My 2020 Retrospective

Howdy y’all, Jason here at 2020 year’s end for a look back at some personal highs and lows. The site is called, Jason Journals, ya know. So if you’re curious about a bit of my life beyond the blog, read on. I can’t promise a good read – it’s 2020 after all – but maybe you can relate.


January

Things started off well. I was preparing for my Kyokushin Karate belt test with extra physical conditioning. Tough, but I passed!

Also finally finished adding on a half-bath to the master bedroom, doing new plumbing work under the house for the new sink and custom counter. Nice!

Made a half-joking resolution: eat more Taco Casa. I can say I kept it all year long!

I finished the role-playing game Pokemon Sword on my Switch.

February

I played Octopath Traveler, another RPG, on my Switch. Great one! Still want to finish it…

Tremors about a viral outbreak infiltrating American shores began to shake things up.

March

This is when 2020 went off the rails. It wasn’t all bad though.

Covid-19 became a thing in America. Back then, I never thought it’d still be a thing in December! This, along with other factors, brought a first round of lay-offs, furloughs, and pay-cuts at my job. As of now, I’m still employed there. Thankfully!

Covid also shut down our YMCA and canceled my family’s karate class indefinitely. To this day, we have not been back to karate and are out of practice. Ugh. The Y is open, but at reduced hours; our class was never reinstated.

On the bright side, I finally bought a motorized sit/stand desk for my long cubicle work days. It’s great! Health matters.

Then we installed a new kitchen counter and cabinets in our old house. So much better.

Also, Animal Crossing: New Horizons landed on the Switch. And it’s totally still a thing to play today! The game never ends.

Speaking of animals, we had 5 baby male goats born at this time. Sold them at auction.

April

I worked remotely at home for 4 weeks. To “flatten the curve.” Because covid. I’ve worked in the office proper ever since, fine and dandy. Glad.

Bought a new Android phone, the Moto G Power, and switched away from my Apple iPhone 7. Because I’m a tech-nerd-geek-guy and had gone all-Google several months prior. This didn’t last long though…

May through August

The national news was full of bad stuff. I “socially distanced” from news media and social media: Facebook and Twitter. Since then, I’ve used them sparingly. Twitter is pretty good though since I just follow fun stuff.

I read a LOT of books and wrote several book reviews.

Re-finished playing Final Fantasy VII. Yes, an RPG. On the Switch.

My employer made a second round of lay-offs and other cost cutting measures. I got to keep my job while project work started to dwindle.

In August, our AC broke in one of the worst heat waves. It got up to 92 inside the house. The AC was out for a few days until it was fixed. And it wasn’t cheap!

Summer of 2020 was yuck. We had to mask up and lock down and re-open and wonder if life would ever return to “normal.”

September

I started, finally and for the first time, playing Final Fantasy X! The HD Remaster no less. Yes, on the Switch.

Fall arrived with at least some hope of cooler temps.

October

I took my wife on a 3 day vacay to a Bed & Breakfast for our 19th anniversary. It was time well spent.

My birthday pushed me further into my 40’s. This year, I feel my age more than ever. My body certainly needs more exercise.

I got to hike trails in Caprock Canyons State Park with family on my birthday. Nice!

Here in west Texas, we had a rare super early snow fall in October!

I finished Final Fantasy X and started Ni No Kuni. I love role-playing video games.

November

We had a national presidential election. It was in the news. A lot. I voted early for the first time!

I found a good deal on a like-new iPhone 8 Plus and switched away from Android. Also switched from Google to Apple, like the whole ecosystem. Although I still enjoy my Chromebook.

Thanksgiving arrived, and with it some hope of more joyful times. The holiday season started, which helps uplift the spirit, but it definitely felt more muted and truncated than in years past. Many typical festivities were canceled.

Work at my job continued to be very slow.

This month, my 3 middle kids started playing organized basketball at a local club. They enjoyed it. It helped to offset the lack of karate at the YMCA.

December

After resisting for years, I finally bought AirPods: love them! Also, I got my first Apple Watch (the SE) for Christmas. I don’t practice karate now, but I can at least “close my rings” and stay active. I’ve been jogging a lot more lately! Also hoping for an iPad in 2021.

Season 2 of the Mandalorian surprised and delighted me!

At our home, I finally fixed a broken circuit in the house! Two whole rooms, part of the living room, and our front porch lacked wired power. I had to supplement with extension cords for months.

The fix required I first create a new ceiling opening for attic access. Then as I troubleshot the wiring, I stumbled upon the fix: a loose wire connection in a light fixture/junction box, making the circuit open without tripping the breaker.

Once fixed, I then added new light switches and fixtures and wiring, improving what we had before. Lots of work, but tidy! Truly a bright side during long dark days.

Lastly, for this year’s annual reading challenge, I passed my goal of 12 books with 13 read. Over one book per month average along with many hours playing video games.


Looking forward to 2021

What does the future hold? Don’t know; haven’t been there yet. I do know that worrying won’t make it any better; that’s for sure. And while it seems most people think 2021 will be better than 2020, and I hope along with them, the fact is that 2021 could be worse. But not too much worse, right?

Thinking positively, I’ve got several new RPGs yet to play on my Switch. Escapism! What else? Maybe Stranger Things season 4 and Mandalorian season 3. Fun times ahead. I’m thankful to have such pleasantries and luxuries amidst uncertain and unsteady times.

What are some positive things you are looking forward to next year?


What do you think? Reply below with your comment. Contact or Email me at the buttons above. Thanks for reading!

Looking Back At 2018

We made it to the end of 2018! For me, I can say right away it was better than 2017, which was summarized by stress and anxiety. Thankfully, I’ve had less of that this year. I wish I could think of one word to describe 2018, but my mind comes up blank. Maybe resilient.


Looking Back

In the last 12 months, I made changes that would, among other things, help manage my anxiety better. Overall, I slowly improved; my anxiety was not as bad as in 2017. There were severe flare ups at times, but I was able to bounce back quicker and easier.

A big change in 2018 was returning to my previous employer, which was surreal at first after having been gone for 3 years. I got to do more of the work I once did, and I really like it. It’s been very good to be back. Usually the stress of this kind of change is too much, but it was worth it.

flat lay photography of calendar
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

This year, my wife and I also started a new part of our family ranch: raising meat goats. So I built a pen and a shed for our new goats. And we expanded our chicken population, building a bigger chicken coop to house our additional hens.

Back in January, I took on a new reading challenge of 1 book per month. But instead of 12 books this year, I read 22! This included, for the first time, the entire Harry Potter series! I was late to the game but glad I finally showed up.2018 reading challenge

A few other highlights for 2018: I was able to visit with my brother and his family. It’s a real treat because they live overseas. My family went on a 7 day Caribbean cruise in the Spring. I deleted my Facebook and Instagram in the Spring, then rejoined in late Summer.

One last kind of milestone: the Summer had a surprise that kind of resurrected an old pastime of mine. My wife bought me a used Wii U for Father’s Day, so I did a bunch of gaming! I finally played Zelda Breath of the Wild, among others (Xenoblade Chronicles X!). It was like reliving my childhood. The last console I owned was the Gamecube. Nothing like escapism through some Nintendo.


Looking Forward

Peaking at 2019, I wonder how we’re gonna close out the teens of this century before embarking into the 20s!

I’m not a big goal setter, but I hope and plan to continue blogging on a regular basis.

Also, my family is looking at getting some major house projects completed: adding on a bedroom, renovating the living room, building a barn and paddocks, adding donkeys to the ranch, and expanding our goat herd.

So, I’ll be busy. I hope when I do the 2019 year-in-review it’s not summarized by the word, “busy” or “exhausting.”

A parenting milestone occurs in the upcoming year: we will have our first teenager! My oldest turns 13 in a few months. Life may get interesting.

The rest…we’ll cross those bridges when we get to them.

How was your 2018? What are you looking forward to in 2019?

Thanks for reading!

-Jason