I keep almost writing a 2021 blogwanking post or a sort of round-up of last year, and then finding excuses not to do it. Not that the bathroom renovation isn’t more interesting (I hope, at least) than endless navel-gazing, but I can only put this off for so long before I just can’t write it any more. So, long story short: traffic last year was way way way down, which doesn’t matter because it’s still plenty high for a personal blog site of a non-famous person in 2021, and y’all are stuck with me here anyway for the foreseeable future. Two things are pretty cool. This is the lifetime map of countries that I’ve had hits from:
That’s … everywhere, basically; that island up at the top is Svalbard island, where less than fifty people live, most of whom are climate researchers, and it’s part of Norway anyway. North Korea. South Sudan. Tajikistan, I think? (EDIT: Nope, that’s Turkmenistan.) These are not heavily populated countries with a lot of infrastructure, in other words. And despite the low numbers of actual hits (down over 20K in hits and about 12K in unique visitors) the geography from last year is pretty gratifying all by itself:
One way or another, the notion that people from literally all over the world have at least popped in over here, if not actually stuck around and hung out, is pretty amazing.
I have to admit something that is, if not a Hot Take, at least not an especially popular opinion: for me personally, and my immediate family, I don’t think last year was that bad of a year. Now, you have to take this in context, where I am pretty sure that I have described every year since 2016 as the worst year of my life, and I remain of the belief that yes, my life really did spiral south for five straight years, culminating in the loss of my mother on January 11, 2020. 2021 was the first year in a long fucking time where I have a few good things to think about when I look back on it. My brother and his wife had their first child. My dad’s doing okay. We’ve done a lot of work on the house. I made more money last year than I’ve ever made before, a feat I should be able to repeat this year, and because I’ve paid off my credit cards, leaving me with no credit card debt for the first time since college, I’ve been able to keep more of that money and use it for more than just paying off interest. My son is happy and healthy and thriving at school. My wife got a promotion and a raise. I, who a few years ago was convinced I’d never see the inside of a classroom again, got nominated for Teacher of the Year again. By the time this school year ends, I’ll not only have paid off my car, but my student loans might be gone.
All in all, on a strictly personal basis, I can actually see some light again. I have reason for at least a guarded level of optimism, which has not been true for quite some time. I mean, the rest of the world is still going to hell, don’t get me wrong. But at least not everything is going to shit.
My one big personal regret right now is that my writing career is, at the least, on a significant pause, and very well might be done. I haven’t written a word of fiction in at least a couple of years, and I’m not missing it much. I mean, it’s not like I was changing the world or anything like that, as much as I tried to take everything seriously, I never managed to make any money at it– every single con I attended lost me money, so it was more of an expensive hobby than anything else. I’m not saying I’ll never release another book, but I’m not in a hurry to.
You never know. Most of my creative energy lately is going here and to the YouTube channel, and maybe eventually that’ll blow up. If not, well, we’ll see what comes next.