Wow, 2020 was quite the year. I went into the year with many dreams and goals, and I promised myself I would start practicing positive thinking techniques to shut out the dark voices that were limiting my success. I wasn't aware that Covid-19 was about to be the ultimate challenge of how affective positive thinking and optimism can be for a productive, healthy and happy life. It was sort of like learning to swim and someone deciding to dump a starving great white shark into the pool.
Positive thinking was a well-built raft that I needed to survive the hellacious waves brought on by 2020. It was not my most successful year and I did not achieve many of my goals that I challenged myself with at the start of the year. I also was able to handle most of my erratic emotions, avoided plenty of body crushing panic attacks and never sunk into weeks long depression. Considering this year had plenty of horrible news piled on top of a pandemic, I'd consider my emotions staying intact and remaining mostly optimistic to be a win. It was a challenging year for almost anyone who was trying to create things, so I take it as a championship win that I still have the energy and will to make 2021 a creative and career success.
One thing that positive thinking exercises and strategies have taught me is to be kind and forgiving to myself. At the start of the year, I had plans on growing my podcast and site audience, get accepted into the Online Film Critic Society, land a literary agent and accomplish several major writing projects. It didn't pan out the way I had hoped and some of it was due to many days where I was just trying to get through it while writing competent sales copy. I often ended up not having the creative energy needed to craft much outside of mandatory work.
Also, the pandemic meant my kids were home much more than usual. As in, they were always home. Always. In the fall, we opted for online schooling while Emily had to go back to teach at a physical school, which meant that I took on the role of motivator, referee and assistant educator while my kids were being taught online. It was hard to really get into a magical writing groove when every ten minutes I was either being asked a question, needing to help with an assignment or trying to disarm a wooden spoon wielding child. Looking back at what 2020 gave me, I have decided to be happy with what I did accomplish and now feeling that I have the strength and confidence to make 2021 my most successful year in my writing career.
I'm also not here to join in on the kicking of the dirt into the face of 2020. I get it; it wasn't anyone's favourite year ever. But I also can look back and at least personally recognize that there was a buffet of awesome that came out of the year. The biggest thing was that my family was home a lot more and so I got to spend oodles of quality time with them. I always realized as a work from home dad that I was really blessed that I got to be with my kids as they grew up and was able to create a very special bond with them that other parents may not have the luxury to have with their own kids. While I was very ready for the next chapter where they were at school and I would have several hours where I would have uninterrupted work, there was something special about having them home and getting to witness them growing up before my eyes again.
The pandemic was awful, but due to it, some really great things came out of it. There wasn't much to do last April because everything was locked down. It meant that my kids had lots of time to learn to bike. It was pretty incredible to see Everett go from a boy terrified of his bike and declaring he would never ride it then within a week, wanted to spend massive amount of the day riding around the neighbourhood. It was inspirational how quickly both Everett and Danika learned to bike. It was a reminder that the things that we believe we can't achieve or overcome can be accomplished with optimism, hard-work and perseverance.
The pandemic also meant that Medeba wouldn't be able to host groups or have a summer camp in 2020, so they shifted their model to renting out to families. It meant that we were able to have a vacation at Medeba three times this year, and I was able to share a very important place in my life with my kids. It was priceless creating everlasting memories with my kids at a place that helped define the person that I've become. My hope is that my kids will be able to go to Medeba summer camp in the near future, but it was a real treasure being able to spend some time up there with my family.
2020 was a year where we had to overcome adversity. It was a year that we had to remain positive even when we were surrounded by toxicity. One of the things that I will choose to remember about 2020 is how researchers, scientists and health officials united to create a vaccine in record time. A vaccine like the one that needed to be made for Covid-19 has taken over 10 years until 2020, where it has been made in less than a year. That is a miracle. That is amazing. That is inspirational and a sign of how we can all accomplish amazing and unbelievable things.
It was also a year where I heard and read so many stories of people doing amazing sacrificial acts of kindness. A year that people stepped up to help their fellow humans. It was a year of brave health workers who risked their health to protect those at risk. I know they do that every day and every year, but it was great that they finally got acknowledged this year. There was a lot of great and heroic things that were accomplished in 2020. Sometimes the toxicity of social media makes us forget that there are lot of marvelous human beings out there. 2020 helped remind me of that.
2020 also reminded me that the readers of this site and the listeners of The Movie Breakdown are amazing. I really want to thank everyone who has supported and followed me over the years. I know that I didn't accomplish many of my goals in 2020. I also know that I didn't write near enough movie reviews. The site was not anywhere near as active as I wanted, yet my readership stuck with me and many times this year I received some great encouragement. It was humbling and motivating to get emails and comments from people I never met letting me know what the podcast or my writing meant to them, and I want to thank all those people for their kind words. You have helped drive me in a year that it often felt better to just quit. I promise you that 2021 is going to be way better and I have a lot in store for you.
Much of 2020 was a battle to the death when it came to trying to write almost anything as my writing mojo seemed to have been battered into a fine paste and my brain often offered up 'Duh?' as its default. I did push myself to do more promotion for the site and podcast and got some rather important connections that will be integral to both things growing over the next several years that ensures their long-term health as career projects. I ignored the dark voices of self-doubt and finally took the plunge in rebranding the site and getting a professional domain, which was long overdue. I also admit that my follow-up to the relaunch wasn't fantastic and the site wasn't anywhere near as active as it should have been after the late October rebranding.
This is where I once again thank my readers and alert you all to your awesomeness. When I did post something, I often got notes thanking me for the piece and encouragement to keep on writing. The last few weeks, the views on my site have skyrocketed and The Movie Breakdown is getting some of the best listener numbers in a long time. It was inspiration and validation that I'm not just yelling at a wall and there is an audience who find value in what I write and record. I deeply and sincerely thank you. I am so humbled and so grateful that things I create have value and matter to people.
This brings us to 2021 where I plan to reward all that support, comments and following with my best and most consistent work ever. I'm going to push myself to grow my audience and expand the site and podcast's reach this year, and in the very least, make sure there is high quality stuff daily for those great readers who have stuck with me all these years even in the times where I have created very little. This is also the year that I will battle away to reach long lingering dreams like being accepted into the Online Film Critic Society, land a literary agent and create work that I can be proud of for the rest of my life. I recognize that to achieve any of those things that I just need to write. And write every day. That will mean something to read daily on this site going forward.
What should you expect here in 2021?
It will be a lot of the things that I've been threatening on here for way too long. There is going to be many more movie reviews that will both be for new releases and classic movies. You can expect some reviews of 2020 releases over the next week as I prep for the The Breakdown of the Best of 2020 episode. I want to do a better job of writing about all the different forms of pop culture that I interact with this year, even if that just means a very short write-up or a monthly catalogue of the stuff I watched and read. While this is never going to be the hot news movie site, I do want to have way more think pieces on the major movie events of the year.
There are also tributes for stars that passed away that I've been meaning to write for far long that I intend to do this year. The review series for all the MCU movies and every Disney animated feature is something I have hyped for eons but will actually be written this year. While this may not happen in the coming weeks, I also plan to do a serialized fiction series this year as well, as a new type of challenge for me that I hope will be rewarding for myself and my readers. Plus, a whole lot more variety of writing on here that represent the sites motto of being 'A place about movies, the creative process and life itself,'
Speaking of the creative process, I want to do far more updates about my writing career. I will detail some of the fiction projects I'm working on here and the things I discover about my own creative process. I will be more open on the challenges and the rewards of my career, and the things that I learn as a working writer that I hope cane be valuable advice and inspiration for others. I also intend to share more tips on positive thinking as I continue to practice it and see how it works in my life. What I really hope becomes a regular 2021 feature, I will share all my big victories like landing publishing deals or getting bylines in major publications. 2021 will be a busy year here on the site.
2021 is going to be a great year. It will be a great year because I will do anything I can to make sure it is a great year. Plus, I have a lot of reasons to be really grateful and appreciative. I have an amazing and loving family, and I also have some incredible friends. My goal this year is to really show my love and appreciation to them. I intend to live in the moment and really enjoy all the great things and experiences that this life of mine keeps giving me.
I wish everyone an amazing 2021. I hope everyone has a year of joy, love and kindness. I wish for 2021 to go down as a year where you achieved your goals and lived your wildest dreams. I really want you all to know how much I appreciate you and I am so thankful for the years of support and reading and listening to everything that I've created.
Thank you so much. 2021 is going to be the best year yet on Beyond the Balcony.