9 Intentions for 39

I had a fantastic birthday week. We had a family birthday/Easter dinner out at the farm, I got to spend lots of time outside, got plenty of good snuggles with Astrid, and then John made spaghetti carbonara, which is one of my most favorite foods. I’ve also had plenty of time to think about what I want to deliberately nourish and cultivate in the next year of my life. Here are my intentions.

1. Keep the kitchen table clean. I’ve struggled with clutter my entire life. It’s probably genetic. (If you’ve ever seen my dad’s office or car, you can’t help but think there’s something innate in my DNA.) Honestly, most of the time, it doesn’t bother me. But clutter on the kitchen table drives me bonkers . . . and yet, whenever I clean it, the pile is back within a week. Lately, between the work we’re doing on the house and how stressed I’ve been in my professional life, it’s even worse than usual. This is the year that changes.

2. Maintain a consistent budget. You’ve heard of yo-yo dieting . . . my unhelpful habit is actually yo-yo budgeting. But as I approach midlife, get serious about self-employment, and now have a mortgage on top of my still-unpaid student debt, it’s time to get serious. There are a lot of structural problems of life under capitalism that I cannot change, but what I can do is do my best to work with what I have. To do that, I actually need to budget.

3. Fall in love with cooking again. I love food, and before COVID, I enjoyed cooking. Then, months of having to eat at home (plus constant supply chain issues) meant cooking began to feel more like a chore. And when I moved to St. Louis and went back to working in an office, cooking began to feel even more like an obligation I resented. But I have a fantastic cookbook collection (which I couldn’t resist adding to this weekend), and I hate seeing all those fun books sitting in my kitchen unused. I want to find a way to recapture the enjoyment of preparing food.

4. Practice Pilates without an end goal. I’d only been a Pilates student for about 18 months when I ended up on the teacher training path. I’m grateful that I have been able to complete a comprehensive training. It’s also true that half of my life as a practitioner has been spent working toward this goal. I am excited to be able to simply practice, explore, and learn on my own terms.

5. Get back to inbox zero. I used to be the kind of person who could zero out their inboxes every day. And that felt great. For whatever reason, I haven’t been able to keep up the habit, but looking at an inbox with over 100 messages just brings me down. So I want to bring myself to a decluttered inbox again.

6. Fold my clean laundry within 24 hours. I haven’t been keeping up with this task, which is wild to me, because honestly, I kind of like folding laundry. Just put on a podcast and go! I don’t love an overflowing laundry basket any more than I love an overflowing inbox. So it’s time to queue up those podcasts and make time on Monday nights!

7. Resume carrying a notebook everywhere. My big move and career change depleted my creativity. Yesterday was the first time in over two months that I’d written haiku. Because my creativity has been stagnant, I’ve gotten out of the habit of carrying a notebook with me to catch ideas. But that’s not helping my creativity, either! So the time has come to remind myself to be open to poetry.

8. Go through that backlog of old notebooks. This has been on my to-do list for . . . way too long. I don’t want to toss out good material, but I’m tired of a thick stack of notebooks taking up space on my desk. I don’t think I’ll feel fully settled into my life in St. Louis until I go through all the writing from my past life, keep the good stuff, and let go of the work that doesn’t have spark.

9. Rest. Working full-time and building up my self-employment means that many of my waking hours are accounted for. I’m definitely one of those people who stays up too late because I’m trying to maximize my free time and actually pursue my hobbies or spend time with John and Astrid. But sleep and general rest are essential for wellbeing, and this year, I’m making space for that.

This new year of life is off to an exciting start! John and I have spent a lot of time working on getting my home studio together. I can’t wait to reveal the finished work later this year! I have a lot of projects and ambitions on the horizon, and I can’t wait to see what happens between now and the time I reach 40.

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