Wednesday, December 23, 2020

2020: More or Less

In 2020 the more was more, and the less was less. I don't know why I did the italics like that. 

I did some form of exercise almost every day this year, whether it was kettlebells, steel mace, shena pushups and wooden clubs, long walks in town, tai chi heavy ball, or nature hikes. And no I didn't know what a lot of that was on 1/1/2020 but I learned. Unlike previous years, a once a week 3 or 4 mile hike in the woods was not my primary form of exercise, so it became positioned as a can't miss leisurely country ramble I did on my off day. A nature bath, if you will.

Music Playing
After a 2.75 year stretch of creative output and an 8 year period of daily music playing, I started to let that go this year. Something had to give I guess and musical instrument playing (ie creativity) took a hit. It was actually kind of a relief to let this slip after an almost three year grind where I had tasked myself with a stressful ongoing goal of writing one tune per week. I don't know when I'll be opening that tap again or even if it will be a decision I'm fully in control of.

I easily read over fifty books this year. Granted, 80 to 90 percent of them were in the detective fiction mystery series genre, as in Michael Connelly (Harry Bosch, Renee Ballard), Walter Mosley (Easy Rawlins), Ross Macdonald (Lew Archer), and Gar Anthony Haywood (Aaron Gunner). Why that kick?  I don't know but I stuck with it. Every so often I'd also read a vintage horror book from the Valancourt Books catalog to change things up, although it was mainly hard-boiled series.  If I found something I liked, I tended to read several if not all the books in the series in 2020. That was new for me. 

What is Fourth World?
Never heard of that genre.
Shouldn't it have been 4th though?
Live Music
Nothing unique here. My big three live music events for 2020 were all cancelled: the Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, three nights of Phish in Atlantic City, and the Richmond Folk Festival. Personally, I didn't miss it as much as you might think. As someone for whom live music is expected to be a big part of their life, whose identity was partially defined by being a live music person, it was surprisingly easy to shed. Frankly, the party-like atmosphere and the risk of over-indulgence associated with going out to see music has been casting a shadow on that experience in my case for years now. So having a forced break allowed an opportunity for introspective growth, self-discipline and preparedness for what's to come. Hopefully I'll be ready.

It's amazing how much time not having to do a 50 minute commute back and forth each way to work adds to your life. (Is it amazing though? It's 50 minutes. That in and of itself isn't amazing, per se.) I enjoyed/I've been enjoying working from home. It didn't/It doesn't bother me. I like repetition and consistency. If most days are the same that means going to bed by 10pm and getting up by 6:30am. Instead of not having time for a morning workout I suddenly had plenty of time for a 30-minute workout with time left over to read a book and enjoy coffee before having to open up the work laptop. Saving on gas. What's not to like about that? I did listen to fewer podcasts in 2020 since that's mainly something I would do while driving by myself in the car to and from work. Nope, my home office involved sitting at the kitchen bistro table with a view of the birds and squirrels at the bird feeders out back.

In 2020 I ate nearly all of my meals at home, so I was able to get a handle on my food intake and take control of my diet. Consistency helps. A keto drink for breakfast. Cheese, fresh spinach, and deli meats for lunch. Chicken thighs with cauliflower rice, or ground turkey with celery, or bacon, eggs and arugula for dinner. Repeat. Not going out to eat. Not getting takeout that often. Not over eating. Keeping it simple. This, plus daily exercise, allowed me to lose forty pounds this year. I also wore the same shirt for 30 days in a row without washing it. You could do kind of thing in 2020.

I don't know what more I can do in 2021 other than just try and dial everything up a notch.

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