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Issue 015

It's Wednesday, December 23.

This absolute dumpster fire of a year is almost over.

I've tried to reflect on the past twelve months with little success. It is both overwhelming and humbling to try and take inventory of what I have done this year, and more broadly what we as a society have endured. There is only so much I can speak to. I can tell you what it's like to live in New York through a pandemic, or develop a stronger bond with your neighbors which you used to never see, or be laid off before the holidays, or start an e-newsletter, or see refrigeration trucks line up outside the hospital, or even see kids ride bikes in suburbia again. Everyone will take a unique snapshot from 2020 with them, writing their own perspective on adversity, loss, discovery, and patience.

We've invented, argued, voted, protested, sacrificed, mourned, and celebrated. We should all take note of what lessons and insights we're bringing with us into the future. The consensus on 2020 is, unsurprisingly, negative. But adversity offers opportunity—don't squander it.

WFH and quarantine taught me the value of routine. Starting and ending the day at home meant I could no longer rely on my commute to bookend my days. Time was fluid and malleable. I fell back in love with brewing coffee every morning—I subscribed to the New York Times and made a habit of catching up on a healthy dose of news with that coffee—I developed personal projects (like plus450) to stimulate my creativity. There's still more to do; I want to create more of a symbolic transition from workday to homeday—I want to read more—I want finish more projects I've already started. This article offers some great insight into how these rituals can make us happier and healthier.

Late this year, part of my routine became, like many, applying to jobs. I was forced to respond to a frustrating and disappointing situation that I should have seen coming sooner. Luckily, some late-night portfolio rehab and many rejections later, I'm finally beginning a new chapter in my career. I'm immensely thankful and fortunate. It's a reminder to me that even though you may think a search is hopeless, no search ever is.

I joked with family and friends that if the job search hadn't panned out, I'd be the latest Etsy creator to start selling candles. This isn't a new thing for me;  In 2019, my annual Christmas gift project became handmade soy candles. I enjoyed the process so much, I decided to entertain an encore. Below is a sneak peek of my latest venture, with more photos on my Instagram coming soon!

I also found it useful to take part in a personal, symbolic closing-out of the year. For me this meant pulling out my grandmother's old Smith Corona typewriter (which I don't use enough), and typing "2020". I pulled the sheet, refed it through the rollers, and typed over the numerals, "----". This was not a "striking of the record", but for me rather a therapeutic "marking as complete", which was more relieving than I had expected.
I can dwell on the more conceptual and nuanced closing of this chapter, but there are also more tangible lookbacks, like this one by It's Nice That.
I'm also inspired by these projects that really caught my eye this past month. Take a look below!
And it wouldn't be complete without a new playlist. Please enjoy these chill beats to close out this year. Take an exhale—things are looking up.
One thing I'm thankful for is you. Plus450 was a project to keep me inspired, challenged, and thinking forward when things looked so grim. This small audience has been more beneficial than I could have imagined. Thank you for subscribing and reading along with me as we navigate this new normal together. Cheers to a new year, a fresh start, progress.
That's it! Thank you for scrolling and hopefully appreciating. Just hit reply if you'd like to share your thoughts or feedback. This year is finally coming to a finale. It's time to close this chapter, realize what we've learned, gained, and lost, and set resolutions for the next.

If you like this content and want to help support the hosting and maintenance of plus450, you can buy me a coffee!
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