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TBT: How It Started vs. How It's Going... 2010s Resolutions

In hindsight, the year 2020 feels like a weird false start to me. The year that marks the beginning of a new decade isn't supposed to be so... end-timey. I've settled down into that long wait for this decade to truly begin, I hope after the pandemic fades out over the course of 2021. Forget about dramatic resolutions, I just want to make tentative plans again! One of the gifts of 2020 has been a gigantic time-out, a chance to reset priorities, and a lot of time to reflect upon the way things used to be in the Before Times and how much of that we'd like to leave in the Before Times. I like the idea of picking out only the best lessons and traveling light into a very new New Year--bringing forward more wisdom and skill, less stuff and baggage. Today's post is a look back at my weighty 2010 New Year's Resolutions (below, in text that is not italicized) with notes on how those went and how those lessons learned have affected my visions for the 2020s (in italics).

 

It's the last day of the 2000s already, and I have some utterly life-altering resolutions which I shall optimistically announce for the year 2010.


1. Instate the Marchesa Luisa di Casati as one of my highest muses for fashion, beauty, attitude, artistic appreciation, and writing inspiration. I vow to learn more about this fascinating woman and invoke her spirit with all my creative endeavors. I would like to note that five years ago, I stood inside the Marchesa's house in Venice (now a Guggenheim museum) gazing at works by Picasso and modern scupltors and attempting to absorb any residues of the Marchesa's habitation a hundred years ago. I would also like to note that I am pretty sure the Marchesa has been reincarnated in the form of my mother-in-law.

I'm slightly uncomfortable with how much I idolized the narcissistic, materialistic Marchesa, even though my celebration of her aesthetic was always humorously ironic. It is additionally uncomfortable that my family has had to reckon with my stylish mother-in-law's benevolently (but irritatingly) narcissistic behavior and compulsive shopping and hoarding problems over the past few years. It also feels gross by association that the "Marchesa" fashion label inspired by the very same figure was co-founded by Harvey Weinstein's wife. For several reasons, I am no longer quite so inspired by the Marchesa's whole vibe. However. I am still feeling her hair and makeup look in this painting, and I am seriously thinking about getting a similar haircut post-pandemic, now that my post-childbirth hair is so curly. At this moment in time, I have no aspirations to take a cheetah for a city walk in the nude.

2. Complete and edit the first draft (which comes after the '09 NaNoWriMo sketch) of my current Work in Progress, SLEEPING BEAUTY AND THE BEAST OF VEPRESKASTEL. Revise the manuscript with the help of local writers' groups and conferences until it is ready to submit to agents. While waiting for rejection letters, continue working on my other unfinished novels, APPLES FOR THE PIE and ROSALINA'S DRAGON. Continue to fantasize about seeing my stories in print, on bookstore shelves.

Oh, sweet novel drafts of yore! None of those books survived my own editorial decisions of the 2010s, but about half of SLEEPING BEAUTY was repurposed into my completed novel THE GROVE OF THORISMUD. I did give it a couple rounds of submissions and rewrites before temporarily shelving it to focus on an even more ambitious novel, LEIRAH AND THE WILD MAN, which I plan to publish as my debut one way or another.
 
3. Organize my analog library of books and music. I know, it's so archaic to have PAPER books and ALBUMS ON DISCS. Although I gladly accept new technologies, I still enjoy my old collections of CDs and paperbacks. I have some lovely shelves for these objects in my living room, which are messy, dusty, and largely empty. Stacks of lonesome CDs lie fallow in binders and plastic containers. I pledge to reunite them with their beautiful CD case artwork and lyric sheets and place them, and my books, in some kind of order on the shelves, alphabetical or otherwise, where they will comfort me with their old-school tactile bulkiness and ornament my home with their aura of literary and musical wealth.

No ragrets! My physical book collection has been a pleasure and a comfort over quarantine. I've purged most of my CDs, and I very rarely purchase a new one anymore, but I've kept a collection of about 100-something favorites, which I listen to in the car, because I still drive a car old enough to have a CD player.

4. Farm at least 300 square feet of my lawn in the most efficient ways known to me. Take advice from fellow green-thumbed bloggers, local gardeners, and food growing books. Keep learning what does and doesn't work in my backyard location, and grow and eat lots of healthy, organic food.

To my credit, I kept up the veggie gardening for a few years, and I might do some again one day, but I don't have any specific plans. I have invested in the cultivation and care of now-mature fruit and nut trees which produce healthy snacks with almost no maintenance on my part. Meanwhile, a sort of farmer's market mega-mall complex has expanded its operations a pleasant bike ride away from my home, so that is now the most satisfying way for me to acquire wholesome vegetables.

5. Re-roof my house. We can't afford to pay someone else to do it... and why would we? It feels good to learn new skills and know that you have the power to do stuff yourself. ...Or rather, by yourself along with your husband, family members, and friends who have worked in construction. It looks like a big job, but I want us to get it done before we spring a leak and have water damage in the attic.

This is such a practical goal, and I'm proud that I was so proactive at such a young age. We did get our new roof, but not quite the way we had planned! Resolution #6, below, was completed sooner than expected, which put off our big home improvement projects. When our daughter was a toddler, my parents noticed that they were paying a lot less for home insurance than we were. Worried that my husband and I were overpaying, I contacted my insurer and initiated a process to renegotiate our rate, which included a home appraisal. As it turned out, my parents were being mistakenly undercharged by their insurer (oops!), and the Pandora's box we all opened by inquiring about the discrepancy resulted in my parents having their rate corrected upward and in my home insurance company threatening to drop us if we didn't replace our worn-looking roof immediately. Fortunately, my parents had the cash to spot us to pay a work buddy of my husband's to do the job for us quickly and affordably but professionally. Eh, all's well that ends well.

In 2021, we'll try again to do some major home repairs and renovations with as little professional help as possible. We hope to completely update our kitchen and main bathroom this summer--again, before they completely fall apart and turn into an emergency.

6. Eek... Am I really ready to say this? Give in to my parents' (and, okay, my) biological urges and try for a baby. The other day, a woman about my grandmother's age told me about her family history and how she was an "old mother" who waited until the age of--gasp--26 to start having children! Good Lord. I'm 27 and NONE of my friends, except one friend who is a bit older, have children. Mr. G is ALMOST convinced that reproducing is a good idea. :) I pledge to keep wearing him down by exposing him to cute babies and subliminal messages. (Sh, don't tell.)


I want to do this right, so there are some sub-goals that I will have to achieve leading up to this (possible) blessed event.
6a. Build our emergency savings fund to cover three months of expenses. Man, this is hard to do. Now some financial advisors are telling people to save up a whole year's worth of expenses. Who on earth can do that??? Our current emergency savings fund would barely cover one month of our expenses. However, we aren't at as high a risk as a single-income household, being a five-income household. If one of us lost one job, hell, it would suck, but we wouldn't lose the house just like that. Psychologically, having a larger savings fund will make Mr. G and I both more comfortable with the idea of bringing a new human into the world--and our home.

6b. Go to caffeine rehab. This makes me really sad, but caffeine is not good for babies in utero or breastfeeding. I'm going to have to kick my habit... maybe in the summertime, when it's sunny and warm. I can't imagine prying my own fingers off of my morning latte in this kind of weather, when the sun doesn't come up until I'm driving to work.


7c. Work out at least three times a week, including continuing my belly dance "lessons" and leading into prenatal belly dance. Because I'd be such an "old mother," :( I'll have to make sure I'm strong and healthy to carry my first child, get through childbirth as well as possible, recover from childbirth quickly, and keep up the energy to care for a little kid.

Easy peasy. Blessedly, some things in life go smoother than expected. We never did manage to save 3 months of expenses in the 2010s, but we still got by with the help of family. I had a conversation with my husband about biology and the invaluable advantages of conceiving a child in both parents' prime of youth and physical fitness--higher quality sperm, lower risks of miscarriage and pregnancy complications and birth defects, more time with living and able grandparents, etc.--stuff you can't buy if you wait until you're in your 40s and save up money for a fancy stroller at the expense of health and years of life. He totally got it, and then we both had an exciting reason to make personal health changes such as optimal cardiovascular fitness, temporarily cutting alcohol and caffeine, and ingesting a lot of colorfully wholesome nutrition. With all that effective effort plus good luck, we got me pregnant on the very first try (we had estimated it would take about six months, but nope), and I had a wonderfully uneventful pregnancy and gave birth to a marvelously healthy baby--two years before one of her doting grandfathers passed away.

Wow, I have a lot to work on at the start of a new decade, as I enter my late 20s! But I can't wait to get started. :) I'll be revising written passages and personal habits, and I'll be writing new chapters on the page and in life.

Enjoy your last night of 2009! Some friends of mine are throwing a massive party at my house tonight... I'm sure I'll be posting later about how that goes. Here's to another year of opportunities and adventures!

What are your New Year's resolutions, all my heroes and heroines of your own fabulous stories? 
 
 
All in all, I'd say my 2010 resolutions went well but weren't too easy--I did learn some hard-fought lessons from my mistakes and miscalculations. I entered my 30s early in the decade, and I learned a lot about that wiser, stronger, but in some ways more difficult stage of life.
 
Your 30s is when life gets really real, when many people become their best selves but only because they have to. It's sink or swim time. Financial obligations rise with new family dynamics, new health issues, and new home and auto expenses, while student loans are probably not yet paid off. A lot of people you know personally--family and friends--as well as leaders and icons and familiar celebrities--start to get sick or become disabled or even die unexpectedly. This becomes less shocking as time goes on, though nobody ever achieves exemption from grief. You learn that childbearing changes you forever--physically, mentally, socially, emotionally--and that some of those changes are hard to accept while others bring priceless and unpredictable blessings. Having a child torpedoes some of your old relationships in cruel ways, and it also connects you with new people and institutions through your child's friendships, education, and a newly personal connection to social issues that affect children and families. In your 30s, you grow and change and evolve at your own pace--and you really start to notice how other people your own age go along at very different rates and in very different directions.
 
In your 30s, you get to break in your seasoned powers of adulting. You realize that you call the shots now, no matter how you were raised or what baggage you were assigned in your childhood. If you don't like something, you can and must change it. You realize that you are your own fairy godmother now. You settle into deeper, more meaningful relationships with fewer people, and you take more responsibility for your own responses to them while letting go of anxiety over their choices that are outside of your control. You grow skills and talents that serve yourself and your people better than ever before. Along with your rising expenses and obligations, you curate a heavier toolbox of abilities and options to handle them. You gain a comfortably solid sense of self, one that accepts the truth that nobody has it all figured out at any age but that we can still fake it 'til we make it. We need less and less external validation to be content with ourselves, and we have a clearer understanding of whose opinions should and should not matter to us.
 
My husband and I are going to spend most of the 2020s as middle-aged parents of a teenager, and I intend to enjoy that next adventure to the fullest. This point in my life is less about making fresh, original resolutions and more about using my mature wisdom to balance staying on course with staying open to new opportunities and experiences. I want to stay mostly the same, which is to say, I want to stay curious and learning and adapting.
 
I am also tickled that my most popular blog post of all time is: 
 

Comments

  1. OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOM

    ggggggggggggggGGGGGGGGGGGGG

    Have a baby!?!?!?!?!?! HOLY SHIT REALLY!Y!K!Y!Y!YY!


    Ok, how am I going to breast feed your kids if I don't have a kid too!?!?!?!?!?!


    FUCK.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Get on top of it, woman!!! Quit messing around with those immature emo boys and secretly married men (hahaha, the fortune teller was RIGHT!) and find yoself a babydaddy!

    I'll wait until the end of summer, OK? Readysetgo!

    It's OK... if you don't want to get knocked up, we'll just make you shower our baby with Mexican kisses. There have to be some antibodies in there, eh? :D :*

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow, Jeannie! #6 is very exciting!!! Good luck! I'm not even going to try to have a resolution that exciting. Just my usual, "find job that doesn't suck." I can't wait to see what a Justin/ Jeannie composite looks like! Probably pretty darn beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks, Jess! You never know... We could have a super fugly baby, but we would love it to pieces anyway.

    Good luck finding a job that doesn't suck! That's no small feat. I just heard on NPR that even among Americans who have full-time work (which is a pathetic percentage), a goodly portion of them are dissatisfied with their jobs. It is rare these days for an American to have a job that doesn't suck. Best wishes to you!

    ReplyDelete

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