Last year’s goals got kind of upended between COVID and pregnancy. Despite my intentions, pregnancy wiped me out physically much more than I expected it to, and COVID affected things all over the spectrum. Even with the arrival of the vaccine and our intentions to get it, we’re pretty much the bottom of the list–I work from home and Paul’s unemployed/started grad school online. So my 2021 goals are split into two parts, the second being contingent on either a vaccine or a significant drop in cases near us, and I’m operating under the assumption that that’ll take at least six months.

Make a plan for my vacation time. This year marks 10 years with my employer (!), and so as of the New Year, I have four weeks of vacation time with no intentions to do any significant travel. Ideally, just to make things easier to plan and to avoid a huge chunk of time left, I’ll use two weeks in the first half of the year. I took this past Friday off and plan to take this coming Friday off and I think I’ll probably just burn days like that, giving myself short weeks as often as possible, but I’d like to be a little more organized about it. And hey, if I use even some of it to just hang out at home with the baby, I call that a win.
Read 16 books. Last year’s goal was 15, and I just missed it. I also realized last year’s reading was uncharacteristically light–not even some depressing nonfiction political/current events read. As the baby gets older and doesn’t need quite as much attention, and with 20 vacation days to burn, I should be able to finish 16 books. Adding one more to my goal this year is a pretty safe bet, I think.
Create a proper, professional personal website. A bio, links to published works, that sort of thing.
Send writing out for publication at least once a month. At first, I was gonna set this as once a week, but I think that’s unrealistically ambitious with a baby.
Be more organized about tracking submissions. I used to be, and then I wasn’t, and if I’m intending on hitting it at a decent pace this year, I’d like to get back on it–a spreadsheet of pieces and where they’ve been sent, when, and if they were published or rejected.
Home improvements. Exactly what and when depends on COVID. I don’t want to do anything that’ll be an added monthly payment until our siding is paid off and I don’t want anyone coming inside to do anything unless we’re vaccinated, we know they’re vaccinated, or cases are down. I’d like to look into what little things we can do to add some curb appeal before we’re ready to take on landscaping, particularly around our little front porch, or maybe look into the cost of planting a few trees in the front yard for some added shade and privacy. I don’t like how wide open the yard is. The deck could also use restained, there are some stumps out back I’d like to remove, and like last year, I’d like to look into replacing our water heater with a tankless one, but that’s definitely a post-COVID project.
Spruce up the garden. With pregnancy and then a new baby, the garden kind of got away from us. I’d like to get it cleaned up and organized and plant more this year–cherry tomatoes, big tomatoes, add another strawberry plant, maybe look into something like peppers and try cucumbers again.
Organize the house. I currently have a tab open of a hanging rod to add another row to the closet that I intend to buy, and the baby’s room is still a a bit overrun with our stuff–clothes in the closet, random things that got shuffled in there because I don’t think Paul knew where else to put them. There’s a bag in there that’s been hanging around for God knows how long that’s almost definitely full of stuff to donate. We also have big bookshelves coming from his sister in Erie that’ll go in our side room, and hopefully we can empty out the smaller shelves and either get rid of them or more likely stash them in the attic in case we find another use for them. And if we’re doing that, I’d like to think about a small loveseat or something, basically make it a tiny library. The cats’ litter boxes are in there, too, so I’d like to hide those in something like end tables. Because I don’t want to spend a lot on furniture, that might get put off, and at some point, I’d like a new coffee table with a top that lifts up for more hidden storage. If we are able to empty the current shelves, I’d like to put a little bench in place of a set near our front door so that when people come over, they have a place to sit and take off/put on shoes and store them and purses and things. When those make their way here, we’ll need to clear the room out. It’s become another sort of holding area for miscellaneous things.
Knock out debt. We have some small balances we can take care of easily, and my car is on track to be paid off in October, sooner if I can swing it.
Be a kick-ass mom. I’m not perfect. I spend a lot of time alternating between feeling like I should be paying more undivided attention to him and acknowledging that when he’s playing, he’s fine on his own (I mean, I’m present and constantly glancing over) and it’s fine to crank out a blog or read or something. But I try to make sure he gets my complete attention a couple times a day–always at bedtime and first thing in the morning, if I’m off and am the one to get him, plus a few times throughout the day. Looking ahead, we have his first birthday in the summer, and I’d like to have a small party for immediate family at our house.

Post-COVID/vaccine, and there’s less than I thought:
Travel. Regardless, we’re not going to want to go far. Between Paul’s MBA program, money, and traveling with a baby, a big, extended trip more than a couple hours away is almost certainly out of the question. But if we’re comfortable with it, I wouldn’t mind long weekends away. There’s family to visit in Erie and D.C., and we can spend time as a new little family in Deep Creek or the mountains.
Concert photography. This is something I had on my list to do a year or so ago. I can’t remember if it was on my 2019 list and my dad got sick and died and I got pregnant shortly after, but something happened that put this way on the backburner. I’d like to buy a good, legit camera, get photo passes for some local shows, and start shooting. At first, it’ll probably just be for posts on Medium or something, but eventually, I’d like to ramp it up as a side hustle or hey, even a full-time gig, maybe.

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