Thursday, January 2, 2014


Last year I sat out on making any New Year's resolutions. I'm not entirely sure why - perhaps because I've had pretty limited success meeting the goals of my previous resolution posts (note that while I am linking to them here, I am not doing a report out of how well I did. However, astute readers will notice that some of what I will write below will look familiar, so surmise what you will). But, I don't know - there's something about new starts and writing down goals and the positive outlook that just SHOWS UP on January 1st, and I think I should take advantage of that. Even if I'm doomed to failure or ennui or self-sabotage in a month or a week or tonight. So here we go:

1. Do something new every week with the kids. This one is actually M.'s idea, stolen from someone he works with. This person is, for the second time in her life, taking up the challenging of having one new experience a week for the whole year. Her list includes things like staying in a hotel made out of ice. I don't think we will be going quite that drastic, but we are aiming above things like "going to the latest Disney movie we haven't ever seen." Adventures like visiting a cave, going camping, hiking (a small) part of the Appalachian trail. And smaller scale stuff, too, of course - maybe having a movie night of Kung Fu movies or a documentary instead of Despicable Me, or making our own sushi (and getting the kids to eat it). I'm excited, M.'s excited, the kids are excited. We've started a family list using the Wunderlist app, and there's only a dozen or so ideas on it so far, so please comment and give us more!

2. Do something active every day. This is a bit different than a "lose weight/hit a goal weight" resolution - partly because the scale is stressing me out lately, but mostly because my body feels weak and aging and full of betrayal. When I stand up and start walking, I limp. When I crouch down, my knees hurt. When I sit on my legs next to the tub in order to bathe the kids, my ankles ache. When I walk up the stairs to our bedroom, my heart races and my lungs protest. This needs to change, I need to be able to be more active. I WANT to be more active. So I will do something active every day. Maybe some days it will be 45 minutes on the treadmill, and other days it will just be 10 minutes of stomach crunches or a quick walk around the block at work. Whatever I can fit in, I just need to DO IT already. I'm already a bit down for the count on this one since, as you may have noticed, it is January 2nd, and not January 1st. And I did absolutely NOTHING active yesterday, the actual first day of the year. I could blame it on allowing the kids to stay up until midnight (which they did, with flying colors and more energy than I had, though Finn did end the evening in a sobbing fit because ABC didn't actually show the ball dropping and apparently he has "always wanted to see the ball drop," despite not knowing that such a ball existed until 11:45 that evening), but instead I will blame no one and just move on. Today is a fresh start. In an effort to encourage myself, I'll try to blog here once a week or so to update how I'm doing and set some (reasonable, small) goals to further the cause. Because that's what Academomia is doing, and she has lots of good ideas. She's calling her effort "Project MAN, I'd Like to be Fit" aka Project MILF. See how clever that is? I told you, lots of good ideas :-).

3. Broaden my career horizons. My job options are pretty limited. I work for a federal agency, and what I do doesn't translate well to other organizations. I'm pretty tied to the metro DC area, for better or worse. I don't necessarily want to leave my job right now, but I want to be better positioned for the possibility of a new job or even a new career. I don't know what this will mean, really - how this goal should look. I think first I need to figure out what I WANT, and then I need to figure out how to get there (and I imagine the getting there will take more than a year). If I really want to stay in "program management," maybe I need to get a Project Management Professional (PMP) credential. That would mean more opportunities in industry/business. Or maybe I want to move into science communication - if that's the case, there are some long distance science writing/communication courses I might consider taking. Maybe it's science policy, and I need to reopen the idea of a job inside the beltway. Maybe I want a job eventually that has nothing to do with science at all. I don't know, but I want to figure it out, this year.

4. Take at least one picture a day. I'm hoping I will do this mostly with my big camera, but the iPhone will do in a pinch. I'm not going to make a point of posting the pictures anywhere, as I think that adds an element of work and stress to this goal that I don't need. But I want to make sure I am capturing what life looks like more than I have been lately.

5. Make a photo book. And I'm not talking a little photo book of the past year that I put together to send to the grandparents for Christmas or Mother's Day. A big photo book that takes all my favorite pictures from the last few years and gets them into one PRINTED place that I can look at forever and ever.

6. Make a will, and meet with a financial planner. FTLOG.

7. Get passports for the kids. This year we already have too many family vacations planned out and too little vacation time in the bank to plan an out-of-country trip, but it's game on in 2015. M. and I want to take one adventurous/exotic/out of our comfort zone foreign trip with the kids every year, starting next year. This will probably be at the expense of seeing family (sorry, family). It may even be at the expense of going to Disney World (sorry, Mickey). But I want to see more of the world, and we want the kids to see more of the world. So step 1 is passports. Step 2 will be planning our first trip. Step 3 is ??? (and of course, step 4 is PROFIT).

There we go. New Year's Resolutions, 2014 style. How about you? Are you making any resolutions this year? Also, is it allowable to make resolutions for OTHER people? Because if so, I would resolve that M. will use more vacation time this year. He is rolling over 6 weeks of banked vacation and has even more days that are expiring because there are rules about having too much vacation time banked. RULES about NOT USING ENOUGH VACATION TIME. For someone who has exactly 10 vacation days to use each year, I am flabbergasted and jealous and a little angry at all this time off that he COULD USE but DOESN'T. So I resolve that he will resolve to take at least 5 different vacation days during the year to go play golf. Or do nothing. But probably to play golf.