So all the anticipation is over. The year 2020 is here and the holidays are behind us. Some of us (like me) have a few more days left before I go back to work and reality so I can relax and think about the year ahead and what I hope it will bring for all of us.
I have decided not to make resolutions this year but simply to work hard at being happy and being kind to others so that they may experience joy in this tumultuous world. What I love about the holidays is that they give us the opportunity to enjoy time with family and friends, to reflect on what is the real importance in our lives, and to see the world as a beautiful place to live. We can all strive to make that happen this year. Enjoy the simple joys of everyday life and take more deep breaths to reduce stress.
We have certain traditions like eating fish on Christmas Eve and having a White Elephant gift exchange with extended family and friends. These treasured memories carry us through the holidays and hopefully into the bleak month of January.
I came up with a list of 20 things I hope for in 2020:
1. I hope that this Presidential Election does not get out of control as it did in 2016. People lost respect for each other and rioted in the streets when Trump won. I have never seen such a display. Whether you are happy or upset about the results of an election, a person who is elected to the office of President should be respected. What’s done is done. Deal with it. I am not going to watch debates, news or look at Social Media viewpoints on the election this year. I don’t want to add that stress to my life.
2. I want to take time out to take deep breaths and not overcommit myself. I am going to learn how to politely say NO to people and realize that it doesn’t mean that I don’t care — it means I just can’t or just have to take a step back.
3. I am going to make an extra point of helping others in need. Whether its donating to a charity or buying a cup of coffee for someone in need, I want to show others kindness and hope that it will add to their lives just a little bit. I always remind myself to be grateful for what I have in my life and to always show kindness.
5. This year I am going to make health and fitness a priority again. I have been slacking off because of my knee problems and just being busy at work. No more excuses. Even if I am not ready to take on an Aerobics or Zumba class, I will start off with Yoga, Barre and Stretching. Also, I am going back to a more healthy eating plan.
4. I would like to read more books this year. In the past I have averaged 10-12 books a year. I would like to double that this year and finally get through my “To Read” pile in my office. I hope to start my 2020 list today.
6. I am going to make learning a goal this year and take a few courses that will help me in my freelance business as well as courses for some fun hobbies I never had time for. As work winds down for me I hope to do this while exploring in my town and neighboring villages for some fun learning experiences, whether they be for a daily meeting or an extended course at the local middle school.
7. Explore where I live. I moved to my new community less than 4 years ago and because of work and constant running there is still so much more I want to learn about where I live. There are local places I haven’t visited, thrift shops to explore and interesting eateries I still have to try.
8. This year would be the perfect time to revisit some classics that I have forgotten since High School. At that’s time, I just read books for assignments and often resorted to clip notes for tests. I would love to actually sit and enjoy books like Catcher in the Rye or To Kill a Mockingbird. Reading these through my adult, experienced eyes may be completely different and definitely more rewarding,
9. I would like to discover new places. Last year brought me to Italy on a very scheduled tour which was an amazing 10 days of all you could possibly see in Italy. I would like to take travel differently this year. Take some short trips, maybe some day trips to towns I have never heard of and just experience what our country has to offer. I always wanted to visit places like Nashville, New Orleans and Memphis so maybe this is my year to start.
10. It is important to spend more time with family. We get so caught up in our everyday lives that we often don’t realize that we are spending too little time on the important part of our lives. Every Christmas I invite my extended family over for a celebration which confirms that we need to do more of that during the year. We get so caught up in running from work to an obligation at night, just to continue planning and working the next day. So this may be the year of some impromptu plans with my family.
11. When my mother passed away almost six years ago, she left over 40 photo albums. I took them apart and put them in bins by category (her family, my kids, miscellaneous) knowing that one day I would have to properly sift through them. Often when I start it is still a painful project, but this year I am going to share some of these precious photo with family members. My plan is to group them into families (my mother was one of 8) and after taking out ones I want to cherish for myself, make little packages for each of these families. This gift will mean so much to them.
12. Along with my mother’s photos is a bin of jewelry and miscellaneous items that I have from when I cleaned out her apartment. It’s easier to get rid of stuff you can’t use, clothing and furniture. This bin holds some of her most precious memories. Every time I tried to do this with my daughters, I would open it up and start looking, only to quickly cover it and put it away for another day. Well, I think that day will come soon as I feel the strength to pour myself into the memories.
13. Through the years I have given to various charities. Years ago when I was a stay at home mom I often volunteered at some local charity events especially with my Girl Scout troop. I enjoyed giving to the community, reaping the rewards of giving, and just sharing with others for the same cause. Since I moved to my new community I have been taking note of different charities I would be interested in working with. This year I would like to help out at one of their fundraisers instead of just giving money or donating clothing.
14. For the past three years of so, I have had the outline of a children’s book rattling around my head. I have taken some online writing courses and also made note of some possible publishers. This year I want to take my ideas and write my book. Once that is done I can decide if I want to pursue a publisher or self-publish.
15. Sometimes I feel like all I do is rush from one activity to the next. I envy people who tell me they binged something on Netflix or stayed in their pajamas all day. Probably from how I was raised to always be dressed your best and ready to go, that is the way I approach every day. So I started this year (its 2 days old) by taking my time with each step of the way. If I don’t want to run an errand and it is not absolutely necessary to go at this time, maybe this time I will just sit and read a magazine or put the TV on for a short time. I have led a regimented life that I would like to slow down a bit. Now that my daughters are grown and have their own homes I have to remind myself that it is ok to just relax.
16. Along with the going slower, I also want to remove unwanted clutter around me. Since I cleaned my mother’s one bedroom apartment out with over 50 bags to be donated, I started being more aware of what I save and just put away. Yesterday I started with my first closet. It felt so good to organize, throw out some stuff and now look at a shelved closet that has order and purpose.
17. I love to organize. When you are working you tend to wear the same jewelry, same outfits and others get pushed aside in the drawer or closet. So while I am organizing clutter, I want to organize myself. For example, I know that I recently bought a night cream but I cannot find it. I have a habit of “squirreling” things away til I absolutely need them and then have a problem recalling where it is. So this year I want to use things I bought, wear all my jewelry and change bags more often (as I have quite a collection) and take my time enjoying “old stuff” that I am finally using !
18. Over the past few years I have been toying with the idea of early retirement. I love teaching but it is not the same as it was when I started over 20 years ago. Guidelines and curriculum that are not inspiring, coupled with much added work drives me to want to go onto the next phase of my life. This involves getting my finances in order, trying not to spend foolishly and figuring out how to live on a smaller income, my pension. I hope to take my freelance writing past my blog and also make time for other experiences I have already mentioned. It is a scary step that takes planning and that’s where I am right now.
19. Going along with the planning for retirement is my goal to be more diligent to save along the way. I love getting deals but often, because I am often in a rush, I end up paying way too much for an item only to regret it later. Taking more time in all I do seems to be a thread going through this list and I will make every effort to save whenever I can. It gives you a sense of accomplishment when you find what you are looking for (or need) at a fraction of the cost.
20.Lastly and most importantly, I want to spend time with all those I love. I want to be less tired to talk to my husband after a long day at work. I want to stop saying no because I am tired. This year will be a momentous year for me as I am going to have a grandson in June. My daughter lives far away but I plan to reconnect more with her and spend time with this little bundle coming soon. Many of my friends have become grandparents, as has my husband, but this will be the first experience for me and I can’t wait. What is life if it cannot be spent with those we love.
I don’t consider the above my resolutions, but rather my hopes and dreams for 2020. Wake up in the morning being grateful for another day and think of how your day will make your life better and the lives of those around us better. Kindness is a priority in this tumultuous world we now live in.
May all your new year dreams be realized and accomplished. Most of all, please enjoy the ride!