Good Riddance, 2020.

The “Roaring 20s” have, thus far, been a giant wet fart.

For the last several years, I’ve wrapped up each year with an end of the year post. I typically list some of the cool stuff that happened in the preceding twelve months and look back at how I did on the goals I set for myself the previous year. The “cool stuff that happened” part of this post would barely fill a thimble.

As for my 2020 goals, they were written before we had any notion of the pandemic that would eat the heart of the entire year. Still, it’s worth looking back to see just how horribly Covid destroyed my goals this year.

2020 goal – make a firm decision about changing apartments and/or getting out of Florida.

This is the only goal that I can say was a resounding and intentional success. I escaped Florida over the summer and began to make my home in Northern Virginia by August.

2020 goal – Be healthier: Eat better, sleep more, and get some damn exercise, get out of the house more.

I’m going to call this a big failure. Lockdowns, comfort food, doom-scrolling, stress-based insomnia, and pandemic isolation were the watchwords this year. While I have tried to go outside on a regular basis, there’s only so much that I could really do.

2020 goal – Travel more. (Three out of state trips and one international trip.)

I didn’t make it out of the country again this year, but I managed to meet the domestic travel goal on a technicality despite the pandemic. One New York trip for work in March just days before lockdown began, one round-trip flight up to Virginia in late June to lock in my apartment, and then a train ride with my car when I moved up to Arlington in August. I had planned a few other trips for the year, but they all got kicked down the road:

  • My cousin postponed his west coast wedding celebration over this summer, and theoretically, we’ll give this a go next summer.
  • The Nashville concert got bumped to 2021, so that whole trip was nudged as well.
  • For the first time since 2003, I planned on going to DragonCon in Atlanta. I’m pretty sure this is the reason we had a pandemic, actually. My 2020 D*C membership was rolled over to 2021.
  • I still don’t know when I’m going to make it to the Waikiki Spam Jam.

2020 goal – Feed my inner introvert: Spend more time with books and less with little screens, whether they be my phone or my television.

I backslid mightily on the tv watching this year, but so did almost everyone. We were all stuck indoors so much that the screens became much more necessary. I did make my Goodreads reading goal despite having tremendous lapses in concentration. I cheated though, and many of my read titles were comic books instead of prose.

2020 goal – Write at least 52 posts in this blog, one per week.

This goal came about because I only wrote four blog posts all year in 2019. I thought that setting a more explicit goal than “write more” would help me out. In the beginning, it did- I managed to go a few months on the one-a-week path, but then the ennui of the pandemic took hold a bit. When I was sitting at home and every day was like the day before and the day after, I ran out of steam.

calendar showing post frequency of this blog for 2020

I decided on a whim to do NanoPoblano this year, and that’s why there are thirty posts in November. Taking part is NanoPoblano is the only reason I managed to meet this goal. Without the thirty posts in November, I wouldn’t have even completed half.

2020 goal – Listen to more music, live or otherwise.

In any normal year, this goal isn’t a hardship for me. I’m already compelled to go see live music. I managed to go to six live music events by March 1st, and then the lockdowns began. I watched show after show after show get erased from my calendar, either refunded or pushed off to the future. I’ve watched many, many livestreams of music, and I’ve started watching DJs do their thing on Twitch on a regular basis. I also had a bullet point goal about seeing more live Shakespeare, but the local Shakespeare theater has remained closed. I made up for it very slightly by watching some pre-recorded plays online.

For 2021, I’m not going to set goals.

I figured out a few years back that “New Year’s Resolutions” are terribly stupid- they always start from a point of good intention, but they reek of homework and most resolutions don’t really survive their first encounter with reality. As soon as I figured that out, I changed from “Resolutions” to “Goals” like the ones in my last few year-end recap posts.

If there’s anything I’ve learned from the Covid-19 pandemic grinding 2020 to a halt, it’s that even well-intentioned goals are not feasible when the rest of the world has to stay home. I’m not going to set specific goals for my health, my sleep, or my travel- I’ll do what I can, but setting a concrete goal just seems pointless and disheartening.

I realized last year that setting a goal for concerts was useless- if there’s a chance for me to go see live music, I’m going to do it. Music is life. This way of thinking applies to several of my previous goals, as it turns out- setting a goal to do something I’m probably going to do anyway is just silly.

There’s one exception to my “no goals and no resolutions” stance, though- I’m going to try to do at least a blog a week again this year. I enjoyed NanoPoblano last month, and although I don’t always have much to say every week, I do enjoy writing here. I don’t want this blog to regress back to my 2019 levels, where I only yeeted out four posts in twelve months.

That makes this post 1/52. Here’s hoping that life returns to some semblance of normal in 2021.

Happy new year! Do you have any goals or resolutions this year?


4 thoughts on “Good Riddance, 2020.

  1. I sat with my daughter last night and we smashed out our resolutions as we do every year. We have done this for 10 years now and this year especially it provided us with the normality we need; especially as we are now in full lockdown. Again. I have ten resolutions but most important , are to teach the older two how to cook properly, for me to complete a half marathon and to complete my novel. Oh and to go surfing up north. Or just to be able to travel there with no restrictions!! Happy New Year Steven!

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  2. I did a goal setting course last year. I´ve done it for the last 5 or so years.
    We break down goals into categories – finance/spaces/health, etc.
    Spaces (your home/office/where you spend your time) was the only one I couldn´t really think of anything. Nothing I cared enough about to commit to.
    Then came Coronavirus, and home improvement is pretty much ALL I did.


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