Monday, January 01, 2024

Hello 2024

Happy New Year!

I just looked back on my few posts in 2023 and well... it was a year.  It wasn't a bad year, really, but it wasn't one where I can look back and think "yeah, I really got what I wanted out of that." Some great things happened, but I never really felt like I was in control of things in 2023. Rather, things controlled me. I let work eat my life far more than I would like. We got super busy with the kids' activities and I never really found a rhythm to things. We did exactly one thing off of our family fun list, so last night we decided to just roll the list over to this year and try again.

I am going to try to take back control this year, to the extent that is possible - or at least not accidentally let work and kid activities take over like they did in 2023. I thought I'd start by reviewing how I did on last year's resolutions and then document my resolutions for this year. 

Instead of specific resolutions, I picked three themes for 2023. They were: Own my age, Make healthier habits, and Enjoy life more.

Of the three, I think I did the best on owning my age. I said I wanted to find my new uniform. I haven't done exactly that, but I do have some new go to brands: Wit and Wisdom for pants, NYDJ for jeans, and Vince Camuto for tops. I don't like all of his tops but there are enough that I like to make it the section I start in when I go shopping. I call my Vince Camuto tops my "middle age mom wants to look nice" tops - and I can tell I'm not alone because last week when I hit the Nordstroms half year sale, all the size L Vince Camuto tops were gone. They had plenty of size S, but let's face it if you're a size S you're probably not buying these tops. They are flowy but have some shape so you can tell I still have a waist, and they hit just below my belly, which has obvious benefits. (As an aside, one of the things that made me laugh in self-recognition in 2023 was this excerpt fromWendi Aaron's book I'm Wearing Tunics Now. The line "How old am I? I'm tunic years old" is so spot on.)

What I'm saying is: I can now dress myself for several consecutive days in which I have to go into an office without too much distress. I call that a win. I'm still looking for my go to weekend tops. Suggestions welcome!

The other things I did with regards to owning my age: I stopped whining about how hair was going from the blonde of my youth to a dingy dishwater color and let my hair stylist add highlights. Literally no one else notices my highlights (not even my husband) but I love them because my hair looks the right color to me again. I stopped whining about the dark spots on my arms and bought some cream that said it would help with that. And it has! (It is just retinol and vitamin C - I haven't graduated to niacinamide yet). My forearms no longer startle me when I see them.

I am still whining about how easily my forearms bruise since as far as I can tell there is nothing I can do about that. But most of my Vince Camuto tops are 3/4 sleeve length so I can just hide those bruises with flowy sleeves.

So basically, I applied money to my age-related issues with my looks and am happier now. 

I didn't do all that well on making healthier habits. My initial instinct on seeing that theme in last year's post was "I didn't do that at all!" - but that is not entirely true. Maybe the right way to look at it is that I laid the foundation for some healthier habits. I found a recipe I like for a healthy, filling week day lunch (quinoa with an egg on top), I just don't always find the time to make the quinoa ahead of time so I can grab a quick lunch. I rediscovered my old yoga DVD, which has a yoga routine that really helps when I make time to do it and that reminded me of how much better I feel when I have a regular yoga and meditation practice. I maintained my Friday afternoon rollerblading routine.  I used my rowing machine enough that it doesn't feel like I wasted my money on it.

So, onward to 2024 on this one - if I can build on this foundation, I'll end the year with some healthier habits!

I did the worst on the "enjoy life more" theme. I tried to make the routines that were dictated by the kids' activities enjoyable, and had some success there (Mr. Snarky and I enjoy our weekly dinner out during Petunia's ballet class, for instance). I read a lot more instead of mindlessly scrolling social media so much. That's a habit I want to bring into 2024, even though I finally signed up for Bluesky (I have the same @wandsci handle there as I had on Twitter).  

But - as I said, I let work eat my life. I don't really have any hobbies right now, and I miss having a creative outlet. I did not get to the beach anywhere near as often as I'd like. And as I mentioned up top, we did so poorly on our family fun list we called a do over for this year.

Looking ahead to 2024, I have a mix of specific resolutions and themes.

My specific resolutions are: 

- Really use the new green bin the city gave us. We have our own compost pile so haven't been putting food scraps in the green bin. But the green bin can take so many things that we don't put in our compost pile! Pizza boxes! Used paper napkins, even the ones we used to soak up extra cooking oil! And more! I need to read up on what I can put in this bin and use it for more than the yard waste Mr. Snarky fills it with.

- Build a yoga and meditation practice. I feel so much better after yoga. Why do I have such a hard time making time to do it? I have promised myself to fix this in 2024.

I have two themes for the year. One is to continue to build healthier habits. The other is to take my time. This means I don't let work eat my life, but also that I take some time for the things I enjoy. My kids are old enough to give me the time I need, I just need to remember to take it.

I made myself a cheesy sign to remind me of my new theme (my sister gave Petunia this light box years ago and Petunia was going to get rid of it... so I snagged it for my office):

2024 will undoubtedly bring plenty of challenges. It is a Presidential election year so there's one source of stress. Pumpkin will be starting on the college choice process in earnest. Petunia is trying not to have to choose between ballet and volleyball, which means a lot of schedule problem-solving for me. I'm on a big new project at work that has impossible timelines and a lot of competing ideas to wrangle.

But I feel pretty good heading into 2024. I think I know what I need to do to end the year feeling more like I caught some big, exhilarating waves and less like I got dunked into the churn. Now I just need to do it.