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

Fun

I have realized that I used to do stuff. Nothing crazy, but I had dinner my with friends (w/o R, w/o baby). I would do karaoke, I would browse at stores, I would take a weekend away with my sisters, I would deadlift (!) and go to yoga, I would read books, I would get interested in stuff like fermentation and try new recipes. I would have a list of hiking places I want to go or movies I wanted to watch.

In the last 15 months, all of those parts of my life have been stripped away and I’m left with work and motherhood. Like that’s it. I honestly can’t think of much that I do outside of self-maintenance (e.g. showering, basic exercise) that is not in those categories.

Now, I am fully vaccinated, R is fully vaccinated, our baby is a lot less feral than she used to be but I still don’t really do anything that is not work or parenting.

So what is fun to me? Or what even might be fun and I can just try it and see how it goes?

  • going to in-person meditation
  • going to an in-person yoga class
  • trying a new restaurant with friends
  • cooking my way through a cookbook
  • having game night
  • going to a browsing library and browsing

Honestly, none of that sounds very fun. But I thought as a baby step, I’d try to go to a yoga class this week and see how that goes.

Weekly Rhythm

I’ve been thinking lately about rhythm. I feel like my life, like that of most working parents in our era of COVID, is just frenetic. I’m working at home or I’m working at work but I feel like I am always (or almost always) working. I spend a few hours during the week doing things that aren’t strictly working but are almost like performing maintenance work on myself so I can survive for another week (making healthy dinner, riding my spin bike, meditating). I really have almost no fun and no leisure.

But – something does change in my life as I go through each week and I am curious about what that is. On weekends, I try not to use my computer or phone for internet at all. I do text people, and video call my family, but no internet browsing (sometimes my kid is being totally insane and I brake this rule for a tiny dopamine hit). This means, conversely, that I spend a disgusting amount of time on the internet during the week, because I am doing my work and I am doing what R and I call “internet errands”. During the week, my laptop is like a sticky molasses from which is it more difficult to extricate myself than to continue doing whatever it is I am doing.

On Fridays, I have 1-2 hard cocktails. I like to get drunk on Fridays! The minute I’m done with work! In recent weeks, I’ve also taken to eating half a pint of ice cream out of the carton! I also try to “finish” work and I have this insane nesting urge to prepare for the weekend. Sometimes, this includes going grocery shopping twice so I know we have ingredients on hand to make any dinner I could ever aspire to. Friday nights also generally involve making a batch of granola for eating a breakfast of yogurt and crunchies on the weekend.

Monday is sort of a hazy day of thank god I survived the weekend. I want to nap and watch TV all day but I don’t. I sometimes have a lot of work and if I don’t, I try to do a lot of personal productive things, from the to-do list I keep that conveniently has all my work and life tasks.

Tue-Th are these sort of hazy days where I get the bulk of my work done and just sort of vaguely exist. I talk to coworkers on conference calls and see my kid for about 3 hours but I’m just a shell of a human being. After bedtime on these days is like I am a zombie. No one knows me and I do not know myself. There is nothing to aspire towards and nothing to help you relax. Sometimes, if I can snap out of it, I’ll do some restorative or yin yoga. Sometimes, I can read (I have only finished 1 (!!!!!) book so far this year). Sometimes, I call a friend. But mostly I painfully pass the time between 7:30-9:30 pm and am thankful when I am tired enough to go to sleep.

On the weekends, we have a very standard routine of inside house time – playground – naptime – playground – inside house time – bedtime. I wash probably 150 dishes a day. We get the NYT delivered and I fritter away a lot of the day reading it while kiddo plays nearby. I almost love to go to the playground and spend a few hours in the frigid air doing nothing. I also love when R is on playground duty and I have alone time at home, which I spend tidying up while listening to a podcast, working out, and showering. Then, they are back. (I know R has the same routine bc he is always in the shower when we come back from the playground). I love also when we all three go to the playground and/or see our playground friends, and life feels a bit like pre-COVID. The most fun we have on a weekend is watching a movie, in two parts.

Jan Reflection/Feb Goals

Oof. What a month. A stomach bug, a stressful client presentation, freezing cold weather. The one shining light was officially creating our indoor pod and having indoor hangouts with them. That was a real relief because it was organized before the weather has dropped to feeling like 20 degrees every day. I did give up alcohol and coffee. Alcohol was easy and has never been a problem for me. Coffee was really rough! I never stopped wanting it and it was brutal to have some early morning baby wake-ups without it. And, I started sleeping from like 9pm to 5am which made me realize I haven’t actually lost my old body clock, but I’ve just normalized it a bit with coffee. Anyway, I am back on the coffee training and grateful for it. Especially on days like today when the feels like is 10 degrees!

There are three things I want to focus on this month:

  1. Having more fun. This has been happening organically through our pod group, but I want to keep shifting weekends and evenings towards more fun, rather than just passive recreation. I ordered a puzzle table so we can do a puzzle in the evenings but store it out of the way, and then I’m also interested in seeing if we can do cooking or crafting or some sort of fun activities. I read this hilarious article on why nothing is fun during COVID (basically nothing is new or spontaneous or social) but I’d still like to find a bit more…pleasure or nourishment or something.
  2. Stop using phone internet. I used to be SO GOOD at this and now I am SO BAD. It started with the election and then ticked waaaay up during the armed insurrection at the capitol. I just don’t need to be doing it. I also haven’t been taking full tech sabbaths. Both practices I want to bring back and I want my phone internet to go back down to 0%.
  3. Decluttering. The Marie Kondo bug has been striking me again…we haven’t done it since before we had a baby (I think actually two apartments ago), and obviously we are spending a lot of time at home. I don’t think I can do an all out effort, but I am thinking about making my own list of mini-categories that can be done post-bedtime and slowly working through some things. Her practice of choosing what to keep versus choosing what to discard always worked well for me.

That is all. Onto February!

January 2021

I just cannot think about a full year of resolutions, but I do want to get back to making monthly goals.

For January, I gave up coffee and alcohol. Alcohol has been absolutely fine but I am REALLY missing coffee. I’m fine drinking tea, but apparently I only want to drink tea with cookies. There is something about the total satisfaction of coffee that I WANT. But it honestly doesn’t feel like caffeine addiction, as much as the pleasure of it.

My other goal is to have some more fun. I want to get to the point of thinking about what would be the most fun activity to do at night, rather than falling into bed or watching TV on auto pilot. I am honestly struggling so much with this. Maybe I should put some sort of fun audit on my list.

Other stuff has been mostly good — working out, meditating, sleep, eating, etc. so just want to focus on the stuff above.

What a Year

I have been struck, as is pretty usual for me, to do a recounting of this year and a planning ahead for 2021. But every time I start to think about this year I just stop. I don’t really want to go back. I keep thinking about the holidays for 2019 – MG’s first. She was sick from daycare and basically up all night for November. Then she was a bit better and she – and then all of us – caught HFMD for Christmas. I spent my birthday feverish in bed. By February she was better and we felt like we had survived a really difficult window and things were turning a corner. Her birthday party was probably the last time we had people in our house.

From there, it has been a total shitshow. WFH with her, the total fear and panic of living in NYC in March and April, the house fire, five months of living with parents and in-laws. When daycare reopened and we moved back home it was like reaching the promised land. There were a few rough weeks of transition but since then, our life has been stable and happy once again, even in light of occasional COVID quarantines, masks, no indoor playdates, etc.

But it was hard again for other reasons – I had a miscarriage at 7 weeks, the fear and panic of the election. I just feel so wrung out and tired, like I need three years to recover from this one. And we still had it easier than so many people. We have stable jobs that paid us the same amount even when we were doing childcare half the time, we didn’t lose any loved ones to COVID, we didn’t get sick ourselves. But it was so hard in so many ways.

I have been looking forward to 2021 but softly. Thinking about doing a weekly tech sabbath which I have been finding really restorative and a way to bring the pleasure of boredom back into my life. And I long, I honestly long for, a cold rainy weekend day when indoor play dates are allowed once again and the kids can play with trucks and the adults can have some pizza and wine and we are all warm and dry and safe. I feel thankful and I am filled with so much longing.

October

October! This is often my favorite month of the year. I love the back to school feeling, the fresh air, the beauty of the leaves, Halloween, etc. This year obviously feels a little different. I feel like we’ll blink and a whole COVID year will have gone by. Plus, it is very steeped in election anxiety for me.

I’ve been using a paper planning to do hourly tracking – for work stuff, but also what I want to do in my breaks or after bedtime. It has a spot for daily habit tracking but honestly, beyond meditation and exercise, I don’t even have any daily habits that I’m into. The only things I can think of are daily focused reading, using my lightbox, and eating a lot of veggies. I’ve started incorporating more veggies into my day – like having a snack be just some veg and some fat – and I feel like that is good for my winter mood.

So some daily habits: exercise, meditation, light box, veggies, reading.

We’ve been in a nice weekend routine as well: mornings at one playground where we often run into other families in our daycare, a lunch and nap, and then evenings at another playground with our friend and her kiddo. Very simple but very nourishing. Lots of snacks (R realized that if we ply MG with snacks in a typically American fashion, she can go multiple days without having a meltdown).

I’m also trying to focus more on my present – rather than thinking about the election or a second wave or daycare closing but…easier said than done.