The December List – 2019 – A Look Ahead

December was kind of a crappy month for me. There were some cool things that happened, like my 10-year-old suddenly went from singing pretty badly to singing quite beautifully (and by singing I mean singing to herself while doing a craft or puzzle or some other thing where her mind wanders, which is mostly all the time).

And discovering my Enneagram, which literally made me cry when I read the results (finally, I’m understood). The nutshell of my Enneagram, above.

Otherwise, I’m kind of done with December. So in lieu of the usual 12-list recap, I bring you “My New Year’s Resolutions (That I’m Willing to Share).” In no particular order.

1) Drink more water.

So simple, but so hard for me for some reason. It’s the cheapest, easiest way to look and feel better. I don’t drink during meals (unless said liquid is alcohol, strangely), and sometimes I’ll go more than half a day without drinking water. Not sure how I’m going to remind myself to do it – I’ve left mugs and bottles of it on my desk, I’ve made notes – I’ll just have to do it.

2) Make pot stickers.

I love pot stickers by any name. Dumplings, gyoza, mondu. I’m obsessed. Have been since I was a little kid. I guarantee you I have eaten more dumplings in my lifetime than you have. They are relatively easy to make and other than the wrappers, the ingredients are easy to find in Grosse Pointe. And they are easy to freeze. And ten times better when they’re homemade. But I have yet to make them. No more excuses, it’s time.

3) Figure out the photography thing.

I’ve been loving photography. But it stresses me the heck out. I get anxiety days before a shoot and then the day before I wish I’d never said yes and then the day of, I’m sure I’m going to screw it up somehow or my camera will break or none of the photos will be in focus.

And then for all the work I do (driving time, shooting time, editing time), I don’t make a whole lot. But, I do make some nice pocket change and was able to buy a new lens this year with monies earned……Sooooo. I just need to figure it out. Suck it up and keep doing it or stop.

4) Get rid of excess (and extras).

I don’t have a lot of excess. I’m somewhat of a minimalist when it comes to decor and even clothing, compared to most women I knew. But there are areas where I need to purge. Like vases. Why do I need so many vases? I’ll tell you why. Because WHAT IF I buy (or even better, someone gives me, or even better, I grow and pick) a bunch of flowers that will only look right in that one particular vase.

I also can’t get rid of food. Like the one can of jackfruit that I thought I’d use that’s been sitting in my cupboard for ALMOST TWO YEARS (I’ve tried to pretend it’s not there by hiding it in the back as you can see and also do you love coconut milk like I love coconut milk?). Even though I should probably get rid of it, I can’t. Because not only is food waste a really bad thing, I also paid for that can of with my hard earned money, which I don’t have a lot of these days.

Could this apply to relationships/situations as well as objects/things? Heck yes.

5) Eat less meat, eat more fish.

I know how to cook and I  cook a lot. And I know fish can be one of the easier things to prepare. But I hate the fishy smell that hovers over your kitchen when you’re done and also cooking fish intimidates me. Why? I don’t know.

Yes, I realize I could also eat more vegetables instead of eating more fish, but I know I can’t accomplish that, so it is not a realistic goal at this juncture.

6) Stop getting sucked into social media stories about unexpected animal friendships and animal rescues.

I’d say less social media or a complete social media hiatus (which I’ve done for Lent and loved), but I now manage two social media accounts, so that would never work.

My problem is that once I’m logged in to post something for work, I scroll and see a post about a puppy who made friends with a chipmunk or hedgehog or possum and of course I have to click on it!!!! And at the end of the story there’s another story I have to click on about a black Labrador who rides the bus by himself every day to go to the park or a penguin in Japan that walks to the fish market and then I’ve wasted 15 minutes of my life that I can’t get back.

7) Don’t buy anything I don’t need.

Do I need to spend $10 on a movie night with girlfriends? Yes. Because me time is important, as is time with friends, as is blocking life out for two hours. What about $20 on a super cute shirt from Zara because it covers my arms in just the right places and makes me feel good about myself? Sadly, no. An expensive cut of organic, pasture-raised beef? Yes (I have my reasons). The West Elm planter I’ve been dying to get for the front porch that is now on sale? Nope. A new houseplant because I killed the other one? Questionable.

Which leads me to my next resolution…

8) Shop Amazon less.

Such bad business practices. And Bezos is a jerk. But it’s such a lifesaver at times. And sooooo easy. Kid needs a white t-shirt for the school play by Friday? Amazon. Recipe calls for specific curry spice that I have to drive 30 minutes to get “locally”? Amazon. And did someone say, “free two-day shipping”?

I’m not going to pledge a year of no Amazon. That would be insanity. But I do pledge to buy elsewhere whenever possible. Especially books. Even though they are always so much cheaper on Amazon.

9) Be nicer to my kids.

I’m not a mean mom. I’m just not always nice. And the irony is that I’m not always nice when I’m telling my kids that they should be nice. I’m 47, work a several jobs (marketing for the school, freelance writing, payroll for my husband’s company and photography) and I’m tired.

Sometimes I don’t want to parent or I want to parent quickly, which is usually not nice option. Sometimes being nice means letting them make that super annoying clicking noise with their tongues while I’m trying to type a work email instead of saying in exasperation, “Can you PLEASE stop making that noise!” Sometimes being nice means instead of telling her for the hundredth (probably two hundredth) time to stop shoving her clothes in the drawer, show her how to fold her shirts and hang out with her while she practices doing it. Parenting nicely takes time. And energy. Brain power and bandwidth. And I don’t always have it in me. But I’m going to try.

10) Dab on haters.

My 8-year-old has been saying/doing this (you have to do the motion) lately and it makes me laugh. But it’s also good advice. It’s basically like saying, “let it go,” but in much less zen and ethereal way (of which I am neither). I CARE. About EVERYTHING. I overthink and I ask why. I can’t let it go. But dabbing on haters? It feels more final and resolute. Like a battle cry or an outcast spell. Which I can totally get behind.

11) Exercise more.

BO-ring. On the list every @#*$&$ year.

Notice I didn’t say less carbs or no ice cream or no potato chips. Aside from being healthier and having more energy and feeling better, blah, blah, blah, my main motivation factor for exercising is so I can eat the carbs and the ice cream and the potato chips. And drink the spicy margaritas.

The goal is to move (cardio) every day. Even if it’s 10 minutes. Followed by targeted exercises of A, B, C or D (one per day in order). Abs, Booty, Choice of workout (or Chill, meaning no extra exercises, not sure yet which I’m going to go with) or Dumbells.

Google 10-minute Butt Lift by Cassey Ho for if you are looking for pure torture. Although this is coming from someone who doesn’t exercise a whole lot, so maybe for you it will be a piece of cake. I got to the point two years ago where I could do the whole thing without cheating and last night I cheated on every exercise but two. Ay carumba. But my mantra (as Cassey says in the video) is just to do better than I did yesterday. I can do that.

12) Pray more.

I believe in the power of prayer, yet I don’t always pray. In fact, I pray very little, which is to say I pray very little compared to the amount of praying I used to do. By prayer I mean connecting to God and my surroundings (nature, the universe, unseen energy) thoughtfully and purposely and prayerfully. And letting the answers guide me.

My friend Ingrid gifted me this book years ago and I still keep it on my nightstand and reference it often.

It hasn’t snowed all month, but when we woke up this morning there was a half inch of snow on the ground. Appropriate for the New Year. A clean slate. And just a bit ago my girlfriend posted this inspiring message that seems to have been written just for me.

I don’t believe that everything happens for a reason and I don’t believe that everything always works out. But I do believe in divine guidance/intervention and I believe in hope. I look forward to the New Year, in spite of the political climate and worldly goings on, in spite of personal challenges, in spite of the odds being seemingly stacked against us at times. Bring on 2020. I’m ready.

4 thoughts on “The December List – 2019 – A Look Ahead

  1. Whew. I feel tired after reading that. I hope you follow it up with all the good habits you do, too, because surely you have them.

    Had to look up ennegram, not sure I want to open that door, but it sure looks sparkly!

    But I get it, you have your goals and you want to be perfect and all that. I’ve yet to write down a list but I’ve been thinking of my word for the year. Here’s a list:

    Happy New Year, Lani girl. I hope 2020 brings all that you hope for and more. xo


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