This was the year– wait, last year was the year— of late birthday presents (here’s looking at you, Phoebe!) and missed deadlines and leftovers gone bad in the fridge. So it only makes sense that I’m getting around to my reflections on what worked for me in 2017. (Tomorrow… if all goes as planned… I’ll post what didn’t work for me in 2017.)
Reading: this year I discovered the secret for my enjoyment of audiobooks. 1.5x speed. The narration all felt too slow to me when I listened to them on 1x, and on 2x the readers all sound like junior high boys. 1.5x speed is just right.
My reading chair. Not necessary for audiobooks.
Writing: This year, instead of focusing on outcomes (x number of pages or words written each day), I set time goals for myself. Sometimes it’s just not flowing, but I can still manage to sit in my chair for 20 minutes most days. The upshot was two finished manuscripts. Also, meeting with my critique partner regularly keeps me motivated and hold me accountable to my goals.
I wish this were my every day writing space! I could spend a lot more than 20 minutes there.
Food: My goal for the year was for us to eat more vegetables on a daily basis. I started trying to add a second vegetable to our evening meal (e.g., salad and roasted cauliflower). For the most part it worked. Our summer CSA share makes a huge difference for 18 weeks of the year. We all love eating up what our farmers send us.
Also, I was trying to promote more kitchen autonomy for the kids (which does not promote more eating of vegetables, alas). It worked, and the only person who almost amputated her fingertip was me. Ahem.
Prayer: For the first half of the year, the app Pray As You Go was a huge help to the regularity of my prayer. I’m not sure when I stopped using it daily, but I did. From that point on, my prayers were mostly, “Jesus, help!” (He did.)
Phoebe chose to be confirmed, and I had the privilege of co-teaching her confirmation class. We taught them the Nicene Creed week by week, and the process of working through it to teach was a huge encouragement to me.
Financial: The January Money Diet helped us put a little bit in savings, and some new habits grew it a little more. I also worked my way through Joe Dominguez and Vicky Robin’s Your Money or Your Life, which was really helpful.
Running: At the beginning of 2017, I was clawing my way back from an injury. I basically had to rework my entire gait from the ground up. The emphasis I had to put on yoga and my PT exercises has made me stronger, and I definitely appreciate each run much more.
Scenes from an October run.
Hair: I know this is frivolous, but I used to be the girl who used Lubriderm’s Every Day Moisture with SPF 15 (yes, lotion) as her styling product. I finally have two hair products that work for me. (Ouidad Whipped Curls and Ouidad Botanical Boost.) Also, I found a stylist who hasn’t once suggested I color my hair. I’m sold.
Coming next: What didn’t work for me in 2017.
From the archives: What worked for me in 2016.