Yearly Theme for 2021

With how 2020 went, I worry 'The Year of Action' sounds like a threat.

We’re officially in 2021 now, and while things don’t feel all that much different, I’m choosing to look forward optimistically and hope for this to be a better year.  A lot has changed since the last of these year-start blogs I wrote, with my life overall improving despite other difficulties presenting themselves.  This is when I tend to consider yearly themes again, and a few weeks ago I looked back on my theme for 2020 as the Year of Personal Fulfillment, and how I had abandoned that as the lockdowns really set in and I had to totally uproot all my plans and shift things toward just being able to cope with everything going on in the world, but discovered through the settling dust that I had ended up sticking with that theme pretty well.

There were definite points of improvement I could have worked on, and plenty of things that had to fall by the wayside simply from the world being what it is these days, but at the end of the day I kept myself on a path toward improving my situation overall.  I finished off the year on a high note as well, as I managed to break through one of the biggest sticking points for me in my daily life that had been plaguing me for most of the year and started writing fiction again.  At the start of December, that was still tentative, but this month I cemented it as a strong, daily habit that I’ve been able to keep up with.  I’ve long known that writing was a key feature of my own personal fulfillment, but knowing that and being able to live it are often different, and I feel like I’m able to live it again.  My mood has brightened substantially as a result.

As we shift into the new year, I’m left questioning whether that theme is one I ought to carry over or not.  On the one hand, there were things I really wanted to do last year to improve my situation that I just couldn’t do, and it might be worth keeping those goals as something to focus on and be mindful of on a regular basis, knowing that there’s a chance that I will be able to do them this year.  On the other hand, I hate to say it, but as 2020 went on that theme itself sounded more and more self-indulgent and tone-deaf.  I know that feeling that way isn’t exactly fair, I’m allowed to work on myself and try to make my situation the best it can be in spite of what happens to other people, but the phrasing was just something that never sit right with me as the year drifted through its perpetual miasma.

Looking forward on 2021, it’s still hard to really make plans as of yet.  I’m still on a largely self-imposed lockdown situation, and don’t plan on changing that until I get vaccinated, which is not something I’m probably going to do for a while.  Not because I don’t want to, mind you, just because I’m a thirty-something white collar girl who works from home and doesn’t have any conditions that put me at higher risk from the illness.  Me getting vaccinated it low priority, compared to so many other people out there in the world.  I’ll take it when it’s my turn, then be cautiously optimistic that more of the world will return to normalcy around me and it’ll stop feeling weird to try and make plans.  Until that point, there’s a lot of stuff I’m already doing that I’ll continue to do, and a lot of stuff that I’d like to do but will continue to put off.

That said, there has been a pattern I’ve noticed over time with my thinking and daily planning that has gotten in the way of things for me, and that is passivity.  A lot of my life is reactive by design, my job’s one where I show up at designated times, take inbound calls, and clock out at other designated times, with the rest of my life structured around other sorts of routines.  I enjoy routines, I find them comfortable and stress-relieving, and I’m not complaining about their existence, but it does lead to, when I need to do something out of the ordinary, I often find it significantly easier to just not, and let it passively float by.

For an example, I’m a bit overdue for a medical checkup, for bloodwork to determine dosage on the hormones I take.  This hasn’t been a disaster or anything, I’ve had the dose I’ve been on before, but I’ve been do for it for a couple months now and have been unable to book an appointment through the web portal, and rather than calling and scheduling one, I just sorta let it ride.  Easier to be passive and ‘wait until later or something’ compared to picking up the phone, waiting on hold, and scheduling an appointment.  Part of why that was an issue for so long was because of social anxiety issues, but really it’s just the inertia getting ahold of me.  The call interrupted my daily routine, it was easier to not make it.

This sort of passivity and, for lack of a better descriptor, procrastination on unique situations, has led to me dropping the ball on a number of things, from doctor appointments to my overall health as I continue to put off starting better dietary plans or getting back into exercising.  Once I have those habits built up, I’m confident I can stick with them, working on this Spanish project for as long as I have has gotten me really good at sticking to daily things, the issue is taking the reins and actually doing it.

So, going into January, I am tentatively dubbing this the Year of Action.  That sounds nice and dramatic, like I’m a hero in a movie, while also getting to the heart of where I think I’m suffering in my daily interactions with the world.  Not every day needs me to deviate from the planned schedule, but I need to be ready and willing when the situation calls for it.  I’ve already resolved the aforementioned appointment issue (through no effort of my own, my doctor’s office just reenabled the online portal, lol), but I’d like to come out of lockdown slimmer than I was going into it.  Tough ask, but worth working on and taking action to accomplish.

Now then, geared up and ready for 2021, let’s take a look back at the final week of 2020 and rejoice, for it has fallen.

Tuesday 12/29

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 3% of El Dragón Renacido, ~90 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of Little Witch Academia, 1 episode of Gravity Falls, 1 episode of Daniel San GMR, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Wednesday 12/30

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 3% of El Dragón Renacido, ~90 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 2 episodes of Gravity Falls, 1 episode of Daniel San GMR, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Thursday 12/31

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 3% of El Dragón Renacido, ~90 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 2 episodes of Gravity Falls, 1 episode of Daniel San GMR, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Friday 1/01

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of Gravity Falls, 1 episode of Plano de Juego, 1 episode of Calex MP, 1 episode of Daniel San GMR, ~120 minutes

Saturday 1/02

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 4 episodes of Gravity Falls, 1 episode of Daniel San GMR, ~120 minutes

Sunday 1/03

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 4 episodes of Gravity Falls, 1 episode of Daniel San GMR, ~120 minutes

Monday 1/04

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 3% of El Dragón Renacido, ~90 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 2 episodes of Gravity Falls, 1 episode of Daniel San GMR, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes
  • Total Duolingo: 140 XP, 0 minutes
  • Total reading: 1/10 books read, 360 minutes
  • Total watching/listening: 9 YouTube episodes and 17 television episodes watched, 600 minutes
  • Total speaking: reading out loud, 120 minutes
  • Total Time: 16 hours 0 minutes

A pretty normal week, factoring in my three-day weekend, almost identical to the week before.  After finishing Little Witch Academia and feeling depressed that there might not ever be any more of it, I’ve been working my way through Gravity Falls at a pretty good rate, and will probably be finishing it up by the end of next week.  Thus far I’ve enjoyed the second season more than the first, which I struggled to get into all the way back when I first tried and again as I started up again for this attempt, largely because I’m not super fond of most of the characters.  They’re okay, and I like the show’s sense of humor pretty well, so it hasn’t been a chore to watch it, but I can’t say the show’s making its way up in my estimation the way it is for a lot of other fans of cartoons that I know.  I don’t hate it, but, well, I dunno.  Maybe the ending will bring it around to something really great, though, I’m not sure.

After I finish Gravity Falls, I’m not sure what I’m going to follow it up with, but I think I’m going to aim for finding something new rather than a rewatch.  I very much enjoyed revisiting She-Ra and Little Witch Academia, but watching them back to back kinda made me feel like I was spinning my wheels.  Having Gravity Falls be all knew material has been nice, and I’d like to keep that trend going.

I am working my way through El Dragón Renacido at a pretty good pace and expect to be finished with it before the end of January, everything going as planned.  I’m overall enjoying the series (though I admit I’m feeling a growing frustration with reading something so obviously written from a male perspective, something that’s just going to be the norm with fantasy novels) and am planning on just going onto the next book after, though I may consider taking a break soon to read something else.  Still thinking on that, we’ll see what I end up doing.

Okay, and since we finished out the year, let’s take a look back on the final month of it as a whole and look at those numbers.

  • Total Duolingo: 620 XP, 0 minutes
  • Total Watching/Listening: 79 tv episodes and 28 youtube videos watched, 2,380 minutes
  • Total Reading: 1/2 whole books read, 1,860 minutes
  • Total Writing: 900 words written, 90 minutes
  • Total Speaking: reading out loud, 540 minutes
  • Total Time: 72 hours 10 minutes

And here’s the breakdown for money spent.

  • 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 Services: $17.98
  • Total Spent: $17.98

A pretty good month.  Up a bit from where it has been lately, which I think is mostly thanks to a slight increase in watching time spent over the final stretch of She-Ra episodes, since I upped my usual hour during the work week to 70 minutes so I could fit three episodes in per day.  Otherwise, it was rather normal.

And as mentioned above, I really got back into writing in December.  After making the (in hindsight) obvious switch to getting the bulk of my daily writing target done in the morning, I’ve managed to write every day without fail, often going past my soft target wordcount goal, and have been feeling enthusiastic and fulfilled as a result.  In December I wrote 33,063 words of fiction,  which includes having not started on the daily streak until I’d missed the first few days of the month, and having one day of thorough edits where I ended up producing a negative number of words (which I just counted as zero words, didn’t erase my own progress in keeping track).  I am very pleased with how writing’s going, because I’m right back at the height of where I was at before when I was productive over 2019, back before quitting smoking and screwing things up for a while, and I didn’t have to ease into it, I just got there.  As of right now I’m not planning on pushing myself to go harder, I’m pleased with how much I’ve been able to write and how I feel about the writing process, so this definitely feels like a situation where it isn’t broken so I’m not going to try and fix it.

Looking ahead over January, I don’t have any real, major plans to embark on with this project.  Something I do have in might sights is that a big reason why I didn’t make any progress on speaking with others practice with Spanish over 2020 was because it was much easier to be passive about it and leave it for later.  Taking charge on that and adding real speaking practice to the routine in some way is something that I definitely need to get on soon.  My listening comprehension leveled up considerably over 2020 and the things that were making me ‘hold back’ on worrying about speaking aren’t really issues anymore.  I still don’t feel very confident producing Spanish, either verbally or in writing, but I have very little concern when it comes to consuming it, and I think that practice is the key deciding factor to get production up to speed.  That said, my January’s lookin’ kinda busy with work.  Not so much that I’m concerned I’m going to have to let the stuff I already have going fall by the wayside, but enough that I’m feeling like I’ll probably have to hunker down and try to weather the work storm, rather than push for new things.  February might end up being the same way.  I’ll definitely be playing all of it by ear, though, and I’ll have it in mind to take the action and work on speaking with other people when time and mental energy permits it.

Anyway, that wraps up this blog, and my time in 2020.  Good goddamn riddance.  Hopefully 2021 treats us all better.  TTFN.

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