I’m not someone who’s great at positive reflection so I was caught off guard at just how much I’ve done this year. I spend a lot of my time on downtime activities and yet I can never fully shake the feeling that I need to be doing something productive. Why am I spending time playing a game when I should be writing for my blog? Maybe get a video off the ground again? Or hell even read a book? It’s a never ending nagging even though I realize I need to have at least some downtime after working a job for 40+ hours a week. Not constantly keeping up a modest schedule for the blog can always seem like a failure and I felt guilty everytime I left multiple weeks in between posts. Scheduling for hobbies across the board shifted and a few things got lost in the shuffle. It felt like I was doing something wrong, dropping projects that Emily and I had sustained throughout 2020. Once Life on Mars ended (cannot believe that was this year) our podcasting completely fell out. We still have plans to jump back into But Really Though, and even commissioned beautiful new artwork for it!, but our collective energy for it disappeared. I lost all motivation for creating new edited videos and I could never get myself to work on a new script even with the constant iphone reminders telling me to do so. The collective projects get only modest returns in terms of views but I always have outsized pressure to keep things going. There’s a part of me that would love to do this full time and not devoting an outsized amount of time to it seems like my problem. The forces of capitalism though keep me firmly entrenched in a 8-5 job and it’s hard to fit things in around the edges. I also feel like if I don’t consistently work on things then they’ll completely slip away forever. I don’t want this diatribe to make it sound like I have it bad; I’m very lucky that I am gainfully employed throughout the pandemic in a remote position. The world is still dark out there too. Vaccine rollouts and getting Trump out of the White House was not the incredible lift that people hoped for as we’re still in the middle of a pandemic and a loss of momentum around progressive movements. Getting a vaccine is now a political standing, Democrats stopped pretending to support Defund the Police, government assistance completely dried up and we’re still waiting on any positive movements from a Democrat controlled Congress. I’m scared for what 2022 is going to bring us politically.
And yet, I can count many amazing positives from the last year. There have been tremendous milestones hit outside of any work. I’m getting married next year! A wildly exciting event that so far has been incredibly easy and fun to plan. Turns out planning events on your own terms can be really great! I’ve also grown a lot as a person this year and feel more confident in myself than I ever have. It’s been marked by dips in mental health but I’ve had renewed energy and focus towards working on it. I’m more resilient with the negative and scary thoughts that accompany life and am slowly getting better at realizing that change can be a good thing (still making progress on it atm). Also despite the bemoaning that accompanied the first paragraph, I’ve continued to work on my projects. I’ve published 26 blogs this year and I’m happy with at the very least hitting half of the weeks in a year. We concluded a rewatch podcast and kept up with another one for half the year! And even without scripted video essays we’ve recorded 5 different Let’s Plays, something I’ve been meaning to do for years. It’s nice to look back and recognize how well I’ve done and the things I’m able to do. Progress is personal and can be nonlinear.
With the theme of retrospection in mind, I’m once again going to do end of the year wrap up lists. I felt weird and indulgent writing them last year. Listicles are inherently easy content; as long as you can come up with your list it’s not too hard to write a brief paragraph about each thing. Wrap up lists are also seen as weird popularity contests; I hope my favorite made the list! On the positive side, it’s really nice to write a piece that’s dedicated to things that made you happy. Even making the outlines triggers happy emotions as I remember all the exciting art I engaged with this year. I get to look and think back to all the items I’ve enjoyed and get to relive my moments with them. It’s also a good excuse to write about things I never wrote about in it’s own blog.
Really it’s indulgent but it’s my blog, I get to be! I get to plan out 5 weeks of content and make it easier on myself to get them done. I also get to play with the format a bit and decide what I want to highlight. Also even though these are all marked 2021 don’t expect them to cover new releases; these are instead things I’ve experienced this year regardless of when they came out (except for music). I’ve removed TV for this year because I just didn’t watch enough shows that I wanted to write about. Special shout out to The Expanse, a tremendous sci-fi show that we shotgunned within a month. The world and the slow ratcheting up of the plot are super engaging, plus the tech is really cool. It’s also a great example of a show that I like despite disagreeing with the majority of its politics (season 5 is a rough one because of that). Also special mention to Only Murders in the Building, a nice popcorn mystery show with 3 charismatic leads. Here are what I’ll be covering with my end of year lists:
- Books & Manga: The Printed Word
- 4 Gundam Series & 1 Movie
- Video Games (a whole hell of a lot of them)
The plan is to post one each week for the next 5 weeks. That may deviate a bit because life happens, but hopefully I’ll have them all up before 2022. Hope you’re all staying safe and enjoy the lists.