Great expectations

I keep trying to write one of those “this is what I accomplished last year, in spite of it all” posts, and all I can see is everything I didn’t accomplish. So in the spirit of turning a negative into a positive, here’s a list of things I did not do in 2020:

I did not get COVID-19.In fact, I did not get sick at all this year. I didn’t get anyone else sick, either.

I did not set my alarm clock. I did not wake up every morning wondering when I could go back to bed.

I did not miss my wife nearly as much during the day.

I did not disown my children.

I did not spend money on lattes I didn’t really need just so I could get out of the house.

I did not have to put gas in the car every week.

I did not lose my home—or my ailing cat—in the fire and smoke of Oregon’s wildfires this summer.

I did not quit taekwon-do even when I felt old and weak and tired and uncoordinated.

I did not give up on writing even when I gave up on submitting to certain publications.

I started 2020 with great expectations, very few of which came to pass. I want to believe next year will be easier than this one was, but I expect it will be at least as difficult, and this makes it really hard to set goals. I think the only goal I will be working towards in 2021 is this: defy expectations. It’s not as neat and tidy as crossing something off a list, but it’s a whole lot better than coming around to the end of next December and finding just a list of missed opportunities.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this. I think what I want to say is: be kind to yourself this year. Count the times when things go right; don’t give yourself grief over things you can’t control. Do this, and you’ll be defying expectations, too, and that can only be good.

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