Today I turn 25, so today I’ve made 25 goals I’d love to accomplish by my birthday next year. Kinda like New Years Resolutions, but different because I think I’ll actually pay attention to them if it’s associated with one of my favorite days of the year. Not that I don’t like a new year, I mean who doesn’t like a new year, but honestly? It’s mostly just like any other day. Except there’s a grotesque amount of football, and people who would never otherwise eat black eyed peas sit down and eat mounds of black eyed peas. Seriously, if you want black eyed peas for New Years Day, don’t try to purchase them the week before because THEY WON’T BE THERE. All of the people will have bought them all up. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
So here we go.
I’m sure plenty of people have this as a goal, but ever since I got pregnant with Nolan, my ability to focus has been so off. I would love to be able to sit down, read an article, and be able to accurately articulate what I just read. I’m already on the road to success in this (and it’s about DANG time) but by the time I’m 26 I’d love to be able to say, “YES! I feel confident that I could pass a third grade reading comprehension quiz!”
2. Strengthen my body
The token “workout more” goal. You all called it, you know you did. I’m not crazy-awesome like the people who run half-marathons when they’re 35-weeks pregnant. I’m more the, “Babe…? Babe, I can’t move…could you bring the wine in here?” sorta person. But I do want to be the mom who runs around at the park with her ten year old BECAUSE SHE CAN. Honestly I’ll probably be the mom who sits on the bench with a book while her kids run around, but I’d like the option. I’d also like to be the mom who lives until she’s like a million years old because she’s just so darn healthy. And I’d like to be the mom who looks pretty darn good in her kids’ wedding photos. And none of that is going to happen if I don’t get kicking. However long-term goals can be hard to work toward (especially those that are like thirty years in the future…) so I’m going to make some short term goals that actually mean something to me in order to get my butt moving.
3. Have grace for the process
Here’s the thing: I know myself. And I’m probably going to get done with this list and expect everything to be accomplished/very near accomplished by next Thursday, then I’m going to get frustrated when it’s not. So here’s my goal: don’t do that. Allow myself the process of growth and expansion and failure and persistence.
4. Morning teeth brushing
Don’t you wrinkle up your nose like that, I know you have your own dirty hygiene secrets! Truth is, as a kid I HATED brushing my teeth. I have this whole theory about why that is, but I won’t bore you more than I have already. So brushing my teeth in the morning never really sunk in as a normal thing that people do all the time. I make it happen maybe 20% of the time. I know that’s disgusting and my dentist is probably going to hate my forever and yada yada yada. Since this is probably something I should be able to handle as a 25 year old adult, it’s just gonna happen. Mostly as a pride thing, because I said it’s going to.
5. Don Quixote
This book is sitting on my bedside table. A couple years ago I could have plowed through that puppy in a week and a half, but today my free time looks
a little totally and completely different, and is not conducive to such things. I’m setting my goal for a year and praying I can make it happen.
It’s been a big goal for a long time for me to get my French to where I want it to be, but I think this really should happen this year. What little I know was really helpful to us when we were in Belgium, and I’d like it to be much more functional than it is. So all French-Americans should be very afraid…I’m coming for you.
7. Make some new friends
I love my friends. I love who they are and what our friendships are like and that there are like maybe ten of them. Maybe. It’s a happy comfort zone for me. But the past year has brought a lot of changes for us, and we’re in a place now where I really ought to put some effort forth into some new friendships. THIS IS SO HARD FOR ME! People and relationships scare me so badly, but here we go…gonna make some new friends…
8. Make space
9. Be hospitable
This goes along with the friends thing. Our house has been in renovation mode for a very long time. Like…since we purchased it nearly two years ago. So we’ve been hesitant to have people over, and usually it’s just easier not to. But part of our culture is sharing our homes and our lives with other people, and we might always live in a renovation and that’s just part of our home and our life, so people get to see that now.
10. Rein in the sweet tooth
It’s no lie, I have a sweet tooth to the point where it’s an issue. While I’ve helped myself not at all today by making a carrot cake mostly for me, myself, and I, a year from now I would like to have a better appreciation for the more savory things in life.
11. Learn how to thrift for clothes
More on this forthcoming, but I’m kinda a master thrifter. I’ve found some pretty fantastic thrifting gems, and I’m sorta proud of them. However when it comes to thrifting for clothes, particularly for myself, I get incredibly overwhelmed. Every hanger holds a different item than the hanger in front of it. And I’m different sizes in different brands, so which size should I look through? All of them? Because ain’t nobody got time for that, cowboy. And what do I really need anyway? Not that, not that, not that…what does the word “need” mean? Definitely don’t need *that*. THAT. I need that. [Tries it on.] Guess I don’t actually need that at all. So I just spent twenty-five brainless minutes and found absolutely nothing. DO YOU SEE MY DILEMMA? However. Thrifting for clothes tends to be less expensive, it’s good recycling, and anything that’s been treated with any chemical goodness has been basically cleansed completely by repeated washings from the previous wearer so my baby won’t lose IQ points from my clothes. So in my mind that’s three good reasons to conquer the wave of nausea that overcomes me in the Goodwill clothes section and learn a new skill.
12. Create a greener/cleaner home
Honestly, we’re pretty crunchy around here already, but there are a lot of things I could do to lighten up our body burden. See, told you…we discuss body burden at our house: crunchy. We feel pretty strongly about being moderate in all things, so we’re not planning on starting a hippie commune on Whidbey Island where we grow our own cotton and don’t use shampoo (no offense, hippies), that’s just not our style, but I probably shouldn’t be super adamant about organic vegetables and grass-fed beef, then go use my aerosol hairspray nearly everyday.
13. Photo project
I’m terrible at documenting our lives. I feel like I’m putting people out by saying, “Okay, time to get a picture!” Then everyone has to stop what they’re doing and go get set up for a picture, or turn toward the light so I can get a decent “candid” shot, or feel uncomfortable because they think they’re having a bad hair day, or anything of the sort. Honestly, I just don’t like all that business. But it means that I miss out on getting photos of some really special times that we have, and I’m tired of missing out on those things, so I’m going to be *that* person and get tons of pictures all the time of everything. One picture a day for the next year. *That* person.
I freaking love birthdays. I love that everybody gets a day every year where the rest of us get to celebrate that they are alive and that they are part of our lives, however big or small. I love how you can see adults faces light up when the birthday cake and candles come out, just like when they were little kids. I love how people come out of the woodwork to make you feel special, just for that one day. Before Nolan was born I basically made it my mission in life to make sure that everybody’s birthday was thoroughly remembered and celebrated to the full extent I could manage myself. Since Nolan’s been born, I’ve found it SO difficult! It’s not that I don’t care about anybody else…I do, I really really do. It’s not that I can’t plan ahead…I make meal plans every week. Somehow I’m going to make it all come together, and between now and my next birthday, I’m going to remember so many birthdays that I’m going to have to start my own FREAKING birthday card company, okay?
15. Get outside
My son loves being outside. He really loves it, he is fascinated by pebbles and single blades of grass. My husband loves being outside. He grew up hiking all summer and skiing all winter. I don’t really love being outside unless it’s mostly sunny, 70-75 degrees, and 95% bug-free (lady bugs and rollie pollies are permissible, but that’s it and don’t push your luck). But for my boys, by next spring I would like to say, “It’s such a nice day! Wouldn’t it be nice to have lunch on the blanket at the park?” and actually get a shred of enjoyment out of it. A shred. Baby steps.
16. Get a good winter coat
This sounds silly, and let’s be honest…it’s kinda silly. But I don’t have a good winter coat! All of mine are too light, and while we don’t need anything hardcore around these parts, we need a little something more than what I’ve got. I’ve lived a quarter of a century. I should know how to dress myself, then do it.
17. Go berry picking
I’ve wanted to do this for so long! I love berries and can’t wait to put up a mess of them this summer to nosh on all winter long, and I’d love to pick them myself. Maybe with some help from the babe, because srsly…how cute would that be?
18. Drink more water
For about three weeks this year I drank a gallon of water every day. For a girl who has always counted two cups of tea every morning as water intake, that was a big deal! And honestly, I felt a lot better that way, so back at it! I have a couple friends who are absolutely inspirations in the water-drinking department, and I’m going to ramp up my efforts till I can rival them in a 24-hour period.
19. Trust myself more
I have a hard time believing that I know what I’m doing most of the time. When it comes to nannying, wedding coordinating, and designing houses and rooms, I think I’m pretty hard to go up against because I know my stuff. But…I’m not currently doing any of that, and I often feel that I’m floundering at whatever I am doing. Truth is, I probably am just fine and I’m simply too scared of screwing up to not be freaked about about stepping forward.
20. Listen more fully
This goes back to the friends thing and the focus thing. I have a hard time linking together things that someone is saying, mostly because I’m so distracted all the time by the little mini-me running amuck. The people I admire most aren’t the people that are doing twenty-seven things at once, no matter how well they seem to do any of those things, but the quiet, intentional people who make you feel like a million bucks when they’re in conversation with you because they’re basically treating you like the only person on the planet.
21. Mind your own business
No, seriously though. I’m playing number 21 a little closer to the chest. It’s a thing, you just don’t need to know what it is. Sorry.
22. Learn how to take a time out from being a mom
I really like my husband. Like…really. However, I’ve noticed that, on the five occasions that we’ve gone out together without Nolan, I have an incredibly difficult time just being present with him and not worrying about our boy. Ky worries too, but not half so much as I do. I think it’s a girl thing. Boys don’t understand. Do they ever? Anyway, not actually being emotionally present makes it a little hard to enjoy a date. So I need lessons! Anybody with tips on how to date your husband while your baby is at home is more than welcome to chime in, because I’m going to be a great dater again by the time I turn 26.
23. Learn how to take a time out from being a wife AND a mom
This is an odd one because it requires me to be me on my own, without the roles of wife and/or mom creeping in and defining my time and my interests. And that’s odd because that’s basically my whole ever-loving life. Breakfast or coffee or bottles or laundry or dinner or groceries or toys or parenting books or date night or “How was your day?” or nap time…that’s my life, that’s what I do, and it’s so intertwined with who I am that it’s incredibly hard to find something extra in there. But that’s simply facilitating what my boys need, which is part of my job, but strictly facilitating is not my role. My roles are meant to add specific benefits to their lives because I’m me and nobody else. So I need to nurture me. Yes, I used the word nurture, and yes it grosses me out a little bit too.
24. Keep my floors clean
I don’t like mopping. So I try to not do it. Tuck that nose wrinkle back in! Good grief! But that’s gross, and my son crawls on our floors then chews on his hands and NASTY. So I need to get better about keeping my floors clean by the time I turn 26 because, c’mon Emma…you can adult better than that.
25. Text my grandma
Today was my birthday. Today my grandma texted me, and I texted her back, then we went on like that for a little while, and it was really lovely. Pause for station identification: my grandmother is one of the coolest people I know as evidenced by the fact that she’s 78 years old and she texted me for my birthday, and I love her absolutely to pieces. I expect my grandparents to be kicking for a very long time, but I understand that there will be a day when I no longer get a birthday text from my grandma. So while I can, dadgumit I’m gonna text my grandma.