The List: 20 for 2020

Last year, I made a list of 19 things I wanted to accomplish in 2019.  I’m embarrassed to say that after careful review, I’ve added four pitiful check marks.  But I know where I went wrong. I wrote the list down, stuffed it away, and promptly forgot about it.   

So some of this 20 for 2020 list is comprised of carry-over items.  Others are new. I love the idea of making this list vs. a single New Year’s resolution because it allows me to address several areas of my life, big and small.  This year, though, I’m going to hang the list on my fridge (ok, maybe not on the front, but on the side) as a reminder. Some of these can be done so easily if I simply make a point to do them.  

By the way, this idea came from Gretchen Rubin’s podcast “Happier”, which I listen to on my commute.  It is fun, upbeat, and always leaves me with something to think about. She talks about how even the smallest changes can impact our overall happiness.  So here goes:

  1. Launch Bookish Mama.  Okay okay, this is a carry-over from 2019.  But technically we launched on January 1, 2020, so hooray!  Done.

  2. Write at least one post per week.  Obviously related to #1, this is a conservative number but I’m going for stamina here.  So far so good!

  3. Make cassoulet.  My husband and I visited Paris 13 years ago (before kids) when we still possessed both time and money.  We ate cassoulet in a bistro and it became his favorite food ever. Julia Child’s recipe calls for over 20 ingredients and will probably take me as many hours to make.  But he built me this beautiful website, so I owe the hunk.  

  4. Read 5 classics.  I love to peruse the Barnes and Noble Classics section and tally up how many I’ve read (I’m not nerdy, you’re nerdy).  Some, but not enough.  

  5. Organize digital and printed photos.  Sigh.  Definitely a carry-over from last year.  I have about four boxes of prints and loads of digital photos that need to be sorted and put into albums or made into photo books.  The task seems so daunting. But I just need to start. Journey of a thousand steps and all.

  6. Maintain weight loss.  My youngest son turned 2 this year, so I figured it was time to kick that baby weight.  Weight Watchers worked for me, but historically I’m known to let it creep back up. Maybe it’s a good thing this list is going on the fridge.

  7. Take a class to learn something new.  It’s probably too late to be a ballet dancer.  But everytime I tie a bow awkwardly onto a gift I think about how much I’d use this skill if I actually learned how to do it.

  8. Visit Sesame Place 4 times.  So this something I did accomplish from last year’s list.  I wanted to “go before they grow” and we did.  And then bought season passes. So now that frequency needs to grow.  

  9. Organize recipe binders.  I subscribe to a few food magazines and after I’m done reading from cover to cover, I tear out the pages with the recipes I like and toss the rest.  While I am proud of myself for not allowing the magazines to pile up and clutter the house, the binders I use to store the pages have become numerous and there’s no rhyme or reason to them.  If I want to find a specific recipe, I literally have to flip through for 10 minutes to find it. Not efficient.

  10. Speak more Spanish.  Carry-over.  I was a Spanish major in college and I love the language.  I don’t have much reason to speak it anymore and get nervous when I try (except maybe when ordering at a Mexican restaurant after a few cervezas).  I need to use it or risk losing it and it’s too beautiful a language to let languish into oblivion. I need to find opportunities to speak it and get over my insecurities about making mistakes.  

  11. Organize basement.  You guessed it.  Carry-over. Just...can’t...seem to get around to it.  But the demons are multiplying.

  12. Take the kids to swim lessons.  This one I actually did do last year, but I need to make a point to sign them up again and continue this spring so that the kids will be more comfortable in the water this summer.

  13. Organize the junk drawer.  Okay, so we are seeing an organizing trend.  It’s not that I’m that disorganized.  But the new year is when I think about these things that bug me, like rifling through this dumping ground when I have better things to do.

  14. Pay it forward 3 times.  A small deed that creates a ripple effect of good in the world.  This can be as simple as paying for the car behind you when you’re in line at the drive through.  Usually those speakers are loud enough so you can hear what’s being ordered. If it’s just a coffee, go ahead and spring for a stranger.  I guarantee it will make his or her day.  

  15. Redo upstairs bathroom.  This is a big one, and obviously not completely within my ability to accomplish.  When my husband and I bought our house, the upstairs bathrooms were original 1970 eyesores.  They were old then and are even older now. This project requires planning and budgeting galore, not to mention dealing with workers, noise, mess.  But I think this might be the year to tackle one of these babies.  

  16. Update wall photos.  I’m giving this one it’s own listing, although it’s akin to #5.  We have some framed photos on our walls that I have not swapped out since hung.  The family has grown a bit since.  

  17. Date night once a month.  Getting out with three small children is hard.  There’s nap times, bedtime routines, illnesses to be hurdled, not to mention the general chaos.  Add a friendly but gigantic Newfoundland to the mix and you pretty much have a dealbreaker. Watching our crew isn’t for the faint of heart, and we feel bad asking too much of our already accommodating parents.  This year we are going to try to make it happen by asking our competent babysitter if she’d like some overtime pay and compensate by keeping the cost down when we go out. I’ll happily eat on the cheap if it means some uninterrupted conversation with my favorite guy.

  18. Visit a museum.  I used to go all the time.  Last time we tried, we had the kiddos with us.  Let’s just say we were almost escorted out. Maybe this will take place in conjunction with #17.

  19. Take the kids camping.  Like, outside.  In a tent. With a campfire.  When I was growing up, we did this every summer.  I’m frightened of the logistics, but I want my kids to experience the real deal.  

  20. Express gratitude every day.  I am pretty mindful of this one already, but always good to keep it in sight.  

Alright, 2020.  I’m ready for you.

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