Last year was a rough one. But it was also a good one. Personally, I was inconvenienced by the pandemic, but it didn’t upend or destroy my life. In fact, I got a new job, one that I am more passionate about, and it pays better and has better benefits, and is in many ways just a better job for me. And while all that happened meant I didn’t go to the theater and see movies like I would have otherwise, ultimately, except for the not going out to eat occasionally or meeting up with friends now and then, the year was, on a completely personal level, more or less, normal.
I can’t say the same for the world at large, however. 2020 was a disaster in so many ways, and much of them were perfectly avoidable or manageable if not for the pigheadedness of the current administration and their supporters. There is just so much dumb going on, and it has cost this country hundreds of thousands of lives.
But a new administration is coming, and voter-turnout willing they’ll get a Congress they can work with when Georgia flips further blue. An administration that is ready to believe in science and facts, and to care about human lives again, regardless of their wealth. It can, in my humble opinion, only get better. I hope I never see a worse administration than 45’s, because if there is one I don’t think this nation would survive it.
A vaccine is here. Several of them in fact. And hopefully that means in six months, when it is wide spread, life can get back to normal. Though, to be honest, I might keep wearing masks and taking some other precautions. Since March, when I started working from home and avoiding crowds and contact, I haven’t gotten sick. No flu. No colds. I’ve had headaches, but those are stress induced. I rather enjoyed not losing a week of my life to illness in the November/December timeframe.
So things are looking up for the world. And I think they’ll only get better for me as well.
This being the first post of the year, I guess this is where I put my stake in the ground about what I plan to do for the rest of the year. I’ve done resolutions before, and I’ve railed against resolutions before. My opinion on them is ever evolving.
Looking back at last year, January was chaos. I bought a house, I sold a house, I moved out of a house and into a new one. There was one week from when I took ownership of the new house to when I had to be completely out of the old one. Paid movers did a lot of it, but there was a mad dash at the end, literally getting the last load and locking the doors behind us at 5 AM on the day we were to be out by mid-morning. But we live downtown now, and I couldn’t have asked for a better home to be locked down in for a pandemic. My old house wasn’t bad – it did have an 85″ TV in a theater room and was big a spacious. But the new house, while not as spacious, has all the space we need and a huge covered front porch. The spring, the summer, and the fall all saw lots of use of that porch. We put a table on it and ate outside. We had friends over for socially distant meals in the open air. It has been absolutely wonderful.
And moving also solved one of my other issues: it was a drain on my mood to have to drive past the house my parents lived in, that my mother died in, that their dog Brisco died in, that my father never made it back to from post operative care. I knew it was a problem. I’d recognized the depression is caused. But I hadn’t fully understood what simply not seeing the house every single day would change. And now it’s gone. Like a weight lifted off my life.
On the job front, I mentioned earlier that I got a new job. The old one was okay, but I never really understood the domain, or their company structure, and working for a place where most of the people were in Denmark was difficult. It was remote working, but terrible remote working. Due to the pandemic, my new job has been entirely remote, but the company environment is like night and day. The old job was so desperately focused on billable hours and cash flows, and I really hate that part of the business. I’m not sure why I ever thought I could do a consulting style job. I guess I just wanted the non-contract job and benefits. Looking back, it was a misstep. But now I have a new job, and so far it is wonderful. And it should be even better if I ever get to actually go into the office and work around people again.
I think I’m rambling… let’s go back to resolutions. My opinion on them these days is that I understand why people (myself included) need them. It’s nice to have a day, a mark on the calendar, to say “This is where it begins.” But I understand now that the resolution is an idea, a goal, an endpoint or an ill-defined pointer in some direction. Having them is fine, but you’ll do better with a plan.
My usual resolutions are pretty much my new resolutions. Read more, write more, play guitar, make stuff, etc. If you dig through this blog you’ll find a whole slew of resolution posts from previous years (I’ve been blogging off and on for 23 years!) so you can see for yourself. But what are my plans?
I plan to read more books. To accomplish this, on weeknights, I’m going to make an effort to go to bed earlier so that I can have at least thirty minutes of reading time before I go to sleep. I also started in the couple of weeks before Christmas to get up and do some reading in the morning. I was reading fiction at night, and self-help in the morning. I limited the morning reading to about 10-15 minutes, because frankly self-help books often make me want to scream so I can only take them in small doses, and it worked pretty well. I haven’t done it much in the last week or so because I’ve been on vacation. Monday I’m back, and so is reading.
I plan to write more. As with the reading, I was, before Christmas, doing some writing every morning as part of my waking up routine. I liked this, and will probably continue, but I also need to carve out some dedicated time to write. Possibly on the weekends. I haven’t settled this yet, but I will before I get back to work on Monday.
I plan to play guitar more. I bought myself a subscription to yousician in August last year, and I played with it some and really enjoyed it, but I really overdid it and hurt my fingertips, so I had to take a break, and then I didn’t go back. I’m going to start up again. On weekends. Tomorrow (Today?) will be my first day, and then we’ll keep it going.
I plan to create more stuff. This is kind of open, but I need to make things. I’ve decided the first things I’ll be making are “art”. I bought an iPad back near the start of the pandemic, April I think, and I’ve used it a lot. It’s become my couch-PC, the thing I do internet stuff on when my phone isn’t big enough. I bought the pencil too, because I was looking for a replacement for my Surface which has started acting wonky (it’s dead now). I bought Procreate, because if you have an iPad and a Pencil you should buy Procreate. And I fooled around with it a little, but never really learned it. So I’ve committed myself to Bardot Brush’s Making Art Everyday challenge, where they have a daily prompt and you do it. I did one for the first, and I’m going to keep going. 364 prompts to go.
I plan to get in better shape. Back up above, I mentioned I bought a new house? It happens to be in a pretty nice and very walkable neighborhood. And with the pandemic and everything, and because we don’t have a fenced in yard, I’ve been taking the dog for a walk every day. We’ve also been eating better, because we’ve been cooking more, since we can’t go out to restaurants. I’ve also got weights I occasionally lift. And I bought a Pelaton. It arrives on January 16th. I like bikes. I want to get a real one again eventually, and maybe even use it to ride to work (my new job is not too terribly far from my new house). So I’m going to keep walking every day, and keep eating better, and going to start pedaling.
I think that’s all of the plans I have for now. Well, I do have some plans to fix up some things in the house, but those are more of a To Do List than a resolution. I view resolutions as new habits I need to form.
Here’s hoping that 2021 goes a lot better than 2020. For everyone.