I love my heavy quilts. And my flannel sheets. And my memory foam mattress topper. And my two different memory foam pillows (one in a flannel pillowcase). God bless the magic that is my bed.
Yep, I'm spending New Year's Eve in my bed, writing. I'd like to thank my bed for being there for me this year. For being warm. For being squishy but supportive. For being the best bed anyone could ever have. And being a good office. And a good study room. And a good place to watch The Real Housewives of just about Anyplace.
This post started out to be a 2012 version of Goal-setting, but as I read through my goals for last year I realized I had a few things to say about the goals I set. I feel like 2011 was the best year of my life for actually tackling some goals. Was it because of this post? I'll never know. But having to think about what I wanted out of 2011 definitely gave me some specific direction.
Original posts here and here
Personal growth: work at being more patient, sincere, brave
I don't know that I achieved anything in any of these three areas, but I definitely stopped to think about them more often. I think when it comes to personal growth, just having the thought is half the battle. Patience will always be hard for me, but I tried. Applying to MFA programs was an exercise in forced patience. God, I hate waiting for things. Sincerity is important to me. I really gave it thought this year and I tried to focus on quality relationships. I'm sorry I can't think of a good concrete example, but I did give effort to that particular quality. Courage is another hard one--I'm afraid of so many darned things. But I can say that applying to school, driving to school, and being at school all felt like steps in the right direction. I had to put on my big girl pants and deal.
Learning goal: apply to a creative writing low-residency MFA
Did it! Not only did I apply, but I was accepted to several, I decided on UC Riverside, I started my first year, and I attended my first residency at in Palm Springs. Boom.
Reading goal: read Little Bee, Fifth Avenue, Five A.M., An Object of Beauty, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Skippy Dies, The Imperfectionists, and Fight Club
Eh, not great. Out of those the only book I read was Little Bee. I am about a third of the way through The Imperfectionists, though. I'll finish it soon. I don't really feel bad about not reading the others, though. My to-read list changes all the time and I decided a while ago that trying to get through some arbitrary list I created just makes reading feel like a chore. I have to give myself the freedom to read something that I'm excited about in a moment. That's always more fun. And heck, I read about 30 books. Most of them were things I'd never heard of when 2011 started. That doesn't suck.
Physical health goal: eat whole foods, cook at home, take lunch to work, exercise regularly, complete physical therapy for hip, run a marathon
I was probably better about eating whole foods in 2010 than 2011, but we continued to eat relatively well at home. The way we cook is just different now, and I think most of what we make will continue to be some sort of lean meat with veggies, fruit and a whole grain. There are just not a lot of processed dinner foods that taste good to us anymore. BUT we have major snack issues around here. Just sayin'. I did moderately well taking my lunch to work; again, I think I was ore consistent in 2010. But I made a good effort.
I didn't exercise regularly for the last two months of the year, but from January to October I did pretty well. I ran 601 miles this year. That's way more than ever in my life before. Things went off the rails a bit as I got close to residency and the holidays. Overall I'm proud of what I did do, and this was the best year of physical exercise I've had since I was dancing in college and my apprenticeship. I finished my physical therapy for my hip and I think it made a big difference. And I ran that damn marathon. Ran it all over San Jose. I feel good about what I did for my health this year, though I know I can definitely do better.
Marriage goals: spend more time together, get a plan to have some date nights
When I wrote that goal I wasn't thinking about spending more time together in just our daily routine, but that's actually what ended up happening. We've gotten to this strange place since law school finished and I've been working the same relatively early schedule that we have a lot of night time together. I think in 2011 we were still figuring out what that looked like, but we've settled into a routine when it comes to that, too. And much more than when we first got married I can say that now it doesn't bother me that we keep different hours. I like my peaceful alone time at night, and so does he. But it's nice to be in the same house together, too. E continues to be my favorite person to travel with, and I got to do a little of that this year, too.
We made major headway in the date department, thanks in full to K. She started volunteering to babysit regularly for us so we could go out. Seriously, how nice is that? She calls us and sees if we want to go out. Taking the guilt out of having to ask someone to babysit our kids has been the biggest gift. (And they love her like family, so it's good all around.) Regular, non-stressful alone time has been the best thing for our relationship in years.
Family goals: keep talking regularly to our kids, take them on trips and visit museums, get both kids involved in something physical
Our kids wouldn't let us stop communicating. They're already these two great communicators who are not afraid to sit us down and say "listen, we don't think this is right." So that part was easy. We took them to Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, and Monterey this year. I would have liked to do more traveling with them, but that can be a goal for another year. They're easily impressed, too, so all it takes is a night at the Best Western to make them think they're living the high life. Both of our kids tried a new sport this year. Henry played baseball and Addie ran her first 5K after training with Girls on the Run. E and I helped coach their respective sports. All of that was wonderful and I'm glad they got active.
Money goals: use cash only for monthly expenses, pay down debt
I think I was about 80% here, too. Most months I managed to do a cash-only system for our expenses, and it saved us a ton of money. But there were also a few months where, for whatever reason, I just didn't go get the cash at the beginning of the month and put it in those envelopes. And those months were not so great. I just honestly need to remember to do it and then we're fine. And instead of feeling repressive, having the cash to spend makes me feel a little bit more free. I hate the debit card because I'm always worried I'll make a calculation error and there won't be money in the bank. Having the cash in my hand is an easy reminder of what we do and don't have to spend. As for our debt, it's basically the same. We managed to get rid of our credit cards but it was by moving some stuff around rather than by being awesome and paying them down slowly. I don't care, though. That was a huge weight, lifted. Of course I took out a school loan this year, but we're already swimming in law school debt, so what's another loan, right? Yeah. Right.
Relationship goals: be a better friend, encourage/support/notice my students more
I can't say if I was successful or not, but I tried. That's about the best anybody can do, right?
One word resolution: peace
Last year I saw this idea of a one word resolution somewhere and I couldn't remember where, for the life of me. I think it was on this blog, but it looks like she got it here. Anyway.
My word or 2011 was peace. Interesting, because 2010 was way more peaceful than 2011. It wasn't that 2011 was really filled with discontent, but it was work. I feel like I had to get up off my butt in 2011. I had to write and apply and run and cook and clean and mail and read and reflect and talk and teach and run some more. Was there a peace of mind that came with all of that? Definitely. But it wasn't very zen. There were no palm trees or drinks with little umbrellas in them. Just work. Good work, but hard work.