Reviewing 2020 and Declaring My 2021

Announcements Dec 03, 2020

My Dear Friend,

I thought I'd write this quick post to reflect on what happened and how I'm going to face 2021.

I took a break from Twitter at the end of the year for a few reasons. Some are personal, so I wouldn’t share, while others are apparent if we take a look around us now.

COVID-19 is a bitch

I'm not a fan of pandemics. Maybe some people agree with me.

It’s taken the lives of many, it endangered members of my family. It ruined my sister’s wedding, my grandfather’s funeral, my holiday plans and, my sanity. I can’t even go to the public toilet without having the guy 2 stalls down potentially coughing me to death.

But really, I was heavily affected to the point of taking a huge loss.

I lost my grandfather. During the times when his health was declining, COVID prevented us from seeing him. We couldn't visit him, and his memory was getting worse. It was a two-pronged attack on us losing our loved one and our loved one forgetting us. Even writing that out felt heavy. At the time I could only get updates from WhatsApp on his health, or on whether or not he's healing well. He was, until he didn't.

It was a quiet funeral. I couldn't hear it from so far away, but I saw the pictures from my desk. There were silent tears, wet pillows and the mourning from afar. By the next day, I'm back to coping by going online again.

I couldn't even say goodbye. He would have loved one last talk together: about life lessons, on education, and his days during the Japanese occupation of [[Sarawak]]. I've based a story about him even. He was a paragon of education, and a source of wisdom for me. It was fun connecting with him. I hold him dear in my heart, always.

I also argued with my partner many times. It was my inaction and inability to pay attention — I was so into my head it was at the loss and sacrifice of those I love. I wasn't there to bear her burdens and responsibilities. I was scared, and she was too; I forgot.

Honestly, I’m sick of these unprecedented times every company keeps emailing us about. They’re not unprecedented, they’re shit. A pandemic forced us to stay at home to protect ourselves. Going outside risks death for the young and elderly. Everybody has to wear masks (which isn't that bad actually; reminds me of Ikebukuro station to be honest).

Not all of it was bad

A lot of people were affected as a result, and in a state of loneliness, coping and more, we turned to the internet for help (myself included).

It hit all of us, but with peril came opportunity.

Podcasting

  • I’ve done a number of talks and appearances actually, representing [[Podlovers Asia]]. You can find them here:

Mapping out Asia's Podcasting Ecosystem - Malaysia

Splice Low-Res 3: Freelancing opportunities in spite of COVID

And I did a talk in Podthon 2020 as well.

Guest Appearances

I've guested on a number of podcasts which you can find here (all Podchaser links):

I also wrote a long guide to starting a podcast here for [[AppSumo]], which you can find here.

I started two shows, one of them being [[AntiFool]] (grew up to 30+ episodes), and the other being [[RoamFM]] (20+ episodes).

Work wise, things are picking up for the Podcast Rainmaker: picking up a client and now starting off with more and more talks and collaborations happening.

I met people through two new communities:

Interintellect

I started joining the [[Interintellect]] to see a few Salons, and found such love and warmth from the members there. They were friends that I haven't met yet.

From joining in on Camp Curiosity to crying in the Heartbreak Salon, it opened my eyes up to a level of friendship that can only be found on the internet. That there are people all over the world as curious as I am, and as wonderful as they can be, and I am but a discussion away from getting to know them so well.

I love them.

The Roam community (formerly #roamcult)

Since the shift to going remote for everybody, that meant more opportunities were found online. I was the same. Though I was doing the same things I was during the day, lockdown forced me to pay more attention to the digital space to fill up the time.

Through that, I found Roam Research, which is a great writing tool and coping mechanism despite all the craziness happening out there. more than the tool itself (which works really well with how I do things), was the community.

We have the mad, the crazy, the insane, and the introspective: all but mere flavours of the same dish that is the human soul. All of them had autodidactic behaviours, and all of them were so curious about themselves that they strive to explore inward through writing. My contribution to this was [[RoamFM]].

It ended up becoming far more successful than any other show I’ve created (more listens than all of my 5 other shows combined!), unnatural growth, a thriving community and listeners willing to give feedback.

And everyone is so kind. All my love for them, and forever more.

The future

During the December break, I spent more time offline with loved ones than online on Twitter and other social media. People could still email me, and I was on Slack here and there, but I wanted time to myself.

Now back in 2021, I've freshened up and recovered within the well of my own thoughts, silence and notes. I think I’ll be okay. For this year, it's time to be...a [[Mad Scientist]].

Now to you, my friend: Wherever you are in the world, stay warm and stay lovely. Hug your loved ones and hug them well: tell them you love them, whether close or from 2 meters apart. We can't socially distance ourselves all the time.

But in case you're in need of true warmth, I'm here. I’ll always be waiting, by the fire.

Your foolish friend, Norm.

Tags

Norm

Norman Chella is the Podcast Rainmaker, Polymath in Progress and a very strange writer. His creative pen name is N.T. Cloever. You can find his words right here.

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