Since my first blog post on January 1, 2011 I've been putting an exclamation point on my new year posts. While I can't stand to break the tradition I'm not sure I'm feeling quite as excited as that exclamation point. Excited to leave all the hard parts of 2020 behind? YES. But living through 2020 (plus not being done with the pandemic yet) has not left me with the same new year energy that I usually have. It's more like a sigh of relief but we don't have a punctuation for that. And of course the year has already brought horror in the form of a mob incited by our own president storming the capitol. I told a friend this week that I am thankful for how consuming caring for a baby is because that has been a buffer for the events of the world. Which is not to say I am not horrified along with you but Maeve has given me a wonderful reason not to dwell on the news or social media.
And yet it is a new year whether I feel energized or not. At the end of December, on my birthday, I spent the day at my parents' gloriously quiet house here reflecting on the past year and dreaming about this one. The time really helped me start to feel excited about the new year instead of just being wrung out by the past one. I settled on intentions for the year and several goals which I'd love to share:
INTENTION: Calm + Delight
As I reflected on 2020 and looked towards 2021 the word calm kept coming up. I spent a lot of 2020 feeling anxious, wrung out, and spread thin. In 2021 I want to bring calm energy to my days. I want to ask myself, "How can I bring calm to this situation?" That could mean choosing to stay off my phone so that I'm present with my children. It can mean not reacting to difficult behavior from the boys and choosing to find a quiet time to talk to them about it later. (Highly recommend the book Parenting Without Power Struggles by the way. Thank you Sarah for the timely rec.) It could mean making myself a cup of tea or decaf coffee in the afternoon. I think it will often mean limiting my time on social media and the consumption of other people's messages and emotions. Calm looks like choosing to read or go on a walk or call someone on Facetime.
My other intention for 2021 is delight. 2020 was hard. 2021 holds a lot of uncertainty. But so much is still within my control and I want to remember to invite in delight. I want to ask myself, "How can I bring delight to this situation?" Delight looks like baking cookies with the boys on a Tuesday afternoon. Or saying yes to going to the park. It looks like making the boys hot chocolate to accompany their online school work. Delight is sitting with Maeve and noticing everything she is doing. Delight could be abandoning dinner plans for a takeout picnic instead. Delight is appreciating all that I have to be grateful for.
+ Calm hands. I've had a years-long bad habit of picking at my cuticles and skin around my fingers. It's a habit that comes out especially in times of stress although it's an absent minded habit as well. Towards the end of 2020 my fingertips were looking really healthy (despite the stressful year!) and I found that exfoliating the skin around them helped them stay smooth along with frequent lotion and balm. (It's sooo dry here!) After a month of dedicated effort to calm my hands my impulse to pick has really diminished and this is the most progress I've ever made. I want to continue to be conscious of any impulse to pick at my fingertips and instead clip any dry skin, keep my hands well moisturized, and continue exfoliating. Painting my nails really helps too. I ordered some new Olive & June nail polish with a gift card from my in-laws which I'm excited to use.
+ Makeup refresh. It's time to refresh my makeup. I tend to buy new makeup and then proceed to use it until it's old and well past its prime. I prefer to keep makeup simple and natural-looking. I'd like a 5-minute makeup routine that will make me look awake and glowing. I'd like a few options that I can use when date nights out return again. This past year, without anywhere to be and no Zoom meetings to attend, I haven't missed makeup much except on days when I wanted to look less tired. When we can return to stores unmasked I think I'd like to visit a few makeup counters to sample different products. I've also been getting tips watching Bobbi Brown's makeup class on Masterclass (Christmas gift to Chris and myself).
+ 208 workouts. Chris surprised me with a stationary bike for Christmas. It's not a Peloton but it's Schwinn's version of a Peloton and I use it with the Peloton app on an iPad. I am obsessed. Being able to wake up, hop on the bike, and sweat for 30 minutes before I start my day has reminded me how essential exercise is to my well-being. Since Christmas I have started most of my days with a Peloton workout (usually a ride but sometimes a strength class) then shower and dress before even emerging from our room. Putting myself first in this way changes my whole outlook on the day. After a year when I often had to put myself second (or third) this feels like a revelation. To keep up the habit my health goal for 2021 is to log 208 workouts this year. I'm using the daily habit tracker that Elise shares each year (just subscribe to her newsletter to get one). For the first part of the year I envision a workout to be a Peloton workout that is 20 minutes or longer. Hopefully by the middle of the year I'll also be logging Orange Theory and High Fitness workouts.
FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS
+ Monthly one-on-one dates with the boys.
+ Three at-home dates with Chris per month. And hopefully eventually dates NOT at the house. Imagine that!
+ Streamline audiobook listening for the boys. Thus far my boys don't grab books, sit quietly, and read. But they do plow through audiobooks which I love. I want them to be able to listen to audiobooks as easily as possible just like I make physical books easily accessible to them. To improve, I need to get a queue of library audiobooks going for them (so far we have only used Audible) and I need to get my library Libby account on Chris's phone.
HOUSE & FINANCES
+ Complete our backyard studio. It's close! It just needs flooring and trim inside plus furniture. Outside Chris will built a wraparound deck.
+ Plan and complete a kitchen renovation.
+ Plan and complete installing new floors throughout the house.
+ Update our will and trust. We need to add Maeve to our beneficiaries, remove our San Antonio property which we sold last year, and add our Bank of America accounts.
+ Start Maeve's 529 college savings account.
+ Take at least two classes on Masterclass.
+ Complete a poem. Poetry intimidates me although sometimes I'll jot down quick notes for a poem. After taking a poetry Masterclass I'd like to complete a poem.
+ Complete an essay or short story.
+ Explore monetizing The Girl Next Door podcast. My feelings about monetizing our podcast have wavered for years. But with guidance from friend and podcast mentor Sarah Powers I have some ideas for easing into monetizing that could feel right for our podcast. I am so proud of the content we produce on The Girl Next Door and it's clear that our listeners value the content. It would be really satisfying if we could be compensated at some level for the effort that we put into producing the show.
+ Two months of a new audio project in April and October. I had an interesting creative idea that I want to try out during the months of April and October. I need to do some planning but will share more about it as the idea comes together.
That's what I've got for 2021! Erica and I will chat about our intentions for the year in our podcast episode that will be out this Wednesday if you'd like to listen. I hope you've found some time to reflect on 2020 and to make goals, however gentle, for 2021. A lot is out of our control but we can focus on what we can control and find a way forward from there. Sending warmth and cheer your way.