What Are Your Plans For Next Year?

I was talking to my friend Niles last night and he asked me about my plans for 2021. And I had no concrete answer besides finishing my novel. COVID-19 has made long-term planning impossible, or at least wildly optimistic, for anyone who takes the virus and the pandemic seriously. I travel to Colorado once, twice a year to see my family, but not this year. w4e all stayed home and I will stay home again next year if these numbers keep climbing like this, if the pandemic hasn’t been tamed enough for me and my family to feel safe. So, travel may be out for next year.

What’s left then? Redecorating? A new hobby? Learning how to cook? I microwave, slow cook, and toaster oven right now, so developing the patience to stand over bowl, pans, and pots in a kitchen, and enough skill to make it worth my time and effort is a great idea. I don’t know if I will do it, but it’s a great idea.

Start a new degree? Every now and then I think about teaching or getting my masters and then I remember the essays and exams and stress and last-minute cramming and how much time my bachelors degree consumed for years and I come back to reality. One degree took everything I had. I don’t want to be enslaved to another finish line.

Traveling? Niles and I talked about a trip to New York, to see the say, and be able to say we went, just to experience it, to know how New York feels…after the virus is under control and we are sure it’s safe to be around that many people. So, not in 2021.

Do I need to do something new in 2021? I need to do something new. I need change. If I don’t change, I will stagnate. That was one reason I got a degree: to do escape my own programming, and force new ideas and behaviors into my life. I dreaded it. I wished I could go back to my old life hundreds of times, if not thousands. But, I’m not still sitting on the couch. I’m not still stuck in my old belief system, with my own stubborn grip on my own subjective reality. I’m not the same old Mark and I’m proud of that.

There are other options: substitute teaching, a new job, community service. The first one requires a leap of faith and courage that I may not have in me…yet. That may be true of the second, as well.

But, there has to be change. Or the days drift into months drift into years…

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