In with the New

Fireworks - photo by kazuend

Happy New Year and welcome back! The vacation schedule is gone, and it is time to get back to the normal routine. Except this year is going to be different. Right? Because we’ve got goals, we’ve got plans, we’ve got dreams. Ain’t nobody gonna stand in our way. 

Kick fear in the face and seize the day…or whatever it is motivational memes are saying these days.

This is what we do. We make plans and hope to achieve them. Motivational speakers and authors get us going, small incentives help keep the momentum, and we seek the promise of success. By no means do I think this is a bad thing.

Somewhere in a notebook is all of my goals from middle school through college. I would write a big long list of things and then grade my success at the end of the school year. Silly things were on there, like getting a date to prom or maintaining a certain GPA. Now, I have yearly goals based on the calendar year that pertains to different areas of my life. This has consisted of everything from starting a retirement fund to hosting couchsurfers.

Planning is practically my hobby. Bored? Just daydream until the next five years are planned out, vacations and careers included. Hand-written diagrams, lists, spreadsheets, vision boards–all of it is often pieced together for my upcoming ideal life. When you get down to it, part of my job as a project manager is planning/scheduling and making things happen for people. I’m a goal-setter, a dreamer, and a planner. That’s me. 

Truthfully, the last few weeks I’ve spent more time avoiding resolutions than making them. My mind has been in a constant back-and-forth between reflecting on the long, hard year that was 2015 and overanalyzing the many possibilities of the year to come. And during that time, I stayed away from writing because I didn’t know where to start. This is the time of year when bloggers spout out all of their favorite things from 2015 and their new shiny goals or words for 2016. For me, this year, that just wouldn’t be genuine.

While there were so many things to be grateful for in 2015, but there were also quite a few hardships that I never planned or expected. Looking at the year, I realize how little control I actually have over how it goes.

So, this nonstop planner is putting a temporary stop to the goals and the life plans. It feels too overwhelming right now and puts some unrealistic expectations on me and the people around me. Writing my usual list or even finding the word of the year to live by is too distracting right now. While some of my past accomplishments have been truly ignited and inspired by my yearly goals, this is not the time.

This is the year I simply keep on keeping on. I have a lot going on and instead of dreaming big and thinking toward change, I want to only promise to continue to show up. To do the work. To stay in the game. To be all here. 

Despite a lack of goals, I still think this has the potential to be a big and wonderful year. But I also think it will mostly be beyond my control. All I can do is continue to take one day at a time. I want to be present and aware of what’s happening now–today. And then, I want to live through tomorrow when we get to tomorrow. That’s it.

Those Days

Today was one of those days. Those days when you can’t seem to get out of bed or figure out what to wear. You hair isn’t cooperating, and the only way you could fit in breakfast was by eating yogurt during the car ride to work. Then you get some coffee and hope it all turns around. I had a rare “early out” at work today due to a very late night of work last night, meaning I was ready to hit the road by 3 p.m. and check off my list of to-dos including a long overdue trip to the bank and scoping out a new gym.

About three blocks from work I found myself instead stalled in the middle of a busy street as my apartment “relocation specialist” continued to make sure I couldn’t feel any more unwelcome over the phone. I attempted to restart the car to no avail. Hazards went on, a frantic voicemail to the hubby was left and a long call with AAA began as cars drove around my sad little car. Even if I could push a car by myself, who would steer? I was in the middle of three-lane traffic in an area I hardly knew. Eventually though, someone went and parked at the nearby grocery store to come back and push me down the road, all the while flagging traffic. I am so grateful for that stranger.

An hour later, the tow truck showed up and lo and behold – same guy as last time. Considering it had been so recent since I last saw him with the same problem (albeit, in far less perilous of a location) I could ask about how his new daytime shift was going, hear his anger about the replacement refs and tell him about my lackluster visit at the previous shop. The repair shop that a month ago said nothing was wrong with the car after it was towed there and spent two days being “worked on.” Sigh. He towed me to a new place and actually walked in to talk to the owner to explain the problem with the car he’d become so well acquainted with.

As I hurriedly biked to the bank to accomplish something today, I passed a few kids walking to the park. They shouted “Hello!” and I couldn’t help but smile and say hello right back. I thought about how kids have it so easy. How they don’t have the stressors of life bogging them down… but they think they do. They have struggles at school and clinging to their favorite toy at all times might make or break their happiness. To us though, those issues are so little in the large scheme of things. And really, aren’t mine too? I am quite alright. I may not have the greatest car or own a house or be making much money, but my life is good. Being stalled in the middle of a busy road caused some stress and sweat, but I had help from a stranger. The bank lobby closed before I managed to arrive, but I got to enjoy a fine moment of awkwardness at the drive-thru window on my bike. Even though it wasn’t at a gym, I got a workout in today. So chalk it up to one of “those days” but I’m okay because I am sure to experience new mercies every morning.


Today marks the 1st of the month; the last month we’ll spend in Iowa. Come August, we’ll be packing the truck and driving out. Sitting in my still very intact living room drinking tea and watching the cars go by, I have a mixture of emotions.

Today is probably the last day we can truly enjoy in the safety of our “secret” (which of course has been shared quite a few times by now, but it’s still quiet). While we’ve been trying to prepare when we can and sorting through miscellaneous boxes in the basement, the essence of our home is still that – a home. But in two weeks we’re going to put the very couch I’m sitting on up for sale (and probably for a whopping $5). The car I drive to church this morning will be sold. That church will be the place I say goodbyes for the next few weeks. This is the week we go public with the news. Tomorrow, the hubby will turn in his notice, and I will follow suit on Tuesday. 

Today is the calm before the storm. Up until now we’ve certainly planned and stressed and talked about what is to come, but on our terms. Once it’s out, we’ll have to start answering to it, and even more so, follow through. We’ll try to pack everything in, both in experience and in tangible items. Pack it in and pack it up. To do so, we’ll have to sort through things, look backwards and look forward. Both are important to understand what we’re doing.

Today I want to focus on today. I want to breathe it in and soak up all of its goodness. I’m not going to worry about tomorrow or mourn for the losses of the past. Today was made for rejoicing. Today is the day.