Sometimes life is a patchwork quilt... and that's okay
Do you ever find yourself making mental lists of all the things you should be doing, and then just.... doing none of them?
At the beginning of this year, I sat down and I made a list of 21 things that I was going to try to accomplish in 2021. I tried to make these things specific, measurable, etc. But I also tried to make them things that I would enjoy. I divided my list up into family things, friend things, career things, writing things and health things. Truth be told, it was difficult to fill all 21, but I got there eventually.
I've always been a goal-oriented person. I like checking things off these sorts of lists. Every year for a while, I was trying to read my way through the Dymocks 101 best books list until I realised that when you allow the public to vote on things like that, books that really aren't your taste are always going to make it in. (Life is too short to read bad books.)
But as we all know, 2021 has been a weird year off the back of another weird year. So it really isn't any wonder that so far, I have only checked off nine things out of 2021. Some of those things, I've checked them off because I feel like I'm mostly in the habit of doing them, but it's a bit hard to definitively say I've mastered them... for example, reducing the clutter in my home. For the record, books do not count as clutter. Marie Kondo's 30 books rule can get in the bin.
But some of the things that I'm 'failing' at (quotes added there because I don't think I'm failing at all) are really surprising. For example, I challenged myself to write 3 short stories this year. Just 3. And so far, I've written none. I've written two flash fiction pieces and a poem in the last month, and a few months ago I started, but did not finish, a short story about a waitress who finds some stolen money in a toilet stall. And I've found my own current lack of interest in writing short stories really really surprising. If I had to analyse it, I'd say that perhaps I poured all of my energy for that sort of thing into writing Well-Behaved Women, and now I have to wait for the meter to refill.
Another example of a surprising outcome - I told myself that I wanted to get some librarian experience for my resume which I thought would help me get a job in the field eventually, but only a few months out of graduating, I found myself with a real, genuine bona fide job in a public library where I'm currently specialising in Readers' Advisory and heading up my own project. That certainly exceeded my expectations! And I truly, truly love it.
Other things I'm 'failing' at - I don't cook, I'm not consistent at exercising, and I still haven't hosted my friends for a board games night. The crocheted blanket I started in 2017 is still in pieces in a bag at the end of my couch. I told myself I'd only buy 12 new items of clothing, and while my wardrobe is feeling more organised, I think I've bent the rules there a few too many times. This blog has not yet had it's one post a month and even as I write this I'm struggling not to delete it, because it's not a writing update.
My scorecard for 2021 might look a bit rough according to my own metrics, but you know what? I think I'm doing okay.
Back onto the writing again soon, but for now I'm just reading a tonne of great books and enjoying the changes that 2021 has brought. You can follow along with some of my reading over at The AU Review where I review mostly historical and literary fiction.