2020 – how did that happen?

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It’s that time again. Actually, it’s my third end-of-year review post. Does that make it a tradition?

What’s the most interesting this you learned this year?

Cool changes are the most delightful things ever, that wind sucks, and running 5k in 33ºc/91.5ºf is horrible but can be done.

Wait, that’s not interesting.

Oh, the friendship numbers. I’m assuming you’ve heard of Dunbar’s Number? There’s even a meeting room named after it in a Seattle Facebook office (that was a 2018 learning). Well, Dunbar took his research into the maximum number of friend relationships a person can handle to look at how many close friends a person can have. I saw mention of it then became curious why I have many people in Australia who I adore but still haven’t caught up with. Fitting with Dunbar’s research, I have about five people at a time that I spend time with. And most of those five rotate depending on my life, their life, school, work, and how introverted I feel that day. It also explains why I avoid Facebook. It takes too much effort wading into the cesspool to get the few gems.

Did you finish all of your tasks this year?

My first reaction was to suggest dumping this question because I’ll never finish all my tasks, but then I realized I kind of have finished everything. There are things I’d like to do but they aren’t big ones. School is done and the graduate school doesn’t offer summer semester classes, so nothing there until early March.

There’s one task I’m just finishing. In February I had the idea of Wizard Ipsum. It’s the lorum ipsum generator for magical people. Originally, Ben, Chris and I were going to build it during an all-nighter in Brisbane airport. Instead I finally got around to building it this week.

What’s your favorite achievement of 2019?

Meeting my tinier than usual GoodReads reading goal. I met and exceeded it easily so it shouldn’t be something I’m proud of but I read 38 books against a goal of 26 with 10,127 pages. I know it’s nothing compared to the 28,668 pages in 2018, but when it’s combined with moving countries, and working a couple of intense jobs, and getting five units of my MBA done, and other stuff, there’s a lot.

What are your goals for 2020?

Survive? The amazing Eileen sent me a text this week asking me this exact thing. There’s been so much transition it’s hard to set goals. I suppose it’s to get through the five units for school and get my GPA back up to 3.0. Yes, I need to put more effort in. Working with Good Shepherd Microfinance was such a fun distraction that I discovered I could skate through school with good grades, but I should try for great.

I’ll leave my bookish goals for now. I started running again this year and would love to push my 5k runs to 10k ones.

Oh, I guess I do have goals.

Biggest Realization?

I’ve done many things this year that I thought impossible. When I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I would sleep a heavy 10 hours and still be too exhausted to do much. Driving hurt and I probably shouldn’t have driven while that exhausted, anyway. This year I have juggled weeks of working 30-40+ hours with up to 16 hours of classes, AND running 10-15kms. With assessment writing and journal readings on top of that. Sure, things like blogging got dropped and sometimes I was asleep by 9pm, but I did it. I also made some amazing new friendships and rekindled others.

I was strong enough for all that. That’s my biggest realization.

How is Operation: Organization going?

In some ways it’s now habit. I track all my projects in ToDoist, and have a planner for each day’s schedule. The 13 week Agile sprints for the BestSelf Journal aren’t fitting for the moment. My semesters are only six weeks long and more reactionary than planning. Next week I’m starting a Leap Planner. It’s more day-to-day planning focused on productivity but that works. I like the habit trackers and gratitude journal. I may repurpose the “what went wrong” daily section. I should stop here. My initial thoughts post will be up in the next few days.

I’m also ashamed to say I didn’t use most of the project planner pads and things I bought. The wall calendar was great and I’m looking at 2020 designs, but the rest are still sealed on my bookcase.

For school, I made ToDoist projects for each unit. Then I added everything. The readings each got a task. Even researching drafting assignments. I allocated due dates for each step, and it worked a dream. It also helped to mix school, personal and side hustles.

Favorite book?

Back to being bookish. I had to look over my GoodReads list for what I actually read. I think for the most significant favorite book is Vox by Christina Dalcher. The female oppression felt more real to me than The Handmaid’s Tale, possibly because the current White House administration is part-way there. For geeky fun, my favorite was Geekerella by Ashley Poston. It’s a geeky retelling of Cinderella, as the name infers. I didn’t get a chance to review it, but I recommend it for fun.

Least favorite book?

Swiss Family Robinson. It was the last in my series of classics. I’m sure it was timing and not this novel that stopped my classics binge, but this really is bad. I know better than to think it would be like the Disney movie, but, yeah, I expected it to be like the Disney movie. I admit I didn’t finish it. The moment I started hoping the island natives would wipe out the father I realized it was time to stop.

Are there any books you started this year you need to finish?

Would I leave a book unfinished? OK, I have a few.

I started Creativity Inc, which is part Pixar memoirs, part creativity and management book. It’s really good, but I lacked the headspace during semester.

Then there’s We Hope for Better Things by Erin Bartels. The publisher sent me the copy too late to time it for the January 1, 2019 release date, then Melbourne happened. It’s sitting on my shelf—both the physical one and my GoodReads reading shelf.

Is there a new release you’re still waiting for?

Is there ever! Wait, does this question mean late 2019 releases or 2020 releases? Let’s talk 2020.

Michelle Barker’s next novel, My Long List of Impossible Things, is released in February (shhh, I already have a copy). I loved her last book and the “inside” view of divided Germany. In this next book we meet Katja and her family in post-war Germany. It’s a perspective I’ve never thought of before and intrigues me.

Also, Hank Green’s second novel, a follow-up to An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is released on July 7. And I’m pretty sure that falls during my mid-year break. Reading party?

What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?

This is the question I should dump. Even if I was in the US there’s not enough time to read before NYE.

Is there a book that you think could still shock you and become your FAVORITE???

Refer to previous question. Note to self: remove these for 2020.

Have you already made reading plans for 2018?

Not really. Maybe? Kinda? I’m tempted to boost my GoodReads challenge above 26 but life may get in the way. OK, my reading goal is 26 books. Deal.

And if you’re keeping me accountable, here are my 2017 and 2018 end-of-year posts.

 

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More about Bianca

Bianca Smith is currently melting her way through her first Australian summer in a rather long time. She hides out in air conditioned libraries reading the novels she stalled on while studying an Executive MBA during the year. When she's not reading (or making websites), she's seeing how far she can run and catching up with her friends in her adopted Seattle.

One thought on “2020 – how did that happen?

  1. Davida Chazan

    I agree, VOX was disturbing but very powerful. Happy 2020 reading!

    Reply

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