case…I managed to successfully swop out the fan but it is still overheating when I put the case back on, so I’m going to try replacing the thermal paste soon.

I used to build my own PCs. I forgot how much I enjoyed tinkering with hardware, so this would be something I’ll be hoping to explore more in 2021.

Creative things

Cooked a lot more

Got sick of ordering takeout and wanted to eat a little healthier, so I tried cooking. The phase lasted longer than I thought it would, but I eventually got sick of my own cooking. Still hopeful of picking it up again.

Tried different writing set ups

I went into an e-ink rabbithole and tried different ways to improve my writing experience. I get sick a lot, and sometimes I cannot bear to be near my computer because it is something that makes me sick, unfortunately. So I am still experimenting to see if other setups would get me to write more. I am also trying to be more conscious about noting down my ongoing transient thoughts and feelings because since I’ve started to review my past journal entries regularly I’ve learnt that writing from my past selves is contains valuable information for my present self. It is not easy for me though, to be intentional about writing down what seems to be transient.

Wrote 39 posts

I wrote a lot less compared to previous years, because of the reasons mentioned above, that I got sick a lot. My physical illnesses make me mentally ill, and vice versa. I go into phases when I just cannot bring myself to do anything else except doomscroll. Still, I am thankful that despite everything I even wrote 39 of them.

Read 42 books

I had a goal of reading 100 books, but ended up with a number that is like a historical low for me in recent years due to the same reasons. I don’t wish to get too caught up in a number game though, but the number keeps me mindful of how limited is the number of books we can read in one lifetime. Say I read a book a week for the rest of my life, I would barely hit 2,000 books. To know this makes me sad.

Experimented with Roam Research

This also contributed to me reading less for a while because I was making notes from books I’ve read instead of reading new ones. I am still trying to find a system that works for me that can contain Roam, this website and my health in the picture.

Other notable events

Closing thoughts

Like yin and yang, I guess I needed to pair yesterday’s depressing post with today’s because it wouldn’t be accurate to say that despair was everything I felt in 2020. It wouldn’t feel right to put them in the same post either. I guess I am the documentarian of my life so I can slice and dice in whichever way I want, and I’m doing this more for myself than anyone else.

My depressed brain doesn’t remember accurately how I’ve truly lived. I had to go through my photo library to write this post.

That is why.