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Analyzing what I accomplished already, and what is next to come for me

When it comes to resolutions, I never buy in to them; especially around New Year’s time. I believe that every day is an opportunity for some sort of change in your life, and that we shouldn’t have to wait for the calendar year to roll over in order to get started. But I do like to reflect on the year that just past, and think about the positives and negatives that came from it. Not to get cliche here, but life truly does go by fast, and for some folks they may not get much time to experience it to the fullest. And to paraphrase something my new director recently told me, it’s that we want to do things we will enjoy and not look back 20 years from now with regret for not taking a chance on something.

Back in August, I wrote a post titled “Things I’m Looking Forward To Doing When COVID-19 Ends” that looked at my goals I wanted to accomplish in the near future. Well, the near future has come and as the new year slowly draws near, it’s time to delve deeper into how we’ve done and what to look forward to next. Some new goals have come up since I wrote the piece, and some other things may have disappeared. Unfortunately, with the virus still lingering across parts of the world, some of the goals in mind simply were not able to be accomplished yet. But let’s imagine the next year improves, and we have a life where no facemasks are worn and we can interact with others normally and unafraid. Before we look ahead, let’s first see what I was able to do. . .

In the Heat of the Moment

When I wrote the blog post, that was mentioned earlier, it was back in August as the hot summer was slowly making it’s way to Fall. The virus still lingered, and pushed back my hopes of travel to Winter. All I had was my family, friends and my internship that kept me productive while everything else was shut down or creeping open. This was one of those rare times where ‘adult me’ had so little control of my life. Depending on the situation, I either like to plan out everything (with backups to backups), or pick a path and go where the winds take me. This virus forced me to focus more on the latter, but I wanted to at least plan something to do once society came back to a little more normalcy.

So I crafted that blog post, and here is a basic summary of my goals at the time: get a job, buy a new car, attend events and groups, and travel locally and globally. For the most part, my desires lined up like dominoes; it’s hard to knock one down without knocking the one before. And nothing could get started without an income. It wouldn’t be until early October that I’d finally land a job amidst an economy stricken badly by COVID, and I was grateful for the opportunity given because it meant I had a chance to allocate what I made into the rest of the list of what I needed. To make things even better was how well I clicked with my supervisor. Given that most of the department works from home, it’s been mostly just us two in the office these past few months. Thankfully, she’s quite a character and provides shenanigans that make each day more enjoyable. However, I am still under probation and, although signs point to me making it through that period, I’m not assuming anything until it actually happens. If it’s one thing I learned at my last job, and the way things went in 2020 globally, is to never assume things will go as planned.

A friend of mine recently asked how I’m allocating the money I’m making, and I had no issues breaking it down to them: a small part of it goes into my savings for ‘old me’, a few thousand will be saved for a (tentative) Spring trip to Europe, a small portion goes to free spending, and the rest for the new car. Even if things were normal, chances are I’d still spend my money on my personal projects as opposed to going out often to the cinema/bars/restaurants/etc.. I want to invest in those projects, as well as the new ones that popped up since August.

Past meets Future

If you made it this far, you probably realized I only named one goal that was accomplished in the last section. Yup, of all the things on that list from August, I was only able to accomplish getting a new job. While it’s true I did go on a road trip to Johnson City, the adventures have been nonexistent since then and I wasn’t the one driving that day. So it’d feel like I’m reaching to say I crossed off two things from that list. However, I did knock off the first and biggest domino of getting a job. Nothing else could be focused on until I had income to help cover for it. And the things I have been investing in has changed since summertime.

Travel and car will always be there for now, but going out to events and joining different groups has taken a back seat. Mainly due to the virus lingering, there still is not much to do in town besides eating and seeing a flick. Once in a while, I jump on Meetup to see if there are any interesting events going on but there is nothing. I keep hoping there would be a Harry Potter or Seinfeld trivia night somewhere, but no one wants to host such an event. This has also effected my ambition to make a new group of friends. As a reminder from the post mentioned, I love my current group of friends, but it’d be nice to have a group that met my other needs like being outdoorsy, concert lovers, travelers and such. People like to talk about the thrill and experience it is to do things alone, like travel abroad, but for someone like myself it got old fast. Having done things on my own for so long, you tend to want to be in the moment with others and have someone who can relate. I’m not out to prove my independence or “find myself” someplace new. I just want to have fun with others who love the same things, or be able to open other’s eyes to trying new experiences. Whether it’s going with my fellow nerdy friends to Comic-Con or taking my metalhead friend to an EDM rave paint party his first time for example, no matter how you look at it, stories are more memorable with others along for the adventure.

So I haven’t been able to attend events and places I usually like to go to, nor am I interested in any physically-distanced classes/gatherings that take away being able to truly interact with others. Making new friends will have to wait, however old friends may be making a come back in the future. I noticed since August how more frequently people from my past have been popping back up in my life. Those out-of-the-blue messages that you didn’t expect that day, which completely shifts your mood as you wonder what led them to reaching out to you today of all days. A few appear to want to hang out again, or stay more in touch. We’ll see how that goes, along with past dreams coming back up as well. If you’ve been following my more recent posts here, or on Instagram, then you may have noticed my recent acquisitions that include microphones, cameras, and other gadgets.

For many years, there’s been a desire to do something in the realm of radio and TV. It wasn’t until last Winter that I really considered venturing down that road. Moving back home, and thinking of what I will do next, kick-started the idea but then the virus came and really solidified it as many people were forced to stay home and re-evaluate what they will do with their lives. And, at the behest of friends, I decided to invest more of myself into those dreams; starting with the redesign and promotion of my blog. Then came the microphones, a new phone, the tripod, the adapters, and then the new camera for Christmas. The collective pool of money for the car/travel/free spending took a small hit as my early checks went towards most of these expenses, and there are still a few more things I might need to get such as memory cards, camera lenses and a stabilizer. However, once those are out of the way, it’ll leave the rest of the incoming payments to go directly to the travel and car funds. And considering there’s no events to really attend, and I don’t throw money on eating out or drinking much, it should expedite the time to get those. Who knows, maybe the car can come earlier even if I don’t have the full amount to saved.

New Year Revolutions

Quickly skipping over the obvious two, travel and car, what I hope to do in 2021 is follow-through on all the new projects that have come up and the old projects that lay dormant. The podcast will be up and running before New Year’s day, as the first episode will dive deeper into my life and how we got to this point. The blog and Instagram will carry on as usual, but may get a boost with the new cameras taking photos. I’m debating if I want to lend my voice to this blog as well; maybe read aloud the poems? Speaking of voices, once I adapt to the podcast feel, I need to revive my freelance page on Fiverr that involves voice acting. That also means I have to create demo reels of me reading something, which I guess I could read that travel book my supervisor gave me for my birthday.

The travel series will be interesting, because there’s still not much to do around town and I don’t have my own vehicle yet to drive off to other places. I still need to have a more established idea of what I want the show to be, but I’m leaning more towards the hidden gem idea that tourists wouldn’t know about. Testing out this camera and mic will let me know what I’m working with, and if it’s suitable to create a series. This can also open the door to freelance photography. A few more purchases and we should be good to go on that front. With all the PS5’s being sold out constantly, it may have been a blessing in disguise to help me focus on this.

Speaking of focus, I mentioned the past coming into the future, and I want to focus part of my 2021 diving back into things from my past. You probably already know one of the things I am talking about: my travel app. What better time it would have been to have it be born than this year when no one could really travel. It’s not too late and, as I once said, could change the way people view travel as it would make everyone a traveler (that can get paid). Another thing is my writing. No, not my blog writing but my novel writing. I have several book ideas that I would like to start, that mostly involve mystery and drama. Other things include getting back into biking, skating, and camping. The last one may require me to buy camping gear, I’d love to get a kayak, which would impact the expenses.

Those are the future and past items, while the current items might be delayed. The new friends and going to events, like concerts and festivals, might not occur until late Spring; with the way things are looking at the moment. I’d like to join classes, such as rock climbing and sports intramurals, however many social activities are still not encouraged and I don’t know when they’ll be back. Volunteering is another thing I’d like to get more involved in, again. The last time I did that was before I moved away back in the Summer of last year. Perhaps I can volunteer at a hospital this go around, since I was unable to last year. Add in the car, roadtrips and travel, and this is basically my goals for next year. I will, initially, put aside the social outings to focus on personal projects (past and present) as we strive to finally break the travel barrier that’s been present since I was a kid. It might seem like a lot as you’re reading this, but remember there are 12 months in a year and so that leaves plenty of time to do some of it. As much as I wish to do it all, I’m sure there will be some that get delayed. But as long as I try, I will be glad.

In life there will be moments of excitement, and moments of struggle, but as long as we try to do the things we dream of then we will feel some fulfillment as we look back. It’s a lot better than regret for not doing something you enjoy. You’ve read some of my journey, the things I’ve tried, and it’s led to this point. Now we’re aiming for the bigger dreams I once thought unattainable. In the past, most people were not very supportive of such dreams, but time can change anything and anyone. While I still might get some resistance from family, certain friends and others, they will be more understanding of it. They may not want me to leave, but if the opportunity is there then how can I say no? If you really want something in life, you have to do what’s necessary and work hard for it; even if it means walking away from others and going at it on your own. It doesn’t mean bridges are burned, just that we’ll see each other again someday. Many of you are also probably realizing this, as lives were changed this year and people had time to think about what’s next. As I always say, we should try to live a life of “Oh wells” rather than one filled with “What ifs?”, but that’s a topic for an upcoming post. The year 2020 is finally about to come to an end. It was a long twelve months of being unable to do whatever we want to do. So for 2021, let’s have it be the year of fulfilling dreams; where we can be whoever we want to be. . .

I’ve used this video before in another post. Can you remember which one it was?
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