Designing a Well Lived Life: Checking In (December 2020)

Checking in for December for my "Designing a Well-Lived Life" blogging. This is about making small changes during the year to make larger changes.

I've been reviewing the past year for how I did and set up my new intentions for the coming year. It's been rather enlightening to see just how far I've come in this past year and what I'd like to course-correct for the coming year. Since there's only one more day of 2020 to go I figured today was as good of a day as any to finish off this challenge and set the new one in motion. Here we go:

  • Dropping expectations: If there was ever a year for dropping expectations of how things would go this was the year to do it. Lots of things that we expected to do evaporated with the pandemic. By not holding on to expectations it made for a more relaxed year. It also allowed me to adapt to each situation as it happened without getting frustrated or overwhelmed. Sure, there were times when my expectations flared up (along with my old friends guilt and shame) but this year showed me how dropping expectations can make for a better overall experience. Considering this a success.

  • Physical Health: We've tried doing more walking over the past month, and I'm planning on adding an exercise component to my regular day. More to come.

  • Writing more: I've changed this to actual game design for 2021, but overall this has been a success. I wrote 53 blog posts, which is an increase of three over the previous year, and more than 2018. Not quite as much as 2017 when I was doing learning challenges, but I can live with it. Expect me to haunt your feed reader more in 2021 as I explore and blog more about my explorations.

  • Programming more: This year was interesting. I didn't do nearly the programming that I set out to do, but the programming I did was very helpful. I looked into the Atari ST code, which just fascinated the crap out of me. I lost a bit of that urge after September, but rather than get upset about it I decided to just let it be (see "dropping expectations" above). I knew this would happen though, and rather than fight it I let it be and noticed what my feelings were around it. Part of it was the guilt and shame of not doing this sooner, but part of it was also feeling burned out and overloaded. It stopped being interesting and was just one more thing to worry about. This area really helped me understand my fuses and what will cause them to pop.

  • Mindfulness: When I remember to do this it's exceptionally helpful. I've noticed when I'm getting overloaded, stressed, angry, upset, etc., and have allowed myself to feel it rather than try to run away from it. Fear is also a big one, where I'll just pause and notice that fear. Still more work to be done here, but overall not bad.

  • Decluttering: Made significant progress despite the pandemic. Traded a bunch of games, shipped off a bunch of books, and removed a bunch of stuff (or at least put it into the "outgoing" pile in the basement. Still more work to be done, but at least I've made some serious headway.

  • Deeper work: Allowed myself more of this without distractions. Still not perfect, but making progress. More work to be done in 2021.

  • Getting out of debt: Paid off one credit card this year and made some dents in the other ones. It felt great. Going to see if I can get another card to fall in 2021.

So overall 2020 was a good year with much introspection and positive changes. Will post my intentions for 2021 tomorrow and what I hope to accomplish there.