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Monday Musings: A Surprising Mid-Year Review

I mentioned in a recent post about my 20 for 20 list and 100 Dreams List. In follow up to Samantha’s mid-year recap of goals, I was inspired to review my own. I found myself surprised at the results.

20 for 20

Each year, as is discussed on Gretchen Rubin’s blog and podcast, I create a goal list. This year’s is 20 for 2020, which has a nice ring to it. At the beginning of the year, I sat down and created my list for 2020 moving a handful of incomplete, still-desired goals from my 19 for 2019 list, and then adding some new plans. They are a mix of year long goals, one-time goals and multi-step goals. They include very personal plans and some that relate to my entire family. A few examples include “Passports for all,” “Exercise 5x per week” and “Burn more candles.”

As of July, there are a few that I’ve accomplished and crossed off my 20 for 20 list.

  1. Upgrade furniture carefully: In a previous post, I shared our new desk, a piece of furniture I’d been researching for over six months. Around the same time, I also purchased a pretty vintage chest of drawers that I’d been seeking for sometime. I’m about to order new, carefully-selected end tables for our family room to go with our newish Crate & Barrel couch purchased at the end of last year. I think these purchases perfectly satisfy my intention when I made this goal. Also, since we’ve been spending so much time at home in the last few months, I’m thankful we took the time to “elevate the everyday” with new furniture.

  2. Celebrating a special birthday: One of our family member’s had a milestone birthday, and it was important to me to celebrate it in style. While our initial plan of renting a small room at a restaurant did not happen due to COVID-19, we had an intimate celebration in our backyard that felt very special.

  3. Intentional personal shopping: The continuation of this goal that I developed with my capsule wardrobe project several years ago was important, as I felt I was starting to deviate from my initial method. I decided to limit myself to four clothing purchases each quarter, including athletic wear, and I’ve been sticking to it.

The COVID Effect on my 20 for 20

Unfortunately, a few of my goals have been put on hold due to COVID-19. Disney World for one. I started planning a trip for this fall, but we have no desire to go at this time. In fact, I don’t even want to plan for next year yet, since we don’t know what the pandemic has in store, and what the trickle down effect will be for us, school-wise or economically. It just seems best to press pause on this goal. I also pressed pause on securing passports for the family, because we are most certainly not traveling abroad anytime soon, and getting them now would mean we’d lose a year or more of their use on the expiration end. There were also some touristy activities on my list that just can’t happen now.

100 Dreams List

I’m okay with changing course mid year, especially in light of COVID. In reviewing just this year’s goals, I felt a bit saddened by the fact that so many seemed impossible or unimportant in light of the pandemic. However, I then reviewed my 100 Dreams List (or 59 for me, since I’ve not been able to come up with 100 yet!). I discovered something interesting.

I created my 100 Dreams List between 18 months and two years ago. And in the first year of this list I accomplished two goals: “Bake the Magnolia Table biscuits” and “Beautify our front porch.” However, since the pandemic began, I have accomplished nine of my 59 dreams. For the math wizards out there--yes, that is over 15%!

Now, let me step back. You’re probably wondering why making biscuits is on my dreams list. As Laura Vanderkam says of this project originated by career coach Caroline Ceniza-Levine, "This is a completely unedited list of anything one might want to do, have, or spend more time on in life." So, there are some grand travel goals on this list, but there are also little things like making biscuits. And that, as i interpreted this project, is okay. You throw them all on there.

During this pandemic, however, I’ve actually managed to achieve some pretty major goals, for example, “Being a better friend.” After having children, taking on more and more responsibility at work and focusing a lot of energy on our home during the last year, I knew that this area of my life needed work. And in the last several months, I’ve been on numerous Zoom calls, phone calls, text strings and driveway chats with my friends. While I wish a girls trip could have happened this summer, I may have had more interaction with my closest friends than I have in the last decade! Even this blog is the result of phone calls that Samantha and I had previously put off. It has been a wonderful silver lining in this crisis.

"It has been a wonderful silver lining in this crisis."

I did a few small things as well. I learned to knit. I’ve always wanted to, because I think it’s absolutely beautiful. I crochet often and fairly well, but I’ve always thought knitting could create the most beautiful patterns and designs.

However, I also learned that I don’t prefer it to crochet. It’s slower and I don’t like the pointy needles. But I did it, and now I know.

I also made popovers! We went to Bar Harbor, Maine, several years ago, and ever since, I’ve wanted to try making popovers. I saved several recipes, and one evening during the pandemic, I made them. And they were delicious--in fact, one of my kids just requested another batch of them! So, I’ll consider that a success.

I have to say, I was surprised to see that while COVID has taken a lot away (from some of us, to a tragic degree), I am thankful that my family and friends are healthy, and a lot of my dreams and goals have happened as a result of this extra time at home and without the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It’s surprising, and a little reassuring, that there is some good born in this crazy time.

I won’t lie and say that I’m happy about all that has occurred; of course I’m not. But at least for all those hours I've spent worried, sad, bored or lonely, there have been some really great moments where dreams came true.

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