If you’re reading this then that means I am officially 30 years old. The past few years have disillusioned me in some ways. I no longer believe that the arcing arm of a clock or the crossing off of calendar squares will create a new chance for miraculous change, and, in fact, given the results of the hellish series of world events that comprised my 29th year all I can see stretching ahead right now is more of the same.
I never thought that this time last year when I was introducing my friends to the wonders of the Street Fighter movie that it would be the last of our birthdays that we would spend together until who knows when and it makes me wish that I had chosen something more cooler or more special.
Not once last spring in the two months I spent working from home, watching the trees burst to life outside my window while I withered from loneliness did I think that when everything slumbered again I would still be separate and alone, that I would be anticipating still being in solitude when the leaves grow in again in a few months. I do live with my mother, but it isn’t the same as being with my friends. The way the salt used to de-ice the roads and clear the way bleaches all color from the road forward isn’t a new sight, but this winter it makes me feel particularly hopeless.
I have an increasingly distinct awareness that by the time this is “over” I will probably wind up losing nearly two years of my life, but even then there’s a chance that it probably will not ever be properly “over” because of all of the currently unknown variables. It’s weird to think that my life now has a very dramatic before and after in it, a sharp fracture between two distinct ways of life.
I know I am lucky to have my job, but I am increasingly resentful about working in an office where some of the attorneys haven’t come into the office since March, but us staff are required to come in like everything is normal, except we’re all wearing masks and using hand sanitizer now. It’s nice to talk to people who aren’t my mom, but I would give it all up for the return of the Saturday nights with my friends, spent the way we used to spend them in the Before Times — dinner out and doing dumb nerd stuff. I do get to do different nerd stuff on Saturday nights now, D&D with a different group of friends, and it’s a nice replacement, but I keenly feel the lack of the people who know me best.
I feel bad for thinking about the things I miss, because it feels trivial to miss them when people are literally dying. Lipstick. Diner food (especially gyros). Walking aimlessly around public places. Having a reason to wear cute outfits. My friend’s cats. And I must be getting really desperate because I even miss taking daytrips to NYC, even though I find the city exhausting and don’t care for it that much overall.
All this said, it will probably come as no surprise that I hardly accomplished any of my goals for 2020. I did wind up with 12 blog posts like I wanted to, but that was only after cramming November and December with extras to make up for the months I didn’t get a post up. My gaming backlog remains mostly unchanged, although I did give my permission to quit World of Final Fantasy because I realized I was dragging myself through something I wasn’t enjoying at all. There’s a cute little adage that goes “last one hired, first one fired” and that combined with the economic instability kept me in my current office, despite my frustrations there. I did not carve out specific time for creative hobbies, but I found myself doing creative writing and doing art more than I have in the past couple of years. Which, well, anything is more than zero, but the fact that I managed to do anything is a victory.
In the face of this largely unaccomplished year it feels a little pointless to consider new/renewed goals, but I feel compelled to for some reason. They fall into two categories: things I’m already making a habit of and want to continue, and things I want to be doing.
- About a year ago I started taking walks on my lunch breaks (or after work before driving home when it was really hot out in the summer), and I want to continue doing that at least three days a week as weather permits.
- Please for the love of god let this decade of my life begin with a new job. (As embarrassed as I feel to bring this one back again, I’d like to reaffirm it for myself anyway.)
- Post one blog each month. I considered making this number larger, but thinking back on how this year went in that regard, 12 posts for the year is what feels the most manageable and consistent.
- I really ought to play more video games that aren’t Red Dead Online (aka my favorite way to escape this hell year for hours on end, just wandering the countryside).
- Read more of the physical books I own, not just my Kindle at lunchtime.
- Do my creative hobbies more.
- Ages of watching Christy Lou’s (now ended) bullet journal YouTube videos made me feel like I could do one despite having little artistic ability, so I’ve made one and I want to see it through to the end of year.
- Do a better job at keeping in touch with people, a thing which I am historically really shit at. If I don’t see someone, I often reach out, sometimes because I don’t want to be a bother, but often just because I’m awful and get caught up in my dumb little life and just forget to talk to people, and then so much time passes that I’m like “well now it would be weird to try talking to them.” But because of this bad habit, I’ve have spent huge chunks of quarantine feeling desperately lonely. The series of video calls and voice chats I’ve been on this year has reminded me how good it feels to connect with the people I care about and I don’t want to fuck up and go back to dropping the ball on that.
It feels like easy mode to have made so many low ball goals and goals that are continuations of what I’m already doing. But it does feel good in a way to sit down and formally commit myself to these things. I am far better at keeping bad habits than I am at sticking to productive ones, so we’ll see how all of this goes. It’s not exactly turning over a new leaf for my new decade, but it’s something!
Happy birthday to me!