What 2020 Taught Me About Goals

What 2020 Taught Me About Goals

writing process shop talk

Anyone who knows me can tell you that I do not handle inactivity well. I like to be always doing something. When I try to relax, I end up asleep. I have those two modes and nothing else.

2020 brought its onslaught. I was diagnosed with cancer in January and spent the better part of the year recovering from two surgeries and six weeks of radiation. I was furloughed from one job for half the year. We lost two pets to illness. I had a corrupted backup that lost me over 15 years of my design portfolio. All that on top of the usual canceled plans and visits with which most have been dealing. On top of the election. On top of watching so many people move about the world with no regard for the lives it may cost (including their own).

It was a hell of a year to try and get anything done. I did tackle some projects, but it's in my very marrow to not consider that enough. But my health is still an issue. I backslid a bit with my jaw's range of motion and feel like I'm starting over from where I was after the second jaw surgery, only it's going much slower now, and I'm exhausted. Energy has become a finite resource in a way I've never experienced. I thought I'd reached my 'new normal' (in personal terms, not 2020 terms) in September, but it looks like I was pushing that too hard.

As I look to a crisp, unwrinkled new year, I have to acknowledge that rather than setting my sights on production checkboxes for 2020, I need to prioritize my health and recovery as my number one goal. Nothing else can happen without that. Rest and stress are huge factors, I believe, in immunity. Yes, I still want to work on projects, but if I whittle away my energy until I'm little more than a flimsy toothpick, what's the point?

I could end up sick. I could end up more exhausted than I am today.

And really, there are more significant concerns than whether I write one new story or three. Whether I get that novel polished and query ten agents or a hundred.

Part of my energy I want to reserve for the rest of the world because there's work to be done that needs all hands on deck. I couldn't march for the causes I believe in for a large part of the year. I want to topple my health challenges, so I can get out there in the future.

I think perhaps above all else, we all want to rediscover joy and rejoin community in 2021. I'm not going to get there if I need to be scraped off the floor every morning.

This post isn't a subtweet. But maybe it is.