Just Keep Swimming

The Positive Pivot

I came rampaging into 2022 with great excitement. I always enter a new year with anticipation over the new slate of movies and the possibilities of seeing the next classic picture. Last year, the movie theatres were closed in Ontario for half the year, so I was excited for the chance to see far more movies on the big screen this year. The Movie Breakdown got its biggest break ever, and I look forward to expanding the show and trying some new things. This led to the decision to go all-in on turning Beyond the Balcony into a professional movie site with more movie reviews, deep movie news analysis and bigger projects like serialized fiction series. The ambitions for the site and adding Scott Martin as a full-time writer was the monster truck of motivation to make this the site that I envisioned and really focus on creating pieces that entertain, inspire, motivate and challenge.

Then the Ontario government announced this week schools are going back to online learning and things like the movie theatre are being shutdown for at least two weeks. 'At least' has always meant quite a bit longer, so it is time to be blasted with a mighty dose of Deja vu.

If I can be completely honest for a moment -- this sucks. My big plans of reviewing several 2022 releases have collided with a wall as I have no access to the big studio movie for the foreseeable future. The kids being home for online learning means that they've dragged back the delightful chaos that comes with them being home with all their screams of disappearing scissors or battles over how one of them is supposed to be in class at the moment. I had high hopes that my recent motivation and excitement over this year meant I'd get more done on the site than I had in years along with all the other client work that I dreamed would come my way since I'd have around five hours of uninterrupted work time along with the usual early mornings and later nights. Now, 'daddy, I need help!', 'daddy, I need water', and 'daddy, I got my head stuck in the staircase rail' are all back to fill my days.

I obviously won't be able to see as many theatrical releases as I initially envisioned, and the magical dreams of being a writing machine that crafts paid work for clients and churns out original articles for the site has had a wrench jammed in the cogs. My optimism that we've left lockdowns in the past turned out to be delusion, and this frustrating routine appears to be the life that must be lived for now.

Here is the thing about entering into yet another online school session while mostly being stuck at home again. I've done this already. I've done it a few times. And while none of those occassions will crack my top ten favourite moments of my entire life, every single time has had some majestic hidden gems embedded within them. The greatest value I've got from the past two years is learning to be grateful for what I have. I have decided to be positive and focus on the great things that have existed during these admittedly tough two years.

Once again, I will have the chance to be more involved with my kids' learning. I will have more chances to invest in their lives and get to experience all their victories and creativity. I will have extra opportunities to spend time with them and share many joyous moments together. Because when 2020 and 2021 weren't busy kicking sand in my face, they've taught me that I can't always control what happens to me, but I can control how I respond. I decide to respond with positivity, optimism, grace, gratefulness and kindness.

But what does this mean for Beyond the Balcony? I will confess right now that I won't be able to post as much stuff this coming month as I had initially intended when 2022 jumped on to the scene. My first priority still needs to be client work or finding more client work, so the window for actual time for writing for the site has been hacked away as if it has been staying at Camp Crystal Lake. 

But the site should still be in decent shape despite those wounds, because Scott is now committed to being a regular contributor, and despite the challenges, I am still aiming for daily posts on here even if they must be in a shorter form.

I was originally really excited to review the new Scream movie that for some reason forgot to add the 5, but now I have no idea when I'll be able to watch and review it. My hope is the theatres are back open soon and Scream can remain in theatres until then.

To get ready for the newest entry in the horror series, I wanted to write reviews for the first four movies. There really isn't any reason to avoid doing that. If anything, I now have a bit more time to get all four written before I have a chance to review the latest installment.

As for movie reviews, there won't be any theatrical releases, but there is still trusty Netflix providing what is sure to be unforgettable 2022 release that I can gush about. As well, this is a perfect time to finally kick off my review series of all MCU and Disney animated theatrical movies. If I'm going to promise something I've been hyping for what feels like years, then I mind as well add that I still intend to do the weekly fiction serial this year too.

There is something I learned early on in my writing career, and that is if we wait for the perfect time to start writing then we're never going to write. There is always going to be complications or distractions or issues. Sometimes we may have a day where everyone is out of the house and filled with blissful silence, but our mind still refuses to focus on the creation of prose. This month isn't the ideal for creating great articles and reviews for this site, but I can't cling to that as an excuse. This can still be the best month ever for Beyond the Balcony

We have just said good-bye to another holiday season and completed Christmas celebrations. For me, Christmas is one of the happiest days of the year. I think part of it is the nostalgia of my childhood. My dad worked a lot and so we often didn't spend a lot of time with him. But Christmas was one of the few times where it felt like we were together as a whole family, and dad would spend the day helping us set-up our toys or even play with us for a bit. It was those moments of actually being able to spend time with my dad that likely has embedded Christmas as a special day in my mind. Christmas seems like one of those days that no matter what ends up happening that it always just feels happier and warmer.

I started realizing that I can decide that every day can be like Christmas. I don't plan on buying my kids a gift every day nor do I expect any gifts. But the spirit of Christmas with its warmth, kindness, gratefulness and happiness can be spread to every day. That no matter what happens or what challenges come my way, that I can decide that each day can be special and I'll be the best person that I can be. It is one of the attitudes and mindsets that I am going to battle for dominance throughout this year.

This isn't the January that I expected or wanted. It is still going to be a great one. One that will have many cherished memories in my personal life. One that will be full of success in my professional and on this site.