Q1 2022 Books

For some reason, I’ve kept a list of all the books I’ve read so far this year. Or at least all the adult books I’ve read this year. Because I’m me, I thought it could be a quarterly review. Here goes:

  1. Raising a Secure Child – this book changed my lens on parenting, from identifying the spoken desire to unpacking the actual need leading to tension in any situation.
  2. Oh Crap, I have a Toddler — maybe a best of all time kids book for me, or I just found it at a great moment (aka the transition from a two-year old to a three-year old). Articulated something I felt which is before 2, you have to adapt to a child’s needs. After 3, the child has to adapt to societies needs. Also GREAT information on setting boundaries as an adult.
  3. Do Nothing
  4. Minimalist Parenting
  5. Out of Office
  6. Stolen Focus
  7. How to Manage Your Home without Losing Your Mind
  8. Abhorsen
  9. One and Only
  10. Power of Fun
  11. Breast & Eggs — incredible. A female-focused book that doesn’t really go anywhere but deep inside the female mind in a surprisingly good and light way.
  12. South of the Border, West of the Sun — also so good! Just a beautiful love lost and found story.
  13. The Goblin Emperor

Basically a book a week, heavily tilted towards nonfiction reading focused on parenting and modern thinking about work.

April 2022

We started a weekend practice of each of us contributing to a list of activities that we want to do. The list normally ends up having stuff like playground, long walk, coffee shop, nap on it. Flow state has been a really helpful marker for me, and I’ve realized there are a lot of pockets in my weekend I really, truly enjoy. Our family seems to have reached a nice harmony with weekends that are mostly self-led and not overly busy but restorative in the best way.

For April, my goal is bike riding! I took a coached class to get my confidence up. I want to take one more class, and then when gymnastics starts in April, I can bike alongside then. I am finishing a really nice day of gymnastics (MG goes in alone! So R and I can grab coffee:)), playground, library, lunch, etc.

March 2022 & Thoughts on Weekends

You know, I was coming into this looking at my Feb list and being like how the heck do you have fun/leisure??? But then I realized I’ve been having some really nice weekends and wanted to unpack. I have thought for a long time that nothing I can easily access puts my into flow states. A few things do: a really beautiful hike, dinner and drinks with friends, but I rarely do those things. But I’m realizing that a weekend totally off tech — like no phone, no computer, maybe we watch 1 movie at night, puts me into a different state of consciousness where I can access leisure. And then I sort of switch back to internet-mind on Monday morning.

This no-internet weekend state is so nourishing for me. I cook, I can play at the playground FOREVER, I take long walks, I read a lot, I go to the coffee shop. It coincidences with having a 3-year-old (!) who is a lot easier to just have a chill weekend with. For the first time, it feels like we live our weekends out in NYC like we used to before we had kids, wandering around, eating somewhere, sitting on a bench, running into friends, etc.

But it also means I am like behind on calls and texts and various internet work (e.g. buying a thing or writing an email) and don’t take any photos! For some reason, I have a hard time accessing tis world without total disconnection.

So my March 2022 goal is two-fold:

  • weekends: keep figuring out this nice weekend flow and working to make weekends nourishing for the whole family.
  • flow state: keep exploring the concept of flow state and see where I am starting to access it

Feb 2022

Another month. I have actually been doing okay…moving on from the feeling of failing IVF and able to be more present in my life and enjoy the child I already have and the goodness of the life I have. I do find I just have such an enormous deep well of appreciation for how good my life is. And, weirdly for me, I have so much energy recently. I don’t know if it is the weight of IVF is temporarily lifted or the longer days or a new medication I’m on or what but many days I wake up with a well of energy and have been doing extra workouts.

I don’t have that many goals for this month…just enjoy this period of respite while it lasts. Maybe:

  • get a massage
  • do a new thing (like new neighborhood, new museum, etc.)
  • finish the hat I’ve been knitting since LAST YEAR
  • make pasta at least once

Jan 2022

A new year, but I’m mostly still stuck in my old junk. Our IVF cycle fails and I feel like I just live fully in a life of what ifs. What if we stopped treatment? What if we kept going? What if this is a sign from the universe that the next child will have intense needs and will be a mistake?

And, I decided to make a big life change — moving from 40 hours of work a week to 24 hours. So I’ll have two days off a week (either Monday/Friday or Tuesday/Thursday).

I first want to take some space. My goals for the day off are small — make dinner, prep for healthy foods for future lunch, do some errands and — most importantly — take a long walk and invite a friend along. I feel so stuck and just need to open up some fresh energy and figure out what I want.

Goals are easy:

  • keep working out
  • keep making and eating healthy soups
  • start the process of working 60% time
  • be compassionate towards myself

December 2021

I’m feeling a little listless and depressed. I know I always feel better about myself if I am being held accountable to some type of daily habit, so using the occasion of Dec 1, 2021 to move myself in this direction.

For health:

  • do my 8 workouts for the month
  • focus my diet better (for me, this means no treats unless there is a treat occasion aka a social event; eating 5 servings of fruits and veggies every day (oh hey green smoothies) and doing some type of IF even if just till 10am)

For holidays/fun:

  • plan something nourishing for my birthday (karaoke?????)
  • plan two holiday things (caroling and cookie swap)
  • get really thoughtful gifts for other people
  • figure out what I want for my own presents

For societal betterment:

  • either increasing meditation which I have been literally doing 0 of or listening to onbeing weekly or attending meditations events in person
  • starting my giving circle to unfuck America

This is plenty. I am going to print out this list and commit to it.

Oct Goals

September goals went surprisingly well. I made a list of things I could declutter in 10-30 minutes and just tried to do one every other day. There was SO MUCH junk in our house which is interesting because I feel like we don’t buy that much. But honestly, just so much. Now, I can rearrange the storage space of what’s left and we’ll basically get an entirely new closet out of it, which is a lot in a two-bedroom apartment. It was nice to have a focus and one that was not overwhelming. I purposefully did the challenge without buying anything new which was a good plan and lets us sort of sit in the space and see what we need.

This month is true fall, which makes me feel nostalgic, happy, and a little bit depressed. I think for the first time in a while we can do true Halloween. My goal is to try some in-person workout classes. There are 2-3 I have my eye on. I think some in-person exercise will be really good for me. I have a consistent routine of doing a spin bike at home and stretch or do yoga every night but I miss the group synergy of a class.

And then I’ll try to use my lightbox everyday and make a social plan with adults once a week. So three easy goals.

Sept Goals

So…August goals were like a complete, 100% fail. Just absolute. We got two separate fever/rash diseases, I had a raging UTI almost all month. Absolutely no fun in our household.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this sort of whirlwind life pace. The weird thing is we’re like not busy. We don’t really do much scheduled stuff at night or on the weekends, but I think there is a sameness to the days that makes them really blurry.

Winter is coming up, or at least Fall. September is always when I start to get really down in the dumps SAD-wise. So I’ve been thinking about what I need to make winter WFH work for me, again, as we go through what will be almost two full years of WFH in our two-bedroom apartment. Like, what is a god mental health routine for me?

30-day challenges sound appealing, with some breaks built in. For Sept. I was thinking about decluttering to really set up our home nicely as we are entering the era of spending more time in it. In the winter, likely some things were I make sure to take an hour-long walk daily. Or starting to go to yoga twice a week. I am just feeling really down about delta, another WFH winter, and a lack of indoor spaces with an unvaccinated kiddo. Like, do I have to make another pod this winter??? And my podmate moved away, as did my last other friend in NYC with kids. But it is really, really, really hard to make new friends right now. So probably instead of moping, trying to also focus on the friends that I do have.

So I guess Sept goals will be doing my 30 days of decluttering and finding some sort of WFH routine that works for my mental health. And then, I’ll try to take things one month at a time instead of forecasting out to forever.

August Goals

I was going to write this post on Monday (August 2), with the possibility of a new week and month before me. Then we got waylaid with a fever virus and like is now absolutely crazy! Here are my goals for the month.

  • Go to the beach 3-4 times
  • Ride my bike somewhere at least once
  • Eat all vegetables in the fridge without any going bad
  • Buy a disposable camera and take some pics

That’s all. If I can do all of those things, I’ll have had a nice August.

Summer Reading

I started doing a summer reading challenge. I LOVE it. I first started with my local library but to my chagrin, it was just adding up the number of minutes a day you spend reading. Totally boring. A friend linked me to this amazing book bingo that also comes with a curated list of books for different categories. It’s so helpful to have some parameters around my reading. I’m currently reading in the Grand Hotel (very old-fashioned), Women Rowing North re the transition from middle to old age, and about to read Berlin (a graphic novel). Oh, and I read the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

https://www.spl.org/Seattle-Public-Library/documents/programs-services/learning/SOL/2021/bookbingo2021_Final.pdf