2020 was a strange year, even for me who doubts I ever had a normal year. So, let’s look back at 2020, with some extra focus on December to also serve as the monthly wrap-up. And also some early 2021 plans – though, as 2020 has shown, it often feels like plans are good for only a few weeks, then you can thrown them into the trash can.
2020 began quite on a high note for me. In late december 2019, I was accepted for my first full-time job, due to start in February (as there were some formalities to sort out that couldn’t be done before January, and state offices can’t accept new people mid-month, unlike companies). So, I had hoped that 2020 will be the springboard to something better for me. To get near to some semblance of normal adult life.
If only I knew…
To paraphrase an article in the local newspaper looking back at the beginning of 2020, at the start of the year, it seemed so close to another Gulf War that no one in the west cared about the Chinese eating bats and getting sick from it. A few weeks later… the world turned upside down and had shown that what the Western countries do best is to inflate meaningless problems while struggling to solve the real issues.
Thus, I began to consider myself quite lucky as I settled into a normal adult routine, and I didn’t really mind that my 30th birthday passed by with no fuss at all due to COVID (for an introvert like me, no party is the best party, so COVID gave me quite a nice birthday gift).
In the meantime, I was fitting my hobbies into my new schedule, and slowly getting closer to having my first book done, though it eventually dragged out all the way to October. In the meantime, I embarked in my first ‘solo’ vacation, which was like the most of 2020: first days good, then it went to hell. In fact, it seemed to symbolize the unpredictability of 2020 for me.
As an introvert, I had little issues adjusting to COVID-impacted life, though the lifespan of each stage was soon measuring in weeks, best case, often just days. And it had shown that planning anything in the near time is pretty much wasted effort.
2020 – writing
If you’ve followed my journey, then you probably know the most of what I’ll say now: I’ve finally left the beta stage for my debut and self-published it in late October. In the meantime, I’ve also finished another draft of book two, which should be in its beta stage soon, and since late October, made a good progress on editing book three (by 15th December, when I decided to take a Christmas break, it was ~75% done).
At the very end of the year (29.12., to be specific), I received my first royalty payment, a whopping amount of €3,16. Yay!
2020 – hiking
2019 was a record year for me, with the total getting to 1033km. By 10/2019, I was getting fatigued, as most of the hikes were on the high end as far as difficulty was concerned, and I knew already that 2020 would be a year when I’ll take it easy.
Thus, my goal was to get near 750km – my usual yearly serving – in 2020. The final result is a bit worse – while I don’t have the exact number yet, it’s somewhere in the 650-700km range. That is quite decent, considering that having a full-time job instead of half-time limited my options. Then, COVID – while hiking was probably the only outdoor sport that faced only light restrictions (limiting group size), it led to some buses/trains being cancelled for periods of time. And, after several dry years, it rained much more, which also put a dent in my plans to the point it was probably the worst summer hiking-wise.
So, on one hand, I’ve done almost no hiking during the summer. Many months were either really good or really bad, sometimes both at once, but nothing in-between.
There were some high points – I’ve done my very first night hike (and, to my surprise, learned that the moonlight can be enough to see, at least on a well-known trail), and my first solo vacation, which was a bumpy ride and, hopefully, a bunch of lessons for the future. That alone was a step into the unknown and a trying experience, be it the 12-hour journey or the fact the weather seemed to be against me, until I became my own bane. This was, again, a case of mixed feelings – I’ve only done 4 hikes instead of 7, but covered almost 100km anyway as I took on the longest first.
The end of the year was on a low note as well – in retrospect, it’s very likely I went through a light case of COVID in early November, and it still affects me – not only because of the long break from hiking but because I’m more prone to get out of breath, and I guess it’ll take a while to recover. Not to mention that my sense of smell is still probably at 2% or so (though is can be good at times).
2021 – plans?
As I said, I’m a bit reluctant to plan anything, after what a year 2020 was. That being said, I can make some rough targets.
When it comes to personal life, which is something I rarely talk about and plan it even less, my goal is keep adding to my savings so I can start living on my own in 2022. Given the lingering COVID situation, I won’t make any plans that’d be really personal – so I presume nothing will change on my eternally single status.
When it comes to writing, my main goal will be to get book two through the beta stages, and I’D hope to have it done before 2022. In the best case, the book would be ready for release in Autumn, but that’ll depend on too many factors. I might also want to look into some sort of marketing, though this is a long road, and it’s usually advised to not dump money into a debut, less so if it’s a series, because people tend to just binge a series anyway.
And, finally, by the time book two is out of the beta, book three should be prepared to go into beta right away.
I’m not making any plans for any of the side-projects, but I’ll probably try to get something more specific for the concepts.
As for hiking, it’s hard to make any decent guess when I don’t know how long I may be dealing with the lingering effects of COVID. I may ask my doctor about the possibility of spa treatment or something if it persists. Anyway, I’d probably try to get near 2020’s 700km. My 2020 experience had hopefully taught me how to plan my hikes around the limitations of full-time worker, and gave me some idea about how to plan my longer travels.
As usual, there’s a plan for my hiking club, but that’s depending on the continuing restrictions – the first event of 2021 (on 9th January) is already cancelled because stage 5 restrictions will continue at least to 11th. The event on 30th is also in danger. Which means that January will likely be reliant on my solo hikes.
So, that’s my look back and a shy glimpse forward. I hope 2020 wasn’t too harsh for you (because it’s hard to find someone to whom 2020 was kind – raise your hand if you’re one of those lucky people), and that 2021 will be better. A sign of healing, maybe.
So, feel free to ask me about my past year (or the future one) if that’s what you’re curious about, or to share your own ups and downs, reflections and plans.
Stay safe, stay healthy, and see you next time.