To limit my COVID risk, and to accommodate some health boo-boos, I’ve seen my riding horse only once a week for most of the past year. At my age, and in my generally unimpressive state of health, riding once a week will not result in progress. I am simply sore for half the week, every week, though it’s a righteous kind of soreness.
So I’ve applied to riding the same approach I’m taking with most of life these days: What small increment of progress can I achieve given the constraint of riding once a week? Welp, it doesn’t take great conditioning or brilliant tact with the aids to improve the transitions from the walk to a halt or to walk Those surprisingly complex operations take focusing on the horse, on my seat, on my breathing, one where I’m looking. Note to self: Kicking the horse and pulling the reins are not involved in a these activities, when done correctly.
So my halts and canter departs are improving, slowly. My attention to the house has also improved a tiny, tiny bit by virtue making the kitty-litter-picking ritual part of the morning routine. It takes fifteen minutes including the toddle to the muck pit behind the barn, and gives me a sense of having addressed the worst infractions against tidiness.
I am slowly, slowly, one title at a time, getting a section of the web store set up to sell print versions of my independently published titles. At my current rate of progress, the store front won’t be operational for months, but again, I have a sense of lighting a candle against a threatening abyss of ennui.
As the problems in the greater world have expanded in both time and scope, I have learned to take joy from minute victories against sloth, inertia, and despair. Then too, I’ve learned to let the occasional down day go, to even expect that once or twice a week, the day will get away from me or sleep won’t happen, and my plans for world domination will have to be put off. Oh, well. Have a cup of tea and try, try again tomorrow.
I’ve learned to be grateful that I have tomorrows. So I guess my take-away from 2020 is quality or quantity in terms achievements, and humility over ambition. Be kind, tell the truth. If the wash gets done too, then take a bow. If the wash gets done AND the canter transitions go well, then take two bows.
And then sit down and get back to writing a happily ever after for Ned Wentworth and Lady Rosalind.
What was your take-away from 2020? To one commenter, I will send an ARC file of The Last True Gentleman. Sycamore says the title should be The Best True Gentleman, but we know how he is. The files should be ready on or around Feb. 1, so I’m starting my list now…