Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

The Big(ish) Year-End Wrap-Up

Fresh when it gets here from Julie Barrett
Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Well, 2020 was a year. I'll grand you that.

It started great, at least for us, when we took a cruise in January to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. That was our first cruise, too, so it made for a fun week. (A recap and lots of pictures are here for the clicking.)

I got to attend one small convention in February. FrogCon was held at the TCU library. It was a one-day event, but a lot of fun. The staff were enthusiastic and at the time, they wanted to do it again. I hope they can at some point.

Because it all fell apart in March. I predicted early on that the mortality rate of the virus would drop as we got more testing kits out. I'm so sorry to say that was wrong. It still seems to be at around 1% for where I live, but some areas are far worse than others. Some are better. Nationwide, the response has been a disaster. 

I'm fortunate that I can work from home, but the convention business dried up a lot of income, not only for me, but for many of my friends and colleagues. I was able to pivot to making masks, which means I was able to salvage the year financially. It's not going to be much of a profit. Edmund Blackadder's mustache shop did better. But hey, at least I didn't get visited by Robbie Coltrane to show me how horrible my ancestors were. (And no, I don't think they were horrible.)


But hey, nothing but the best in this house!

If you've come expecting a giant brag about how I did all the baking, redecorated the house, etc., you can go away. 

2020 was both a horrid dumpster fire and a small opportunity for reflection and renewal. I had the opportunity to do things without constantly looking over my shoulder, waiting for the next person to drop a festering hot project in my lap. (And yes, that choice of words was deliberate.) You see, because I have a more flexible schedule, everyone thinks I can take up the slack for them or drop everything to help out or whatever. Hey, I like to help out, but there comes a point where I'm spending so much time on everyone else's stuff that there is no time for me to get anything done.

If anything positive came out of 2020, it was that I was able to accomplish a few projects that had been simmering more urgently on the back burner. I finally got most of the craft room mess tamed! Since I wasn't able to attend conventions, I started a YouTube channel. That's been a major learning experience, and one plan for 2021 is to improve upon that. I've also been able to make some more plans to help carry the business through the pandemic, and I look forward to starting on that.

The novel is still going in fits and starts, but I had a breakthrough yesterday. I'm really slow at this, I will admit. However, there's a good feeling when I figure out why I can't move forward and how to fix what isn't working. I have this funny feeling that I may stumble for quite some time yet, but then the damn will break. And that's okay. I'm not putting a lot of pressure on myself to make a deadline. 

2021 needs to be the year I learn to say NO. It's hard to do. I grew up the oldest kid, the daughter of the Girl Scout leader. When someone else fell down on the job, I generally got "voluntold" to finish it. I was the one who dug the latrines, set the fires (for cooking! In the fire circle!), washed the communal dishes, and so on, all because it had to be done. Because somehow, I managed to get the blame if it didn't happen. And taking the blame has become my superpower! So yes, this is rooted very deep in my life and it is very difficult for me to make this change. So it's not a resolution, because I refuse to set myself up to fail. Change doesn't come overnight, unless your name is Ebenezer Scrooge. Or Ebenezer Blackadder.

And hey, that about brings all this full circle. 

Thank you to everyone who supported me this year, either by buying masks or just being there for me. You all made a difference. Drink's on me. Yes, I spilled it all over the place. But hey, you probably didn't want any Nurse McCready's Surgical Bruise Lotion anyway.

See you all next  year!

Filed under: Life            


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