Goals for 2023! I feel good about this list. It's a mix of project-based and more habit-based goals, and stuff that is more serious and stuff that's just for fun.
1. Plan a wedding. Get married. This is the big one. If this doesn't happen we are in trouble. But as long as we make it to the altar, I am going to trust that everything else will come together. In the meantime, this is the big project that I anticipate will continue to fill my nights and weekends.
2. Get into individual therapy and premarital counseling. I've been meaning to see a therapist for a while and getting married feels like a good commitment device to do so—I'd like a mental and emotional tune-up as I enter this new life phase. And I'd also really value some kind of premarital counseling. After 15 years together, we've talked about everything under the sun, but I imagine there are some conversations that we haven't had explicitly.
3. Handle other health stuff. A boring but important one. After a year of getting health care through MIT Medical, I am mainly looking for new Cleveland-based providers. I'm due for a new glasses prescription. I'd like to do a sleep study (I recently learned that some people wake up feeling refreshed, whereas I wake up feeling like I've been run over by a garbage truck, so I'd like to look into that) which I think means finding a PCP. I also want to find a dermatologist (driven by vanity with the October wedding) or a very good facialist.
4. Advance on a few priority house projects. I am paring this down from the broad "declutter and decorate" goal that I set and only partly accomplished in 2022. With the wedding planning, I don't have the bandwidth to make this a focus in 2023, but I would love to finish up the walls (after painting my office in 2021). I have paint and wallpaper choices in mind, I just need to execute (or maybe find a contractor to execute). Austin has been leading on a couple bigger-ticket items, including installing solar panels on the roof and creating a parking pad, that I will benefit from too.
Now for the fun ones!
5. Read 36 books, 25% of them from my shelves. I've set a Goodreads goal for the past few years, reading 36 books in 2020 and 40 books in 2021. I got a bit overambitious in 2022 and shot for 44 books (since it's a multiple of 22), and fell a bit short, so I'm going for a more realistic target this year. The "from my shelves" goal is just a nudge to read the books I buy. I am a huge fan of the library—our neighborhood branch reopened recently after being closed for renovation—and I love that I can learn about a book and have it waiting for me on the holds shelf, for free, a couple days later. But I also occasionally buy books that I know I will love, only for them to sit on my shelves while I'm filling my holds queue with the new hotness. I also want 2023 to be the year I finally finish Fistful of Shells, which I started reading in 2020. This might be my most ambitious goal of all.
6. Watch all new NPR Tiny Desk Concerts. I've had the idea in the past that it would be fun to set an "artist of the month" goal where I do a deep dive each month into the discography of an artist that I think I might like. This has always ended up feeling like homework so I've never done it. But when we drove to DC for Christmas, Austin put on Stromae's amazing Tiny Desk Concert and this idea popped into my head. They are short, just 15 or 20 minutes, so it's a low time commitment, I can put them on in the background, and I'll be exposed to a much wider range of artists than I would have otherwise.
7. Stay up-to-date with 2023 Project Life and line-a-day journal. When I moved back from Liberia, I started scrapbooking using Project Life. As of this writing I have 2021 done (I just did the second half) and nada for 2022. I am hoping to keep up with my 2023 album and come back to 2022 after the wedding. I also keep a line-a-day journal—I'm now on my second. It's one of my most valued possessions and my most treasured practices, but it's also easy to get lazy and fall behind and then it's hard to catch back up.
8. Earlier wake-ups, better work hours, healthier morning routine. This one is less measurable but I would like to fix my daily routine. Unless I have an early call, I tend to start work a little late (not noon, more like 9:30 or 10am), which means I end work a little late (typically after 7), which means I eat dinner late, which means I go to bed late, and then the cycle continues. On the one hand this is not a big deal—the benefit of remote work and flexible hours is that I can fit my schedule to my circadian rhythm—but I don't like that I end up feeling behind all day, and I don't like working late to compensate. I have a few ideas (and a new sunrise alarm), but I think I am eventually going to have to bite the bullet and start going to bed earlier.
And that's it! Three months in, I've made progress on most of these and am still finding them relevant and inspiring—which already feels like a win.