World Domination Is Overrated Anyway

Me on Delray the Wonder Pony (I should be looking UP more.)

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…

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40 comments on “World Domination Is Overrated Anyway

  1. 1
    Mary D says:

    Happy New Year Grace
    My takeaway for 2020 is that I am incredibly blessed. I have my health, I have no financial worries, my first grandchild arrived just before Covid and he is a joy, I have no elderly relatives in care to be frantic about,
    All the things I can’t do during lockdown are not very important in the grand scheme of things. I have books, music and an abundance of textile crafts to keep me busy. Not to mention Audrey, my sourdough starter sulking in the fridge….feeeeeed meeee.
    Looking forward to reading your next, just finished Truly Beloved..loved it. Thanks Mary

  2. 2
    Teenie Marie says:

    My take away from 2020? I think it’s been said better than anything I could come up with “when Man plans, God laughs,” or something like that.

    I had all sorts of wonderful, exciting and fulfilling plans for 2020 and I couldn’t name ONE of them right now. It doesn’t matter because, after a few weeks of sheltering-in-place etc., I made new plans….we all did. In some ways the forced time has been a wake-up to get the little crap (no reference to your Litter picking meant) done as we go along but first, I had to get it all cleaned up before I could tidy-as-I-go. Going through boxes of stuff I have been meaning to for YEARS has been cathartic in our present situation–I can see the progress which makes it feel like I’ve made progress and so on and so on and so on.

    I am more flexible and more willing to give someone a pass and, while my tendency IS to plan, I will turn on a dime if need be. So maybe that’s good and hope to take some of these new views back with me when things get back to *normal* which I hope is SOON!

    Happy New Year, Grace!

  3. 3
    Brenda U.K says:

    Welcome back one and all,I’ve missed our sharing of topics,views,debates,thoughts and life’s daily happenings.A good new year to you Grace and all your kitty pals that keep you busy.Having animals around to love and care for seems to have helped many around me.I lost my dog 3 years ago and because I wanted to go touring around the U.K I put off having another rescue dog or cat.I’ve missed the company of pets around.I feel something is missing in my life and I want to give my love and affection to a new pet.So this new year I shall be looking on line for a dog or cat or both that needs a new home.Travel will be put on hold for sometime yet.I am looking forward to Daisys book_just over a week.Then not long after Sycamores___you spoil us.Thank you.

  4. 4
    Susan G says:

    Welcome back!

    My takeaway from 2020 is perseverance.
    With some many changes and roadblocks it seems the perfect word.
    Transitioning from work to WFH in three days took lots of patience. It’s not easy to go from a PC with 2 large screens to a laptop. I struggled for a few days..ugh..the login process…getting kicked off the screen…but it all worked out.
    My daughter passed the bar and was interviewing for jobs and then came Covid. She is interning for the local public defenders office and is hoping for an opening. She is still working 35 hours/ week at the coffee shop. She is making the best of the situation.
    2020 was not a great health year for 2 of my dogs, Rose has cancer and Greg has had a few issues. When I get overwhelmed, I look at Rose and smile. She has outlived her parents, sisters and niece. She wants her walk and to share my breakfast with me. She perseveres.
    Daisys story was my New Years Eve read. Loved it. Writing my review.
    Have a good week.

  5. 5
    Beth says:

    My takeaway is ignoring the hysteria around me & getting on with living as much as possible. Plus there are phenomenally good people out there if you simply ask nicely for help & reciprocate when you can.

    I’ve been racking & stacking medical procedures while I still have health insurance & discovered a phenomenal neighbor willing to drive me on short notice the day after a surgery when an unexpected & rare side effect hit + a friend who’s hauled out of bed well before dawn & even missed work to haul my carcass to & fro, including unplanned lengthy sessions at the local pharmacy when meds got changed without warning. None of these saints HAD to do anything for me, nor is it a climate in which volunteering to enter medical establishments is encouraged. They’re simply GOOD PEOPLE.

    Sitting with sudden and unexpected blindness in one eye concentrates the mind wonderfully (it’s reversing thanks to my gifted doctor). I’ve learned to drill down to life at the basic level of priorities, then leaven that with the occasional treat & a lot of humor.

    We know the rules. They simply get lost in the endless chatter. ** Be kind to each other. Wish better for the other guy than you do for yourself. Focus on the important things & let the rest go for another day. Have a little fun every day if you’re able – play keeps us sane & creative. It’s okay to have occasional treats so long as they’re kept occasional. Cut the other person a break – you never know what’s going on in their life. Be mannerly. Be gentle. Offer skritches to furry critters if they find them acceptable- they know something is worrying their people & a little reassurance helps them cope with the strange changes in their humans. Share nicely. Moderation in all things. Patience with customer service people – you’ve waited an hour to get to them, bad manners will not improve the result. Laundry may always be there, but staying on top of it means you’ll have clean undies when you can’t get to it for whatever reason.

    Finally, nothing beats thanking a tired doctor, nurse, or other service provider & showing your appreciation. Seeing their shoulders relax, face light up and eyes crinkle with happiness & relief behind the mask is a reward in itself.

  6. 6
    Make Kay says:

    My takeaway from 2020 is that lots of things we thought were important ARENT.
    Slow down. Appreciate yourself and others
    Be grateful
    Build connections.
    And breathe.

  7. 7
    bn100 says:

    things always change

  8. 8
    Pam says:

    I am very grateful for each day. That’s my takeaway. I am grateful for my husband and son, to be present to annoy me daily. Ditto for the 3 dogs and 11 cats still with us. We lost two of our cats this year. My husband and son are home but I am still working full time at an office, although I hope to retire this year.

    Our house is a wreck but I try to do one little thing a day over the absolutely necessary. I’d say we are blessed. It’s a difficult time for everyone, and so far, 2021 is a continuation of 2020. I am praying that the vaccine will become available to more people soon. Meanwhile, we hunker down, wear masks and go stir crazy.

  9. 9
    Nancy says:

    Always impressed if you can get litter box issue handled first thing. If I get a load of laundry done I feel like I have accomplished something. Of course that doesn’t happen until I check all three of my library accounts to see if a book I had on hold has been delivered. Then nothing gets done for a few hours.

  10. 10
    Belinda says:

    Well, I see a lot of people acting crazy. I want things to settle down and get over all the nonsense. It can be done if we all believe.

  11. 11
    Amy Ikari says:

    Happy New Year! Welcome back! I missed you but made do with rereading all of your books. I made a list of the ones I am reading to pieces. 2020 was a hard year which included the loss of my mom, another extended family member in Japan and two other friends to Covid-19 and Cancer. My focus to appreciate each day, be encouraging and patient and give gratitude was my mantra. I spent time sending out care packages and will continue to do so. Also, I am committing to being someone who believes in good because I neither want to sow anger or bitterness or reap the same. I am looking forward to your books. Thank you for each and every book. Have a blessed week!

  12. 12
    Samantha Niemeyer says:

    I just finished #11, Valerian’s story, today so I’m so stoked to see that Cam is almost here! I love this family. How they interact, both with each other, and the world at large is so interesting and varied. What a great series!

    • 12.1
      Elizabeth Cecconi says:

      The Soldier is my favorite. The relationship between Val and St. Just is moving beyond words. The part where they read his mother’s letters is something I can reread and reread and am still moved to tears. I love Val and his appearance in all the various books is always welcome.

  13. 13
    Peggy Wright says:

    I followed too much advice. I should have kept my routine more normal. And I did not bake or eat my 70th birthday CAKE. I do not recommend that either, should have eaten the entire sweet. Next Friday. I intend to eat CAKE for my 71st. If I live that long. Still I managed most of my normal Happy moments, if quietly. I reread all your books! As for Sycamore. It’s his lady that needs him, seems she’s a good woman that has been trying to keep her family together. I’m ready to watch this romance roll on.
    Upside at home front, my husband of almost 52 years eased through two surgeries. Me, I’m just muddling along. Working. Mind is still sharp enough to cure the problems, so that is a plus.

  14. 14
    Ellen Behringer says:

    My take away from 2020 is that after 30 years I’m still in love with my husband. Not all aspects of our lives are great but we have suffered through the last nine months- including selling our house and moving- with mutual respect and affection.

    I also know that hope MUST exist for any of us to go on, so in some ways we all have hope.

    As a school teacher whose life has been upended by Covid I’ve learned new things and most of all, survived.

  15. 15
    Alison says:

    I love Cam. I’m really looking forward to reading his story.

    I have no real takeaways from last year; I was about 2 steps away from becoming a recluse before it all started, and I don’t miss in-person human interaction in the least <introverts R us! I do feel for the folks that have been adversely affected by the shutdowns; the businesses that have had to shut their doors for good as well as the people that have lost their jobs; what a horrible position to be in.

  16. 16
    Liz says:

    I can’t believe it’s the 12th one! I’m really excited about it

  17. 17
    Jude Knight says:

    When we work together, we can do anything. That’s my takeaway from 2020. I’m an extreme introvert, happiest in my cave. But 2020, at home, in my writing life, and at a wider community level, has been Year Team.

    My home life–in a year of Covid, selling up house and moving regions, buying a new house, and renovating–still had joy and laughter thanks to my personal romantic hero, family, and friends.

    My writing year sagged in the middle, thanks to all the chaos, but my writing community, and particularly the Bluestocking Belles, kept me inspired and picked me up when I was down. I’m proud of what we’ve achieved.

    And I have been privileged to live in a country that took on the slogan ‘Be kind, be calm, be safe’ and eliminated Covid in the community. Our team of 5 million (which is what our Prime Minister called the population of New Zealand) got in behind the scientists and the public health system when Covid was out of control. There’ve been other breakouts from the managed isolation facilities kept to quarantine New Zealanders coming from overseas and the rare overseas visitor. Each time, we’ve got on top of it again.

    When we work together, we can do anything.

  18. 18
    Suzanne Salazar says:

    For me, 2020 was an amazing year. My toddler learned to talk – she said her first word, “caaaat!” on Christmas 2019. She took off talking in mid March, just as everything shut down. I’ve had the amazing privilege to work from home since then and watch her develop into a chatterbox capable of actual conversations, and watching her learn the alphabet and counting and stuff. I’ve also gotten to incubate her younger sister, who will be coming along in the next few weeks 🙂

    • 18.1
      Beth says:

      Congratulations! Awesome child if she’s already learned CAT is important. Sounds like you’re hatching good ones. Can’t wait to hear what youngest comes out with when it’s her turn.

  19. 19
    Elizabeth Cecconi says:

    Happy new year, everyone! I’ve missed this blog.

    My take away from 2020 is that, while I don’t feel old enough, I long for days gone by. Perhaps it was just my small town naivety or the innocence of youth, but I remember my neighbors watching out for each other. Of course we had gossip and rivalries, but there were true ladies and gentlemen. Maybe not wealthy or college educated, but good, hard working people who respected one another and treated each other with kindness and compassion. My 8th grade educated neighbor came over and asked if she could do my brother’s laundry on Sunday before he went back to college that day knowing my parents were out of town…after he had kept them awake most of the night with the noise from a party he’d thrown Saturday. That was what you did for your neighbors. 2020 has taught me that we need more people like that in the world and I am lucky to have grown up in that small town and the world I knew 40 years ago was a wonderful place. Perhaps with age, there is wisdom.

    God bless you all. Stay safe and stay healthy.

  20. 20
    Sarah says:

    My take-away is I have to both recognize and respect my limitations. Be gentle to myself and others as much as possible, and breath deeply. And I’m trying to keep all of my houseplants alive.

  21. 21
    Vicky says:

    My thought from 2020 is to be grateful for every day. We lost so many wonderful people from the pandemic. It’s been a rough year, but we soldier on.

  22. 22
    Teresa smigelski says:

    I’m a pharmacist so my work world is the same. I miss my friends and their hugs desperately, but I have had extra time with my books and my almost grown children. This has been a time to remind myself that the small joys are the best.

  23. 23
    Barb Hoffarth says:

    I can’t wait for Sycamore story.

    Thank you for a wonderful series.

  24. 24
    Lisa Hutson says:

    Ahhh, 2020….Shouldnt 2020 have been a year of excellent insight? Being able to see clearly right and wrong? Just being able to see clearly?
    But it seems we missed that. haha
    Instead, we seem to be seeing what those in charge or those on tv want us to see.
    For me, it has been an eye opening year. In that, I realized how much I take for granted. Freedoms. Privileges.
    So for me, 2021 is for reeling in my amazing life. Like a kite string. No longer letting my life be pulled out by others. But I will pull it back in.
    I want to avoid fighting against society. But instead, be my own best self. Try to set a good example for those around me. Smiles. Encouragement to others. Acceptance of others. If I can accept others priorities then perhaps more people will be willing to accept mine.

  25. 25
    KarenM6 says:

    My take-away from 2020 is that, while tough on many levels, I learned so much during 2020 about myself and about my friends and family.
    The insights were not always welcome, but important nevertheless.

    I have hope for the future and wish everyone a very happy new year and happy years to come!!
    Like others, I missed this blog like crazy!! And, I am very much looking forward to “The Last True Gentleman”… the Dornings! *sighing with a silly grin

  26. 26
    Brandi Day says:

    I think my best takeaway from 2020 was to spend more time with people however you can. Family and friends are important.

  27. 27
    Elizabeth Sabiston says:

    Reading maintains my sanity.

  28. 28
    Rita Gerstheimer says:

    I have taken away from 2020 that extroverts don’t do well without social interaction. The introverts seem to be better able to deal with lack of social interaction. I miss my fellow choir members and making beautiful music with them, but I am not ready to book a padded room for myself because I don’t have any interaction with them. I have had some interaction through Zoom, telephone calls, and What’s App messages. I will be glad to gather again with my fellow choir members and until I can, I will stay safely at home as much as possible.

  29. 29
    Betty Lou says:

    My takeaway for 2020 is it’s all right to just “be”. Busy-ness is not a requirement for happiness, productivity, nor success.

  30. 30
    Tina Armato says:

    What have I learned in 2020? I have learned that, as my aunt used to say, “If you have your health, you have everything.” As a kid I thought that seemed to miss the point of living, but as I’ve aged and been surrounded by so much disease and death, I realize Aunt Isabella was right all along.

    I’ve always been grateful that my amazing husband saw past my flaws and fell in love with me anyway, (and continues to overlook some of those same flaws, along with some new flaws!!!). But as we entered quarantine over 300 days ago, I realized just how fortunate I am to be sequestered with my best friend. As difficult as this situation is, it would be so much worse if we didn’t make each other laugh all the time (sometimes even intentionally!).

    I’m also trying to be realistic about setting new goals…I’ve finally finished a project that I have put off for way too long, and, energized by that success, have started another, brand new one, that I am excited to attack. So in the midst of so much disaster, there are still bright spots if you look hard enough! Stay safe. Stay well everyone!

  31. 31
    NitaLynne Frigerio says:

    2020 was full of isolation, especially since we recently moved and don’t know anyone here. However it did bring my 24 yr old son and I closer. We talked (rather than argued) more, found more common ground and became more affectionate. I think most of this would have eventually happened, but Covid sped up the process. Family is important and 2020 brought that to the fore.

  32. 32
    Catherine says:

    When I look back at 2020, I’m amazed at what we can achieve when we work together.

    I’m an oncologist. I treat patients with cancer in the UK. It’s never a good time to have cancer. But 2020 (and now 2021) has to have been one of the worst times to need cancer treatment. But I’m humbled by the humour and bravery my patients exhibit still, while we try to continue through despite our hospitals packed with covid patients and staff getting ill all around us. I’m grateful for my colleagues who step up to help each other so we can give out patients the treatment they need.

    And I’m grateful for you Grace, and your fellow Romance writers. Because reading romance novels is my little escape from the world. Where I know I can get lost in humorous characters, beautiful romances and where there will ALWAYS be a Happily Ever After! Because real life doesn’t have many at the moment. But with that little means of escape for a while, comes the ability to get up and do it all again tomorrow.

    So thank you. We all have a part to play in this crazy world we currently live in. And we can do anything when we work together.

  33. 33
    Ann G says:

    I have been doing series rereads since 2020 began, the Lonely Lords