2020 Year in Review
2020 was quite a year, wasn’t it? Last year’s roller coaster both thrilled and nauseated me, and at different times made me happy, sad, depressed, confused, excited, fulfilled, overjoyed, and despaired. Is that enough adjectives? Those will have to do, because 2020 brought on so many different emotions that my vocabulary is not large enough to describe it.
My roller coaster began even before the global pandemic. There was some work-related turmoil that caused massive layoffs, but fortunately the company rebounded and was able to a rehire good percentage of the staff, myself included. We continue to face challenges as the economy ebbs and flows with the pandemic, but we closed the year on an up trend.
I completed one of the most challenging and fulfilling projects of my career. The pandemic caused us to rethink how we deliver our online content, and we decided to switch to Zoom. It was a massive amount of work to switch platforms, and I’m extremely proud of how smooth and seamless we are able to make the transition for our students.
There was still some fun to be had in 2020, believe it or not. I became somewhat of a trivia host, using Zoom and Kahoot to host trivia nights virtually. I also went axe throwing for the first time and had a blast! Figuring out the proper technique to get an axe to hit the target is oh so satisfying.
At the beginning of 2020 it looked like I might actually blog semi-regularly. Unfortunately I lost steam around May and only managed seven posts. I did complete a migration from Wyam to Hugo, and figured out how to automate deployment of the blog using GitHub Actions.
I read a total of 13,997 pages, with an average book length of 349 pages. The shortest book was 39 pages (Ark, by Veronica Roth), while the longest book was 1000 pages (The Wise Man’s Fear, by Patrick Rothfuss).
I read 22 authors I hadn’t read before, including Madeline Miller, Carl Hiaasen, Alice Walker, Kevin Kwan, and Becky Chambers. I celebrated Black History Month by reading only Black authors, a tradition that I plan to continue this year. I also plan to celebrate Women’s History Month by reading only female authors.
There were so many memorable reads from 2020. I loved Madeline Miller’s take on Greek mythology in both Circe and Song of Achilles. Nnedi Okorafor’s Binti trilogy is a mesmerizing coming of age tale, as is F.C Yee’s dive into the world of Avatar of The Rise of Kyoshi series. Batman: No Man’s Land by Greg Rucka is an exhilarating novelization of a popular comic book story.
Overall, I most proud of finally reading two novels that had been on my reading list for years: The Color Purple and Dune. Dune is a big book that I knew would challenge me because of its heavy use of visual world-building, but it was definitely worth the three week commitment. The Color Purple is an inspiration and quite possibly my favorite read of the year.
Not only did I read a ton, I also watched a ton: 71 movies and stand-up specials! I haven’t looked into my viewing history to know if this is a record, but it sure feels like it. And it doesn’t even include TV shows, which is a bit harder for me to look up.
Hamilton was easily the best movie I watched all year, even if it’s not quite a movie. I haven’t yet had the pleasure of seeing it performed live, but this rendition with the original Broadway cast made feel like I was there. Some other standouts include Knives Out, Marriage Story, Fast Color, Jojo Rabbit, Peanut Butter Falcon, Palm Springs, and The Old Guard.
I won’t spend much time talking about the duds. Let’s just say that Guns Akimbo and Artemis Fowl aren’t worth the time.
Surprisingly, the pandemic had a negative affect on my listening habits. The car was my primarily listening space, and I spent a lot less time in the car in 2020. However, I still listened to 392 hours of music!
My charts were dominated by old favorites: The Roots, including Black Thought’s solo efforts, Run the Jewels, Anderson .Paak, Kendrick Lamar, K-Os, etc. I also found some new favorites, namely Black Pumas, Dr. Rubberfunk, El Michels Affair, and African Music Machine. The song I played the most was “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers, may he rest in peace.
There you have it, my 2020 in terms of working, blogging, having fun, reading, watching, and listening. I’m looking forward to what 2021 will bring in all of these aspects. I’ve set a goal to read at least 36 books, the highest goal I’ve ever set but one I should be able to achieve if I read at 2020’s pace. I’m also going to set a goal to write twelve blog posts this year. One down, eleven more to go!