A Year in Review | Wrapping up the strangest year of my life (thanks 2020)

Wrapping up 2020

Hello, my lovely lemons! Well, that was quite a year. I don’t think that sentiment has ever been truer than it is at the end of 2020. Yet, when I look back through this year (beyond the dumpster fire it’s been on the surface) I find quite a few good memories. I can certainly look back on a lot of good books!

Reading back over my 2019 wrap up is really showing me how much things changed over the course of one year. The biggest thing 2020 has taught me is that I want to live a simpler life – not one filled with more and more projects (something I’m very guilty of). It might sound strange, but I’m grateful for the time I spent in lockdown, furloughed from my job. I’m glad for that time I got to spend at home, reading and relaxing and, yes, playing Animal Crossing. I’ve been working full time since the summer of 2018 without more than a week long break, so it was honestly so refreshing to have that time off to truly just be with myself.

I’ve already wrapped up my favourite books of the year, so I won’t be going over any specific titles in this post. But I will be looking at my reading stats, as well as my favourite posts of the year. And of course, reviewing the goals I set in 2020, and setting new ones for 2021!

πŸ“š Best books I read in 2020 part one | Sapphic high fantasy, bisexual superhero, and a series that wrecked me emotionally
πŸ“š Best books I read in 2020 part two | Relatable AIs, a non-binary space hero, and a trans love story

Okay, the really fun part of these posts is going back to the previous year and seeing how different my ideas were. I always make ridiculous assumptions about the year ahead and decide I’m going to suddenly start doing a million things every New Year. Well, 2020 has officially beaten that out of me. I now know the best thing I can do is be realistic, and not expect too much from myself. Which just makes it even funnier to look back at my totally unfounded optimism!

Past me was honestly ridiculous – I managed 3/8 πŸ˜‚
Reading

πŸ‹ Reading Goals from 2020 πŸ‹

  • Read 45 books βœ… I smashed this goal and read 67 books!
  • Crush my TBR βœ… I read or unhauled every single unread book I owned at the beginning of 2020!
  • Keep up with book reviews ❎ Sometimes I write reviews and sometimes I don’t. I decided this goal wasn’t for me, and now I just review when I feel like it.

If I can thank lockdown for one thing, it’s the fact it made 2020 my best reading year ever! I read a total of 67 books, the most I’ve ever got through! My previous record was 46 in 2018, so I beat that by 21 books!! I’m so, so proud of this, especially coupled with the fact I crushed my TBR. My biggest issue in 2019 was the fact I owned too many unread books, and kept buying books I wasn’t even that keen on reading. This made me stressed, and I never knew what I wanted to read. This year I DNF’d, unhauled, or read every single book I’d owned at the start of the year. I also created a TBR Jar, which means my next read gets picked completely at random! It stops me getting decision paralysis, and makes sure I get to every book on my TBR.

πŸ‹ I’m Banned From Buying Books | Fixing My Bad Reading Habits
πŸ‹ My Book Buying Ban Is OVER! | Everything on My Wishlist Now I Can Purchase Books Again

As far as book reviews go, I’ve decided it’s just not a focus for me. I used to love writing long reviews for everything, but as I got more into blogging and moved away from Goodreads that love faded. Now I prefer to just write my feelings down when I finish a book, and I tend to leave it at that. It’s simple, and I’m happy with it!

πŸ‹ Reading Goals for 2021 πŸ‹

  • Read 52 books I managed it last year, and I’m sure I can do it again! One book a week is a really fun and attainable goal for me, so I’m sticking to it, and if I beat it that’s just an extra bonus!
  • Complete my current TBR Again, this one worked in 2020 so I’m sticking with it. By the end of this year I have to read or unhaul every single unread book I currently own. It feels really good starting the year with a totally fresh reading list. I want that feeling every year!
Blogging

πŸ‹ Blogging Goals from 2020 πŸ‹

  • Write 26 posts βœ… I actually managed 30 posts in 2020! That’s more than one a fortnight (though they weren’t exactly spaced out like that) and I’m very happy.
  • Blog hop more ❎ I unfortunately didn’t blog hop much, but I did discover lots of lovely new people through the Book Blogger Awards!

I published 30 posts across 2020, meaning I beat my goal of one post per two weeks! I’m really happy with a lot of the content I put out this year, but mostly I really value the friends I’ve made! Commenting, sharing and having conversations is my favourite part of this community, and I love that I’ve gotten to do that with so many people. Here are my favourite posts from this year:

πŸ‹ Why We Need More Female Names on Fantasy Books | A Discussion
πŸ‹ My Lockdown Life | I Built a New Bookshelf & Organised My Sock Drawer…
πŸ‹ Why Do I Keep DNFing Popular Books? | Feat. The Hate U Give, A Darker Shade of Magic
πŸ‹ My Nominations for the 2020 Book Blogger Awards | Let’s Celebrate This Wonderful Community
πŸ‹ The Problems with ARCs that No One Talks About | free books aren’t that great
πŸ‹ I Paid an Expert to Pick What I Read | Trying Out BookRiot’s Tailored Book Recommendations (TBR) Service

πŸ‹ Blogging Goals for 2021 πŸ‹

  • Publish 40 posts I want to post more this year, but I felt going for one per week was a bit of a leap. So, going for 40 allows me 12 weeks off throughout the year – about 3 posts per month. Hopefully I can stick to this!
  • Post more discussions Look, I love making a good list, but I really need some more variety! I do have a lot of thoughts, and I love discussions because they encourage so much conversation. It would be great to have more in 2021!
Creating

πŸ‹ Creative Goals from 2020 πŸ‹

  • Expand my Etsy shop ❎ This was really not the year to embark further into business πŸ˜‚
  • Make more art ❎ Sadly no! I barely spent any time making art, which is really quite sad.
  • Do life drawing monthly ❎ I did not do this monthly, but I did do it every day for a month, so I don’t know whether I can cheat and count that??

Okay, so we can see from the state of those goals that 2020 was NOT a creative year for me. Sure, I managed that monthly life drawing challenge, but that was during the point when I was off work and stuck in the house. I think I would have done anything.

I kept myself pretty busy through 2020, which meant that art really got pushed to the wayside. Honestly, I probably could’ve done with some creativity. I’ve learnt that if I want to make art I need to make time for it, and try to keep it fun rather than focusing on making something “good”. Already in 2021 I’ve made two paintings on a whim (gardening programs are great inspiration!) and reminded myself why drawing is such a good hobby.

As for my Etsy, I’ve come to the realisation that two jobs are plenty for me, and I really don’t to be focusing on a side business. I’m not going to shut down the store or anything, but I won’t be pushing myself to create things specifically to sell. I’ll just list things that I’ve made for fun! Like I said, two jobs are plenty – I don’t need to be creating a third one for myself.

πŸ‹ Creative Goals for 2021 πŸ‹

  • Make time and have fun I need to stop scheduling every minute of my days with things I “have” to do. I want to leave free time which I can fill with whatever I want! And I really want to have fun with art again, because it’s a hobby I can truly lose myself in. My goal is to let go of my expectations and do what feels good.

So, here we are, at the end of 2020. (Alright, so we’re nearly 2 weeks into 2021, but it still counts.) It definitely takes the title of strangest year of my life, and yet, through all the bad, it wasn’t bad for me. I learnt more about myself than I ever have. I read more than I ever have. I stopped putting such high expectations on myself, and started celebrating all the little things I manage to do in a day. I stopped watching the news, and started watching cartoons instead to give me joy in the morning. I figured out what I want to do with my days. And I smashed my TBR!

It was a weird year. I’m grateful for everything it taught me. Thanks, 2020, but it’s finally time to go.

Love and lemons, Abi

2 thoughts on “A Year in Review | Wrapping up the strangest year of my life (thanks 2020)

  1. I really loved reading through this post. It is interesting to look back over past goals, even if sometimes you haven’t completed them it is nice to be reminded what we were thinking for the year haha !! I’m glad reading went so well for you last year and I love that you get to start off every year from a fresh TBR, that sounds so rewarding.
    You did really well with your blogging goals too as you got to post all you wanted and I hope 2021 is an even better year, I love reading your posts. πŸ’•
    I failed at a lot of creative goals last year too haha but I really liked how you focused on making this year beneficial for you with emphasis on making it fun and enjoying your free time because I think we can all improve on that in some way. All the best for 2021 πŸ’•

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Yes, especially in 2020 when everything is so different from how it was when the year started!

      Thank you! I’m proud of how I did on the goals that actually mattered (and it really shows what does matter to me considering I forgot the others so quickly, haha).

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who wasn’t very creative last year! I really got out of the habit of drawing as a fun activity, and I want to bring that attitude back in 2021! Hopefully we can both do better ❀️

      Liked by 1 person

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