Keep on keeping on in 2021

I like lists and fresh starts and making a plan. I love clearly communicated expectations. Syllabus day in college actually was my favorite day because once I got those syllabi in hand I went back to my dorm room and wrote down every assignment in my planner on the day I would do it and then again on the day it was due. Everything was color coded by class. It was one of my great joys of college.

So it makes sense that I would be into resolutions. The fresh start of a new year, an excuse to make a spreadsheet with checkboxes and lots of plans… I’m in!

One of the great joys of my now life is the long, hot shower. I can confidently say that for the past 8 years I have had less than 10 showers that lasted longer than 10 minutes. My showers have been utilitarian and necessary. Refreshing, yes. Luxurious, no. I had maybe 10 minutes of hot water in my last house, where I live for 3.5 years, IF I turned off the water while soaping up my body and/or hair. This morning I took a nice long, hot shower, keeping the water ON during both the soaping up of my body and my hair (luxury!) and thought about my New Years Resolutions.

I realized there isn’t really anything that new I want to do, rather a bunch of things I want to intentionally keep doing. (Plus one new thing I’ll save for the end.) So here are the things I want to KEEP doing in 2021.

Last night I finished reading my 100th book of the year at 11:13pm. Phew! It was really good and I’m a little upset about how quickly I rushed through it (I started Corrag by Susan Fletcher on December 29th) and want to read it again in 2021, but I did it. I want to read / listen to another 100 books in 2021. I want to keep seeking out books by authors of color and authors with different life experiences than my own. I also want to keep from stressing out about how white my books read list is because beating myself up about it doesn’t change anything.

If my calculations are correct, I’ve gotten at least one tattoo a year since 2007, and I’m more than content to keep up that pattern. I got my 2020 tattoo on December 26 – a bow and arrow on my forearm. I’m already planning on going back to the same guy for another tattoo in the same style on my forearm, so that’s all but locked in for 2021.

For the past two years I had an informal goal of going out of town at least once a month. It happened pretty easily in 2018 and 2019 and I was on track to do a lot of traveling around in 2020, but.. you know. Shortly before my 31st birthday I decided to set a new traveling goal – to visit all 50 states by the time I turn 40. I have officially been to 18 states (a couple I have technically been to, but am not counting), which leaves 32. I have 9 years until I turn 40. As long as I visit 3-4 new states a year until then, I’ll complete my goal! As a fun addition, I want to get a magnet from each state as a souvenier. So far I only have 4 magents, so I’ll have to do some revisits.

Overall I want to continue to think intentionally about how to live with less impact. Eat more plants, eat less processed stuff, create less waste, buy more secondhand / small business, use more natural products, and only let things and people I really like take up space in my life.

In 2013 I went to Jarabacoa for the first time and almost instantly started dreaming about living there. It took a while, but I did live there and it was, in a word, DREAMY. It wasn’t instantly dreamy, but I wanted a slower pace of life, more time spent outside, and gorgeous mountain views. In February 2020 I had a dream, in line at the bank of all places, of a new life! I dreamed of time in nature and traveling with my dogs and living simply and being a part of making safe and fun places for people to enjoy. I recognize that never having to settle for my life is a huge privilege. I want to keep dreaming and keep working for the life I imagine for myself, never settling when I don’t have to.

Without saying too much, in line with the practice of only letting things I really like take up space in my life, I have given up religion this year (2020). The idea of giving up church altogether is a heartbreaking one, so I want to keep asking questions and exploring and seeking, in my own time and very much at peace, with very genuine hopes that church and church practices might feel important again one day.

I’ve had this idea of myself as a writer for most of my life. I like to write. I like the sound of keyboards clacking and the feel of the keys under my fingers. I like bringing characters to life and letting them shine. But I haven’t felt any characters floating around waiting to shine in a long time, and I’ve found that talking to an actual person has worked much better for me this year than typing things up on the internet. I want to keep verbally processing my feelings and experiences and thoughts because it’s helpful and fun and solution / growth oriented. I also want to continue to communicate my expectations and questions, rather than assume or hold things in. It always feels better to get it out.

Listen. I was thinking yesterday while walking the dogs about my first (and only!) kiss experience. I was thirteen and heading on a Labor Day weekend camping trip before starting high school. For whatever reason (society?) I thought that by the time I started high school I should have had a proper first kiss. So I went on that trip determined to come back with a good first kiss story. I made a plan! I knew the general location (campground) and narrowed down the candidates and I got my first kiss story. I want to channel that confidence in myself as a prospective kissing partner now in my thirties. I also really like the symmetry of having my first “real” kiss at 13 and my first adult kiss at 31. It’s time! (Or maybe it’s not, and if it’s not, that’s fine, too. I am totally capable and ready and willing to live a full and fulfilling and meaningful and super awesome life without any romantic kisses.)

There is so much more on my mind and heart about the person I am and the person I am becoming, but if I keep typing I’ll never stop! And I kind of want to work on my puzzle while listening to Obsessed with Disappeared the podcast before heading out for a new years day puppy playdate, so I’ll leave it there, with these resolutions, to keep going, keep growing, keep moving forward, but gently, and at my own pace.


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