2020 was.…. a year. And I had goals for those months. But 2020 being, well 2020, means those goals went up in the air (for the most part).
Given that 2021 is also shaping into.….…. a year.…. I’m not sure I’ll exactly be setting goals/resolutions as so much seems out of my hands. Things like getting the vaccine, being allowed to travel and visit people, etc.
But before we get to 2021, let’s see how I did for 2020.
1. Settle into St. Louis
I feel like I did a pretty decent job at this despite being ordered to stay in my apartment for 9 out of the 12 months. I got to explore places like the local libraries, the local parks, the Botanical Garden, my neighborhood and a few fun places like the local barcade and boardgame bar. I no longer need my GPS to get to places like my grocery store, the pet supply store, Target, and a few other errand staples.
Thanks to my partner and I looking at houses, I’ve gotten a much better grasp at local geography and can tell you the difference between Alton and Afton, now! I’ve also figured out the areas of St Louis that has the best shops for my lifestyle (or did, before my favorite local gluten-free bakery closed thanks to Covid).
I’d give this goal a solid PASS.
2. Start Cooking
I did a really good job at this at the beginning of the year/the pandemic. I was in a local CSA getting all kinds of weird veggies and tasty meats. I got new kitchen supplies like a blender, knives, bamboo cutting boards and a set of pots and pans.
And then.…… the pandemic gloom set in and I lost motivation to do a lot of things. Cooking was one of the things that fell off the wagon. I went back to mac n cheese, grilled cheese, lunch meat sandwiches or rollups, and chicken nuggets. For a bit over the summer, I joined into a meal plan with several people in my neighborhood. A neighbor is a private chef who was making gluten-free meals for her, her partner, and their friend. I got in on the action for a little bit but ultimately faced the same problem I had cooking for myself: I was still only eating the same one or two dishes all week. And it wasn’t exactly the cheapest option. So then I went with a local food prep business. You order the food, they prep the dishes, you pick them up, and then you only have to bake and serve. I did one month and took over 2.5 months to eat the food, so this isn’t a terribly expensive option for me. I’m eagerly awaiting February’s menu as there weren’t many meals I wanted to eat in January.
I did, however, cook an entire Thanksgiving meal for my partner and me. I’ve never had to cook an entire holiday meal all on my own as I’ve had older female relatives be in charge of it in the past. (Except the turkey. We went for a turkey breast. I wasn’t up for cooking an entire turkey just yet.)
So, in light of everything that happened this past year, I’m going to give myself a PASS. There’s a lot of room for improvement still, but I have faith that will get better when I’m not just cooking for myself anymore. (It’s not fair I have to prep, cook, AND do the dishes. So rude.)
3. Find a Therapist
I started working with a therapist in February through BetterHealth. I liked talking to her and getting some coping strategies for different issues I had was very helpful. It was especially helpful to have her be there as I transitioned from office work to working from home. However, the pandemic hit and all of the sudden it seemed like everyone needed therapy. You could only set one appointment at a time. Her calendar filled up and I went from being able to schedule a weekly appointment to a monthly appointment. My employer also started offering therapy sessions through our EAP so I dropped the BetterHealth service. I also had to pay out of pocket for BetterHealth so I was happy to get that $200/mo back in my budget.
This is a solid PASS. I encourage anyone and everyone to talk to a licensed mental health professional if you’re struggling with something in your life.
This one is like cooking. In January I started making in-roads on joining the local Master’s swim team at the YMCA. I got in one practice and then procrastinated on filling out my membership form. For once, procrastinating kinda paid off as I didn’t have to pay for a gym membership and Master’s membership that I couldn’t use. I did a really good job in the spring when the weather warmed up and I hyperfocused on my cycling hobby. I rode a combined nearly 100 miles on different bicycles. I lost 10 pounds of Covid weight because of biking.
However, I had multiple different opportunities to get in other exercises through the year and didn’t.
This one gets a FAIL as evidenced by nearly all of my pants not fitting again. Sigh.
5. Bullet Journal
I couldn’t make this habit stick despite buying a journal, lots of colorful pens, stencils for designs, and the best of intentions. I think I made it a month or two of spotty journaling before I stopped using it.
So, overall, 3 out of 5 passing goals in an unprecedented pandemic is pretty damn good. Good job to me, and everyone else that still managed to make a little bit of progress on their goals despite waves hand vaguely in the air all that.
2021 Theme and Goals
I’ve been listening to a lot of Bastille this year. One song that always gets me is “Survivin’ ”. The part that always gets me is this:
And I’m not gonna lie
Say I’ve been alright
‘Cause it feels like
I’ve been living upside down
What can I say? I’m survivin’
Crawling out these sheets to see another day
What can I say? I’m survivin’
And I’m gonna be fine
I’m gonna be fine
I think I’ll be fine
It feels like 2020’s theme turned into Survivin’. Some days it was all I could do to get out of bed and logon to the computer. But 2021 feels different even if it’s been more of the same. So, I’m going to declare the theme of the year to be “Thrivin’ ”. I survived last year and I’m going to thrive this year. That thriving is going to take a few different forms, so read on to find out how I’m going to do that.
1. Find a house and move in with my partner.1
We’ve been together for over a year now and know with absolute certainty that we are committed to each other for the long run. Since Covid interrupted the normal pacing of our relationship (more on that later), we decided to do things on our own timeline. While we are still “just” dating, we will be taking the appropriate steps to legally protect ourselves in the event of a breakup. Stay tuned for more information about house hunting!
2. Meet the families
Normally this is something that happens towards the beginning of the relationship, but thanks to Covid has yet to happen. By the time we realized we’d very much like the other to meet the respective families, it was too late and we were all locked in our houses.
However, things are looking up. Most of our immediate families have had one or both of their shots. Mr. Gwen and I have yet to even hear whispers of appointments for vaccines, as St. Louis is a vaccine desert within a vaccine desert. That’s right, Missouri was dead last in vaccination rates. We thought Mr. Gwen would have an easier time getting a shot as he is immunocompromised, but even that hasn’t helped. So we are patiently biding our time until we can get vaccinated, the weather warms up and we can see the families in person (even if we all are masked and 6+ ft from each other). Zoom calls are nice, but meeting face to face even better.
3. Pay off my car loan
I have 9,000 some odd US dollery-doos left on this thing and I just want it gone. It’s an administrative annoyance and I’m determined this loan won’t see the light of 2022. No clue how I’m going to do this yet, but I might actually be inspired to spin up a side hustle or two to knock it out.
4. Start exercising
One year locked in my apartment has shown me quite clearly the value of staying in shape. I am the worst at making myself work out solo, and need the incentive of group workouts to actually do the thing. I love to swim and was just getting started this time last year at getting back into it, so that is my top priority. I’ll also be looking to get back on the bike(s) when the weather stops being so damn cold.
Survivin’ and Thrivin’ and goal setting, here we come! May 2021 be a better year BY FAR than 2020.
So mote it be.
1 Someone asked me why I refer to my boyfriend as my partner and honestly, it sounds more inclusive and more adult than “boyfriend”. We’re over 30, and that term doesn’t give me the same feeling of seriousness and weight like ‘partner’ does.
Thanks for reading! What are your goals for 2021? Sound off in the comments below!
You may have no interest in baseball, but going to a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game is an amazingly fun time. It’s a great ballpark and the fans are very friendly. I’m not a baseball guy, but every year (pre- pandemic) a group of seven or eight of us fly up for a couple of games. We eat at Charlie Gitto’s and Rigazzi’s. It’s part of the historical soul of the city.
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Gwen [Fiery Millennials] says
Omg! I am a proud third generation Cardinals fan. I love going to games at Busch! I was really struggling with whether or not to buy season tickets when the pandemic hits. Now I think I’ll just attend a game when I can. I’ve got a Jon Jay and Goldschmidt jersey. Might need to add an Arenado jersey now too!
Nathan Croft says
I enjoy working out in groups as well. I pay a bit more, but the accountability and social aspect keeps me consistent. When the shutdowns started, my gym started offering zoom workouts. It’s not quite as good, but I still get to see the people I normally worked out with before. Also if the weather is bad, I work out through zoom even though my gym is open again.
Can you share more of your thoughts on why do you need to see a therapist? The one thing I noticed from many personal finance riders is that many of them either have more mental issues than the average person, or sure more of their mental issues than the average person.
I’m not sure which one is it. But it seems like personal finance bloggers flock together and tend to gang up on other people are bloggers who don’t fit the mold or don’t look like them or think like them.
I know things are difficult now, and we all certainly need to have more compassion for other people. I just noticed a lot of gang tackling on social media and so forth by people who seem to have more mental health issues than others.
Gwen [Fiery Millennials] says
Hi Linda, thanks for the comment. I think it’s probably more that everyone has mental health issues but some are more open about it than others.
In my case, I had some lingering trauma to deal with from my childhood and a few issues I needed help sorting out from the end of my last serious relationship. I also found her advice valuable in starting my current relationship.
Thanks for responding. I noticed JD Roth write about depression and then the guy at Done by 40 wrote about committing suicide before his second baby was born and there are a lot more examples. Maybe it really is just bloggers being more open.
Glad the therapist has helped!
Wow ! I was surprised when you say finance blogger have more mental issues than other people. Maybe you only read finance blogs and not other kind of blogs? I always thought that finance blogger has one less problem than average people — money problem — so they would have less problem and mental issues than avg people.
I’m usually a New Year resolution person but after what happened in 2020 I decided to skip a year hahaha.
Also solid advice about the boyfriend vs. significant other wording. I moved cities to follow my girlfriend so I had to find a new job. While coaching me for future interviews my old boss (a department VP) recommended this advice for interviews and I do think it makes a difference.