Twenty from ’20

Twenty lessons I learnt from 2020…

  1. Biographies of writers can give valuable insights into their writing – but most of all I am just nosy! Writer’s biography / memoir I have enjoyed this year – Monica: A Life of Dickens, Anne Wellman; Red Comet: The short life and blazing art of Sylvia Plath, Heather Clark; H is for Hawk, Helen MacDonald. Next on my list: Mary Shelley by Miranda Seymour.
  2. How to be better at saying more in fewer words in descriptive writing, and to find the ordinary extraordinary around us.
  3. All this time, I was supposed to be wearing sunscreen INdoors as well? Argh!
  4. During lockdown (self-isolation), the oft-hidden powers of the introvert have come to the fore.
  5. You must try a new author once in a while. Authors I read for the first time and enjoyed in 2020 include: Olivia Laing, Crudo; Melissa Broder, The Pisces; Nell Freudenberger, Lost and Wanted. I’ll be setting few resolutions for 2021, but one will be to read more new (to me) authors.
  6. Before lockdown, yes, I was seriously sleep-deprived. Something to re-think when we’re getting ready to go back to the office environment.
  7. I don’t just love my children totally and unconditionally, I enjoy their company immensely, too. One of the bonuses as your kids get older, and one of the bonuses of lockdown as well.
  8. As children’s author and writer Michael Rosen, speaking on his recovery from Coronavirus on BBC radio today, in the NHS (UK National Health Service) we ‘created something beautiful’. Beauty isn’t necessarily perfect, but it is to be appreciated and cherished.
  9. I need to stop watching diy videos on YouTube – too many failed projects. Step away from the glue gun, lady!
  10. You can fool yourself that twenty minutes of gentle indoor exercise will make a difference. For a while…
  11. The uncertainty of Covid-19 makes it almost impossible to plot the action and timeline for contemporary fictional writing.
  12. The time saved from not commuting to and from work does not necessarily get used productively. However, learning life at a gentler pace has had its plus points.
  13. At last, how to make decent pasta from scratch – secrets include more eggs than you think, there being no substitute for 00-grade flour, and the time and patience to knead it properly – for at least ten minutes. Then boil in an Atlantic of salty water.  
  14. Well yes, it looks as if I am indeed a reading addict… But in the grip of the addiction, I simply don’t care right now. Because…
  15. Reading really does have multiple mental wellbeing benefits… Just in case there was any doubt.  Brain function (check); vocabulary building (check); stress reduction (check)… I have needed books more than ever this year. I just need to convince my daughter next.
  16. The best holidays can be ‘on your own doorstep’ – so lucky to have had a week away in Scotland in summer and another in Northumberland in October, plus a camping trip to North Yorkshire in July – all stunning and inspiring places.
  17.  The amount of packaging used in shop-online parcels is insane: swathes of paper, pools of packing peanuts, and acres of bubble wrap cradling non-breakable items. It may be a big ask to eliminate plastic, but let’s reduce it in 2021. F**k Plastic by Rodale Sustainability is a practical and easy-to-read starting point for tips.
  18. Saying you’re ‘too old’ for something is not always a negative thing – not when it refers to mind games, petty point scoring or bickering over irrelevancies.
  19. To make new resolutions work, it helps to address shifting old habits first – try Atomic Habits by James Clear.
  20. How privileged we are, ending the year with my job, our health, and our hopes. Because counting your blessings is not a mere sentimental cliché.


Image thanks
Main photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
Smaller image by TaniaRose from Pixabay 

23 thoughts on “Twenty from ’20

  1. Number 7 really stands out in this fascinating list.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you and all the best for 2021.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this list. Wonderful to count our blessings. In my house, that’s a daily occurrence. Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That sounds like a great habit to form. Happy 2021 to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful. I especially appreciate 4, 12, 14, 15 & 17! Hope your 2021 is a great one, Libre!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for stopping by, and happy 2021 to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great resolustions. I don’t know if #20 is because of privilege or hard work. Me, it’s the latter! I need a rest.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For me, a combination of both, I think. Hope you get that rest!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve probably watched more DIY videos in the past 9 months than in the past 5 years. Lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too – wish I could say it translated into a lot of action!

      Like

  6. You really are a serious reader Libre. I bow to you.
    Happy 2021. It should be better than this wretched 2020. (Even though Johnson is still around, but he too will pass)
    My very best wishes my friend. Stay safe and enjoy your kids.
    🙏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s definitely my drug of choice.
      Happy 2021 to you too – it’s not the best of starts, so let’s hope we’re not tempting fate if we suggest things can only get better from hereon (!?)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tempt Fate? When we went to Vietnam, my little sister was 5-6 months old. All the Vietnamese ladies would tell my mother: “Oh, such an ugly baby!”. At first she was shocked. Then she asked. Here’s the answer: “when you are introduced to a new baby, the most polite thing is to say that the baby is ugly, so the demons fleeting around don’t get jealous and make the baby sick… 8I love cultural discrepancies…)
        And lo and behold: we just saw as close to an attempted Coup in the US as I tought we’d ever see… Unbelievable.
        Stay safe mon amie.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, that was one of the events where I could hardly believe what I was seeing on the screen. There’s no easy way out of that mess. Internationally, we all have a long road ahead – to use a lazy cliché, we can only hope it’s an uphill one.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. One of (my)N learnings from this covid crisis is that we need to rewrite Democracy completely. Our current “leaders” are hopeless, but just a product of the system. Toqueville in the early 19th century had already pointed to the risks of bureaucracy. We are there… Time to reinvent ourselves… (I am a bit old for that, darn) 😉

            Liked by 1 person

            1. It is extraordinary to look at the leadership in this country – and certain others – and marvel that this appears the best we can do. At least in UK, of course, this relates to the class system and divided education. For instance, post world war 2, 15 Prime Ministers and nine went to private schools, five of them the same school – Eton. 29 per cent of MPs were educated privately, with 59 per cent of Conservative MPs privately educated, against 7 per cent of the population who are . That’s not representation.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. It is not. And an aggravating factor, in many “western” countries is that the “best” are now going in the private sector. More fame, excitement, and riches to be made than in politics. So we are left with the not-so-good. Sigh.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. We also need more role models so younger people feel politics ‘is for them’ not inly for the rich and those finding their way into elite universities. Still hold out hopes for the upcoming generation, but we cannot leave them with all the mess to solve.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. I know. But the new generation is charming but I don’t see much interest for the “Polis” (in a Greek sense)

                    Like

                  2. I see many politicised over social and environmental matters; I hope this leads to wider engagement ‘state’ politics.

                    Liked by 1 person

  7. Cool post idea.
    ad 1. I’ve never read an author’s biography. It sounds interesting, but I very much dislike biographies. They tend to bore me.
    ad 3. Another argument as to why I should work from home (my office at work has bigger windows. And more of them.)
    ad 5. I always found it bizarre that people read only specific writers. Everyone has better and worse days (and books). I like the variety of various writers.
    ad 6. SAME! I finally don’t complain about being sleepy all day every day.
    ad 10. I recently heard that 11 minutes of moderate activity (like dancing) every day does the trick.
    ad 12. I was just thinking of that last night. I wish I woke up at the same time as I used to back in the day to write (or do something else), but I often stay in bed until shortly before work. However, I AM working on it. And there are times when I get up earlier and am productive. But I’m not a morning person. So, I take the extra time that I now have in the evenings and use it wisely. I like having the option to either relax sometimes or do something productive. Both options are way better for my physical and mental state than sitting in traffic.
    ad 16. Scotland is definitely on my short-list of places to visit.
    ad 17. I never really had excessive packaging for my non-breakables. However, I did notice that the box sizes are often way too big for their contents.
    ad 20. Truth!
    Stay golden!

    Like

Leave a Reply to Rene Penn Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close