It’s that time again! Resolution time! On January 1st I overheard a woman chanting “2022, it’s coming after YOU!” In a good way, or a bad way? Then she said, “I woke up singing, and dancing,” so maybe it’ll be good after all.
I applied to grad school and now our future plans are contingent on whether I get accepted or not.
In March 2020 I predicted that the pandemic would last until January 2023. Now I think that January was the wrong month to choose and that we’ll be lingering past that point. My metric was “safe to travel internationally” and as far as coronavirus is concerned, I’m not sure I personally will ever feel that way again. Sorry to have to say that.
We had a COVID scare last month, with exposure to someone who tested positive, but we were able to get rapid tests right away. I was already coughing before we found out we were exposed and it was pretty scary. Turned out to be the common cold. Remember those? For myself I’m doubling down on my commitment to hide out and avoid people.
The goal is to find a way to somehow have fun and make the most of the next year despite how weird everything is.
Personal: In previous years, I have built my plans around a major personal challenge that I found very difficult, usually something that took a few years to accomplish. This year I’m just going to focus on having FUN for once! If I do start grad school this year, it will mean shifting into an academic gear during third quarter. Might as well goof off for the first half of the year while I still can.
Career: My career goal is to get a fellowship so I can pursue my master’s. Fellowships at my company are highly competitive, with more applicants some years than others. If it doesn’t work out, then it’s time for me to think about leveling up in some other way.
Physical: My physical goal is to focus on fun things like hula hooping and learning to roller skate. I really want a trampoline, if only I had somewhere to keep one…
Home: My home goal is to move into a bigger place with a laundry area. At this moment, we can’t really make any big decisions, because of the whole grad school thing, but I feel like our current apartment is a haunted house saturated wall to wall with sad memories. Very excited to be considering a cross-country move to an area with lower rents.
Couples: Our couples goal is to go to the final World Domination Summit this year. Although I might go wearing my bubble helmet.
Stop goal: My stop goal this year is to stop reading dumb thrillers. The trouble with thrillers is that the first 90% is suspenseful whether it’s good, bad, or indifferent. Only at the end do you realize that the rationale or the character motivations make no sense. For the past several years I have been going around complaining, “Why do I keep reading these things??” Only to turn right around and do it again. We decided a couple years ago only to watch movies that rate at least 70% on Rotten Tomatoes, and now I’m extending that same logic to books, specifically thrillers.
Lifestyle upgrades: Our lifestyle upgrade for the year will be to bring more art into our lives. We bought a big landscape photo in 2020 and enjoyed it to the point that it took a while to ask, Why don’t we get another one?
Do the Obvious: My Do the Obvious goal this year is to focus on sleep quality. Due to my heart problem, getting a cold, and who knows what else, my night terrors have come back in a big way. This is bad for me and also unfair to my poor husband - and possibly also our downstairs neighbors. For me, focusing on sleep quality includes not eating three hours before bed, cutting back on sugar, avoiding stressful topics in the evening, and doing as much cardio as I can handle.
Someone asked me recently to “say more” about Do the Obvious. To me this means looking at a standard list of ‘healthy habits’ like drinking plenty of fluids, going to the dentist, putting on sunscreen, wearing your seatbelt, and any other completely predictable, mainstream common-sense advice that even a little kid can rattle off. Then I have to genuinely ask myself whether I am actually carrying out these things. There is never a time when I’m doing all of them.
Ultralearning: My ultralearning goal for the year is to start grad school. I want to come out of the process thinking, researching, talking, and presenting like someone with an advanced degree.
Quest: My quest this year is to start grad school! I want a master’s and a PhD.
Wish: This is the wildest wish I’ve put out there in a long time. I wish for a parrot and a dog that are already friends. Thought I’d put it out there in case anyone knows of a cute little pair of critters that need a home.
Personal: To focus on fun for once
Career: A fellowship
Physical: Rollerskating and hula hooping
Home: A bigger place with a laundry area
Couples: Go to WDS X
Stop goal: Stop reading dumb thrillers
Lifestyle upgrades: More art
Do the Obvious: Focus on sleep quality
Ultralearning: Grad school!
Quest: Grad school!
Wish: For a parrot and a dog that are already friends
Goodbye 2021. The only thing I can really say about my 2021 is that I can’t decide if it was equally as bad as 2020, or actually worse, full of personal loss and health scares. But we lived through it, didn’t we?
Well, not all of us. My poor little parrot Noelle died. I still dream about her and I feel like all the magic has left my life. It’s been over six months and I’m still stymied about what to do, how to find something to be happy about again. The entire world is a mess and my little bright spot suddenly went dark.
This is the time of year when I review my goals and resolutions and see how I did. Annual review. First, some highlights.
We watched a pod of dolphins maybe 100 yards away from the beach
We went to the San Diego Safari Park and saw the last surviving condor who was born in the wild before the captive breeding program
We both got “Exceeds Expectations” on our performance reviews
We got our COVID vaccines and boosters
I got to see my family for the first time in a year and a half
I ran a mile and a half
There is always something we can do, even when times are hard, and it helps to appreciate what we can.
My personal challenge for the year was to expel my math anxiety. For the first time in years, I did not rise to meet my chosen personal challenge. I took a math placement test and I’m basically back in the second grade. It was too depressing to deal with, and maybe I was just having too many health issues and too much pressure at work. I did not achieve escape velocity and I did not make progress and I did not impress myself.
My career goal is to become a futurist. Futurism is officially part of my job now, I am recognized as being particularly good at it, my boss says he’ll send me to any futurism conferences or workshops I want to do, and guess what else? I applied to grad school. I’m still waiting on my last recommendation letter before my application will be processed, with less than a week to the deadline. The suspense!
My physical goal was to get back to my goal weight. While I did manage to lose the weight I gained in 2020, I put some of it back on over the holidays. So I’m down 10 pounds. I have more reason to care now because I’ve been having issues with tachycardia and SVE, which seems to have reawakened my night terrors. Maybe other people can welcome weight gain with smugness and delight, and more power to them, but for me, there are natural constraints.
My home goal was to move to a larger home. This did not happen. We are in stasis until we find out whether I get accepted to grad school, since it doesn’t make much sense to move twice in one year (again). If you find yourself in a home with a washer and dryer and/or a second bathroom, rejoice. I know I will.
Our couples goal was to start saving for a house. We are on track for this, although who knows where or when we might actually buy any real estate.
My stop goal was to stop hoarding reading material. I genuinely worked on this all year long, and for me it will probably be the stop goal of a lifetime. I read through part of my backlog, but not all of it, and realizing that I had more than a year’s worth of material stored up was daunting and mind-boggling. We’re talking bookmarks and open tabs, not my list of books to read, which it turns out includes over three thousand titles. Yeah, good luck with that, hon. I did have exciting breakthroughs in finding a few more ways to speed-read, so that was fun.
My lifestyle upgrade for the year was to get a new bed. We did actually manage to do this, finding ourselves the only customers in a local mattress store, and we have a proper bed frame for the first time in our marriage. This was one of the best decisions we have made, saying goodbye to our lumpy twelve-year-old mattress.
My Do the Obvious for 2021 was to assume another year of working from home. That turned out to be completely accurate.
My ultralearning goal was to focus on data visualization, and indeed I did a lot of that. This is an area where there is no end to the learning potential.
My quest is to run a 50-mile ultramarathon when I turn 50, in 2025. I managed to run a mile and a half without stopping, and that’s not nothing, but between COVID and the supraventricular ectopy, I am not sure whether I will be able to complete this quest. I’m not even sure if I’ll still be here to turn 50. We are given neither the day nor the hour, and tomorrow is not promised. That does not, however, invalidate the desire to make the most of the time that we have.
My wish for the year was to visit my family safely. We all got our shots, and I wore my bubble helmet at the airport, and nobody got sick, and we all got to be together. Wish granted!
How was your year? How did you do?
Personal: To expel my math anxiety - NO PROGRESS
Career: Become a futurist - IN PROGRESS
Physical: Back to my goal weight - IN PROGRESS
Home: Probably move to a larger home - FAIL
Couples: Save for a house - IN PROGRESS
Stop goal: Stop hoarding reading material - lol
Lifestyle upgrades: New bed - SUCCESS
Do the Obvious: Assume another year of WFH - SUCCESS
Ultralearning: Data visualization - Tableau, Excel, etc. - SUCCESS
Quest: 50 for 50 ultramarathon (2025) - IN PROGRESS
Wish: To visit my family safely - SUCCESS
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.
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