Stumbling into 2022, intentionally

If I were to pick one word for my intention for 2022 – well, first of all, I’d pick two words. And one of them would be intentional, which is a little meta, but very appropriate for what I want my year to look like. The other word would be present.

It is mid-February, and so much has happened so far this year. During January, the world was overwhelmed with COVID stress and my school was temporarily virtual. Our entire family was sick for the majority of winter break, so we rolled into January 1 with little energy to kick off the year. Then, a few days into the calendar year, I found myself struggling with a heart-wrenching loss that knocked me to my knees.

To say that this was not an ideal start to a new year would be a drastic understatement. There was no writing happening, no running, no yoga. Just going through the motions – taking care of my kids, fulfilling work responsibilities, and feeling all the feelings.

Once my brain and my heart and my body were returning from crisis mode, I started thinking about my 2022 goals again. And honestly? I felt a little pessimistic. Even when we’re not in crisis mode, our family has a lot going on, with me working full-time, my wife in grad school full-time, and three little ones under six, one who’s only four months old and not yet sleeping through the night. In order for me to achieve goals related to writing or exercise, I need to wake up mega early (4 a.m.) or stay up late (for me), until 10 p.m. or even later. That’s just not happening lately – I’m clinging to my time in bed like a sleep-deprived parent with an infant, and that is totally okay.

What really matters most to me is not if I check off all of my 2022 goals or cross out every item in my “22 for 2022” bucket list. (See below. The pure joy I get from a bucket list is incredible.) What matters to me are my two words of the year: intentional and present.

Whatever I do, I want to do it on purpose. If I choose to read a great book at night before bed instead of getting some writing done, that’s great! If I kinda-sorta plan to write but then end up squandering my time playing Toy Blast on my phone when that’s not what I want to be doing that evening – that is less great. If I really think about a purchase and decide I want to add it to my home, that’s great! If I impulse purchase something for the boys without really evaluating if we need it, that is less great.

Whatever I do, I want to be fully present while I’m doing it. If I’m playing with the boys, I want to give that my full attention. If I’m listening to an audiobook on my drive home from work, I want to give that my full attention. I have a tendency to multi-task and to get distracted, and it takes away from my enjoyment of all the little moments. I will literally be reading the boys a book, remember that I need to send a text, and try to type it out while I read. Or I’ll become so distracted by the messy floor that I stop playing with them and start sweeping. I want to decide what I want to do in that moment (see: intentional) and then I want to be fully present while I’m doing it.

Those are my words of the year for 2022: intentional and present. And now, for pure fun, here are my 22 things to do in 2022. (Note that I really struggled with this list after about 16 items, so then I just started adding food I wanted to cook and eat.) Happy 2022!

  1. Run a 5K.
  2. Run a 10 Miler.
  3. 10 family hikes to new places.
  4. 5 new playground adventures.
  5. Have a party.
  6. Submit an article.
  7. Submit a short story (or a second article).
  8. Complete my Goodreads challenge.
  9. Finish my nonfiction TBR pile.
  10. Crochet a blanket or hat.
  11. Make a pie.
  12. Can salsa.
  13. Use your new telescope!
  14. Go climbing.
  15. Make granola.
  16. Go paddleboarding.
  17. Level up your sleep routine.
  18. Philly.
  19. NYC.
  20. 10 new home kid activities.
  21. Make a French toast casserole.
  22. Bake a cake.

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