Exploring Yearly Themes

There's also the perpetual yearly theme: The Year of Stress and Anxiety.

It’s the new year and this is normally where I’d spend a while looking back on yearly themes and planning one for 2022, but to be honest, the yearly theme thing has been kinda rough to really consider on pandemic time, and I’m rethinking that.  2021 was deemed The Year of Action for me, in an attempt to push myself out of my usual MO of passivity, and while that has sorta happened, it wasn’t really through any specific focus of mine on trying it out.  In this year I made some major decisions, including on this project, resulting in the recent language switch from working on Spanish to Japanese.  Additionally, I’ve completed or am actively working on a number of large things in my personal life, making progress where I can and staying on top of things.  This is, ultimately, the mythical ‘functional adult’ status that we all are always striving for, and I’m hardly perfect at it, but it’s working well enough for me.  Just this week I’m expecting to get the final piece of my legal name change stuff in the mail in the form of my finished passport, which was the last pending document.  Life is in motion and it’s working out pretty well for me.  It’d be easy to say that the Year of Action has been a success.

But, like, to be entirely honest?  I had to look up what this year’s theme even was for sitting down to draft this blog, that’s how much it’s entered my conscious thought for the year.  In hindsight that really makes sense to me, as at the start of 2021, after close to a year in pandemic time, it felt like I’d been spinning my wheels while staying in place for months and months.  I felt passive, because life had become passive, for me and for everyone, and the thought of doing more but the bare minimum seemed like an undertaking.  Then stuff started to change.  And, like, the easy thing to point to was the vaccine being the change, but it wasn’t really.  I changed.  Things with me started to change.  Some of it required focused effort (I had a breakdown the first time I tried to file for my passport back in October and the only reason I have my new one set to arrive this week is from the focused effort to keep going with it), but a lot of it was just my life shifting.

Mayhap you could look at this as me assimilating the idea of the Year of Action, albeit unconsciously.  I think that’s a bit of a copout.  Whichever way you look at it, though, mission accomplished, I guess!?

This then begs the question of a new yearly theme for 2022, and the reconsidering of all of this.  For the last few I’ve treated these yearly themes as something designed to encompass multiple aspects of my life, try and catch the stuff that was going on with me, the human being who’s got stuff to do aside from just learn languages and blog about it.  And while I have several high hopes and major goals for 2022 on that front, they seem disconnected and focused on their own, not something that the mindfulness of a yearly theme really helps with.  That said, before the last few with the big encompassing ones, there was The Year of Spanish, and therein I think is the real direction to take this.

It started a little early and I’m redefining it in retrospect, but we’re now a couple years into The Year of Japanese.  I was perhaps frightened that Japanese wouldn’t stick at the start from how intimidating hiragana and katakana were at the outset, but this far into the project and it’s very rewarding to discover what things are managing to stick in my stupid, smooth brain already.  I think I can stick with this for the long haul and remain devoted and dedicated to turning this into a third language that I know.  Will it take just one year?  Hahahaha, abso-fuckin-lutely not, it’s going to be a project several years in the making, but the themes break down into years, so here we are.  Maybe life will take me in such a direction where it’ll make sense to have a genuine all-encompassing yearly theme in 2023, or at some other point as time goes on.  We’ll find out together.  In the meantime, Year of Japanese, let’s goooooooo.

Tuesday 12/28

  • Duolingo: 10 lessons, ~60 minutes

Wednesday 12/29

  • Duolingo: 10 lessons, ~60 minutes

Thursday 12/30

Friday 12/31

  • Duolingo: 10 lessons, ~60 minutes

Saturday 1/01

  • Duolingo: 10 lessons, ~60 minutes

Sunday 1/02

  • Duolingo: 10 lessons, ~60 minutes

Monday 1/03

  • Duolingo: 10 lessons, ~60 minutes

Total Time: 7 hours 0 minutes

Nothing super exciting to report here, lookin’ pretty much exactly the same as last week.  I’m picking things up, as I’ve said, more and more of the characters are starting to be familiar, and new vocab is beginning to enter my head and stay there.  It’s all a slow burn, as to be expected, but the fear of how big of an undertaking this is has begun to wear off.

As we’ve closed out the month, let’s also look back on December as a whole.  We’re not going to look back at the year as a whole, as I’d like to do that as a focused blog in a few weeks, but for just the month that closed out the year, here’s where things stood.

Total Spanish:

  • Total Watching/Listening: 17 youtube videos watched, 570 minutes
  • Total Reading: 1/10 whole books read, 420 minutes
  • Total Speaking: reading out loud, 210 minutes
  • Total Time: 16 hours 30 minutes

Total Japanese:

  • Total Duolingo: 184 lessons completed, 1,050 minutes
  • Total Time: 17 hours 30 minutes

Combined Total Time: 34 hours 0 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 precipitous dip overall compared to the previous month, but, well, total gear-switch to a different language that I’ve been spreading out working on more thinly so I had a better chance of retaining the really early foundational stuff.  Overall, though, not a bad month, one I finished off my focus on Spanish with a bit of a wimper, but a satisfied one, as though I’m done with the focus, I’ve continued to read and watch some stuff in Spanish in my normal day-to-day and it just feels like a part of my life now.  Overall I’m happy with where and how things ended up with this project in regards to Spanish, and am excited to see where Japanese takes me.  Just in the meantime, the numbers are gonna look kinda shitty.  In the future it’ll begin to ramp back up in hours a day, but for right now we’re at a low point.  Now’s when I’d report on fiction writing numbers, but I don’t have any numbers to report for now.  Working on changing that for January, wish me luck there.

That’ll do for this one, TTFN.

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