Revisiting 2020’s Yearly Theme

In reality, the "yearly theme" for everyone's 2020 was "oh god no."

I’m so done with this year.

I’m sure that’s a sentiment I share with most people at this point, and I know it’s stupid and short-sighted to think that the arbitrary dates on the calendar really have much to do with anything.  With November behind us, we have one remaining month to go before 2020 officially ends, and…then what?  It’ll be 2021 and everything will change?  Obviously not, no, we’re still in the throes of a global pandemic, the same financial strife that has driven people to desperation isn’t magicked out of existence, and nothing is set to “go back to normal.”

But having 2020 be over sure feels like a start, you know?

This year has been hard for me, something I am acutely aware isn’t unique to me.  This year has also had some of the best things in my life happen, which leads to me feeling pretty conflicted.  2020 is the year I started my public transition, from beginning hormone replacement therapy, to coming out publicly where appropriate, to getting a hearing date set for my legal name change, and every step of the way on that path has led to me being a happier, more fulfilled person, while I’ve watched the world burn around me.  It’s hard to reconcile those things, even when I know to compartmentalize them, because of just how bad things have been.

I don’t want to dwell on the negatives of this year, I want to just be happy and feel fortunate and optimistic in my own life.  I have several strong, clear paths laid out in front of me that I’m following, with clear and actionable goals in mind, in my personal, professional, and financial life, things that I don’t really need to do anything to achieve aside from keep moving forward with the things I’m working on now, with the most demanding action items being things like ‘make sure to call schedule an important appointment during the week,’ or ‘don’t put off doing things you actually enjoy doing, you idiot.’  Things I think I can probably manage.

Considering all of this, it is odd for me to look back at my stated and then suspended Yearly Theme for 2020 of The Year of Personal Fulfillment and realize that things kinda ended up working out to be that, anyway.  I’d entered the year with high hopes for self-betterment, but found myself growing more and more horrified as the year went on, to the point where ‘thinking about personal fulfillment’ felt like a mockery of the reality of the situation we were finding ourselves in, and I put the whole idea of a yearly theme into a holding pattern.  It didn’t make sense to try and plan something like that in a year that refused to be planned around, everything was too unpredictable.

It still somehow ended up working out that way, though.  Some things are still on hold for me, like I’ve been wanting to get my right ear pierced for months (I have the typical “boy” fashion of two left ear lobe piercings thanks to the time and upbringing I was raised in’s stupid backwards nonsense about what is and isn’t socially acceptable, and I really want to be able to wear matching sets across both my ears, dammit), but I really can’t justify getting something that superfluous done when there’s a pandemic going on.  But for everything that’s on hold and waiting for a vaccine, or for more advanced treatments, or stabilized herd immunity, there are things that couldn’t wait and I have inevitably moved forward on.  My name’s in the process of being changed, I have the hearing date and everything (it is of course in February, brassafrassa), I have a variety of things I want to do/get done that are all planned for/paid for/budgeted, and several more that are in the preliminary works.  And while all that’s going on, I’m finding my day to day the most fulfilled and engaging it’s been in ages (no small thanks to getting involved full bore in The Owl House fandom).

Somehow, oddly, almost paradoxically, the Year of Personal Fulfillment has been a success so far, and as this year (thankfully) approaches its end, I’ve started thinking about next year.  So much still feels so uncertain that I’m not sure how strongly I can apply the idea of a ‘yearly theme’ to it, it feels better served as a concept on the other side of social contact outside the house restabilizing, but if the back-end of this year has taught me anything, it’s that some things can’t be put on hold.  As I think on it, and we race our way to the end of this truly awful, awful year, let’s take a look at this week’s numbers.

Tuesday 11/24

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 3% of La Gran Cacería, ~90 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 2 episodes of Kiwillius, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Wednesday 11/25

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 3% of El Dragón Renacido, ~90 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 2 episodes of Kiwillius, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Thursday 11/26

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 2 episodes of Kiwillius, ~120 minutes

Friday 11/27

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 2 episodes of Kiwillius, ~120 minutes

Saturday 11/28

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of Kiwillius, 2 episodes of La Zona Cero, ~120 minutes

Sunday 11/29

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of Kiwillius, 1 episode of Alfrely, 1 episode of She-Ra, 1 episode of Arte Divierte, ~120 minutes

Monday 11/30

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 3% of El Dragón Renacido, ~90 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 2 episodes of She-Ra, 1 episode of Arte Divierte, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes
  • Total Duolingo: 140 XP, 0 minutes
  • Total reading: 1/10 books read, 270 minutes
  • Total watching/listening: 14 YouTube episodes and 3 television episodes watched, 660 minutes
  • Total speaking: reading out loud, 90 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 hours 30 minutes

A reasonable week, considering the total change up from the norm with it.  I had a (wonderful) four-day weekend over the Thanksgiving holiday, so I put reading on hold in favor of lots and lots of watching.  In spite of that, I did finish off La Gran Cacería this week and started in on El Dragón Renacido, which basically follows directly where the previous left off.  These books all be thicc, so it’ll be a bit before I finish it, but I’m not complaining.

I finished a longer Kiwillius series this week and started to feel the same frustration with him as the last time I needed a break, so after getting through that I turned my focus back to rewatching something for a while and started in on a fresh viewing of She-Ra.  I’m sure I’ll be in a masochistic mood again soon and will watch something else by him before too long, though.

And as we’ve neatly tied up November now, let’s take a look at the month as a whole.

  • Total Duolingo: 600 XP, 0 minutes
  • Total Watching/Listening: 5 tv episodes and 66 youtube videos watched, 2,400 minutes
  • Total Reading: 2/5 whole books read, 1,620 minutes
  • Total Writing: 1,000 words written, 90 minutes
  • Total Speaking: reading out loud, 540 minutes
  • Total Time: 68 hours 30 minutes

And here’s the breakdown for money spent.

  • El Dragón Renacido, Fiction, ebook, Amazon, $7.27
  • 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: $7.27
  • Amount Spent on Services: $17.98
  • Total Spent: $25.25

A pretty normal month in terms of work spent, despite how freaking whackadoodle it ended up being in reality.  Seriously, I thought November was going to give me a heart attack.  I lived through it, at least.

As mentioned previously, despite everything going on, I also managed to get back on the fiction writing horse this month, tentatively at first, but with growing enthusiasm and energy.  Despite some intense struggles to really get writing to work around my day job, I managed to put down 9,405 words of fiction over the month, breaking the streak of goose-eggs that’s characterized most of this year.  I’m feeling confident I can keep this trend going forward.  I discovered, as I always do after returning from a fallow period, how much I missed writing and how much of an enriching experience it is for me to have it as a regular thing in my life.  Maybe this time I can just hold onto it permanently.  I don’t have to quit smoking again at least.

Diving into December, I really don’t have much I’m looking to try and accomplish here, I really just want to sort of hunker down and grind out the month to get to the other side of it.  January won’t magically fix anything, but maybe it can have some positive change on attitudes at least.  I want to be able to feel optimistic again.

Anyway, that ought to do for this blog, let’s just try and ride out the next month together.  TTFN.

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