Ruminations and reflection on what I’ve done in 2020

Ruby can't wait for TLC this year

Ruby from The Lupine Saga eagerly awaits her scenes in The Lupine Chevalier, coming 2021.

It has been a year since I started posting my book as a weekly post on this site. And it still has a few months to go before it is complete. In fact, March 20th is the day the next book, which has never been published, begins. And it will be longer. I look forward to going over it again, and planning out how to follow it up. While it posts plenty of time will pass, and it’s my goal to be able to continue the posts when that one ends as well. Though fortunately, it is longer and thus will take a while to get out.

I’m not in a rush for it, now that I settled on how to post the series. The story is still planned, the plot is partially written out and some key scenes have been thought out and written to some point. Anyways, moreso than just the ideas of the book, has been the non-writing changes I’ve made in the past year. Last January with the beginning of the posts here, that was just a single item in a list of things I wanted to do last year. And I seriously committed to them, in ways I never have attempted before.

As a result, I lost weight, got in seriously good shape – I’m able to say without any doubt whatsoever I’m in the best shape of my life, and that includes being better than any high school still-young fitness, strength training, and whatever else along the way. In December 2019 I started by doing small daily workouts. In March 2020 I added walking, first with a half a mile one day. In the freezing cold with snow outside, but it was something I’d planned, so I did it. By the end of April I was walking 20 miles a week. June, 30 miles weekly. And so on. I cut those back after losing enough to reach 150 lbs. That in total was 80 lbs. that I’d lost over the course of one year. I now only do about 6 miles a week, but in exchange I’ve been running part of them. As before, started small, first with 5 minutes here and there, then 8. Then pushing for 15 minutes of actual running. It varies by day, as that length of time is not easy for me to reach, but it’s a form of fitness I’ve never had before.

That’s just the outward and physical. I spent time reading, improving mentally and emotionally, working on areas I knew were problems and stumbling blocks. I was mostly completely alone for several years prior to late 2020. This last year I reconnected with people, improved existing relationships, and forged new connections. Studied things over and over. There were some things I made commitments to read over and over every few months to reinforce the points they made and take the value from them. I spent time learning more Japanese. Partially out of want since I’ve always been interested, but also as a memory tool. I feel better about remembering things now, to the point where the way I was learning the language stopped feeling beneficial. I’ll be using a new method. Well, that and I took much of the last few months off.

I spent so much effort from January to August that I relaxed moreso in September and October. At the end of August I made the move from Wisconsin to California. So there was settling in, items to plan and do, things to figure out, etc. I had actually lived pretty rigidly for the first eight months of last year. Especially when it came to food. Now I don’t, and am eating more. I gained about 5-7 lbs. back, while still losing some off the waistline; fortunately I kept working at increasing size in the right areas, and it seems effective. But with that loss of rigidity, as I no longer live alone and can strictly set my schedule – dogs are fantastic schedule interrupters – there has been some relaxation on those standards. For once though, I can actually call it relaxing.

Normally in the past when I’ve had time to “not do anything,” that’s accompanied by the anxieties of worrying about what I’ll have to do later. There’s always a list of items we have in the back of our minds of things we need to do eventually. I’ve been able to check a few of those off. There aren’t as many things to worry about. Problems that existed a while ago, whether they were mental, physical, or spiritual, have all been worked on to a rather good point. And of course, they each had goals to meet, and a set outlook of never being done with working on them, regardless of the met goals. And now, anxieties about life have greatly decreased. That said, much of that is because the work I do isn’t taxing. It also only pays modestly, but no matter how I think of it, it doesn’t seem like adding a dollar amount to what I make now will do anything but add stress. I make what is needed, and that is enough. If I later need more, then I have confidence that more will come to accommodate what is needed. So I’ve become a little better about not worrying about finances as well.

There is a point to all this. It is a kind of check-in personally. One thing that has been with me for a while is to not speak up about the good I might’ve done. After all, internally that can feel balanced against the things lacking or items that still need to be done. It isn’t humbleness, it’s lack of confidence or self-esteem. So I’m now writing out all the good I’ve done, things I’m proud of, as someone who has worked on their confidence. There are still trials and issues to have and work on, but having seen concrete progress, progress that has been tracked week by week, month by month, it adds confidence in knowing that success in personal advancement is possible when it is worked at. Of course, even still, it required having a motivation, something concrete to work toward. And so: I’ve done pretty good this last year. To add to that, I expect to be pretty good about what I do in 2021 as well.

One more thing: It’s not lost on me that 2020 was overall a discouraging year. For me it just happened to be that I already lived in virtual isolation, and all the things I worked on I could do alone without social interaction. So for most of the year, it was actually a very good period of time for me. But by the end of the year, after I’d made all these fixes and changes, then the effects of society closing down did start to affect me. I want the pandemic to end. Making friends, meeting someone new, is difficult in isolation. Being vastly self-improved is good and all, but when you’re in a bubble, doesn’t feel as good. Turns out even social recluses want recognition for the good they do. Especially when an item they’ve worked on for months is fixing that tendency to socially retreat!

As for this blog and the posts about The Lupine Saga: March 20th is when The Lupine Chevalier begins. It was mostly written ten years ago, and has gone through years of refinements. It is longer, but still feels somewhat short to me, even though it contains all I want in it. It is different than Prince. It’s more personal to me as well; it has more of my personality in it than the first book. Items that the first book set up are explored more in the second, and even it is more setup for what is to follow, though of course with an appropriate level of answers. For now, enjoy the representation of Ruby Louise Melonscone I found!

About James Ashman

I write books of the fantasy, heroic, and adventure types. So far. I'm an author who loves fantastic stories.
This entry was posted in Self and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Ruminations and reflection on what I’ve done in 2020

  1. Linda Real says:

    I’m so very proud of you and all that you have accomplished. You inspire me James and I am looking forward to a better year as well. Positive thoughts and keeping up with a good routine for health both mentally and emotionally is huge. You sound like you are off to a Great start. Thank you for your inspirational words . Love you!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *