2020 Year in Review

Mark Palfreeman
2 min readJan 2, 2021

We’ve arrived! Not necessarily to something better, but at least to something new.

It’s been 12 months since my last post (2019’s review)—my longest gap in public writing. This makes me sad. A few years ago, writing was essential to me: it was somewhere ideas brewed, an outlet, a reminder to focus, an inviting challenge.

Several things got lost in 2020, but my focus and discipline stand out to me. In the monotony and absence of structure, my habits—and sometimes hope—have faded. Not to mention the COVID-19 pandemic and isolating lockdowns, racial tension, debates, and riots, a polarized US election season, and fatigue at work—I’ve floundered and let life happen to me more than I’d like to admit.

And then there’s “social” media. After nearly a year off Facebook, I figured an isolated season was an ideal time to reactivate it for personal connection. My innocent intentions quickly devolved back to needless scrolling and wandering attention, only to (again) realize I was spending more time feigning connection by witnessing lives on screens than maintaining lasting, messy friendships in person.

2020 was an extraordinary year, yes, but there’s no promise of change with the turn of a calendar. We have more control of the day-to-day than we think, though. I plan to work on habits and systems, rather than worry about annual goals that will die off. I’m incapable of making immediate sweeping changes, but I can enjoy what I have here now and nudge things in a new direction, one day (or week) at a time.

Here are my highlights of 2020, successes and shortcomings included:

👔 Work & Career

  • 🟥🟩🟦🟨 Joined Microsoft in January
    - Building a UI component library to make Microsoft’s web store consistent and accessible
    - Partnering with Xbox teams to develop A/B tests for Xbox store apps
    - Participating in org’s “Culture Club” to facilitate team interaction
    - Still feeling “new” and haven’t found my stride
  • 💻 Attended CascadiaJS conference online

👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Family & Recreation

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