Saturday, January 12, 2019

2019 Resolutions

I have a list of things I want to blog about, and each subject seems long enough for its own post, but I feel like I should start with resolutions before we get any deeper into 2019.

I should say quickly, thank you SO MUCH for the sweet messages I got about The Closer. I'll have more to say about that soon, but your support and enthusiasm and messages of hope and acknowledgement of fears... it means so much to me and it makes me feel like I can get through the next four months without losing my mind.

Now, about resolutions. This year I'm doing something a little bit different, thanks to a new friendly acquaintance I know in real life and am following on Instagram. She introduced me to Kimberly Joy's Wheel of Intention, which she used last year for resolutions.

credit to Kimberly Joy

I love this idea because it covers broad areas of life while also encouraging you to set specific goals. So rather than saying, "Practice self care," I can specifically tend to my mind by tackling Modern Mrs. Darcy's 2019 Ready Challenge.

I also love it because it makes "Money and Career" one piece of a much, much bigger life pie, and it was really revitalizing for me to look at the division of my life and priorities like this wheel. I think that I tend to visualize my day with 2/3 of it taken up by work, and sometimes it starts to feel like work is 2/3 of my life--especially when I'm bringing home essays or exams to grade, or I am in bed reading for class rather than for fun. The fact is that some of that is unavoidable with my job--I'll always be cramming in grading time and there will always be evenings when I need to read for class. The trade off (and major perk) of my job is that it gives me a month off to do none of those things at Christmas, and a couple months off in the summer. And when I'm in bed reading for class, I'm still reading Jane Austen.

Anyway, I knew I wanted to blog about this, but then as I was brainstorming my goals, I found myself getting kind of hung up on making them public... So anyway, I told myself I wouldn't make all of them public, but I would like to share a few things that I want to do in 2019. I gave myself two or three bullet points in each category. So here are some examples:

- Yoga 5x a week. I was SO GOOD with daily yoga last year. And then the first trimester of pregnancy hit me and although I wasn't barfing in the morning, exhaustion and nausea were the main experiences post-alarm clock. So yoga went out the window for about six weeks. I did pick it up again, but I started worrying about doing something wrong/harmful (this is mostly just paranoia--I've never heard of yoga causing miscarriage). And exhaustion was still real. So I tried to do prenatal routines, but those were often too boring/easy. So I was a little stumped. I have a few videos now that I like and I've been having sciatic nerve pain, so I know I need to keep moving and keep my back strong. I should be able to get back into this.

Money & Career
- Use a budget app. Pretty self-explanatory, this one. We need to watch our budget carefully since my maternity leave will be unpaid. (Insert rant about feminism, politics, America, etc.)

- Plan a 2020 vacation. I'm not sure what this will look like... we'll (hopefully) have a second-grader, a kindergartener, and a baby, but I'd like to find a location that will suit all of us.

- Encourage girls to craft.
- Revisit (and revise) novel.

Family & Friends
- Host a game night.

- Plan a surprise date for David.

Community & Activism
- Sign up for a new group/experience outside my comfort zone. I did buy tickets to see Rachel Cargle when she's in Kansas City, but I'm going with a friend and it doesn't feel scary. I recently applied to be part of a 12-week study of anti-racism work that's specifically geared to help white people take action. I want to be sure that I am prepared to do anti-racism work without burdening people of color or centering myself, so I think this study will be helpful. But 12 weeks? With a new group of people, none of whom I know? I hate new things. This is definitely outside my comfort zone.

- Read three books in the genre of religion/spirituality. I'm still open to possibilities here, but I want to read An Altar in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor and Walking on Water by Madeleine L'Engle.

So that's it... I have a few more bullet points under some of them, but you get the idea. I'm trying to be specific but still push myself to do things I might not normally do. If you want to download your own wheel and bullet your own goals, you can find it here.

I have to say, I was feeling sooooo good about the new year a week ago. Last Saturday was 60 degrees and sunny. Zuzu and Coco and I walked the neighborhood so Zuzu could sell Girl Scout cookies and she made her (very modest) goal. The house was clean and I felt energetic and excited about preparing for the semester. I think maybe my absolute favorite part of the job is preparing reading lists and syllabi. I know that sounds lame, but it's just the time when the semester is full of joy and possibility, before the reality of unenthusiastic students and piles of gradings start weighing on me. Anyway, Saturday I was in a really good mood. Living on top of the world!

Then Sunday morning was a drag to get everyone to church and by the time we got home from church, my back was killing me. I had sciatica like never before. I've experienced sciatic nerve pain in all of pregnancies (and there are so many of them because I apparently have the reproductive capacity of a hearty pioneer woman) but nothing has ever been this painful. I was reduced to tears a couple of times--going from bending to straightening, including sitting to standing, was excruciating. And there was a moment when I seriously thought I might pee my pants because I couldn't see how I would get up off the floor in time to make it to the bathroom (David ended up lifting me up). It was brutal. So Sunday was a sharp decline from Saturday's blissful, optimistic mood, and it's been a week of trying to get back to where I was.

I used ice packs and heating pad and gentle stretches and saw my chiropractor Monday morning, but this has been a week of recovery. I've come to appreciate the struggles of those living with chronic pain. It makes me so short tempered! Plus my jaw hurt from gritting my teeth.

After a week, things have definitely improved, but my back is still not what I would call normal, even for pregnancy. So that's a work in progress.

But then today was a lovely snow day--we got around a foot of it! I've never seen this much snow in St. Louis! I enjoyed the morning especially--snow falling, clean house, fire blazing, children playing outside, then playing together quietly with legos. I did yoga, got semester prep work completed, read Michelle Obama's book...

But the day stretched on and on and morning was long gone and bedtime was a long time away and the house was a mess, the kids were having meltdowns, my back was killing me... Let's just say the charm had worn off by 5pm. I'm ready for a restart tomorrow.

I think that's what I like so much about resolutions. They are a chance to restart. They create a picture of the person I want to be, and I may not hit every mark in 2019 (although I really try to make them achievable!) but I can always strive to learn more, to do more, to be better. And I guess that's also the point of every morning--not just January 1.

Here's to tomorrow--may it be filled with more patience, less pain, more laughter, less whining, more music, less bickering, more hugs, and fewer meltdowns. Happy 2019 everybody!


  1. I've been following Rachel Cargle on insta, and have gotten so much out of her perspectives and challenges. I hope you blog about what you get from seeing her!!

    I struggle with resolutions...don't love feeling like a failure, lol (bc so many of us do ??) so I usually keep them very vague ideas vs real intentions. I'm interested in Kimberly's wheel, I'll look to see if it can help me get more specific and productive with my vague hopes Thanks for sharing!

  2. Also, the only thing worse, in terms of physical pain, than back pain is chronic back pain, during pregnancy!! I'm so sorry and I hope things straighten out sooner rather than later.

  3. I love game nights!
    This reminded me I meant to order some cookies from Zuzu at book club, I'll text you!
    I just want to survive with 4 kids for 2019. And maybe go to a beach. Resolutions seem way too intimidating for this year, but I'm impressed with yours!