Today is the last day it's really reasonable to do a retrospective of 2020, so here goes.
Last year I resolved not to give up hope. That was all. I realized that I wasn't in control of very much in my life, because of Jackie mostly, and instead of making a resolution, I decided to hope for a few things.
Here is what I hoped I could do:
- wean Jackie
- potty train Jackie
- get Jackie to sleep through the night
- be able to accomplish more in a day
- get a literary agent
- finish 1-2 novels
- Donald Trump gets voted out
The year fulfilled all of my worst fears by making it harder to do things than I had imagined. But on the other hand, it fulfilled almost all of my hopes. While John was on civil leave from work, I managed to finish 2019's novel, and by using all of my free time for the second half of the year, I finished (the rough draft of) a second. Since we had nowhere to go for months, it was a great time to potty train Jackie.
She slowly started sleeping through the night most of the time, over the course of the year. I weaned her on her birthday this year, so it's only a little late.
I did not accomplish more in a day. It helped that I lost my Latin teaching job (really, a relief given how much fun teaching Latin by zoom wouldn't be) but then I had to help my own kids do schoolwork so it came out in the wash. I did not get an agent.
We did vote out Donald Trump, thanks to everyone that turned out. He even left office. I didn't really relax till he had.
But honestly that's pretty good for a year when a) I didn't push myself too hard to accomplish anything, and b) it was a hell year to begin with.
One thing I didn't put down was get a writing job, though I've been wanting to do that for a while. Teaching really drains me, and I would like to be able to work in my jammies. Doubly so given the pandemic.
Well, a friend was looking for a job writing web content, so now that's what I do. It's very part time. I briefly picked up a second contract, but that stressed me out having so many articles on my plate, so it was a bit of a relief when that one didn't ask for more. When the kids are all back in school, I would like to pick up more jobs like that. I believe that I can, because a) I'm a pretty good writer, and b) pretty much every company needs a website, which needs a blog, which needs content, so that's a heck of a lot of demand.
There's always a problem where there are more writers than there are eyeballs that want to read the content. But today, robots read every single website for keywords, so you don't even need a human audience to have a job.
Anyway, it feels really good to get validation for my writing. And also to have money that's all mine.
Jackie really is getting easier, very very slowly. She still wants attention an awful lot of the time. And when she wants a thing, you pretty much can't distract her or put her off. You do it or there's screaming and screaming and more screaming and flailing and hitting. It's hard. I don't love that part.
Because of the challenge she continues to be, specifically connected to stuff like sensory sensitivity, rigidity in routines, and shyness, I had her assessed for autism. This was both shorter and cheaper than what we did for Marko, because I took her to a child psychologist instead of a developmental pediatrician. I was worried that would mean they wouldn't see her issues, especially given she's a girl and thus not the standard profile.
But the doctor did see them, and confirmed she does have ("very mild!") autism. Which surprises me not at all, and is honestly a huge relief. It is hard to admit to people that she is the amount of trouble she is, even at four years old, and not have an explanation for it.
When you have a wild, fussy, or demanding child, people judge the heck out of you. But the second you say the A-word, suddenly it's "oh I love autistic people, I am so supportive, you're so strong and great."
Sorry, but if you don't love and support wild, fussy, demanding children without having to be told about their label, you don't love autistic people. Because they're everywhere and they aren't born diagnosed.
That's my rant for today.
Resolutions for this year? Are we doing that? Is there a point to that?
Things I would like to have happen, COVID willing and the crick don't rise:
- I want my COVID vaccine.
- I want to go to WorldCon, the convention where the Hugo Awards are happening.
- I want to relearn how to spend time with people. And hug them. I'm gonna hug so many people.
- I want to spend as much time as possible this summer outside. In the pool if at all possible. I finally have pool-age kids and we missed a whole summer.
- I'd like to sign my kids up for ballet, gymnastics, or martial arts next fall.
- I'd like to take a long break from writing, because of burnout, but then write something completely new in November.
- If I run through my agent list and still don't have an agent, I'm submitting my novel to indie presses. The publishing industry is consolidating too much and sometimes small is better.
- Pick up some freelance writing contracts maybe.
It's going to be a sad year if most of this stuff has to be canceled. Please stay home till you get vaccinated so we can have a real summer this year.
One last thing is a word. Gotta have a word, I've been doing this for years and I'd hate to leave a gap, even though next year is as up-in-the-air as last year was.
The word that came to me is PEOPLE.
In 2020 I actually got more social, in a sense. I've been pretty isolated for years, because of kids, especially one kid who hangs upside-down and screams when I try to have an adult conversation. But this year, everyone was online all day like me. I had some good groups and talked a lot with my friends. Which is lovely.
So next year I'd like to keep that going, and if at all possible move that outside the house. Start by hanging out with the people I already know and miss, and then maybe, slowly, meet other people I don't already know. I know! Terrifying! But I would really like to do that.
Happy moderately-new-still year. Do you have plans or a word?