It was, as they say, a year.

I’ve likely said something like this before, but for someone like myself who likes clean starts, having a birthday that comes within days of the turn of the new year is somewhat calming. The coincidental proximity of those events means I get to look back at the life year and calendar year that has passed and the life year and calendar year that is ahead.

To mark the passing of both mile markers, allow me to indulge in a bit of a retrospective on a year that, to put it mildly, was unlike any other I’ve experienced in my now 46 years.

Professional Life

When Jason James called to ask if I wanted to join him in blowing things up at GoNoodle, I couldn’t sign on fast enough. What started in March as a part-time gig quickly became full-time and I’ve enjoyed every moment of it. Not only is the work itself rewarding, but reteaming with Jason has been a blast. Best of all, the job is free of the stress that comes with managing a 24/7 social media publishing program, which I was not eager to experience again.

Joining GoNoodle meant saying goodbye to Starbucks, where I’d been working for three-and-a-half years, since November, 2016. That parting was bittersweet, as I’d enjoyed the job for much of my time there and got a rush out of the hustle, even if it was frequently exhausting on a 40+ year-old body. While such things are relative, I always felt Starbucks treated its Partners, including myself, well, and that was proven during the early days of the pandemic. The toughest part, to be honest, was detoxing off the four to eight shots of espresso I drank daily.

The pandemic, combined with the change in my job situation, also meant an end to most all my freelancing. This is disappointing on some level, but as is the case with many people, I will take the stability of full-time employment even if I miss the adrenaline hit of freelance assignments and byline submission.

Writing Life

You might think that, with most all my freelance gigs closing up, I would have absolutely crushed it on the blogging front.

You would be mistaken. Mostly because as that door closed I was also learning how to walk up the stairs again in my new GoNoodle position.

That being said, here’s how last year looked on the blogging and writing front:

  • Chris Thilk: 37 posts, 22,160 total words
  • Cinematic Slate: 148 posts, 134,250 total words

Of course over the course of the year I did publish Productivity Lost (98 posts, 72,380 total words), a project originally conceived and pitched as a book.

And, as is the case with many writers, there are a handful of books, stories and other side projects in various stages of starting or completing scattered across Google Docs, Evernote and a handful of legal pads.

On to 46 and 2021

There have been challenges in the past and there will be new ones in the future.

There have been blessings in the past and there will be new ones in the future.

All I – and we – can do is keep working, keep fighting and keep putting one foot in front of the other. That may sound overly pragmatic as opposed to being inspirational or profoundly introspective, but what were you expecting from a middle-aged Gen X Lutheran? Unabashed sunny optimism?

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