2020: The Year in Review

So 2020 is almost over with, thank goodness! Not that it was a totally bad year for me personally, but I really hope 2021 is better for the world at large.

I started the year hoping to settle in at the care facility. I did, but it did take some more accommodating from the staff than I’d expected they would be willing to. In July, for this reason, I was granted the highest care profile for blind people (I had the second-highest until then). I felt very mixed emotions about it. I mean, even though I had originally asked my support coordinator to look at that care profile when applying for my long-term care funding, I do remember her saying I would definitely not qualify. It turned out that I did.

Then in November, after I’d been in some major crises, the staff suggested I sign an official request for extra care hours. I just heard this morning that it got approved. Next week, the staff and manager are going to discuss how to use the extra care and whether new staff will need to be hired.

I hoped to settle in at the day center. That didn’t work out, as the center closed down due to COVID in mid-March. It has since reopened to some of the homes, where clients can utilize a specific room for their home. However, many clients in my home fare better now that we get day activities from the home.

COVID also had its consequences for my marriage. I had just been trying to learn to use public transportation, like I’d hoped I could, when COVID hit the Netherlands and care facilities were closed to visitors. Even though we’re in a second lockdown now, my facility does allow visitors this time around. However, my husband and I agreed it wouldn’t be sensible for me to use public transportation as of now.

As a result of the first lockdown, I didn’t see my husband at all for March, April and most of May. Thankfully, our marriage survived.

Looking back at my hopes for 2020, I see I did pretty well considering the circumstances. I mean, I didn’t settle in at the day center or learn to use public transportation, but like I said above, that’s to blame on COVID.

Health-wise, I didn’t lose weight, but I am much more active now than I was in 2019 and I do eat okay too. I could certainly do better, like I tried for some weeks in late October and early November. I’ll need to activate my water reminder app again too.

With respect to my mental health, I certainly took good care of that. I had had it as a secret wish to lower my Abilify dose, but I never did. However, that’s okay considering I wasn’t doing as great mentally as I expected to be. I hope I did finally find a PRN medication that helps me though.

I also blogged much more regularly in 2020 than in 2019. I didn’t do any other writing projects, mostly because I feel too inadequate.

Lastly, that self-care excuse of a goal I definitely did attain. I love love love essential oils.

How was your 2020?

Ten Books I Read in 2020

Today, I’m joining in with Top Ten Tuesday (#TTT). The theme today is top ten favorite reads of 2020. According to my Goodreads stats, I read only thirteen books in 2020. Goodreads might’ve missed some, but I didn’t read many more. That’s okay though. Let me just hope for a better reading year next year. Here are ten books I read this year.

1. Pictures of Me by Marilee Haynes. I started this book in late 2019 I think and finished it over New Year’s, so just in 2020. It is a Christian early middle grade novel I had been wanting to read for years.

2. Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan. Another middle grade novel I enjoyed. See my review.

3. Wonder by R.J. Palacio. I had been wanting to read this one for years too, but had waited until it got onto Bookshare (which it never did). I finally bought it in April I think and don’t regret it at all.

4. Wink by Rob Harrell. This is another middle grade novel. I came across it shortly after having read Wonder. Honestly, I loved Wink even more than I did Wonder. See my review.

5. Far From Fair by Elana K. Arnold. I see I read a ton of middle grade. I really intend to read more age-appropriate fiction in 2021. Anyway, this was the last book I finished this year, so I wanted to include it.

6. Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett. This was definitely my favorite YA novel I read in 2020. See my review.

7. Bloom by Kenneth Oppel. I include this one because it was definitely outside of my comfort zone. I loved it though. I wrote a review of it after finishing it. I’m currently reading its sequel Hatch.

8. Who Will Love Me Now? by Maggie Hartley. This was such an emotive read, it definitely tops my list of favorite memoirs I read in 2020. Here’s my review.

9. No Way Out by Kate Elysia. I never reviewed this one, but I loved it. It is a memoir by a survivor of sex trafficking.

10. Diagnosis by Lisa Sanders. This was an intriguing read. See my review.

What was your favorite read of 2020?

How COVID-19 Changed My Outlook on 2020

Yes, I’ve said it before, but can you believe it’s May already? Four months have passed since the beginning of 2020. Time flies when you’re having fun, they say. Well, time also flies (and drags at the same time) when in a pandemic. Today I’m joining in with Finish the Sentence Friday (which is open all week), for which the question this week is how the pandemic changed your word of the year.

In January, I chose the word Wellbeing as my word of the year for 2020. I was at the time already a bit angsty about it, as I was in a bit of a hypochondriac phase and thought that if I chose this word, I’d die this year or something. Some kind of reverse law of attraction.

Still, so far, my word is still pretty true. I am taking preventative measures to hopefully keep the coronavirus out of my body. Just yesterday, my staff started taking everyone’s temp twice daily with a no-contact thermometer. Since the virus hit the home below mine, I have been a little more scared. At the same time, I still often avoid thinking about the pandemic too much. Actually, I realize that, as the month of April continued, I included fewer and fewer references to the pandemic in my posts.

I had a few hopes for 2020 too. The first one was to keep my marriage strong. I felt I needed to learn to travel to my husband for this, as I thought ultimately living apart wouldn’t be very good for our marriage otherwise. While I still feel I need to learn to travel to him independently once the crisis is over, I have learned that our marriage can survive a time of not seeing each other. It’s hard, but it’s doable.

Honestly, I must say the pandemic has given me a clearer focus on what matters most. I try to appreciate my husband more. After all, he isn’t a given. One day one of us might catch the virus. Besides, we can’t see each other now and it isn’t altogether logical that a marriage survives this.

On my other goals, I did pretty well so far. I’m actually loving it. I don’t know whether the crisis is the reason I’m doing so well, but I’m pretty sure it’s one of the factors.

My 2020 Word of the Year

And I finally feel well enough to write what I hope to be a coherent post. Last Wednesday, I wrote one too, but I barely remember it and someone commented that she could feel the flu through the screen. I had a relatively mild case, as I only ran a fever for two days I think. I still have a sore throat, some mild nausea and feel generally unwell, but I’ve at least been able to stay up all day.

We’re already almost half through the first month of the year. This week though, Kristi over at Finding Ninee is hosting Finish the Sentence Friday with the theme of your word for the year. These are, like I said last year, always posts I dread making, as I’m never quite sure life will happen as I imagined it would and then I end up beating myself up. Like, in 2018, I chose “Be” as my word even though it was to be the most eventful year in quite a while. I was just very naive. This year, if I choose a similar word, intending life to go on as it has for the past few months, I’m sure I’m creating a bad omen. Then no doubt will I be kicked out of the care facility. Yes, I’m pretty superstitious like that.

So for this year, a lot of words floated through my mind. “Mindful” and “Calm” did, but I was sure the passivity of them would create a bad omen. “Growth” doesn’t feel right, as that seems like the opposite in some way, requiring me to make progress in some yet undetermined respect.

So, the word I’m picking for this year just popped up into my mind as I sat down to write this post. It is: WELLBEING.

Now let’s hope I don’t get into some type of life-altering health crisis this year. Then still if I do, I can still focus on my wellbeing within the limits my body will set.

My Hopes for 2020

Hi everyone and a happy new year to you all! I’m wishing all my readers the best for 2020. May this year be filled with health and happiness.

Like last year, I don’t really do new year’s resolutions. That is, I’m calling them “hopes” as to have them give me less pressure. This may be a stupid mind trick, so that if I fail at all of them at the end of the year I can just say I wasn’t really meaning to stick to them. Well, anyway, here goes.

1. I hope to find a way to keep my marriage as strong as it’s now whilst I’m living in the care facility. This mainly means I need to find a way to keep seeing my husband despite the fact that I won’t have the ParaTransit to travel one way even once every other week. I really need to find a way to learn to travel by public transportation. The thought of which overwhelms me. Then again, the consequences of not making this work, are far, far worse. I have very conflicting feelings about this whole situation, which I won’t be sharing here.

2. I hope to settle in at the care facility, both the home and the day center, and find a routine that keeps me happy.

3. I hope to keep going for a healthier lifestyle. I first hope to be more mindful of my food choices. I mean, I did okay’ish over the holidays, eating far less than I would have had I not had it in mind that I ultimately need to lose all the pounds I put on. However, I still ate more than I should have.

I hope to stick to my habit of drinking two liters of fluid each day. I have occasionally lost track when at my husband’s, but did welll over the past month otherwise.

I really want to get into an exercise routine. I have a gym in mind that I may want to join in February (because everyone else joins the gym in January).

4. I hope to stick to a regular writing and blogging schedule. I won’t push myself to blog everyday or the like. I mean, I could be joining in with #JusJoJan again and I know the rules aren’t strict so this post counts too, but I think I’d rather jump in when a prompt speaks to me. I aim for a minimum of two posts a week, unless illness or technical problems get in the way.

Dreaming bigger, I hope to write another essay that could be published in an anthology in 2020. I mean, I’m still excited about the one piece I had published in 2015, but there must be more in store for me.

5. I hope to read more. The year is off to a good start, as I finished a book (okay, one I’d started reading in 2019) today. I really want toventure out into the book blogosphere, even though I have zero intention of becoming a real book blogger.

6. I hope I can get into a better self-care routine. This is really an excuse for me to explore more of mindfulness, essential oils, relaxation, etc. I often think that I need to be productive all day. Then recently I listened to a Podcast in which the presenters explained the importance of daydreaming. They linked a lack of it to dementia, which has me scared like crap, because whenever I’m not doing anything in particular, I tend to fall asleep. They didn’t say whether you can train yourself to daydream or whether this helps, but it can’t be bad.

What do you hope to achieve in 2020?