Dealing With the Need to Change Plans

The best laid plans of mice and men are—blah, blah, blah, things suck.

I’m starting to develop a bit of a complex when it comes to writing this blog, because as the weekend hits and it’s time for me to get to drafting, I start panicking about what topics to cover.  I still have plenty of things I want to cover for this blog when it’s appropriate, but that last part is the key problem here, when it’s appropriate.  Some of that’s totally logical, as topics about speaking aren’t going to be relevant until I really start working on verbal output, but other topics are things that I could be talking about, but maybe not this week.  It’s still so hard to reconcile the world of today with any of those quaint plans I made, you know?  Trying to feels at best false and hollow, like I’m pretending the world is different than it is, and at worst disrespectful to people who don’t have the same privileges that I do.  I get to talk about, say, circumlocution, because I can work from home and am simply inconvenienced by the pandemic.  This, of course, leads to the current result of me getting to lament how hard it is to write this language learning blog from the comfort and safety of working from home, which is not any better.

I think the real takeaway that I need to internalize from all of this is the scope and reality of how plans sometimes have to change.  That’s something I’ve been able to come to terms with as the quarantine’s gone on for more concrete things, as I’ve had to give up the routine of going out to restaurants, or how going into a grocery store has turned into an existential nightmare.  In those cases, though, reality is imposing the change of plans whether I like it or not, and unfortunately there isn’t anything or anyone that’s going to do that for me on my personal projects.  I have to recognize it and change course myself.

This all isn’t to say that I’m taking a blog hiatus or anything, as I have no intention of stopping work on learning Spanish through this whole mess.  There are too many things now that I watch and read that are in Spanish, anyway, and keeping track of my progress is still something I’m wanting to do.  I might, however, lean into how these primary blog topics have been skewing over the last month and cover more of my life and the events of the week.  A lot of my week still involves language learning, so it wouldn’t go entirely off topic, and I feel like I wouldn’t have the same reservations of being callous or tone-deaf.  I don’t want to be that, but part of me is also really tired of talking about this pandemic anymore.  Half the reason why I’m not possibly going to pause my Spanish work during all this is because I need the escapism that the things I consume can provide.  I can’t imagine I’m alone in that feeling, either.  Maybe that should give me carte blanche to discuss whatever inane topics I want without referencing the real world and I’m making a big deal out of nothing.  I don’t really know.  I’m doing the best I can here.

The truth is that this week has been hard for me, and it’s been hard in a way that makes me feel crappy about myself.  I get to sit in a position of relative privilege where I’m getting paid well to work from home and talk to people who are actually suffering from this.  I’m helping people who are often at the end of their ropes, where they’ve had missed paychecks, lost jobs, sickness, and fear, and they’re calling in to try and find some sort of light at the end of the tunnel.  Sometimes I can help them, and sometimes I can’t, and that just sucks.  It’s painful and daunting, and it’s just getting worse as time goes on.  Overall, I like my job, but this is hard to bear, it’s just so heartbreaking.

And then I feel like crap for even thinking it’s hard to bear.  I’m just some bitch sitting in the comfort of her own home getting a paycheck, feeling overwhelmed about talking to people who are actually suffering.  Which I know is ridiculous and my emotional fragility from this is real and valid, but it still feels that way.  Who am I to be complaining here?

The answer is, of course, a human being, but I think second-guessing the worthiness of my feelings is also a trait of being human.  I’m really hopeful that the worst of the spread will burn itself out over the course of the next few weeks, and that people’s lives start getting back to normal.  I’m tired of facing all this suffering at work, switching gears to being at home, and facing more suffering wherever I turn.  It’s no wonder that I’m happy to keep reading El Espino de Plata or watching Spanish speakers play Mario Maker poorly, it’s something blessedly removed from reality.

Anyway, let’s look back on this week from an angle that is precisely aimed away from all the unfolding human tragedy.

Tuesday 3/31

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 6% of El Espino de Plata, ~90 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 2 episodes of Castlevania, 1 episode of Arte Divierte, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Wednesday 4/01

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 6% of El Espino de Plata, ~90 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of La Zona Cero, 1 episode of Kiwillius, 1 episode of Daniel San GMR, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Thursday 4/02

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 6% of El Espino de Plata, ~90 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of DSimphony, 1 episode of Daniel San GMR, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Friday 4/03

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 8% of El Espino de Plata, ~120 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of DSimphony, 1 episode of Daniel San GMR, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Saturday 4/04

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 2% of El Espino de Plata, ~30 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of DSimphony, 1 epiosode of Diablero, 1 episode of Daniel San GMR, ~120 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Sunday 4/05

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 2% of El Espino de Plata, ~30 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of Carole & Tuesday, 2 episodes of Kiwillius, ~120 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Monday 4/06

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 6% of El Espino de Plata, ~90 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of Diablero, 1 episode of Daniel San GMR, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes
  • Total Duolingo: 140 XP, 0 minutes
  • Total reading: 1/3 books read, 540 minutes
  • Total watching/listening: 12 YouTube episodes and 5 tv episodes, 540 minutes
  • Total speaking: reading out loud, 210 minutes
  • Total Time: 18 hours 0 minutes

A very solid week for these numbers.  I’ve gotten into a good swing for this new routine, so it’s getting easier to have good days even without craving the escape that it can provide.

Closing it out on Monday, I just finished El Espino de Plata, making it one of the faster reads in the last few months for me, thanks in part to a bit extra reading I got in on Friday.  The next book in the series, Una Oscuridad en Sethanon, has already been purchased and added to my kindle, and I’m starting to get nervous about the availability of more books in the series.  This next one at least ends a saga in the overarching series, so it wouldn’t be a terrible place to have to stop, but I’m always so loathe to have to try and find the “next thing” to read, I’d rather it just be easy for a while.

I also finished Castlevania earlier this week, which resolved in pretty much how I was expecting it to resolve, especially after finishing Seis Manos just before it.  And after that talk about jumping into Diablero or Club de Cuervos last week, I instead spent most of my time watching DSimphony play Super Mario 3 for his first time, which was so bizarre and surreal for me, because I’ve had that game memorized since I was 5.  After finishing that and getting back to Diablero on Monday, maybe I’ll actually get on board for finishing out one of these shows.  Considering my normal viewing habits, that might be unlikely.

And as this week did manage to finish off the month of March, let’s take a look back on those numbers as a whole.

  • Total Duolingo: 620 XP, 0 minutes
  • Total Watching/Listening: 21 tv episodes, 51 youtube videos, 1 movie, and 2 podcasts, 2,310 minutes
  • Total reading: 1 and 1/4 whole books read, 1,750 minutes
  • Total writing: 1000 words written, 120 minutes
  • Total Speaking: reading out loud, 930 minutes
  • Total Time: 69 hours 40 minutes

And here’s the breakdown for money spent.

  • El Espino de Plata, Fiction, Ebook, Amazon, $7.57
  • Netflix Subscription Standard HD Plan, Television and Movie Streaming, $10.99 per month, $10.99
  • Disney+ Subscription, Television and Movie Streaming, $6.99 per month, $6.99
  • Amount Spent on Fiction Books: $7.57
  • Amount Spent on Services: $17.98
  • Total Spent: $25.55

A pretty solid month for this project, if a funhouse nightmare for other reasons.  It feels like I’m getting some good results from all the listening practice I’ve been putting in, which is nice to be able to say.  It’d be awesome if I could get the listening practice to be at the same point as reading practice is for me, where it doesn’t feel like I’m “making progress” on anything at all, but am rather just enjoying a thing that I like without even noticing the language it’s in.  It feels like that in little flashes, though, so I’m getting there.

I unfortunately have to admit again that this month has been a disaster for me in the writing department.  I wrote 8,102 words for blogs in March, and, yet again, a big goose egg for fiction.  The same things that make me feel beaten up from work make writing seem unachievable right now, but I know that’s an illusion, and if I just forced myself through it for a few days in a row I’d fall back into the habit of daily writing again.  All it takes is me forcing that first step, but I haven’t been able to get there yet.  I really should, though.

Here’s the spot where I’m supposed to mention the fact that I haven’t started in on the real speaking practice yet, but that’s fairly apparent at this point, I think.  I’m way too anxious from everything else to be up for getting started on that, anyway, so I’m not even gonna sweat it.  I’ll get there eventually.

You might also notice that I downgraded my Disney+ subscription this month, after not using the Hulu or ESPN addons at all.  Definitely not worth, though the main service is.  I keep telling myself I should dive into the offerings more deeply, but then get distracted by other things.  Maybe after I finish whatever the heck I end up watching on Netflix next, if anything.

Anyway, that’ll do for this one.  April’s started off on a good note numbers wise, and I hope that’s a good sign of things to come on a lot of different fronts.  It sure would be nice to look back on this month in the future and be able to reminisce about how weird it was.  I really hope it’ll make sense to do that in the future.  TTFN.

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