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.

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.

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

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!