Hi there guys. Normally, doing these, I do really try to get them up either as we’re travelling home on the21st December, but as everyone saw, I posted something else instead. So, I’ll do the retrospective today, and tomorrow we’ll do the ‘coming in 2022’.
I got nothing done…
I think the first thing to acknowledge is that personal goals wise, I’m not further visibly forward, but I did a lot of…I guess it’s ‘behind the scenes’ work. I did have a quieter, calmer year in some ways. Supporting the kids, supporting my partner, and trying to plan for what comes next. I think that though I did very little, overtly, there were a tonne of really great conversations that eventually led myself and my business partner to something we’re working on now, which we’ve tagged ‘AOK’. Goals wise, too, I didn’t published a dammed thing last year, and only really rebooted this blog about three months ago. I’m still working through how best to handle all of that, if I’m honest, but what I do know is that I’m a lot happier now with most of the things I write, when I write them. I did start a Substack. But, because I got ‘nothing’ done, I spent a lot of time with my family. I have regulated my sleep schedule a lot better, though I do sometimes need to switch to LA time to do some stuff, it’s not frequently expected of me. I’m sure next year may change that, but it’s ok. Mostly I’m just grateful for the space to think and spend time with my partner, son and daughter. We bought a Cricut so my daughter and I are still into doing crafty things, we all go out to get photos of stuff, we got to do the UK Games Expo this year…it’s all been really good and really comforting in many ways. None of us have gotten really sick, nor have we caught CV19, but we’re all fully boosted now, and flu shots to boot. We’ve been *very* lucky.
I did lots for clients….
So, I’ve said ‘I got nothing done’ but equally, it’s been an ok year for getting work done for clients. From tomorrow, I’m developing something that cuts back on the clutter for one client so it ‘just works’ and building sites for two others. It’s all looking really solid. I learned Divi a lot more, I’ve been upskilling both for my business and for my uni stuff and I’ve had a lot of fun along the way. I love coding, but I love solving puzzles more.
I (started to) heal a bit…
I think it’s fair to say this year I got on with the rather hard work of starting to heal. I’ve not had an exactly bad life, but I’ve been through a fair few really bad scrapes and my mental and physical health are kinda dented for it. I do totally think I’m dealing with some form of adrenal issue right now, though I’m also quite worried I’m anaemic again, but most of what I did was read, learn, sleep, and just accept that I can’t do everything, or work on starting to accept that. I laid foundations though for this year too – knowing what to do and when to do it hasn’t been the easiest thing for me, but I’m working in advance with a lot of my stuff now and though I sometimes bounce off deadlines, I’ve met quite a few too. in July, I was discharged from therapy. I’ve done everything I could with them, my therapist was moving on, and instead of getting used to another stranger, given the current pandemic based restrictions, we decided that it was best just to close my file and move on. I can go back if I need to.
And I took up more exercise
Last year, I was just starting Mount Fuji. I completed that and went on to do Giza, Petra, Everest and started The Great Wall of China. In total, I walked about 540km, based on my Fitbit tracking. I started walking outside by myself too. Didn’t last long, but will be coming back. In November, I went for a Ludosport Discovery session, fell in love with the sport and have now completed enough form 1 training that I can duel, and did for our closing session of the year, winning my team three points. I was rather shocked I managed it. I think everyone else was too, as I often refuse to duel, or withdraw when afraid. I am dealing with a lot more panic attacks though, but we know why and we’re working on that too.
I read… A LOT
Because I didn’t get to do very much in the way of travelling, I’ve mostly adventured through my books. Which, if I’m honest, has mostly involved serial killers, thrillers and murder mysteries. My Goodreads year in review isn’t *everything* I read (cause I’ve got books I read through Netgalley that haven’t or won’t log yet) but it’s close. If you want to see my year, it’s here, but seriously, a lot of it is basically true crime. 😉 Some of it was also audiobooks, which I count. I think the two books that stayed with me this year though were The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig and we’re currently finishing off Leviathan Falls, which is the final book of the Expanse. And finishing the show too.
I completed both Camp Nanowrimos and Nanowrimo proper this year, and in the end, it turned out that though it felt like I was pulling teeth, I wrote close to half a million in 4thewords, and another 750k in my various files. Not bad going but next year is going to be a bigger challenge. I didn’t publish anything that wasn’t someone else’s to take from me and put out there though.
And yeah, then there was the ‘also watched’
We watched so many good things this year but I watched less in some ways than my family. And more in others. I had more true rime on in the background during the day, but I’ve watched far fewer programs, and have promised I’ll watch a few of the pertinent ones when we’re back at our usual spaces next week. Outstanding for me though had to be Loki, Scrubs (which we binged to the last season then pretended that one didn’t exist), Elementary, which we’re catching up on, The Expanse…you get the picture. We’ve started watching Titans season 3, The Witcher Season 2, and The Expanse season 6, and we’re looking forward to The book of Boba Fett, Obi Wan and more.
Gaming this year has mostly been about my Switch and our PS5. We’re both having a blast, no pun intended, playing through Fallout 76, though each of us can’t play with each other as it’s not cross-platform. Been playing games on the Switch too, but there’s nothing of note that I’ve played, really. I enjoy Surviving Mars, but a lot of what I do is just play through stuff for a little bit, get listless, put it down. So a lot of my time has just been spent mindlessly shooting things, which I’m kinda good at.
Meditating, self care, religion, oh my
I always leave this bit to last, so if people want to skip, they can. I meditated almost as much as I walked this year. I’ve found Headspace to be an excellent way of dealing with my sleep issues and the sleepscapes and I have become best buddies during the Pandemic. But we already knew that from listening to the stories Calm put out last year. I decided to stick with Headspace, not Calm in the end, simply because I got on better with Headspace.
I’ve been home to my temple twice this year (which means I’ve been home to family twice this year) and moved my ‘I have to go do something, let’s go to my quiet spot) to a place nearer our current home. It’s not perfect, but it meets most of the needs of what my rules are. I’ve also enacted some pretty radical self-care, but that, and some other stuff will be in the books, in the new Year.
I’m sure I’ve missed tonnes, but I’ll be honest, I’m still not sure this year was actually a full year if that makes sense. Time isn’t right still, not since the interminable but necessary lockdowns, and we’ve been working through as much of being present and grateful as we can, but I’ll also be real about this, a bit of me is still sobbing away in the corner that something so horrible is ongoing. I may write on that later, but I’m healthy, I’m here, I’ve picked up some new skills and hobbies and though I lost my gran, as a family, we’ve been far more blessed than we could have expected, so really, I can’t complain.
Quite honestly, I’m not entirely certain how I feel right now. There are so many different things that I’ve been thinking about. How we measure success. What we consider ‘worthy’ work, when we think about our lives, and how we decide to measure what we’re doing. Like water over rocks, we often smooth away the knowledge we don’t like and find a way to let it settle. And time, like water down a hill, never stops.
Judgement – my own worst enemy
Self-judgement that is. And I think that’s true of all of us. We’re ALL our own worst enemies when it comes to deciding if we’re ‘doing what we’re made to do’. Which in itself is a loaded sentence.
I really hate the whole “we’re human beings, not human doings” concept. It distils and negates a lot of the struggle we all have with the needs and responsibilities, the wants and the necessities we all carry and balance. I’m a human being. I am. What I am right now? A little bit stressed, a lot melancholy. Because I’m judging myself against a list of things that I just can’t expect to meet. What I can say though is that I’ve achieved a lot that isn’t ‘obvious’. I was discharged from therapy, and told I’d successfully completed the work they wanted me to which is…awesome. I went into recovery care with the local unit over seven years ago. I moved two years ago, this week, to the unit the county over. I’ve put a commendation about Dr C. and my nurse, M, with my MP, I feel that strongly about their care. The whole NHS should be praised, for the last few years, of course, but the team that cared for me over the last few years especially, since just after my 40th birthday, are people that went above and beyond and made a real change to my life.
The grain silo, Being Human and more…
I’ve talked about these essays but never finished them. Some are actually in ‘And Miles to go before I sleep…’ and expanded upon. So, along with the retrospective coming for the rest of this week, and looking forward over the weekend (the blog is going to be busy), but I’ll be releasing the essays ‘The Grain silo’ and ‘Being Human’, along with the pre-order link for ‘And Miles to go before I sleep…’ over this week. I’ll maybe even get to talk about the major business project we’re launching. On Saturday or Sunday, I’ll release our sort of calendar, and aspirations we have. And they are aspirations. Not deadlines. Not must do’s. The pre-orders are fixed, but.. other than that, we’ll adapt. And the we in this case is my beloved, my family, my friends and I. Being Human isn’t to be alone. And I’m not.
So, firstly, I’ve spent the last week with shingles all up one side of my face. It’s not *the most* painful thing I’ve ever felt, but gotta be honest, it’s close. Because of this, my ‘October announcements’ post and this one have kinda rolled up.
The pot of my soul, cracked as it is
I’ve been talking about ‘levelling up’ a lot on my private groups. I’ve been talking about several things really, but I want to be clear. My major one is community. I talk – a lot – about #payitforward and that the #writingcommunity is very important to me. To do that, I’ve been thinking about levelling up my life. I’ve lived my whole life accommodating various things. Mostly, I guess, psychosis. My mental health is a major element of my life, and even when I’m at my best, I’m… not? I live with imperfect cracks, like a little jar, a Kintsugi pot fixed with the things I find around me. My soul is visible in places – in others, it’s patched and safe. There are raw patches, that I guess I’ll eventually cover over. But that little pot is pretty tight right now. I’m managing to fill it up a lot more often, even if there’s…less space in there. We’re working through various things as a business team, because we do sort of have some plans. For now though…
This is my newest project. I’ll be sharing snippets and more. But this Kintsugi thing? I’ll be talking more about it. As for levelling up? Because I’ve had shingles this week, I’ve not managed as much as I wanted to. But I’ve taken a couple of things forward. I’ve grabbed a Duotrope trial, to start working towards getting to my stories out there and building my name as a writer, but also to bring in a challenge. To ‘earn’ it, I have an amount I have to be paid for the pieces I submit, and that’s ok. It’s a low goal. I’m using my diary again. I’ll be clearing my office space. I’m also getting Uni work done – I’m booked in for tutorials, and I’ve got my books ready to go. I’m a bit excited to complete my first year of Uni, and start moving towards my PHD. And I’ll keep condensing down stuff to here. I’ll talk about that more in the coming weeks, but it’s pretty much a clean up and combine exercise right now 😉
I’m on a few weeks of classes, to learn how to work with one of the major systems we’re using right now. I’ll be talking about that more, and I have to say, I’m really excited. The next few weeks are also ‘Freshers’ for me. I start back at Uni next week, and have several exams that I need to prep for.
One of the major things I’m noticing is that I’m still as willing to do everything I used to get up to, but I get about three into my 20 piece daily list (I used to manage it), but I’m not who I was. Part of that, I have to be honest, is probably to do with being depressed. Part of it has to do with my issues with anaemia and persistent illness. A LOT of it has to do with maintenance insomnia. (I’ll be coming back to that one later, but the short version of that is I have *finally* taught myself to go to sleep pretty much when I go up to bed. Sometimes I go up and meditate and I fall asleep. Sometimes, I just go to sleep after reading for a bit. What normally happens though, is around 1am to 2am – one and a half to two hours before I’m thinking I fell asleep, I wake again. I don’t really help myself at this point, because I’ll have a drink of iced tea. Sometimes I can roll over and go back to sleep. Most of the time, I can’t. It lasts till…sometimes…8am, before I finally get to sleep. In short, it’s hard to plan a day when you don’t know how much sleep you’re getting the night before, and unfortunately, whatever else I have going on, sleep creates problems if I don’t get enough of it). Most of this is all pretty well known, if you know me, even in passing. It means that my hours are often a bit scattered, but, I’m working on that. My partner and I have talked. While I’m not an early bird, I don’t like that I’m split shift sleeping. I don’t know if what I’ll end up doing is sleeping for a bit, getting up to work, then sleeping more. It might mean I can write in a set period of time, I don’t know.
The changes though – to make things easier for myself, and the things I want to do, while I’m doing my classes on WordPress design and Fresher’s week for the Open University, I’m going to start setting up all of my blogs, and connecting them up, collapsing or closing those of them that I can’t spend time on right now. It’s not permanent, I hope, but even if it is, moving on isn’t always bad. So I’ll be mapping that out. It’s the first step in about a million, if I’m honest. I’ve got books, I’ve got information to share out, I’ve got things I need to – and want to – do.
Struggling with Writing
One of the things I saw that was interesting this morning – in fact, it was the first thing I saw opening my phone, was this post from Neil Gaiman.
I think there’s a lot of this that’s important. For writers, creatives. For life. We have bad days. We do what we can, but sometimes it’s just a day that doesn’t move…anything. And then, one day, a good day. Maybe a few. Maybe a whole bundle of them, in a row, like a huge gift. And really, I do mean this could be *anything* we do in life. Sometimes, we find that it’s hard to do things. That’s ok too.
I’m between my good and bad right now. On that middle ground of being able to see both. I might slide back into bad. I’m working on the things I can reach from here. It’s all ‘low hanging fruit’ and learning for me. Uni starts next week, and I’m getting through to finish year one of three just as soon as I pick myself up and get a plan on….
Which is next. You’ve got this guys. And so have I…
While my blogs merge down, I’ve got some housekeeping to do. Some categories will move, some will merge, some will redirect.
Hopefully I caught it all while I was housekeeping, but I’ve made a list. Some of these don’t always make perfect sense – they straddle two lines, I guess. Eventually, some of these will be moved wholesale off my blog to new sites, or subdomains, or other places. There will be a housekeeping post about that too! And I was kidding myself when I thought I’d get this done. There will be an article that you can read these in a series to see what I’m up to, but for now, there’s just this.
Category redirects (including organisation/re-naming and nesting)
I know this is an odd concept to raise for someone that’s a business owner and often works as hard as I do to advocate for others, who has raised two children to adulthood and when I think about it, survive what could be seen as serious negligence by my older psych team, but sometimes, do you wish you didn’t have to ‘adult?’
Adulting is overrated
I don’t mean by this that I don’t think I should have zero responsiblities. I’m just really tired of not getting ‘a win’ in the things that I do, not really. All of my planned treats, no matter how small, have either fallen through, or I’ve had to ask my partner to pay for them after all – which makes me feel bad. He doesn’t mind as much, but it’s a bit hard to talk to my kids about being adult and responsible then running to my other half and crying because life is hard. And lately, I’ve been crying a lot. I try not to focus on bullying, because it’s not a positive thing to think about and it gives them power, but often, I’m finding a lot of people when they are challenged on what they say, suddenly try turning the tables and creating the idea that they’re a victim. That you’re in the wrong. Compound that by the fact that often, this is over hosting bills or whatnot, and you can see how it hurts me to have people treat me this way.
Realistically, my company actually works, just about right now. I’ve got some work to do over the end of my Kaiatus to launch a few websites, but, we’re actually stable. Wire thin margins, but stable, so when someone starts complaining about their hosting bill, there is a bit of me that doesn’t want to engage. Another bit of me that knows I have to, because if I don’t, they’ll not pay. And a huge bit of me that’s wary, because I’ve been attacked recently for not considering giving away services free for the pandemic.
I only really manage what I do because I’ve kept beta accounts with places that aren’t as great as they could be and finding ways to fix the shortfall, or doing the stuff that I need manually. But realistically, I’ve been out of spoons and upset for about a week now. The thing is…I can’t really pillow fort. Next week sees the start of my graded exposure to the outside world. In laymans terms, that means for the first time in five years, I’ll be leaving my house and going for a walk…and trying not to throw up when I do. It’ll either be brilliant, or I’ll make it brillaint, but today was a day where I could have just done with hiding away and not needing to deal with the world. If I manage it though, Prime Day reward will be nice. I never get anything extravegant, but….treating myself to some new books for Uni or some additional research tools would be nice (cybersec isn’t a ‘cheap’ study area, Forensic linguistics even less, and honestly? I’m lucky. I’ve got access to stuff through my partner and friends). If not there, Humble Bundle always has cool books on AI.
See…I can adult
When I start thinking like this, often, my friends point out that I pull myself out of it. I’m #blessed to get to do what I do. And, yes, I am. It doesn’t change though when nothing is going right and no one wants to do as they’re supposed to, and you need the books before the end of the month, or you’re looking forward to a tiny treat that keeps getting postponed, that you feel this way. It’s still not the ‘correct’ way to think, but….rewards are sometimes good. When applied sensibly. I can’t do it any other way. And for those of you pointing out ‘I can ask…’ I can. You’re right. Lucky me again, but….why should my partner bail me out when I’ve planned and it should work?
Like I said, I don’t like adulting. At all. 42 years old and I wish I didn’t need to. I’m just so tired of everything being uphill.
And don’t ask me about books. Still waiting for my 100 ISBNs…
Looking forward to those recipes.