I had today off work. My company always gives us New Year's Eve and New Year's Day off, and since New Year's Day was a Saturday they gave us January 3 off. It was nice. I couldn't sleep in - the kids had to go to school today and I needed to be up to upload the home covid test results. In some ways it was nice not to sleep in and instead to get the full day to myself (my husband was working).
I didn't do anything spectacular with my day: I took care of some chores and I started on my end of year accounting. It felt good to check those things off my to do list. I also took a long walk on the beach. We take a beach walk as a family every New Year's day but I also like to try to get a solo walk sometime early in the year. Walking on the beach unknots my shoulders and helps me think things through. It is a good time to think about my goals for the coming year.
I posted on Twitter last night about looking up last year's goals, thinking I'd done pretty well on them, and then realizing they were actually the goals from 2020. I didn't really make any goals for 2021 - I think the unspoken goal was just to get me and my family through the year safely. I did that and honestly that is a lot given all that 2021 asked of me.
Still, I'm ready to think about some goals again. My goals for 2022 are heavily influenced by the last quarter of 2021, when I started to try to act on the realization I had when we got back from our summer vacation that my work life was out of whack and that was spilling over into all other aspects of my life so that everything was seriously out of whack. I was just trying to get through my work days and weeks on the promise of something better sometime - maybe on the weekend, but those were full of chores so maybe in retirement?
Here's what I wrote in my journal one night not long after we got home:
Can I learn to stop wishing away the days and years that are my life?
Can I unlearn the impulse - indeed, need - to plan for that better thing just around the corner, that better time just over the horizon?
Can I treasure what I have now?
Can I stop reaching for what is next and just be here now?
Life is here now.
So, my overarching goal for 2022 is to learn to live the mantra I used on vacation, when I started to worry about things I could not control... Be here now.
This will not be a one year project. The first step is to get back to doing work I enjoy and don't just endure. That is hopefully underway. I have some other specific ideas for how to work towards spending more time here now, which I've broken into four areas:
Health - Body
- Get fit and strong again, so that I can enjoy the activities that make me feel most present. Also, the right kind of exercise is a really good way for me to "get out of my head" and worry less.
Health - Mind
- Take the half-assed meditation practice I've got and make it something real.
- More reading and creating, less scrolling.
- Finish untangling the mess ("Untangle the mess" was one of my 2020 goals, which I made zero progress on in 2020 but did actual start making progress on in the second half of 2021).
- Re-engage in politics. I was not very active in 2021 - I could say that too many other things were competing for my time, and that is sort of true. But it is also true that I just ran out of steam and gave in to doomscrolling far too often. I feel better when I'm doing something about the problems I see. When I don't do anything, I waste too much time and energy worrying. Better to pick some specific action (e.g., write 5 postcards or letters every week) and do that. I'm not sure what my specific actions will be yet, but I'm working on that.
- Keep greening my life. As I mentioned in my last post, we've electrified the big things and have solar panels. I think the concrete thing I'd like to do here is try to replace some car trips with trolley trips.
That's my plan for 2022. I fully expect the pandemic and/or other current events to throw some monkey wrenches into the works but even if the specific plans end up derailed I hope I can keep the overall goal in mind. I don't want to wish away these years, no matter how hard some of the days are.
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