Saturday, January 11, 2020

2020 - A New Chance to Live Intentionally

I saw this thoughtful writing prompt, End Your Year Intentionally and for weeks I've been collecting my thoughts.  I tend to be mostly a pragmatic grounded person and often feel like I'm just living on the hamster wheel, trying to keep Real Life reasonably together.  I'm not a big holiday hoopla person, but I do like the clean slate and new possibilities inherent in a New Year.  Eleven days into 2020, I've just today wiped down the last traces of glitter from my dining table aka staging area.  My "vision board" is undone - still just a pile of random clippings.  Two months of pesky bookkeeping awaits my attention.  Thus far, 2020 has been similar to 2019 in my world, but there is plenty of time to step up to living a bit more intentionally

1. What made 2019 unforgettable?

A.)  My work.  In early 2019, I started working for a new client, a classic entrepreneur.  We were a complex blend of needing each other and making other crazy.  Part of my role was organizing, which I aced.  My other main role was accounts payable and light bookkeeping.  As with anything financial, this aspect was the biggest challenge.

I did some social media marketing for a client with a vacation rental and for a friend who self-published a children's book.  I enjoy being something of an online yenta, networking and creating communications magic!

Takeaway:  While semi-retired, I'm still developing my business and people skills.

B.)  My condo. Other than my work, major home repairs caused by my second pinhole leak behind the wall made 2019 memorable.  For months I was upset constantly, tired and short tempered.  Finally, I was so worn down I had an "aha moment" that being upset wasn't helping.  As the Buddhists say, "suffering is optional".  I'm a decent project manager, but sometimes plans go awry, due to all the moving parts.

C.)  For several years, I've been looking at buying another condo or manufactured home for a small scale "Golden Girls" home -  one awesome retired female roommate for companionship and cash flow.  For two unrelated adults to comfortably share space, I want a large and suitable floor plan in my preferred location in decent condition and within my budget.  Ha!  With housing costs skyrocketing, this has been one disappointment after another.  I've had to accept I'm priced out of the market.  Doing the research, the requisite drive-bys, property tours with my agent and making a few rejected "lowball" offers have been a draining time sink and emotional roller coaster.   I've spent plenty of time sulking over this rather epic fail. 

D.)  Lastly, I celebrated my 70th birthday in 2019.  I'm still getting my mind around THAT milestone!

Takeaways:  My new seventh decade definitely has my attention.  I feel at the beginning of something but I'm not sure what it should look like.  I'm improving on my ability to "suck it up" when things don't go "my way".  Just deal with it, no pity party.  Breathe, stay calm and redirect my energy.


2. What did you enjoy doing in 2019?

I've taken two classes at our local community college for several years - Chair Yoga and a Creative Writing workshop.  Both of these afford me the opportunity to bond with "my people". 

With all of the #1 events of 2019, my volunteer work was limited.  I had a few shifts at our local library bookshops and helped publicize and co-host a number of events for our local senior center.  I had fun playing Scrabble with a group at the senior center.

I'm in three book clubs which may be a little too much!  I also attend a library writing group when I can.  I think it was Anne LaMott who said something to the effect that writers shouldn't get distracted by doing laundry.  What?

Takeaways:   More creativity and fun in 2020!


3. What/who was the one thing/person you’re grateful for?

Despite neighbor problems where I live now, I am profoundly grateful for my home, my possessions and the relative security in my life.  Profoundly grateful.

Takeaway:  Channel gratefulness more frequently, and focus less on desire for change and "new". 


4. What was your biggest win in 2019?

Probably my biggest accomplishment was getting my water leak repaired without the services of a pricey general contractor.  I handled all the project coordination, hiring of the workers and purchasing most of the materials myself.   This was hugely time consuming and often frustrating with delays and communication issues with suppliers and contractors.

Takeaway:  I have learned new things about plumbing and floor covering.  I've gained respect for some of the skilled tradesmen I hired and am very grateful for their help.  If I was wavering before, I am now convinced to never buy a fixer upper.


5. What did you read/watch/listen to that made the most impact in 2019?

I spend too much time on Facebook and online in general. I'm not sure how we ever lived without the InterWeb.

Takeaway:  Balance in all things.  The Internet is a tool, not an addiction.


6. What did you worry about most in 2019 and how did it turn out?

I worried about the items in #1.  I was (and still am) unhappy about the "hemorrhaging money" aspect of all the home repairs.  I also worry about my future work options.

Takeaway:  It is my intention to return to work in 2020 on some basis, since my passive income "Silver Girls" idea is not possible to manifest in this real estate market.


7. What was your biggest regret and why?

I regret that I didn't do more writing, and also that I didn't spend more time on self-care and hobbies.  I've been bogged down with financial concerns and obligations, rather than enjoying my life.

Takeaway:  Improve self-care and be more vigilant about non-productive time.  And although I enjoy volunteering and helping friends, going forward, I need to set better boundaries and prioritize my own needs more effectively.


8. What’s one thing that changed about yourself?

I've been trying to be less emotionally reactive.  Equanimity is the goal.  Getting enough rest is a huge issue for me and has been for many years.  When I'm tired, I'm cranky.  I'm making some deliberate progress in this direction.  For health reasons, I've started an anti-inflammatory elimination diet which is a six month experiment.   Giving up dairy and gluten is huge for me.  Fortunately I've eaten a healthy mostly plant-based diet for many years so it's not like I live on pizza and McDonald's.

Takeaway:  Change is good and resistance to change is pointless. The quote attributed to Albert Einstein (paraphrasing) says it well, "The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results." 

9. What surprised you the most in 2019?

Politics - national, state and local - is a daily shocker.  Locally, I'm a member of several political groups on Facebook.  I am not very politically minded, yet I try to stay informed.  Although there is a wealth of valuable information in these pages (my interest) I am upset on a regular basis reading through some of the toxic posts from the trolls and haters.  Some of these people I know personally and I can't believe the "page rage".  Even in my dotage, I constantly strive to be a better person and it is disturbing to see people in lizard brain mode.

Takeaway:  Practice forgiveness for these people and avoid reading these posts unless there is something of definite value to be gained.  


10. If you could go back to January 1, 2019, what suggestions would you give your past self?

Exercise more.  Social media less.  Read more books.  Write more.  Relax more.  See friends In Real Life more.  Surrender (with fewer struggles) to the many things I cannot change.

Takeaway:  My resolutions for 2020 are similar to last year's and many years prior.  Speaking of change, the Serenity Prayer applies every year.

Mother, Father God, Universe, 
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
(Adapted from original by American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr)  

Image by Jennifer Beebe from Pixabay

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