My 2020 Annual Review: when plans change suddenly

written by Marie

Last updated on: February 1, 2021

Published on January 2, 2021

Welcome back to this annual review blog post where I review the year that’s ending. I did this exercise in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. Last year, I followed questions inspired by James Clear, but this year I will do a mixup of Ali Abdaal and James Clear… Why not!

1- When have you felt proud of yourself in 2020? Highlights of 2020?
2- What didn’t go as well this year?
3- What have I learned?

Let’s get started with this 2020 annual review!

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When have you felt proud of yourself in 2020? Highlights of 2020?

Research Internship at JHU – January

The year started well with my research internship at Johns Hopkins University. I arrived on January 15, 2020, in Baltimore with no idea what I was going to work on. Some could think that I was crazy, but everything turned out amazing, and I worked on an amazing research project: using smartwatches to predict the severity of Parkinson’s Disease symptoms.

Trip to San Diego with Google – February

In February, I was invited to attend the North America Leads Academy 2020 with Google. I felt like an imposter for a while and almost declined to attend, but I did.

I was invited because I’ve been helping to organize Google Women Techmakers Montreal for the past 4 years. The event falls under the Google Developer Group (GDG) in Montreal, so I was invited to attend this day of training in San Diego! Google uploaded the full playlist of recorded talks during the event: get tips to create a great team and meetup for your community!

Trip to Philadelphia with my mom and aunt – February

I never traveled with my mom ever. Needless to say, I was very excited that my mom would come and visit me in Baltimore during my internship! We used the opportunity to meet halfway in Philadelphia and explore the city for 2 days! I had to include this moment in the year’s review because it was a lot of fun.

Met someone special ❤️ – March

The last week that I was in Baltimore, I went on a date with someone I met in a speech technologies reading group while at JHU… Well, the date was amazing, and we had many more dates! 🙂

He will hate me for posting the painting picture as he doesn’t like it, but it’s also the last “normal” and group activity I did before COVID started going crazy… So I think it’s worth sharing! We had many dates in a single week and… the rest is history!

Sudden end to my internship & moved back in with my mom – March

Obviously, due to COVID, I had to leave Johns Hopkins and go back home before the full 4 months of my internship. Then, my world was turned upside down when my roommates in Montreal announced to me they all wanted to move out. I could either find new roommates myself or move out.

Well, I moved out and moved back in with my mom. Thanks, COVID! At first, I can’t complain though I was VERY stressed (apartment hunting in Montreal is nerve-wracking). I am very much happy to have moved to the countryside to enjoy a backyard, a big bedroom, and a separate office to work. I would be very stuck in my bedroom-with-a-desk if I stayed in Montreal.

Marie-Philippe moving - 2020 Annual review

Co-organized Google Women Techmakers Montreal which became online – March

I helped to organize Google Women Techmakers Montreal for the third year! This time, I actually invested even more time in the event as I managed a team of 2 for social media posts to promote the event. It was very nice to work with a group and teach them what I learned about social media over the years!

I’m also helping to organize the digital event again for 2021, so if you want to attend our free event, make sure to bookmark the WTM Montreal website!

Traveled to the USA to visit my boyfriend – August

Yes, I traveled during the pandemic. I did not travel to go party as we’ve seen in the media. It was to see my boyfriend, which I haven’t seen in 5 months. I was terrified. Anyone who knows me knows that I follow ALL THE RULES AND LAWS to a crazy extent, so much so that it drives certain people crazy! 😉

I decided to travel, and when I did, I was SO HAPPY with my decision. My happiness skyrocketed, which comforted me that this was a good decision. I took all precautions. I did a 14 days quarantine before leaving Canada and traveling to the US. I traveled with a face shield and a mask, of course. I washed my hands so often that I emptied a small bottle of hand sanitizer. I also went to the US for 5 weeks. I didn’t want to travel for a short stay. The risk was not worth it to me. The US border agent even questioned me a bit about why I was going to the US for such an extended time.

It turns out everything went well. I quarantined again for 14 days when I came back to Canada, and I didn’t get COVID and had a great reunion with my boyfriend!

I started consistently posting every month to my blog

I started publishing more blog posts in 2020 in comparison with the previous year, as you can see:

2020: 11 blog posts
2019: 9 blog posts
2018: 18 blog posts
2017: 40 blog posts
2016: 22 blog posts

I almost published every month. I am quite happy. I wish I could publish more, but we only have 24 hours in a day! Between my Instagram account and my YouTube channel, one blog post a month has been a good frequency for me.

In 2021, I hope I can publish 15 blog posts, or maybe even more. As I will be graduating soon and going to the job market, I hope that this will give me more time as I won’t need to study during the weekend as much!

Working out consistently

I started working out more as I said in my 2019 annual review, but I continued this good habit in 2020! I started tracking my workouts in July using Notion.

July: 21 workouts
August: 13 workouts
September: 15 workouts
October: 12 workouts
November: 5 workouts (I got sick with mononucleosis!)
December: 21 workouts

My motivation definitely suffers from being up and down sometimes, and we can see that trend in the few months I started tracking my workouts. However, I am definitely going to continue this good habit in the new year.

I also received an Apple Watch from my boyfriend for Christmas, so I am so happy and excited to track my workouts and reach my new year’s goals!

As I had surgery for scoliosis, it is essential for me to workout. This year, I started having chronic pain in my shoulder blades and neck again. Some days, I was not able to work. I thought the days where I had this much pain were behind me as building muscles really helped me get rid of that pain after my surgery, but it seems I am not invincible!!!

View of a Notion Calendar showing the workouts Marie did in the month of December 2020 - 2020 Annual Review
Calendar view of my workouts for December 2020

What didn’t go as well this year?

I read only 2 books

I only read two books in 2020, unfortunately! I’m still struggling with reading books. For some reason, I can’t focus enough to read books. My mind is always all over the place and I can’t commit to sit down and read for a long time. The book needs to be VERY good starting from the first page to captivate me enough.

I read “Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel” by Gayle Honeyman and “Every Breath” by Nicholas Sparks.

If you want to try Audible Plus or Audible Premium Plus with my affiliate link, you can get up to 2 free audiobooks at the same time as supporting my free content!

Fake accounts

For some reason, fake accounts using my pictures for scams have been very common. I learn about them when people who lost or are about to lose money report the fake accounts to me.

This mostly happens on Facebook and Instagram. I report the profiles, but sometimes, Instagram thinks it’s okay to keep the accounts active. I’ve reported 3 Facebook profiles this week, and they are still live…

My cat, Minou, passed away

Unfortunately, at 13-14 years old, my cat passed away. He probably had cancer. I will forever miss him. Growing up, I always loved and had cats at my dad’s. My mom doesn’t like cats/dogs too much, so we didn’t have any at her place.

When I had surgery for scoliosis, my mom agreed to take in my aunt’s cat as she couldn’t keep him anymore. She agreed for zoo-therapy as I just got out of the hospital. I took care of him for the next 8 years.

What have I learned this year?

Enjoy the moment with the people we love

I don’t think any of us expected to live through a pandemic in our lifetime. Well, it happened, and we all lost something during the past year. Loved ones, money, plans, jobs, internships, opportunities…

I can’t wait to see my family again, hug them, have a pizza with my dad as we used to every week… We will get through this!

Calculated risks might sometimes be needed

Especially now, with COVID everywhere, we need to evaluate how comfortable we are with risk and make our decisions accordingly. I used to be someone who would totally avoid risks, which sometimes make life a little boring.


I hope you enjoyed reading this 2020 annual review that was a bit more personal than in the previous years! I really hope that 2021 will be a better year for all of us.

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Vladyslav January 6, 2021 - 7:48 am


I’m very happy to read this and see your progress. I have been following you for probably about 2 years on Instagram and I see how you develop and become better. Very cool that you summed up your results in 2020 and I’m sure that everything will work out for you and everything will only get better in 2021. You’re doing fine!

PS: Greetings from Ukraine, Kharkiv!
PSS: haha, I also have a similar situation with books. Unfortunately. 🙁

Marie June 3, 2021 - 8:23 pm

Hello Vladyslav,
Thank you so much for your nice comment! 🙂 What’s your instagram account?!
I hope you’re having a good start to the year!


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