I don’t really have it in me to do a proper 2020 wrap-up post, in part because I don’t really feel much like looking back on this dreadful year. Besides the fact that it mostly sucked, I’ve been ill for nearly two months now with no real end in sight, and that’s enough to take the little wind out of my tattered sails. (Chostochondritis, so nothing life-threatening, but I still don’t recommend it — especially if you’re a podcaster — talking is No Fun these days.)
Mostly what I want to say is if you made it this far, I salute you. Keep it up. Even if your biggest accomplishment of 2020 is making it to the end of 2020, that’s a damn big accomplishment, and I hope you can take a moment to recognize your own perseverance. (I am also sparing many thoughts today for those who did not make it this far.)
I don’t really do resolutions, but if possible, I’d like to also make it to the end of 2021 in one piece — a piece that’s in better shape (emotionally, mentally, physically) than I am right now. But honestly, if I’m no worse off than right this minute, it’ll be a win.
So I guess, here’s to 2021, a year of low expectations.
I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions. It’s nice to think about ways I can make 2020 better than 2019, but I’m more into continuous improvement. Sometimes having an arbitrary day to start something new helps (I prefer to start new routines on Mondays as opposed to mid-week), but I used to fall into the procrastination trap all too easily. “I don’t want to start X right now because I have That Thing next weekend. I should wait until after.” “[Arbitrary date] would be a good time to start X because it’s a holiday.” Lather, rinse, repeat.
That’s why I didn’t wait until the new year to start getting back to my yoga and meditation practice. I’d let it fall off quite a bit over the latter months of last year. During my holiday break, I decided I was sick of feeling tired and creaky so often, so I started near-daily practice of both yoga and meditation again — before the calendar clicked over to 2020. (It was only a few days before Jan 1, but it’s the principle that counts — I didn’t let the calendar dictate when I’d start my self care.)
It’s only been about a week, but I’ve already noticed a difference. Even before I re-started the regular yoga, I’d been doing a basic toe-touch stretch a few times a day in which I’d breathe deeply, hold it briefly, then let it all out slowly. Every time I did that, my spine would crackle like a bowl of breakfast cereal. I’d keep breathing and stretching until the crackling stopped.
Now, roughly a week later, when I do that stretch, almost no popping to speak of! It’s a little thing, but it’s really neat to get a measurable result so quickly.
I wouldn’t necessarily know I had made that progress if I hadn’t already been doing that one stretch. So I’m going to keep this in mind as I move forward with this (and any other) self-improvement effort. Stuff is happening. As long as I’m putting in the work, things are getting better. I might not always be able to see or feel it, but it’s occurring just the same.
I’m fairly lukewarm on the idea of New Year’s resolutions. They don’t really work for me. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think about the year gone by and what I’d like to be different or better in the new one. I’ll work towards those things. But I know that my brain doesn’t like it when I promise things–even to myself. Yes, I suppose it means I’m not holding myself accountable for the things I don’t achieve, but it also means I’m not beating myself up for failing. And I know which is more likely to happen when it comes to my mind.
In fact, forgiving myself and letting go is at the top of my list for 2016. I tend to get obsessive about things like media. If I’ve subscribed to a podcast, I feel like I have to listen to all the episodes. I got a bit better about that last year, and I want to improve more this year. In fact, I just deleted a podcast ep I was only halfway through. It was a Doctor Who podcast, and while I was taking some schadenfreudeical delight in hearing cranky old fans moan about how “Hell Bent” was “a waste of Gallifrey”, there’s only so much of that kind of negativity I can consume without it affecting my mental health. It’s okay to beg off when that starts to happen. I’ve never actually done it before today, and I do feel a little guilty about it, but I’m trying to let that go.