Any company that requires its employees to write out their annual goals likely also requires a mid-year review as well as an end-of-year review. Since June just passed, now is a good time for me to look back at my 2020 goals and see what has stuck and what has gone to the crapper.
To refresh, my goals were as follows:
+ Lose 20 pounds in 2020
+ Weekly posts on Flirting With Nihilism
+ Monthly posts on Truth & Hyperbole
+ Prep for a novel
+ Use fewer commas in my writing
+ Use a custom domain for my email
+ Donate unwanted books to prisoners
+ Keep a list of books read
+ Play more disc golf
+ Getting back into routine
Please note that in times of catastrophe or sudden changes in market conditions, companies (no matter the extent of their problems before said catastrophes or changes) can always blame the new reality for their failures and I will distribute similar justification where I see fit.
That said, let's get to the review.
Lose 20 pounds in 2020
Though I am currently headed in the wrong direction in regard to this goal, I'm up only five pounds, so there's still time to right the ship. While now losing twenty-five pounds in six months may not be the most reasonable or healthiest goal, I can still make a decent dent. In more positive news, my doctor told me I was still down twelve pounds since my last annual checkup, so on a long enough timeline, I'm still in the positive. Or negative, however you want to measure that point.
Weekly posts on Flirting With Nihilism
This goal died pretty early in 2020, well before the pandemic hit. That's because I joined a writing group and my focus shifted to writing short stories.
Now, with the pandemic, there's less to talk about. There are only so many times you can blog about the pandemic without feeling like a broken record, so I'm not going to force it.
Just this month I renewed my write.as subscription for 5 years. Whether we'll ever move on from the pandemic, allowing people to have something different to write and talk about, remains to be seen.
Monthly posts on Truth & Hyperbole
This one died pretty early too. After a couple months or so, I decided to nix my secondary blog and to start posting fiction on Flirting With Nihilism. Then I decided to stop posting fiction altogether. I now want either to submit stories to publications or combine them into a short story collection of my own, whatever is appropriate for the specific story. RIP in peace, Truth & Hyperbole. Originally you were meant to be a podcast. Then a fiction site. In both lives you were shot down before you could ever get started. May you some day rise like a magnificent Phoenix so that I can justifying buying the domain.
Prep for a novel
This task is a slow-go. I do have the bones of an outline, but now I'm asking myself whether my idea for a novel/novella might be better served as a short story. The story itself isn't dead, so we'll see what final form it takes.
Use fewer commas in my writing
This one is immeasurable. Who the eff knows.
Use a custom domain for my email
I am in love with this practice. I like that I can use multiple custom domains for emails and have them all point to the same inbox. I also like that I have the option of responding from each of my email aliases to keep things separate. Perhaps most paid email providers offer these capabilities but I've experienced it firsthand only with Fastmail, so they get all the credit in this post.
Donate unwanted books to prisoners
Man, groups that collect books for prisoners are a bit pickier than I expected and because I'm not sure any of my books meet their criteria, I'm left holding on to unwanted books. Maybe I can donate some of them to a school library.
Keep a list of books read
Yeah, this died pretty fast too. Ain't nobody got time for dat.
Play more disc golf
In 2020 I have played a grand total of...zero times. I have no excuse other than pandemic depression that I only just recently emerged from. For now
Getting back into a routine
The pandemic crapped hard on this one. I had just started to get into a real groove before March. Once the pandemic hit, it took me about three months to adjust again. Dare I say I have actually found a routine again, so this goal is not lost. It's just been a not-so-fun ride to get where I am now.
In most corporate mid-year reviews, you realize that you have extra bandwidth for new goals as some of your old goals have fallen off.
So below are some candidates for additions to my 2020 goals:
In an article published earlier this month, Bridget Phetasy pleads that we all need to practice social media distancing in addition to social distancing. I know it can be hard when digital platforms become pretty much your only outlet for socializing but for my situation at least, I agree with Bridget.
I've decided to take a hiatus from Twitter. I'm sure I'll be back at some point—I always come back, no matter how bad an idea I know it is—so I haven't deleted my account, but I have stepped away indefinitely. People claimed that Twitter was toxic even in better times, and now in the time of Covid I have seen the light. I have a habit of falling in love with the Twitter of old, the Twitter of the early days, when it was a place to find likeminded people and to expand your interests. While you can still find such people and communities on Twitter these days, you will likely have to wade through wave after wave of toxicity for a tiny morsel of what you're looking for.
This go-round I did my best not to get sucked into the culture war, but the culture war got me anyway. And I now realize that while Twitter can be great for finding out what's going on in the world, it is undoubtedly the worst place to find out what's really going on—the real story. Twitter itself is full of people merely screaming yay or nay, and even if someone wants to elaborate a point, there's only so much nuance he or she can squeeze into 280 characters. Maybe they should link to blog posts instead, but nobody blogs in 2020. That's for loosers. (Typo intentional)
News on a lesser frequency
Last year I blogged about how I was done with The Economist and done with news in general. Then I found a deal for a digital subscription to The Economist at basically 25% of the usual price, so I jumped on it. Well, you see how strong my moral fiber is.
Early in the pandemic, I was obsessively checking Google News. I felt the need for timely updates. I needed to know how the world was falling apart as it happened. I needed to know who had the virus, who had been canceled, who was collaborating and singing horrible renditions of classic songs. Imagine.
Until I realized I didn't need all of that.
One of the negatives of the 24/7 news cycle is that journalists and news outlets need to find enough stories to fill that cycle. And so the moment something is uncovered, the story hits the electronic press and is offered to the world in an instant. With no opportunity to check context or facts or for legitimate in-depth analysis. Instead, bias leads the narrative of the story.
It's easy to feel the need for frequent updates when your county is a current hotspot for the virus. But my employer will notify me if the office shuts down. I don’t go too many places these days, so I don’t really need to know what’s open or closed. And those close to me will tell me anyway. And finally, I have built a habit of wearing a mask in public and plan to do so for the foreseeable future, so I don’t care whether masks are required.
Bring on the second half of 2020
The first half of 2020 has kept us all on our toes. I'm expecting more of the same in the second half.
And so we fly into the abyss