2018 was a strange year. Some things were really good – I changed jobs, and I’m hopeful that my professional life is back on track after the detours of the last five years. And the kids continued to grow into smart, fun people that I enjoy more and more every day. Of course, as you all know, we also had a hard year with the unexpected loss of a close family member, and the world definitely looks different at the beginning of 2019. My wish is that this year brings healing on many fronts. But before we can turn to all that, I need to look back at my goals for 2018 and see how I did.
Another 12 Months Hiking Project– Done! You can click back through my recaps, but I kept my commitment to get outside and hit the trail in every month of the year: January; February; March; April; May; June; July; August; September; October; November; December. Complete the 52 Hike Challenge– Done! I’ll have more thoughts on this coming soon – promise! It was a challenge, indeed, but I made hiking a real priority this year and I was able to fit in more than one hike a week all year long. And it was wonderful.
- Get into a workout routine – not done. Although I moved a lot this year – between the 52 Hike Challenge and toddler-wrangling, I didn’t sit still very much – it wasn’t in any formalized way. In the fall I got back into Barre3 via the online workout portal and ran another 5K, but even then, I can’t say I was really consistent about anything. It was just a function of the way life shook out – busy and stressed for most of the year at work and with parenting, then changing jobs and adjusting to a new office dynamic. A consistent and predictable workout routine fell by the wayside. I felt the lack of it, and I do hope this changes in 2019.
Be a “yes mom”– a work in progress, but I made progress! At the beginning of the year, I really, really wanted to say “no” less and say “yes” more. The way I saw it, “yes” should be my default if the kids make a request that isn’t going to hurt them or anyone else. And I worked hard at this, and at being intentional about saying yes. Sure, buddy, pick up that giant stick! Of course we can bake a cake, sweetheart! I think I’ve definitely loosened up, and my relationships with the kids are all the better for it – and so many memories have resulted from my saying “yes” to things. Try to chill out overall– another work in progress, but again, progress! I’ve always been a high-strung person; I know this. It’s who I am and I’m not likely to change anytime soon. But I think I have chilled a bit this year. Part of that, I believe, is due to getting a new job. I chose to view the job offer as a vote of confidence and, instead of tying myself into knots about whether I was worthy of the vote of confidence (well, there was a little of that) to have faith in myself and in the legal skills I’ve acquired in twelve years of doing this. And that has really helped. Go on dates– done! Yeah! Steve and I worked hard at making couple time a priority this year, both through quiet game and movie nights at home, and going out more. We made it to see several movies, out for a couple of dinners both as a couple and with friends, and we even climbed a mountain together. He’s my partner in everything, and I know we’re going to keep going strong with this. (It helps that we now have a roster of three fabulous babysitters!)
Pack my lunches– done, and hoping to keep the momentum going in 2019! I wanted to make a practice of packing lunches to save money, mostly, but also because it’s so much healthier. I wasn’t great about this at my old job, but with a fresh start in a new job I’ve mostly managed to pack lunches every day. I’ve done batch cooking over the weekends to have plenty of options, and have tried to streamline the routine so that packing three lunches every day – instead of two – is not so daunting. My goal is only to buy lunch once a month – it’s going well!
- Step away from the screen – always evolving. Well, I’ve worked on this and some weeks, it goes really well – other weeks, less well. I’ve never been a big TV person, and I’m still not, but the convenience of swiping onto my phone and scrolling through Facebook or Twitter is a different matter. I’m making a conscious effort to cut down on both of those apps, and budgeting my phone time so I spend more time on Instagram, which I actually enjoy, then log off and go back to my book. Thanks to the new iPhone screen time alerts, I know when I’ve done well and when I haven’t – and it’s a pretty even split so far. But at least I’m being mindful about it, and I think that’s progress.
Explore natural healing and wellness options– a little. I really wanted to dig into wellness over the year and explore some natural and alternative health options. I did a little bit – I continued using my essential oil diffuser and working on combinations of oils to ease stress and promote good sleep. And I started doing some research into vegan vitamins – I found a B12 supplement I like, but am still on the hunt for a multivitamin, immunity defense and stress relief supplement. (Any recommendations for me? I like gummy vitamins, but they need to be vegan.)
- Read fewer books – EPIC FAIL. I really wanted to slow down, savor my reading, and read more classics and chunksters, so I set a goal of 52 books for the year – a pace of one book a week. I bombed hardcore and ended up reading 113 books this year. Hardly slowing down, and I don’t think I’ll ever break the habit of tearing through books to find out what happens. But there’s always re-reading, right?
Check some classics off my TBR– done! I love reading classics, and I can’t get enough. This was a fairly classics-heavy year for me, which is just how I like it. There were some older classics – North and South, by Elizabeth Gaskell; Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen; Summer, by Edith Wharton; and Scenes of Clerical Life, by George Eliot, to name just a few. I also delved into some forgotten classics, like the Brensham Trilogy by John Moore, and more modern classics like Angle of Repose, by Wallace Stegner, and The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende. And more – this is just a smattering. Here’s hoping for even more time spent with these treasures in 2019. Continue to make diverse reading a priority– done! I set the goal to, once again, have more than 33% of my book list devoted to people of color, LGBTQ+, own voices, and other marginalized groups. I think this is the third year in a row that I’ve made this goal, and every year, I’ve achieved it. This year, I landed around 35% – a little less than last year, but I’ll have the exact figure when I crunch the numbers for my 2018 reading recap posts. I think this is an important goal and a good thing to bear in mind when choosing books, but for 2019 I’ve decided not to set any goals around reading. Looking for different voices and experiences has become second nature to me, though, so I’m sure they’ll still be on my list come next December.
One Word: Begin
When I set my one word for 2018, begin, I suspected – hoped, really – that 2018 would be a year of new beginnings. There were some areas of my life and my family life that I thought needed a reset and a fresh start, and I resolved to work on bringing those about. As it turned out, 2018 was a year of many transitions – some welcome, others very much not.
- I started a new job. This was the main transition I was hoping to bring about in 2018. There were many reasons why I felt my old job – much as I loved some of the people there – was not a good fit for me. This isn’t the place to go into them, so I won’t. But I was quite unhappy and really in need of a new start. I spent most of the year working on a “super-secret-not-a-baby” project, which was a highly organized and turbocharged job search – seeking out opportunities, sending resumes and follow-up correspondence, and going on job interviews consumed a huge amount of my time and energy last year. It culminated in an offer that, after a great deal of consideration and discussion with Steve, I decided to accept. I haven’t been in the new position long – I started in mid-November – but I am liking it so far and I’m hoping that this is the end of my job-hopping phase. I want very much to settle in, make partner, and be around for the long haul.
- Steve started running! Okay – this is a beginning for him, and not for me. But he’s enjoying running, and it makes him feel great – and I’m delighted for him. And just a wee bit jealous that, thanks to his remote work arrangement with his firm, he can slip out for a lunchtime run whenever he wants.
- We began a commitment to date nights. I’m not good at leaving the kids, even for an evening. I’m too conscious of how precious and fleeting these “little” years are, and I want to soak it all in. But I have also started to recognize that my marriage needs nurturing, too – and so I’ve finally caved to Steve’s ongoing campaign to find babysitters and arrange semi-regular date nights (beyond just a movie night with the baby monitors set up on the coffee table.) We now have a roster of babysitters and plans for a whole week’s getaway without the wee ones, next summer.
- Peanut and Nugget transitioned at school. This is a two-part beginning, and one part is a little bittersweet. Peanut had done two years of Junior Kindergarten in her school, and she never really clicked with her teachers. (Nor, from what I’ve heard since, did many of the other kids – which is unfortunate.) We had a lot of frustration, miscommunications, and general stress around her school for the past two years, and we were thrilled to move on to Kindergarten, a fresh start and a new set of teachers. So far, the K teachers seem to “get” Peanut, and I couldn’t be happier. As for Nugget, he left his beloved nanny and headed off to join Peanut at school. The nanny and I cried buckets, but the new Preschooler was delighted. He really did need to be in a classroom, and he was ready for more structure and a wider group of friends – so it was the right thing to do and his first few months at school have been a joy. He’s got a team of teachers who adore him, and they have a big ramp and a bunch of little cars – what’s not to like? He’s really happy and enjoying this new phase. (And I still text with our old nanny and have her over to babysit ALL THE TIME.)
- We experienced an unexpected loss. I’ve written a fair amount about the sudden, completely out-of-left field loss of a close family member and how stunned and bereft it left us, so I don’t really want to say more. This has been a beginning, too – the beginning of a different world without someone we loved in it. We’re still learning how to walk in it. And I so wish this was not on my list of transitions in 2018.
I’m sure there were more beginnings and transitions, but these are the big ones. I’m still mulling over my word for 2019 – I think I have one, but I want to sit with it a bit more, and I’ll report back.
How did you do on your 2018 goals?