June 2020: Summertime Planning

Laugh out loud. LOL. That is all I want to do every time the first of the month comes around.

For my 2020 happiness project, my plan was that on the first of every month, I would write a post based on a theme for the month. The monthly theme would be tied to certain personal goals for the month, too. Then, my subsequent posts would fit that theme.

That entire project was pretty much a bust. Too ambitious, maybe? It also doesn’t seem to work great for me to utilize themes, as much as I’d like to operate that way. And, though I write down goals for each month and have a plan for themed posts, I usually forget about all of it ten days into the month and then don’t remember until I’m ready to write the next month’s first post.

I still love the idea of having a regular routine for the first post of every month. I really enjoy making the last post of the month a short ‘n’ sweet gratitude list. I am contemplating different ways to handle the first monthly post. For June, I’m going to do what I’ve been doing so far in 2020. I have one little idea for improving my attention to the theme and goals, so I’ll give that a try this month. But I’m thinking I’ll probably once again be laughing at my lack of progress come July 2020.

For June, I am once again abandoning my planned theme – traditions, celebrations, and rituals – to choose a different focus: summertime.

It’s June 2nd today. That means exactly three weeks from now, my summer vacation from work will officially start.

Right now, I am working from home and my boys are with me all day every day. So the summertime won’t be drastically different than now. BUT I won’t be juggling working from home with caring for the boys, and I’ll have nap time every day to write. (I currently use nap time for my job; my work day sort of starts when the boys go down for nap and continues when Tamara gets home from work, except for morning meetings.)

My goals for this month are:

  • Make a concrete and realistic plan for summer writing.
  • Set a goal – including word count – for summer writing.
  • Make a summer bucket list.

There’s a lot of unknown right now. I want to make a summer bucket list, but I have no idea if the items on the list will even be an option to do! Just going to take all of it one day at a time. Happy summer dreaming to all!

macro photography of black sunglasses on sand
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goals · life alignment

Update On My Birthday Funk

Ever since my 37th birthday, I’ve been in a bit of a funk.

That is a substantial age – 37. One could say that I’m in my late thirties. And I don’t feel content with where I’m at, professionally, creatively, and personally.

Now, in the world of family? I am content. I love my two kids like crazy, and I love parenting. I love my wife, and we’re at a moment in our lives (Post Farming) when we’re sort of resetting our lives, routines, rituals, et al.

But everything else feels not-quite-right. And that’s silly, I know. I’m incredibly blessed, and incredibly privileged. When I am not in a funk, I practice gratitude and I count my blessings wholeheartedly. However, when I’m in a funk like this – an existential birthday funk that leaves me filled with regret about past choices and worry about being able to achieve my dreams – I get overwhelmed.

There were a couple of other triggers for my funk in addition to my birthday. I had a coffee date with a friend who is self-employed and running several different businesses, and I found myself envying how inspired and motivated she is. And I started noticing a lot of writers and bloggers who have found a niche and a platform, and realizing that many of them are either my age or younger. That terrifies me, and triggers a lot of comparison and envy. And FEAR! Because what if it’s too late to achieve my dreams related to writing? Or what if I don’t have enough money, talent, or dedication to get it done?

Oy. I know better than to compare myself to others, especially via the internet. I should not compare my experience to anyone else’s experience. But my envy really is caused by fear and dissatisfaction related to my own life. If I felt like I was moving toward my creative goals, then I would not envy others. And I have known that I want to be a writer since I was seven years old, even if I didn’t realize it at the time.

When I start to feel regretful and overwhelmed, my kids keep me from completely losing my perspective. Adoption is a miracle; there are a million different circumstances that had to transpire to bring my boys home to Tamara and me. When I start to ponder, What if I had moved to California ten years ago?, it’s not long before I remember that if I’d done that, it’s quite possible that I wouldn’t be Edgar and Jonas’s mommy, which is unfathomable to me. So, they help me to keep faith, and to remember that everything happens for a reason.

After my coffee date and a mini meltdown when I found out that an extremely successful blogger is my age and way wealthier than I’ll ever be, I realized something. I don’t actually want any of the things that my self-employed friend has; I just feel insecure because I’m not working (enough) toward all the things I do want. And sometimes, I get so caught up in envying others that I lose focus on the things I want. By the time my coffee date was over, I was daydreaming about becoming a yoga instructor and starting a private therapy practice. Once I calmed down and clarified things, I realized that I actually don’t want either of those things.

I love yoga. I love running. I love reading. Those are big, huge aspects of ME that I enjoy. But when I really sat down to clarify what my top priorities are, I came up with the same three words that I identified months ago: family, service, and writing.

I would not have felt envious of my friend if I were a) making progress on a draft of a novel, b) writing stories or articles and submitting them for publication, or c) financially secure enough to know that I have plenty of time, space, and money to do what I want to do.

Now, item c) is tricky at the moment; we’ll table that for the time being.

But when I look at those three top priorities – family, service, and writing – I know exactly what needs to be done. I need to prioritize my family – that one’s easy. I need to seek out and take advantage of all opportunities to help others.


I know what needs to be done. I know the challenges – kids, full-time job, community. I have to find the time and the way to make things happen in my writing life. My birthday funk won’t feel funky if I am working toward the goals I want to achieve.

I’ve been contemplating life alignment for such a long time, and it feels amazing to zero in on my three top priorities in life. NOW – to make the changes I need to make so my priorities become prioritized. Let’s do this.

cascade creek environment fern
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May 2020: Goals

There is a global pandemic happening. I’m 37 years old. I’m working remotely with no social life and a lot of time to reflect on life and work on myself.

This month, I want to think about the Big Picture that is my life. I want to spend some time seeking clarity about these questions:

  • Who am I?
  • What are my values?
  • What do I want to do with my one wild and precious life?

My biggest goals are related to writing, but there are others, too. I’ve had more time to think recently and I’d like to get some things down on paper.

GOALS and the Big Picture! That’s what May will be about. Let’s do this.

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goals · recovery · wellness

April 2020: Wellness + Recovery

For my first post for every month of 2020, I’ve chosen a theme and made some resolutions that fit the theme. I started out big in January, with a theme of Health + Longevity and a list of eight resolutions.

Then, as the days became weeks and then months, I realized that I wasn’t following most of my resolutions. This is pretty typical Kerriann – I love making resolutions but rarely keep them. Because for me, it seems to work better to say, “Well – I’d like to try to eat better. But making a Healthy Eating Plan doesn’t work out for me, so I’m going to turn it over to a higher power and stop worrying about it.” When I do that – when I set an intention, but let go of my urge to make a detailed plan to meet the intention – I get better results. It’s weird, but it’s me, and it works.

So I’m not really doing the “happiness project with resolutions” thing anymore. But I do love a theme. In March, I chose Creativity, and all I did was occasionally remind myself that my goals for the month centered around creativity. It worked. I got back on my blogging schedule, and I’m moving forward with my novel. The unexpected flexibility with my scheduled inadvertently supported this goal, which is one of the weird silver linings of this coronavirus experience that I feel simultaneously grateful for and guilty about.

tree branch

For April, I originally planned to focus on Minimalism + Decluttering. And my focus on minimalism and decluttering in my life has been great! I’ve been discarding and organizing and limiting what I buy. This unexpected time at home has really helped with the decluttering and discarding. But in the big picture of life, it’s not what I want to focus on this month.

I’ve been worried about so many people this month. People who are especially vulnerable to the effects of the coronavirus. People who are losing their jobs or their livelihood. People who might have medical needs this month and next who may have trouble accessing treatment. Local businesses who are closing indefinitely and may not reopen. People who are dying. Kids who are missing the structure and love and care they receive at school. AND – people who are trying to get sober.

I stopped drinking in July 2012, and I was able to do so because of Alcoholics Anonymous and going to AA meetings. Full stop. If there was another way I could have gotten sober, I would have tried it; I probably did try it. For me, there was no other way. And once I agreed to try AA and meetings, I got sober quickly and I’ve stayed sane and whole for almost eight years now.

When I think about people who are new in recovery, I can’t imagine how hard it must be right now to get and stay sober. There are AA meetings, because smart and wonderful people quickly figured out how to move meetings online. You can participate in meetings using a computer, via phone, or using an app on your smartphone. If you’re okay with the technology piece, or can get help with it, then in some ways, it’s great. It’s easy to “get to a meeting” because you don’t have to leave your house. You don’t even have to put pants on!

But, it’s different. And you might not get the same wraparound support that you’d get if you walked into a room full of people who were willing and able to help you achieve sobriety.

ANYWAY – this is a long lead-up to the fact that for April, my focus is Wellness + Recovery. This month, I want to:

  1. Attend at least 3 Zoom (video conference call) AA meetings a week.
  2. Continue to work on my own recovery program with my sponsor.

That’s it.

Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay home, everyone.

aromatherapy beautiful blooming blur
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creativity · goals

March 2020: Creativity

I’ve definitely considered abandoning my 2020 Happiness Project. It’s just been too hard to keep the project at the forefront of my mind.

But, I also really like consistency. If I commit to a yearlong project, I’d like to see it through, even if it’s super simplified.

For January, I focused on health and longevity. For February, I focused on mindfulness and wellness. I don’t think either month was wildly successful, but I have made small changes that are helping me to be more healthy and well.

For March, I am going to focus on Creativity. That wasn’t my original plan, but it makes sense at this moment in life. March is an emotional month. Edgar’s adoption day is on the 3rd, the anniversary of my dad’s death is the 6th, Dad’s birthday is the 23rd, Tamara’s birthday is the 15th – plus my Nana’s birthday (she passed away when I was 15) and two nieces’ birthdays. It’s a month of ups and downs and grief and joy. It’s emotional in all the best and worst ways.

For my whole life, the best way for me to process emotions has been through writing. My blogging routine got off track in February, due to sickness and tiredness and the chaos of life with littles. For March, I want to get my blogging routine back on track AND I want to get back into my creative writing routine. I’ve been making notes everywhere and feeling inspired. The next step is just to Get. To. Work.

So my mini resolutions are:

  1. Resume my regular blogging schedule.
  2. Set up a (doable) new creative writing routine.

Simple – but not easy. We’ll see what happens.

do something creative everyday text
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