…and Forward on 2022

As I write this post, it occurs to me that I’m not really sure what I expect 2022 to bring. I suppose we’ll see some change (some good things and some bad) and we’ll also find ourselves wondering if anything has really changed at all. One thing that the last two years has really taught me is that nothing is truly set in stone and if you’re willing to pivot you’ll have a better time.

In 2022 I:

  • will spend more time in the garden. Whether it’s planting vegetables or sitting around the fire at night, I want to make sure I enjoy all the hard work and time we put into cleaning it up last year.
  • will spend as much time outside as possible actually, doing all the things. It’d be cool to get a mountain bike for the summer months, but we’ll see.
  • will read books because I want to, not because I set a numeric goal. This was a good goal last year and I think it should stay on the list.
  • will spend more time by the water. Even if that water in question is found while enjoying a walk in the woods.
  • will design and publish a baby sweater! Hey it could happen.
  • will make. Whether it’s via my knitting needles, sewing machine, loom or some other method, I will make things with my hands.
  • will keep trying new things. How else am I to discover things I didn’t know I would like?
  • will journal and/or sit with myself more. I am just as important as those around me and should treat myself as such.

The interesting thing about getting older is that my desire to push myself as far as I can go isn’t as strong as it was when I was in my early 20s. It’s not that I’ve become apathetic, it’s that I’m learning to slow down and enjoy what’s around me. I’m learning not to beat myself up when I don’t meet a goal and to think about why that goal wasn’t met (and even whether or not I care). So while I’m tempted to add things to the list such as “travel to new places” or “finally hike Mt. Washington for real”, I realize that having less specific goals means that there are many different ways to meet them.

Looking back on 2021…

It crazy to believe that 2021 is over, it feels like time slowed down while speeding up. We’ve been back to in-person work for a few months now and even though the pandemic is still something that affects our day-to-day lives it’s safe to say we feel like things are starting to normalize. Time is still broken, but honestly, I think I’m ok with it. It’s nice to enjoy the small moments and to imagine ways to start incorporating bigger ones.

In 2021 I said I would:

  • hike Mt. Washington. I think this year will be the year that this finally happens, we’re starting to run out of excuses. We pushed off hiking Mt. Washington in favor of shorter hikes closer to home. This doesn’t mean I’ll never hike Mt. Washington, it just means that this year didn’t end up being the right year for us. Though we gave up long day-hikes this year, we found ourself in the woods more often because we didn’t need as much time to get away.
  • camp a lot. In fact it would be great if this was the year of camping. I’m talking load up the car and go somewhere new. I’m talking pack a bag and camp off trail. 2021 is going to be the year of the woods that 2020 started off being before the house distracted us. Nope, didn’t camp at all. This makes me a little sad, but it was so rainy this summer! By letting this specific style of vacationing go, we found ourselves taking more day trips places an hour or two away. Plus, my husband enrolled in a firefighter certification course and, though it ate up a lot of our weekends, I couldn’t be prouder.
  • knit more sweaters for hiking. I knit one last year and am obsessed with wearing it instead of a jacket, for something that’s not bulky it’s so warm! instead, I cranked out baby sweaters, so many of my friends expanded their families this year! That and I started sewing more garments, so while more hiking sweaters are still desired they took a back seat this year.
  • be finishing off one of our bedrooms as a nursery. Which in itself is a crazy concept that we’re wrapping our heads around slowly because it’s always been an abstract idea. Don’t expect anything until someone sticks me with a covid vaccine though! This got done! We finished off the nursery! We’ve also started on the hallway, which means that in less than a year and a half we’ve fixed up most of our house! Also, it just occured to us that no contractor was hired to help us, which makes the final results even more mind blowing.
  • be growing vegetables that will make it to edible format. I can feel it, it’s going to happen this year. Unfortunately, this is another thing that didn’t happen this year. So much energy was spent on other things this summer, but I’m thinking that next year we’ll have the capacity to complete more hobby projects around the house.
  • not try to read 100 books. Last year I found myself pushing through books that I wasn’t into because I had a number goal and limited time to reach it. This year I want to read books that I like and abandon ones that don’t hold my interest. Or at least save them for a day that I’m in the mood for them. This goal was so much better for me than last year’s I read over 70 books and don’t feel bad about the ones I put down for various reason.
  • daydream about running in person races and patiently wait for them to start happening again. Or at least try to be patient. This happened! Hubby and I ran the New England Dog Jog in May with Loche and had such a fun time! It felt so good to be “surrounded” (staggered start and all) by other people working towords a common goal. We also had plans to run an October race but I pulled a muscle and needed to let it heal instead.
  • probably knit my niece something kitchy, because eventually she’ll care what she wears. This year, I made my neice three cute little sweaters and a poncho. Plus I sewed her a summer dress! Not sure if I’ll collaborate with my sister as a holiday gift this year, I’m starting to want to knit what I want when I want to again.

In 2021 I:

  • Got married! We tied the knot wearing whatever we wanted to in our backyard. For me, this meant a sundress and no shoes.
  • Worked hard on setting healthy boundaries.
  • Planned and instructed a learn to code python series.
  • Joined the Wonderland Yarns team as a collaborator and ambassador.
  • Was a 2021 maker for Blue Sky Fibers
  • Took a few sewing classes and made garments that mostly fit
  • Upcycled a chair

Looking back on 2020…

As the new year rolls in, I found myself looking over my reflection of 2019 and couldn’t believe how many things happened! With 2020 being eaten up by the pandemic, I was a little nervous to look at my self set goals for the year. I’ll start this year’s reflection with the goals I set and will then move into the other things that happened this year.

In 2020 I wanted to:

  • Laugh more and worry less, especially when it comes to things outside of my control. Talk about a goal with foresight that was put to the test again and again. Does anyone else feel like 2020 was the year of things that were outside of their control? The year of learning to deal with things that you really couldn’t change while doing the best that you could with what you had? My partner and I worked so hard with each other to find the brighter side of things throughout the year, something I hope we hold onto for the rest of our lives.
  • Do at least one thing I’ve never done before every month. Whether it’s baking something I’ve never tried before or a technique I haven’t tried, I want to spend 2020 continuing to learn what I like and don’t like, but also what I can do if I set my mind to it. There have been so many firsts in 2020 that I actually had to pause and smile. I made apple butter cookies (should probably share that recipe, they’re so good!). I learned how to replaster walls. I tried to grow vegetables. I bought appliances. I sold a home. I bought a home with my partner. I learned about repairing a plastered ceiling. I painted cabinets to give them a facelift (3 times!). I spent hours cleaning mold off siding. I tried new cooking recipes. I wore a mask to work, to the store and around town. I transitioned to working at home full time (and will someday have to transition back). 2020 was not filled with the firsts that I thought it would be, but I still can’t believe how much we still did.
  • Read 100 books! Ok maybe not 100, but I do want to spend more time reading and what better way to do that then setting a lofty goal. I wonder if I should consider a page goal as well, just like I set up a yardage goal with knitting. Sooo I did this. Some of them were cook books. Some of them were comic books. Some of them were audiobooks, but my “read” list for 2020 consists of over 100 books. The pandemic isn’t even to blame for this one, I just put in an effort to read more.
  • Speaking of knitting, I’m not sure what my goal should be this year other than continuing to use up the stash I have. I’ve toyed with dishcloth and sock goals, but I feel like I spent 2019 allowing my creative juices take me where they take me. So if I spend more time sewing this year than knitting, I think that would be ok (though admittedly far fetched). I knit just under 50 projects this year, a number just shy of beating the number I knit while in graduate school. Big projects too, and many of them out of fingering weight. I suppose working from home and having all of your meetings be via zoom has it’s perks. I also knit a handful of test knits for Alicia Plummer, aka fan girled pretty hard when I saw her name in my inbox.
  • Travel, even if it’s not to a new country and is only a few hours down the road. We went to Spain! And then booked an emergency flight out of there after seeing as much as we could in two days. So, I guess that counts? I’ve already written about it and still feel a little PTSD from the event so I’m not going to write about it here.
  • Peel the wallpaper in my kitchen, some goals have to be low hanging fruit right? For starters, I did peel the wallpaper in the condo’s kitchen. Actually, we gave it a major facelift. Then, because we want to start a family when the pandemic is a little more under control, we sold it and bought a house. Where we’ve been spending our free time fixing it up. So. Much. Wallpaper peeling. And replastering. And reflooring. And we got new windows put in. I love our home though and don’t regret any of the hours spent fixing it up.
  • Run, hike, swim, read on my deck after work — whatever it takes to be outside and enjoying where I live. It’d be nice to do some camping this year as well… If anyone remembers my regret of not swimming in the lake I live across the street from, you’ll be happy to know that we swam in it multiple times before moving. There were also 10+ mile hikes and long trail runs. We spent so much time outside until we bought our new house, then we spent more time fixing it than enjoying the remaining warm days. As winter folds around us, we’re finally getting back into the habit of hiking again and it feels fantastic. But you know what else feels fantastic? Coming home after hiking and having a family room to sit in. A room that we spent hours turning from haunted looking into something we can be proud of.

In 2020 I:

  • Found myself living with a partner again and readjusting to sharing a space after living by myself. The transition was both harder and easier than I thought it would be, but worth it. Even when he gets an emergency call in the middle of the night and turns on all the lights before tripping out the door (He’s a firefighter and we’ve figured out how to get him quickly out the door without that happening. It only took one call to realize that that doesn’t work), I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather be arguing over paint colors with.
  • Became the Cioci (aunt) of a happy and healthy niece.
  • Started collecting house plants. They’re even not living in purgatory!
  • Taught python programming. Talk about ripping off a bandaid, my hands shook with every key I typed. Kept my voice steady though!
  • Fell a lot cross country skiing, and bought my partner a set of skiis so that he could do it with me.

2020 will forever be the year that time didn’t really exist for, but 2020 will never be marked as the year that went up in flames for me. So many things were postponed and then cancelled. So many things were closed and there were so many stressors in things that should have been simple (like buying toilet paper). Despite all the challenges and demoralizing moments, we’re still able to count our blessings and have hope for the future.

Looking back on 2019…

It’s that time of year again, everyone is reflecting on their previous year and setting goals for the current one. As I sit here reflecting on all that I have accomplished during 2019, it’s hard not to feel some pride at what I have done, even amongst the things I didn’t do.

In 2019 I:

  • Didn’t hit my knitting goal of 35 projects or 16,000 yards (whichever came first). But I did spend time experimenting with sewing, embroidery and weaving. Enjoying new techniques and the thrill of learning something new. I made my first dress and wove my planned project.
  • Didn’t use up my stash before investing in new yarn, but I did buy yarn sparingly and found creative ways to use up the yarn that I have. I’m currently working on the …against all odds (Max) sweater in two yarns that were gifted to me at different times. I never would have paired the two yarns together without the goal of using what I have, in fact they probably would have just become socks while I waited for my new yarn to arrive (which wouldn’t have been the worst thing).
  • Didn’t redo my kitchen or fix any windows, but I did repaint everything minus the kitchen and organize my space to reflect how I use it most. I found curtains to accent my guestroom’s walls and artwork to hang in my bedroom. While none of these things involved a major facelift and didn’t really teach me new home-owning skills, I feel more at home than I did when I first bought my house and feel confident that it will continue to feel like home.
  • Didn’t run the covered bridges half marathon that I fundraised for due to a foot injury, but I did run a race in Northern Maine that gives back to the town that it’s in (More on that in the next few weeks, it was so much fun! I can’t believe that I haven’t written about it yet).
  • Didn’t vacation in any new places, but I was able to visit Chicago for the first time due to a work conference and saw Hamilton (it was fantastic, thank you for asking). I was also able to explore a new part of Canada during another conference.
  • Didn’t swim in the lake I live on. While this is embarrassing, I did swim in the CT river for the first time and jumped in several brooks while hiking.
  • Was my sister’s maid of honor and gave a speech that I struggled to read because it was so heartfelt.
  • Tried and failed at the whole online dating thing. But I did meet some interesting people during the process and had a date for my sister’s wedding (which in hindsight means my family met someone way before they should have, and he didn’t even stay the whole time…). When it was all over, I found someone when I wasn’t looking who I am very grateful to have in my life.
  • Took measures into getting my debt under control and am feeling less stressed about money.
  • Attended my first Renaissance Fair and will maybe attend a different one in 2020. I’m told by one of my new friends that the one I went to was actually not that good of one.
  • Made new friends and made an effort to put myself out there more. As an introvert, this involved a lot of “putting on my party pants” and reminding myself that I would have fun when I got there and could always leave if was didn’t. This allowed me to meet more crafters, gamers and my first experience dyeing with natural dyes!
  • Tried out being a DM for Dungeons and Dragons. It was actually very fun, too bad the group didn’t last beyond the initial get together.
  • Participated in my first trail races, what a fun way to push your mind and body while being surrounded by like-minded individuals. Loche also ran his first race this year, I can’t wait to participate in it with him again next year.

I spent 2019 trying to slow down and enjoy my surroundings, something that I felt I struggled with following graduating from library school. After two years of go-go-go, it was easy to see that I had lost sight of why I found enjoyment in the things that I did and the places that I went. As I rediscovered who I am, I found myself coming out of my shell, having more confidence and being happier. I could not have asked for a better year, despite the challenges that 2019 poised.