So 2020 has been quite the year and now it’s finally over! A lot has happened this year and for most of us it hasn’t been the best of them, but is there anything we can look forward to now that the new year is in sight?
2020 has been a tough year for many not least because everywhere we look our lives have been turned upside down. Never in history has life been the way it is now and I have to admit that this last year has been a difficult one for me personally. It’s not been easy to write this blog post for reasons you’ll discover below, but I felt it was necessary to finally admit what’s been bothering me so, like many, I can put this year behind me and look forward to a better one in 2021.
This year has been a good one for my blog, I’ve achieved many things I didn’t think would be possible when I started the year. In February I ran my newly created reading challenge #Febookary which was a bit of a last minute thing and not very well thought out. Although I didn’t get quite as much involvement as I would have liked, I am still so proud of myself for trying to put a challenge out there and create my own thing.
Something I began doing later in the year was blog tours, for the first time on this blog, and by the end of the year I’ve taken part in several run by both publishers and tour companies. Although the publisher ones are great it’s the blog tours run by The Write Reads which I feel I must mention because I’ve been welcomed into a really wonderful and friendly community of book lovers. Everyone is so lovely and supportive, it’s such a nice thing to be a part of their tours and I plan to continue in the new year. 🙂
Taking part in blog tours has been fun, mainly because I get to read a new book before release day and then share my thoughts with you, but I’m not ashamed to admit that with some of the publisher led ones it’s really cool to have my blog name on the tour banner! 😛 Plus having authors share and reply to many of the reviews is a bonus of blog tours too! 😀
This year has been a tough one for many with the pandemic on most people’s minds. But for me personally the last part of the year has been the hardest especially when something happened to two of my extended family members. One person was diagnosed as terminally ill, which came as a shock because she’s always had good health. And another family member in my extended family was rushed to hospital, later recovered from that problem, but then suffered a stroke while in the hospital, which caused them to lose the ability to walk and this resulted in them having to go to a care home. Nobody in my family has ever had to live in a care home before so for one person to end up there was a shock, doubly so because they are abroad and can’t have any visitors, even those that live nearby because of the fear of the virus.
These two instances really dampened what should have been wonderful Christmas and end of year celebrations and has been partly made worse by some personal health problems I’ve had too which has affected my mood.
My own health hasn’t been very good this year and although I don’t like to talk about it and often act like I’m super fine, this year I really have struggled to cope with many things. Mentally it’s been difficult this year with everything that has happened. The last normal gathering I had with family had about 11 of us together in one house celebrating my someone’s birthday. That was back in February and since then the world went crazy and I have to admit that I struggled to adjust.
At first it was the fear mongering by the media which made me feel uncomfortable. As someone who’s suffered real debilitating OCD(the picture on that blog post existed before all the mask wearing began!), to see people turning into mini-OCDers was tough as I know how scary it can be if your mind goes down that hole of constantly worrying about everything to the point of paranoia. After that the distancing and mask wearing and all the other things made the world feel ever so strange. I know a lot of you may have gotten used to it by now but for me everything, though I do comply for other’s safety and concern, I still find it hard to adapt to a world where the natural human instinct of cuddling someone who’s in distress is seen as wrong. That plus seeing how biased the news has become and how confusing medical information now is has made things even worse. It’s just so hard to feel normal in a ‘new normal’ and I really hate that term anyway because it implies we’ll never have normal again and I just wish we’d all return to the real normal instead, where we’re all safe, well, and just normal. All this had a real negative impact on my mental state and it’s still something I’m battling with.
Towards the end of the year something else I’ve been struggling with for some time has now escalated and is causing me some difficulty in day-to-day living. Chronic pain is something I never thought I’d say I have but in truth that is what I seem to have been afflicted with recently. 😦 Some days I struggle to do anything without being in pain. The last month in particular has been really difficult and the pain I’m experiencing daily is like nothing I’ve ever had in my life. Some days are good but others I have episodes where I feel like my whole body is aching and I’ve struggled to write anything because of the pain. 😦 I’ve sought out medical help but honestly my doctor situation where I live is a joke, with nobody seeing any patients unless on the phone. Unfortunately a telephone appointment won’t help to diagnose something that has to be physically seen and examined and I haven’t been able to see any doctor who wants to help me for a long time (it’s making me question my GP surgery – I’ve already had to switch to a new one two years ago!). 😦
I have so many ideas I want to write about on this blog, and so many blog posts I so desperately want to write including tags and stuff that I’m behind in doing, but I sometimes feel a mix of pain and exhaustion and a lot of the time what I want to do is marred by the pain and a need to rest instead. Not achieving everything I want to with even my blog, makes me a little sad and depressive. So I feel like I’m a bit lost sometimes having a good day when all is well and on other days feeling low because of the pain of everthing that’s going on both physically in my body and in the wider world. Maybe it’s physical pain affecting me mentally or my mental health affecting my physical health but either way it’s left me more tired and in pain than I want. 😦
I don’t think I will achieve my Goodreads goal of reading 105 books this year. I have read 90 books and have one day to read 15 more! 😮 I think I set my goal too high at 105 books. Last year I had a lot of picture books but with a lull in getting many of them this year I just couldn’t reach that goal of reading so many books. It takes me far longer to read books with text and of course it also depends on how many words are in the books I’m reading! I’m not sad that I won’t achieve it though in fact I’m proud of myself for how many text based books I’ve managed to read this year and will continue the momentum. As someone who was a reluctant reader for a lot of my early life and even slightly into adulthood, I find reading anything a really brilliant achievement these days. Proud of myself ❤ 🙂
In other bookwormy news, I feel silly and awkward for saying this, but I think I sometimes feel a bit weird talking about books when with a lot of book bloggers. A lot of conversations talk about books I’ve never heard of or books I’ve never read and I often feel a bit lost and like I’m not a fully fledged book blogger which of course is ridiculous! Books are a passion of mine, these days at least, but I have many interests away from books and unlike so many in the community I’m not a fast reader and haven’t read so many of the books that others have. Sometimes I feel fine about it but at other times when I see a book discussion on social media I feel a bit, kind of like I don’t belong 😮 and I often just don’t participate, going blank on anything to say. 😮 😦
Is this what people call imposter syndrome because I sometimes feel like that in the book community, and it’s weird because I’ve never felt like that before now, and I’ve been blogging books since 2016 (on different blogs)! 😮 Maybe it’s just my overall difficulty in keeping up with everything, especially lately with the chronic pain stuff and bad sleep that I’ve been getting, but I’ve felt a bit out of place in certain book discussions and I still struggle because until a few years ago I would have always called myself a gamer first. I LOVE playing videogames, and have a HUGE collection of games, mainly what you’d call retro ones now, which is mostly anything before Steam forced online activation, lol. I am a gamer and would love to talk about it more but I still wonder if anyone would be interested in some game related discussion on this blog?
Despite this year being filled with so many things happening, the world gone mad and the personal struggles I’ve had to face, next year I look forward to things getting better and that includes with my blog. Unfortunately I don’t think I can promise to myself or anyone reading this blog that I can keep up with the rate of things as I was doing them in the past. I still want to write blog posts, explore different ideas and share lots of things, but with my personal health and chronic pain the way it is right now and things happening with my family I think I’ll have to go slow and that includes with #Febookary this coming year.
I’m still going to do the challenge, but I originally planned on having lots of posts throughout the month on the subject (more than my usual posting shcedule), lots of recommendations posts and to read lots of books and share madly everything on social media too. I still want to do as much as I can but I don’t want to promise I can do something and later disappoint. Health is going to be an issue for me, at least at the moment, so I will do what I can but I can’t promise I can be super obsessive-involved with it like I’d planned, lol. I hope that won’t take away the fun of the event though, it’s still going to be the same casual and relaxed atmosphere to the challenge and it will be something which I hope some of you will enjoy taking part in. 🙂
While I can’t fix myself overnight my mental health took a bit of a dive this year so for next year I hope to get back on track to where I was at the start of 2020. It’s been a strange year and the fact that I haven’t been able to get hold of a decent doctor to help diagnose what’s wrong and help treat it hasn’t helped at all. 😦 But hopefully in the new year I’m going to try and see someone else and maybe I won’t have to live with this pain for long, fingers crossed.
I’m still contemplating what Goodreads goal to set next year. I think I’ll cut back though and do less than 100, that way I can be proud when I will (and yes I WILL) achieve it. 🙂 I also want to continue sharing my reviews for a variety of books and take part in more blog tours if I can. I’m actually excited to have been contacted by some publishers for reviews/blog tours, even as far into the future as a blog tour for June, so hopefully I can continue to keep up with the reading – I plan to do a lot more of that! 😀
Getting hold of a bumper book haul from a publisher near the end of this year as well as some personal book gifts I got has made me love reading even more than ever before and I can say that one thing I’m proud of and really have a passion for lately is reading books! I think I am more passionate about it than I have ever been before and I feel more excited than anything else about sharing more reviews. I’m hoping that I can read something different for #Febookary and maybe start to get in some classics too this year as I’ve not manged to read many of those in the last few years.
I also have hope that 2021 will be a better year for everyone around the world and that the madness of the pandemic and covid will cease. I don’t know if it’s achieveable but it’s one thing that I wish more than anything, that we can live in less fear, wake up to everything that’s going on around us and see the world for what it really is. There’s more than just the illness going on around the world, though it’s a big part of everyone’s concerns right now, but there’s also some incompetent people in power and power-hungry leaders who are transforming our world into something out of a dystopian nightmare. But in my heart I truly wish and believe that things will right themselves with time and we will all have a better year and better lives in the future and hopefully in this coming new year.
Don’t give into the fear, madness and panic, don’t believe everything you read, don’t give in to the drama of divide between different people and above all else, don’t ever let fear rule your mind and actions instead of your heart and soul. The world is a wonderful place when we don’t fear it or each other. We’ll get through this mad patch (I truly believe that) and in future we’ll look back at some of the craziness of this year and laugh.
Happy New Year to you all and next year I hope you all achieve all of your dreams and that you have a truly beautiful and wonderful year! 🙂 ❤
What are you hoping to acheive next year? What would you say about your 2020? Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂