My Story: October 2020

Around this time last year I mapped out my goals for 2020. There were four specific things that I wanted to achieve. Each had its own action plan. To keep myself accountable, I was going to write about those things here on the blog. I’d share my learnings in individual posts, and once a month I’d do an update with an overview of my progress. It’s now October 2020, and I haven’t done one of these updates in months.

We all know what kind of year 2020 turned out to be. Actually, we don’t, because it’s not even over yet and there are still so many, many thing that could go horribly awry. By about March I’d abandoned all of my four original goals. It wasn’t because they were vague wishes, like New Years’ resolutions. The world changed, so many things became uncertain, and depression set in. I fell back into the routines of survival mode. It’s only in the past couple of weeks that I’ve begun to crawl out of that.

So I’m getting back into this. Slowly, of course. The future is still too uncertain to make long-term plans, but I can make changes that will allow me to be more flexible. Hence, the return of the monthly update. Here’s my story, as of this moment.

About Me: October 2020

My name is Berin Kinsman. This site is my story. I am a writer, game designer, and owner/publisher at Dancing Lights Press.  For both philosophical and practical reasons I am a simple living minimalist. I self-identify as a spoonie because I am a flawed but tenacious human. An American by accident of birth, I currently live in Finland with my wife, artist Katie Kinsman.

The Finland thing is up in the air right now. We’re in a holding pattern, waiting for immigration to approve our request to renew our residence. At lot of that is based on how much money I earn, and I’m right on the edge. Being a writer, my income fluctuates from month to month, and I’m afraid that not having “stable” income will work against me. My greatest fear is having to go back to the United States.


Since 2014 I have supported myself as a full-time writer. I began freelancing in 1992, and started blogging in 1996, but it took an economic downturn for me to really put my shoulder into it. To put it plainly, when there were no jobs to be had, I invented one. Earning a living doing this requires not just creativity, but grit, perseverance, and a willingness to grind out word count. Waiting for the muse to strike doesn’t put food on the table.

My new writing goal is to get further ahead of the curve. As a lo-fi writer (my polite term for “hack”) I turn out great volumes of content at great speed. I want to have a cushion of being at least a week ahead of deadline. That includes writing these blog posts in advance. Over the course of 2021 I want to expand that cushion to the point that I have at least a full month lead time. Then I can focus more on marketing my content before it’s released, not after.


I am a simple living minimalist, which means I try to own no more than I need and am generally anti-consumerist. Some of this stems from my practice of Western Buddhism, which instilled me with an outlook that eschews materialism. The rest is purely practical, to better manage my physical and mental health. Get rid of (or don’t acquire) things you don’t need, to make space for the things you truly want.

My current goal is to get my entire life into one bullet journal. For 2020 I’ve had a separate book for project spreads and collections. I have a white board, a cork board, and a wall calendar. My phone is filled with notes, and my Google Keep is filled with lists. All of that needs to go away. From there, I also want to go through all of the paperwork and get rid of documents we don’t need to keep. Then I need to work an annual review of my bedroom closet and kitchen cabinets.


Due to an accident when I was a teenager I suffer from chronic pain issues. The cognitive dissonance of corporate ethics left me with a full menu of anxiety disorders. Both the pain and anxiety contribute to executive dysfunction disorder. None of which make me incapable, I just need to manage things properly and do things a bit differently to be productive.

As of October 2020, Katie and I have committed to get out of the apartment and go on walks more frequently. We’re incrementally reducing sugar, carbs, and meat from our diet. There are no goals around this. The main plan is to walk to the grocery store 3 times per week instead of 2, and to buy less of the things we know we shouldn’t be eating. Once we’ve established these habits, we’ll look at what we want to change next. Slow and steady.

My Story: October 2020

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About Simplify – Create – Thrive

This blog is dedicated to one basic principle: if you can simplify your life and dedicate time to create things, you will be able to thrive and find the health and happiness you seek.

About Berin Kinsman

Berin Kinsman is a writer, simple living minimalist, and spoonie. By day he works as the owner/publisher at Dancing Lights Press. An American by accident of birth, he currently lives in Finland with his wife, artist Katie Kinsman.

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