22 Little Changes in 2022
Are you one of those people who writes out New Year resolutions? I remember sitting with my mom at the kitchen table, watching her smoke a cigarette and write three resolutions. I can’t remember what they were (I was about five at the time), but she told me this was something her father did with her every year. I’ve kept up the tradition with my kids because I like the sense of empowerment it gives, like, “Here’s what I’m going to do with my life!” Covid was like, “Foolish mortal!”
Typical goals in these pandemic years are off kilter, aren’t they? It’s hard to say how you want your life to look by December when a new variant comes out every three months ripping your plans to shreds. So this year, instead of one big goal, I’m going to make 22 little changes and see how they play out. The bonus with having so many goals is that even if I only get a few things done, that counts as a win, whereas just having one goal it’s all or nothing. Maybe some of my quirky tweaks are applicable to your life too. They are in no logical order. Here we go:
22 Little Changes in 2022
- Learn How to Use the Remote Control. The only reason why I had children was so someone would be able to turn on the TV for me, but my kids are getting older and will leave the house soon. This is the year I will figure out how to switch between streaming, Netflix, Amazon and regular TV. Wish me luck.
- Goodbye Twitter. I use Twitter never. It’s scary and mean and the people on it are way wittier than I ever could be. Tweet tweet, Ima delete my account.
- Read Different Books. Lots of people, myself included, stick to reading one genre, be it finance, romance or science fiction. This year I’m going to read biographies of people whose politics I disagree with, novels with protagonists from countries unfamiliar to me and some true crime stories. You never know the impact that can be had by challenging your worldview.
- Drink Protein Shakes. This challenge is actually more due to a technology glitch than a health desire. I ordered some protein powder on Amazon and to get a discount I set it up on auto-delivery. Then Covid came, the gym closed and my desire to do bodybuilding competitions fades, leaving me with five (!!!!!) huge tubs of protein powder. So I’m going to replace at least one of my meals with a shake until I use this stuff up! Also, a protein shake is healthier than ordering pizza.
- Delete Online Stuff. Emails, text messages from vendors giving a promotional code, eight pictures of the same damn thing but from different angles, why do I clutter my phone and computer with this shit and then wait for a threatening message from Google that their shutting me down due to lack of storage before I do anything? An hour per month seems like a reasonable solution to tame the online clutter dragon.
- Give my Face an Ice Bath. OK, I read this article about anxiety. The therapist said if you are feeling anxious you should submerge your face in ice water, which will shock your system out of ruminating. This is the kind of oddball trick I want to try. I mean, sure, it’s not practical to do while driving and possibly not in a work environment (depends where you work), but I’m really curious to see if this is effective.
- Make Peace with Covid. The pandemic will one day turn into an endemic, meaning it will always be with us but will be manageable with vaccines, advanced therapies and facemasks in dodgy situations. It’s just something to live with.
- Take Enough Time. As a Type-A person has been “Give me a cup of coffee and a deadline and I’m your gal.” The good news is that I tend to complete whatever goals I set for myself. The downside is, sometimes the product is only 82% by my self imposed deadline. So this year, I’m going to focus on the quality of whatever I’m working on and take as much time as I need to feel good about it. Specifically, I’m writing my first novel. It’s not ready to publish and that’s ok. I’m taking the time to make it something I love rather than something that’s good enough.
- Increase Flexibility. A physical therapist told me that most older people can’t raise their arm above their head because they have arranged their lives so they never have to reach for the top cabinet. A yoga instructor told me that most adults tend to hunch over because they sit behind their computer all day. I don’t want to fall into these traps because then you get slowly trapped inside your own body. I’m going to bust out my yoga videos and/or at least stretch on Sundays.
- Support New Charities. Studies say that one of the best way to improve personal happiness is to volunteer. The act of helping makes us feel better, connect more with our community and gives us a sense of empowerment. There are so many good causes out there, it will be fun to find a new one.
- Finish Projects. I’m a sucker for signing up for online programs and then getting distracted halfway through. That’s really lame. I’m also one of those annoying people who reads three books at the same time instead of just finishing one thing and moving on. It will be satisfying to cross some of these things off my mental to-do list.
- Delete LinkedIn. Why am I still on this? It made sense when I was job hunting, but I’m happily self-employed and never get on the site. Then they auto-send me all these updates on people I’ve met twice and I feel guilty for not being a better networker. It’s time to move on.
- Watch Stand Up Comedy. Life’s too short to be so serious and offended all the time.
- Promote Kid Freedom. Growing up my mother sent me off with my friends around 9 a.m. with two warnings, “Don’t run with sticks and be home by sunset.” Other than chipping my front teeth badly (my best friend and I were running with sticks) nothing bad ever happened. My mom dropped me and my 12-year-old friends off at the mall for hours without cellphones (because there were none) and I managed just fine. My kids grew up during a trend where people called child protective services if nine-year-old’s played alone in the park and they were terrified someone would kidnap them if they walked to the mailbox alone. How can kids learn independence if we force them to always hold our hands? So this year, I’m sending my 12 and 14 year old kids to the grocery store with some money and trust them to figure it out. I let them go out with friends (and no parents) on Halloween. Other than a cracked cell phone (long story) they survived. I plan to continue this increased freedom trend.
- Travel? This is really dependent upon Covid rules, but I’d like to visit Scotland this year because the protagonist in my novel is from there. Earlier this year (after Delta wave passed through the south but before Omicron arrived) I spent a week in Williamsburg, Virginia and met with historians to learn about the past, since the first third of my book is set there. Covid spikes ebb and flow and hopefully the timing will work out to travel somewhere, even if it’s just a small day trip to a different town. It’s fun to explore different areas, cultures and customs. And witchcraft. That’s a lot of fun to learn about.
- Visit Bodies of Water. There’s something so peaceful and calming about the ocean, a glassy lake, a babbling brook, a raging river. I love the stories that pop into my head just being near the water. I live in Texas, so seeing the ocean takes planning and a four-six hour drive depending on beach selection. But Lake Pflugerville is pretty close and there’s a creek in a nearby park calling for a visit.
- Throwback Fitness. In a dusty box in my closet are my old Kick Butt, Abs of Steel and Billy Blanks Tae Bo workouts. They are VHS tapes. The mere size of them scares my children. I plan to order a retro VHS player and do these videos again and show my kids what it means to have to rewind something so you can use it again. Ah, nostalgia.
- Declutter. Beyond my online inboxes, there are so many things that are in my actual physical closet and I don’t know why I keep them other than laziness. The thought of going through boxes of stuff from my mom’s house overwhelms me, so it sits there. I’m going to pull out my Marie Kondo Spark Joy book (or at least watch an episode of her show) and declutter this year. It’s been a few years since my last attempt.
- Write Family Stories. In five generations or less your life will be completely forgotten. Erased. Lessons learned and lost through time. Unless someone cares to remember your stories, that is, so my brother and I are jogging our memories to see what our parents told us so we can write them down and share with our future generations. Who knows what the past will teach our future?
- Enjoy Family Time. During Snowvid (that time when Texas shut down during a snowstorm and we had no water or power for a week while our senator Ted Cruz went on a spontaneous trip to Cancun and then blamed it on his kids when he got called out – you know, Snowvid) we huddled under blankets in the living room and played poker by candlelight. While I highly recommend a working power grid and sanitized drinking water, hanging out with my family doing old school stuff like playing Monopoly, telling ghost stories and discovering just how cut throat my family is with Uno was great fun that I’d like to continue.
- Get Spiritual. My husband and I have different religions (I’m Catholic, he’s diet-Baptist) and neither of us went to church during Covid. We went to my church for Christmas and it felt so good just to be connected with my upbringing again. It’s comforting to be part of something bigger than yourself.
- Dance. It’s good exercise and great fun. It helps to connect your brain (thinking of the routine) to your body’s movements. My husband, God bless him, spent six weeks taking ballroom dance lessons with me once because for my 45th birthday (and 15th wedding anniversary) I wanted to do Dirty Dancing lift. He very much did not want to do this. But he did. And I love him for it. This year my plans aren’t nearly as grand. Some hip hop videos will suffice.
Whatever your goals, here’s to a great 2022!
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