Goals and Gratitude; Forty-Two Weeks In

Happy New Year! New Year’s is a funny thing; yes, we said goodbye to 2020, but the world did not change because the calendar did. I mean, we are still in a global pandemic and will be for a while yet. Nothing really changes on January 1, no matter how glad we are to kick the old year to the curb.

And yet. I love New Year’s; I love the feeling of everything fresh and new even if it isn’t actually fresh and new. January 1 I took down the tree and decorations, and I deep-cleaned the house, and I actually feel like my HOUSE is fresh and new. This happens every year; the house feels so much more spacious. It’s like I have a brand-new house, I think, every year at this time, and if history is any indication, this feeling will last until about the end of this week. Possibly less since Everyone Is Home All The Time.

I asked the family if they were setting any resolutions for New Year’s, and my younger son scoffed at me and said “I set my goals throughout the year, not just in JANUARY, MOM.” Well, I guess I do this too; if I want to make a change I implement it immediately, it is silly to wait until an arbitrary date. All the same, I do like to set intentions and goals for the year to come at this time of the year. I looked back on last year’s goals and I think I did a good job fulfilling them, with the notable exception of mindful shopping – hello panic buying, but I’m trying to do better – and buying a new bra. I need to make up my mind to the fact that my ill-fitting bra and I are going to be together for a while. I cannot imagine going to a lingerie store and trying on a whole bunch of bras, let alone have someone get up in my grill and measure me. Maybe in 2022.

2021 Goals


This has been on my list for years and it’s something to keep working towards. It’s a journey, what can I say. Being present in the moment is not always easy, but I’m working on it: paying attention, being astonished, and telling everyone about it, as per Mary Oliver. I’m also STILL working on listening more, rather than Zoning Out, but honestly, that has been a bit tough in a year where, as I say, Everyone Is Home All The Time. Well, these goals are for looking forward, not back, Fresh Start, etc.

I’m trying to incorporate mindfulness into all aspects of my life, including – as I mentioned above – shopping, god help me I do not need to buy any more flour for a while. I am also – and this is a carryover from last year – reading more and scrolling less. I read 147 books last year; part of that was being locked down with the pandemic, but a bigger part of it was deleting certain apps from my phone and stopping myself from wasting time mindlessly scrolling.

On that note, the constant news cycle and the barrage of terrible things does not do me any favours; I’m finding that limiting myself to the bare minimum is much better for my mental and emotional state. Going forward, I’m going to continue to do that. If there is Really Important Information, I’m sure I will find out eventually; there is no need read everything about it and end up in a Doom Spiral.

Embracing Aging

This probably deserves a post on its own, but I’m not ready for that right now. Just to summarize, last August, I decided to stop weighing myself, and the impact that decision had on me and my mental state cannot be overstated.

Here I am, 45 years old, and my body is changing. My face is changing. I am not getting younger, people. If 2020 taught us anything it is that life is short and uncertain and unpredictable but I am, as one of my seniors puts it, on the right side of the grass. And as such I don’t want to waste time being dissatisfied with the way I look. I’ve wasted enough time. Going forward, I am not going to do that anymore.

As we go through life our looks change, that is a fact. Imagine how bizarre it would be to see a ninety-year-old woman with the face of a twenty-year-old. Just as we don’t go instantly to 90 from 20, so things change and evolve over the years.

In any case, I am embracing myself. I smile a lot and I wrinkle my forehead a lot and I raise my eyebrows a lot and you can tell by looking at my face. I am fit and strong, true, but my stomach is softening and my waistline is widening. My hairline is completely grey and my neck is deserving of a Nora Ephron essay. All of this is part of Life’s Journey. I refuse to waste time mired in unhappiness because of some arbitrary idea of conventional beauty and because we live in a culture where youth is held up as the gold standard.

We are all beautiful just as we are. Every one of us is a goddess, and I will not hear anything otherwise.

Practicing Gratitude

I have so much to be grateful for, particularly my health and that of my family. I am grateful for that every day, and every day I will reflect on and practice gratitude.

There is much I am grateful for, that came out of 2020. My husband is still gainfully employed and able to financially support our family, I am still working as a yoga teacher, albeit mostly remotely, my kids have adapted to this new, pandemic way of life with grace and acceptance.

Other things I am grateful for:

The little space between the table and the kitchen wall that serves as my home practice studio in the early hours. I never thought I would have a home yoga practice, but it has been surprisingly wonderful.

My home gym, especially the Peloton. I am so thankful that I have had the ability to exercise throughout this past year. I never thought I would be a person riding away in a spin class by myself, but then again, I never thought I would be in a global pandemic that shut down all spin classes and yoga studios and that devastated whole industries, including travel and airline. Never say never, is something I’ve learned, and also never say things like we’ve hit rock bottom or it can’t possibly get worse.

The availability of, and my ability to purchase and prepare healthy, nourishing, delicious food. I am so grateful produce is still available to me, along with all my other favourite foods.

Warm clothes and the concept of Friluftsliv! I have gone on a long walk every single day of this pandemic; January is typically our coldest month, although it’s starting off pretty mild, and so I am gathering my warmest layers.

Wine! I’m really glad there wasn’t a wine shortage. God bless all you Dry January people, but I do love my weekend tipples.

Pandemic Reading

Another thing I am grateful for is the library. Of the 147 books I read last year, the majority were from the library; if I tried to buy all of them I would be broke or, at the least, swimming in books. On that note:

This wasn’t mind-blowing, but it was an enjoyable book about a marriage in trouble, friendships, and the dangers of assuming that someone else is living a perfect life. It’s interesting, in our Instagram-Facebook-highlight-reel world, that we often assume that Everything Is Perfect for someone else, but lo, that is a dangerous assumption.

I LOVED THIS SO MUCH. This was an absolutely perfect holiday read, all about an Old Hollywood actress. I have loved everything that I’ve read by Emma Straub so far, but this is my favourite.

This was the last book I read in 2020 – I finished it New Year’s Eve – and it was very strange and unsettling, apt for a strange and unsettling year. The dialogue was witty. The premise was upsetting. I didn’t love it. I didn’t hate it.

Now THIS. This I loved. This book was incredible. Absolutely incredible. On the surface it’s about a woman and her part-time nanny, but really it’s so much more: class structure and wealth, secrets, lies, friendship, marriage, bad choices, power, and the proliferation of chain and online shopping at the expense of the little guy. After I finished I put every one of her books on my to-read list. So well done, excellent story and characters. Not sure, though, why on the front cover it is touted as “laugh out loud funny” – maybe they were talking about a different book? It is, indeed, wise and captivating but I don’t think I laughed at all, let alone out loud. Oh, but it is so good – I highly recommend it.

Now I’m off to start the week – the boys are back to online school this week and my husband is back to work, I have a couple of classes to teach and the goal to clean the oven. We shall see if this goal is achieved. Have a great week, friends, may unicorn sightings be in your future.


  1. We are all back in the saddle today, too. Love the unicorn. Happy New Year and good luck with the resolutions.

  2. I, too, have a goal to clean my oven. Small, achievable goals for 2021! Now I must click away to add Friends and Strangers to my TBR.

  3. I liked Straub’s ‘We’re All Adults Here’ and my book club is reading it in a few months per my recommendation. I look forward to reading this one. I’m not sure if I’ve read 147 books in my entire life – you are a reading machine.

    Love the unicorn. How fun! Love that your house feels spacious and new. I started to take down my Christmas things but I can do that while babysitting, so I refused to do it yesterday when I could do other things like writing which requires my full attention can don’t gel with little tykes running around. Eventually.

    I admit that I had to google Friluftsliv. I like to be cozy inside, but yes to fresh air.

    I applaud you for embracing the impact of aging. You make a good point – a 90 year old with a 20 year old face, weird. I feel like my torso is getting wider, but I workout like a dog. I do recognize that with all my regular workouts, I’m grateful to have healthy habits and to be in good shape.

  4. I love New Years, too. I use to clean my whole house, change the linens and do all the laundry on New Year’s Eve so we rang in the new year with everything clean. Well I stopped doing that about 3 years ago. Too much stress. Now I clean the house over the first couple of day of the new year.
    I can’t wait to get my Peloton!!! Arriving Feb 6 fingers crossed!

  5. Because I follow you on Instagram…congrats on that clean oven! I have threatened The Husband’s life if he messes up this new oven…only to discover he has already scratched the cooktop *sigh*

    I lost the scale years ago…it did not go well for me. I need the accountability.

    The turning of the calendar is very symbolic and always feels like it’s a fresh start; even when it’s not really. But I think we all need that feeling of this year WILL be different. And it will…in time.

    Happy New Year, my friend!

  6. I love your unicorn! What a bright way to start the year, along with a clean spacious house. Now by “clean the oven” I do assume you mean push that button that says “CLEAN” and turn on the fan? A few years back, when I was shopping for a new oven, my dear, long time told me that if I didn’t get a self-clean oven she would no longer be my friend. I am forever grateful to friends like her – and to my self-clean oven!

    Yes we are living parallel lives; i also had an orange accent wall, very similar to yours. It was in my kitchen and beautifully complemented my granite – same as yours with gorgeous orangey/gold veins.

    I am a few years ahead of you and have totally (sort of) embraced aging. Not to say that I don’t sigh occasionally when I look in the mirror. But at 65 I am also strong, healthy fit and very active. I finally decided I cannot stop the aging and don’t want to look ridiculous like so many Hollywood ladies, so I’ll capitalize on it and build it into the brand of my health biz. You look gorgeous, happy and full of vitality and should be totally grateful and tell yourself daily how gorgeous you are. I also practice daily gratitude and so often it’s about my health, muscles, home gym, ability to run etc…

    oh yay – more books for my list!!

  7. Such a great post. I am so glad I read your thoughts. I’m also glad your titles use weeks not days since the pandemic began. I have a colleague who emails Day ### as titles and it drives me down the rabbit hole of how long I’ve been recovering. That said, I haven’t needed any extra asthma meds since Dec 20 and finally almost feel normal,

  8. I love your 2021 goals. I have a good feeling you will reach all of them, and then some. Congrats on your continued health and working out; I wish I had your dedication in that manner. Your home looks warm and inviting and I too love it when all the Christmas is gone for the year.
    Happy 2021!

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