Cover Members of the Tatler community tell us what they have learned from 2020, and what they are looking forward to in the new year (Photo: Unsplash)

Members of our Tatler community reveal what 2020 has taught them and their hopes for the New Year

This year will probably go down as the most memorable year in a generation, to put it mildly, but, for some, the challenges have also brought perspective on the things that matter. We chat with members of our Tatler community to see what life lessons 2020 has taught them, what their hopes for 2021 are and if they’ve made any fun new year’s resolutions. Some answers may surprise you.

See also: 11 Sequin Pieces To Shine In This New Year's Eve 2021

Roshini Daswani, social media influencer and founder of children's brand, Milk it Baby

What has 2020 taught you? 

The year has presented so many unforeseen challenges that it has taught me to slow down and believe that the universe knows better. It has been bittersweet: the best and yet, the most difficult of years. I have been separated from my husband since early January, right after we had our first child. We thought 2020 would be our first year as a family together but this was not the case. He was supposed to come back to Hong Kong in February for my 30th birthday but I was scared as we didn’t have enough information about the virus. Then Hong Kong implemented the mandatory two week quarantine for all inbound travellers. Then my husband contracted the virus while he was in Bahrain in June. At that point, I accepted that life knew better for us. I needed to be in Hong Kong with my new born where it was safer. My parents were also dealing with the sudden loss of my aunt in September, but having us here was a blessing as we were able to comfort them. My brother got engaged in October and I had a chance to be a part of that too. This would not have been possible if I had been with him in Bahrain. This year, I’ve also been dedicating my time to start a business focused on baby lifestyle products. So, in hindsight, there has definitely been some benefit to staying at home and social distancing. Thank goodness for FaceTime and modern technology.

What are your hopes for 2021? 

My hopes for 2021 would be that life and travel go back to normal. If this virus persists then I hope we find a way to move forward and learn to live with it but happily—in our comfort zones and with our loved ones.

Do you have any new year's resolutions? 

My new year’s resolution would be to try and manage my time better. With having a child, blog and a new business, I am struggling to currently find the time to do everything I want in a day. I vow to wake up earlier, feel more energised and kick ass.

See also: The Biggest Health And Wellness Trends of 2020: Smart Gym Equipment, Covid-19 Fitness Gear & More

Septime Webre, artistic director, Hong Kong Ballet

What has 2020 taught you?

Don’t take the things you are passionate about for granted—they can be fleeting. When the artists of Hong Kong Ballet were in lockdown, we weren’t able to be where our hearts wanted to be: in the studio making art together, then sharing that onstage. That’s what moves us—that’s what defined us. And 2020 reminded us to savour every moment because it’s ephemeral and can be gone in a flash.  2020 also taught me how to change diapers—my husband and I had a son this year.

What are your hopes for 2021?

I hope 2021 is a year filled with beauty and unity.

Do you have any new year’s resolutions?

To take advantage of every moment in the studio, to push Hong Kong Ballet to be even more relevant to our city, and to get to yoga more.

See also: 4 Hong Kong Events You Can't Miss In December 2020

Paul Lau, corporate lawyer, and Leta Lau, jewellery designer

What has 2020 taught you? 

Leta: It has taught me to be thankful for what we have, for the family we love, and for the blessings that will come. Life is precious and time is limited, so we shouldn’t waste it living someone else's life. It’s taught me to stay away from toxic people, and to spend time with positive and happy friends.

Paul: I certainly learnt to pray more. I particularly resonate with this proverb: “A man's heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his steps.” Hong Kong was a top place to spend 2020, especially as Hong Kong residents in general have a high sense of collective responsibility on maintaining social distancing. I’m very thankful for that.

What are your hopes for 2021? 

Leta: The Covid-19 pandemic has made many of us view things in a different light. Next year will be filled with new opportunities and challenges. In 2021, I hope to rise up to all the challenges that come my way, just like waves in the ocean. Not because they rise and fall, but because they never fail to rise. 

Paul: I hope for a healthy and happy Hong Kong, wisdom for its leadership and integrity for its governance. It would be great to be able to travel again too.

Do you have any new year’s resolutions? 

Leta: My new year’s resolution is to complete the ones I missed out on last year!

Paul: To make better use of my time and to prioritize and focus. I’d like to cherish family more and appreciate good friends.

Elliot Faber, director, Sake Central/Saketen

What has 2020 taught you?

More than ever, 2020 has taught me to make the most of our situation and surroundings. Although the reason for being grounded in Hong Kong for the longest period of time since I moved here in 2011 is not a good one, the result—working closer to home and reconnecting with old friends—has been a genuine blessing.

What are your hopes for 2021? 

I hope 2021 marks the beginning of a recovery period for the human race. I feel the earth has already started healing because of the major decline in human traffic at a global scale. So with a vaccine imminent, I hope we can all take a moment to refocus on how to live, whatever that means to each of us.

Do you have any new year’s resolutions?

I am not big on resolutions but I hope that I can take the personal momentum of the year and have it grow outward to impact the people around me (and even those not around me) in a healthy and positive way.

See also: 10 Of The Best 2021 New Year's Day Brunches To Try In Hong Kong

Alex Jiaravanont, co-founder and creative director of Esemblé

What has 2020 taught you?

Chinese, science, music, math, and English and even PE: I have been  attempting to homeschool my child. Any hope of me opening up a home school will end in utter failure. Sometimes it is best to leave this to the professionals, so major props to teachers. While we push our children towards academic achievements, we have to find fun ways to connect with them. I have had many beautiful bonding moments with my son digging for diamonds and ancient debris in [video game] Minecraft.  

What are your hopes for 2021?

I hope that people will find ways to heal. I am fortunate that so far my loved ones have not been adversely affected by this situation. However, there are millions in the world who are not as lucky. My heart truly goes out to them and I hope we can all come together to rebuild the world.

Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?

To kick my son’s butt at video games.

See also: 7 Fitness Video Games To Try For A Fun At Home Workout

Amy Ho, co-founder of Esemblé

What has 2020 taught you? 

Buy technology stocks! Technology connects, entertains and makes life convenient for us all. Its presence has been even more prominent in 2020. Online retail, online entertainment, virtual meeting, digital payment and social media are inevitable. Kids are using computer devices earlier, too. We may as well embrace it and use technology wisely.  

What are your hopes for 2021?

The world has never been this divided before: by the pandemic, politics and trade wars. I hope the borders will reopen soon. The world, our environment and broken relationships will gradually heal, and we will find a new way to co-exist. 

Do you have any new year’s resolutions?

Staying healthy. I will just take my time to finish what was supposed to be done in 2020.

Antonia da Cruz, travel, fitness and wellness advocate

What has 2020 taught you? 

To appreciate everything you have. To be grateful. That we all need to do so much more to give back to our community and help the less fortunate. This year my boyfriend and I volunteered with HandsOn Hong Kong and engaged in activities—from preparing hot meals from surplus food at Food Angel to delivering care packages to the elderly. When we visited, some of the elderly were so happy to see us that they even invited us into their homes for tea and a chat. It was so heart-warming. However, seeing someone suffer so greatly from physical pain made me feel rather helpless and piqued my curiosity about alternative methods of healing, and I turned to Reiki. I became fascinated by the laws of attraction, the subconscious mind and the power of thought. I am now certified level 2 which means I can practise distance healing. 

What are your hopes for 2021? 

For everyone to vibrate positive energy. And more generally, increased collective consciousness towards a greater common good. For people to be kinder to one another and to our planet. For the world to return to a sense of normality. For travel to resume.

Do you have any new year's resolutions? 

Continue to practise gratitude. Spend less time on my phone. Do a digital detox. Read more. Consume less alcohol. Become a pro wake-surfer.

See also: Can Reiki Offer Relief In A Time Of Crisis? We Asked A Master

Natasha Li, marketing director, Princess Yachts

What has 2020 taught you? 

Not to get stressed about the things we can't control. As a self-confessed control freak and obsessive planner, the cancelled holidays, parties and work events did stress me out a little at the beginning of the year but 2020 has definitely taught me to go with the flow and focus on the present moment instead of always planning ahead. Some of my favourite memories of 2020 have been spontaneous dinner parties or excursions to new islands and beaches, and the quality time I've been able to spend with friends and family.

What are your hopes for 2021? 

To see my friends around the world. I am lucky that all of my family are in Hong Kong so I haven't had to be separated from them this year, however some of my best friends are scattered around the world and although FaceTime and Zoom are great, they’re just not the same as giving loved ones a big hug and catching up in person.

Do you have any new year’s resolutions? 

I always think New Year’s resolutions are setting you up for failure. They always make me think of that first scene of the Bridget Jones movie: lose 20 pounds and find a nice, sensible boyfriend to go out with. Inevitably neither happen. That said, I will be doing dry January which will be much needed after the festive season.

 

Alan Lo, restaurateur and art connoisseur

What has 2020 taught you?

2020 has taught me what a s**t-show really looks like.

What are your hopes for 2021? 

Anything but 2020.

Do you have any new year’s resolutions?

2020 has made me reshuffle my priorities and focus on what really matters. In 2021, I will look into projects that will bring positive change to the global food ecosystem. 

Nadia Ng, director, Perrotin Gallery

What has 2020 taught you? 

The one thing I am conscious of all the time now is that most of us expect governments, organisations and businesses to find solutions for the big problems of the world. And by relying on them to figure out these complexities, we often forget or neglect our own individual social responsibility and capacity to think for ourselves. Living in Hong Kong, I am privileged to witness demonstrations of creativity, adaptability, generosity and decency every day. 

What are your hopes for 2021? 

I hope that with the new year and various vaccines on the horizon, more people will see that science and technology are not the ends to containing the pandemic but that human will and behaviour are. I also hope minimalist and sustainable ways of living will become more widespread and that our digital activities and footprints will support rather than replace tactile experiences and sensorial impulses—the very things that make us human. I shall certainly try. 

Do you have any new year’s resolutions? 

Some years ago, I made a new year’s resolution to never make new year resolutions. Please don't make me break my resolution!