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An Abundance of 2020

Every December, I choose a word or short phrase to focus on for the following year. It helps me guide my decisions and goals. I got the idea from author Jo Knowles back in our LiveJournal blogging days, and although my blogging has been spotty, my commitment to my guiding word lasts all year long.

For 2020, my word was "Abundance." Like many of us, I had grand visions for this year: writing All The Things, starting new projects, focusing on time with family and friends, etc. In my bullet journal, I plotted out five categories: health, family, writing, business, and financial and how I was going to focus on abundance in each one.

And well, we know how that went. *cries* *laughs* *cries again*

Let's see how it shook out...

To be honest, there was an area in which the pandemic truly did give me an abundance: family. For the past several years, one of my goals (regardless of the word I choose for that year) has been to take the kids someplace new each month. Even though we were locked down and stuck at home, the "someplace new" guidepost quickly became a lifesaver. New places to hike, drive-through Halloween displays, visits to national parks...we hit this one over the fence this year. I also wanted to play board games with my husband and kids more often. COVID-19 helped with that one, too! Codenames, Throw Throw Burrito, Taboo, Cranium, Exploding Kittens...we played together a bunch. Being home and focused on one another made all of us realize how well we work together as a team, and so I'll count that as a win.

The other areas...well, let's apply the 2020 buzz word "pivot" to some:

Writing. Hooo-boy. January and February were amazing. I was cranking hard on a revision of a tween novel. And then March 12 rolled around....and writing came to a screeching halt. I couldn't do it. I had switched not only my own classes to 100% online in a matter of a week, but as Division Chair I had a bunch of faculty to guide through that process, as well. My teaching took up not only my headspace, but my energy, in ways that I hadn't anticipated. It wasn't until July that I was able to write again, and I still couldn't get back into the novel. I ended up drafting and revising a short chapter book, which took an excruciatingly long time, but felt like a monumental victory. I also wrote a screenplay treatment with a friend for a contest. And now I'm actually half way through a project that I didn't expect to write at all. So although I didn't do anything that I thought I was going to, writing-wise, this year, I still wrote. A little. When I could. And that felt good.

Business. My author business is an area in which I'd needed to grow for a long time. I thought I was going to be focused on launching my picture book, Balletball, and setting up blog and social media goals. Needless to say, that didn't happen, either. How could I face outward when there was so much turmoil inside? But what I did do, instead, was sign up for the Your Author Business Plan course with Joanna Penn. Penn is an indie author, and I listen to her podcast, The Creative Penn, regularly. The class seemed like a good thing to do, even if it didn't 100% apply to me. Well, I'm moving through it at a snail's pace, but I'm on track to finish in 2020. And it's been revelatory. As a creative person who is very much a "big picture" thinker, I struggle to think strategically. This class is giving me the tools I need to do just that. I also partnered with fellow writers to create an exciting new course for The Highlights Foundation in 2021, and I'm so grateful to have the connection with that institution and those authors. Additionally, I taught online with Chris Tebbetts, and ran a virtual novel-writing class via The Writers' Loft. Finishing...if not strong, then at least finishing.

Financial. We had some savings goals and some financial planning goals that just didn't materialize. However, both Husband and I were super fortunate in that we were able to keep our jobs and had no reduction in pay due to the pandemic. We did some big renovation projects on our house, including having our contractor gut our kitchen down to the studs and put in a new one (during a pandemic), and finish some big painting and organizing projects to make this space more comfortable for all of us. We moved a year ago, so this house was still new to us when the pandemic began. And now it feels like ours. Again--a pivot.

And the one area where a pivot didn't materialize:

Health. Oh, I wanted to use my meditation app, and exercise, and eat well, and Do All the Things. Instead I baked bread and drank wine and ate cookies and penne with homemade vodka sauce and walked the dog. This area was definitely a total fail. The only abundance I got was in caloric intake. I've decided not to beat myself up about it too much--it is a global pandemic--and this area is the one in which I struggle the most, always have. So I let it guide me for my 2021 word, which I'll get to later this week.

I can't add more to what anyone else has already said about this year. So much of it was a dumpster fire, so many people are hungry and hurting, and so many have experienced devastating loss without the comfort of family and friends and the support of community. 2020 gave me an abundance of things to struggle with, but it also gave me an abundance of perspective and gratitude. I'm grateful that my family (extended and nuclear) has stayed healthy, that my kids have show their resiliency and strength, and that we've figured out we can do hard things together.

2021 is coming, and hopefully our lives will return close to what they were before. I'll be ready, with an abundance of joy. #2020 #wordoftheyear

When our kitchen was gutted and they literally had to build a support wall to replace a beam. So 2020

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©2017 by Erin Dionne • Writer