Goodbye 2020 and Hello 2021

Rose Yao
4 min readJan 1, 2021

December 31, 2020, we fell asleep exhausted and content at 11:30PM after a day of playing with Ivy, eating a lovely home cooked meal of prime rib and watching Onward. I could hear the fireworks go off and there’s a part of me that thought: we should stay awake, check out the fireworks, and drink a little bubbly. But as a parent to an almost 15 months old who wakes me up at 7:30AM every morning whether it’s a holiday or a weekend, I value sleep. So I didn’t really give it a second thought. That sums up 2020. It’s the year I learned to appreciate the everyday things like a deep and uninterrupted night of sleep and let go of a lot of the expectations I used to have.

The personal motto for 2020 was “Stay grateful and present.”

So let me start with gratefulness and say thank you 2020 for:

  1. Bringing my little family closer together. Ivy, Bryan, and I basically spent 24/7 together and while it wasn’t always easy. We are so in love with each other and Bryan and I have a deep sense of ease and partnership with each other.
  2. Teaching me that I don’t need that much to be happy. As someone who got on a plane almost every month and who rarely spent more than a couple of hours at home not sleeping. 2020 has been an adjustment. But it’s taught me that I can find happiness without all of that.
  3. For making the logistics of taking on 2 new jobs doable. I learned to be a mom and took on a brand new big job which wasn’t easy. But it was certainly easier without a grueling commute and I love not having missed a moment with Ivy from her first smile to her first steps. I love being there everyday for bath time, story time, and bedtime.
  4. For getting me back into art. I picked up watercolor this year and it’s made me realize how much I love being creative and using my hands. It’s not so much about being a great artist but having a space for me to make something that makes people smile. (I did also try bread making without as much success.)
  5. For bringing my dad and I closer together. After my mom passed this year, it made us both realize how little time we have. We’re making the most of it together with weekly visits and lots of memories with him and Ivy.
  6. 2019 made me a mom but 2020 helped me realize I love being a mom.

Thank you 2020 for all that and more. I will never forget this year for so many reasons and I am grateful for you have taught me. It’s also crazy to realize I did everything I set out to do in 2020.

Now 2021… let’s talk.

I’ll start with some smaller maybe petty wishes :). I would love to…

  • see and hug my friends again.
  • have a warm beach vacation with my little family.
  • have date nights outside of our house again.
  • have a real spa day.
  • have playdates with my parent friends, Ivy needs friends who are her age.

Now the bigger things that will depend a lot more on me.

Hold on to the good parts of 2020

Assuming the world gets back to “normal”. I’m guessing it’ll be easy to slip back into old habits but I want to set an intention to hold on to the good parts of 2020.

  • being present and grateful
  • consistent quality time with Bryan and Ivy
  • keeping good routines for myself: regular bedtime, working out regularly, eating home cooked meals, cooking regularly as a family
  • having firm boundaries between work and family/me time
  • painting and giving myself time to be creative

Be patient and focused. Build a team/product(s) I’m proud of.

My first year at Nest helped me realize what I’m capable of a product leader but I won’t lie, before the break, I was looking at 2021 like oh boy that’s going to be a lot of work. These last 2 weeks of no emails/meetings/work has helped reset and center me. I got my dad his first Nest devices and it’s been fun seeing the products through his eyes.

We have a lot of work to do and as the product leader for the area, I want to remind myself to be patient and focused.

Get stronger inside and out.

Bryan got me a Tempo for Christmas and I have to admit I am excited to not just stay active and fit but get stronger and really challenge myself in 2021. I would say one of the things I didn’t have a lot of time for was self reflection through writing or meditation/coaching. I would like to be more intentional in 2021 and get stronger mentally as well as physically.

Thank you again 2020 and Hello 2021!

❤ Love, Rose




Rose Yao

I spent the last 16+ years building products mostly at FB and Google. Also a food, travel, and fitness addict. Follow me @dozenrose or on