2019, A Year For Lists


Y’all know I love a good list and a strong set of goals, so it’s no surprise that I love New Years’ resolutions. Not the weird kind — the lose a thousand pounds and hike up a mountain even though you hate hiking kind. I love the type of resolutions that represent everything the turning of a calendar means to me; a fresh start, a chance to re-evaluate and re-assess, and the opportunity to re-orient your energy to get to where you want to be in 365 days’ time. I mean, how often in our busy lives do we take the opportunity to examine our truest selves, our deepest desires, and our biggest accomplishments to date…much less get a national holiday for it? Once a year, that’s how often.

So regardless of if you’re eating black-eyed peas, sweeping your house’s dirt inward or throwing dishes at your neighbors’, take a moment to reflect and a moment to hope. It’s been a hard year for many of us, and we’re all daring to believe 2019 will bring better tides. And honestly, if we all try to be a little better, I think it will.

So without further delay, my goals for 2019 are as follows:

  • Meditate every-ish day. I’m not a fan of goals that require me to do something every day. Even my goal to pursue my first and longest and most passionate love (reading) every day failed me last year — sometimes the days are just too damn hard and choosing to watch The Aristocats instead of doing what you ‘should’ be doing is what you should do. That being said, I think meditation is important, both for anxiety management and overall well-being. After just a month of using Headspace, I can see a difference and I want to pursue that more readily in the coming year.

  • Share with purpose. In a digital world with seemingly-endless places to share, I like my blog because it is mine. However, posting twice a week every week, while doable, has pushed me into a routine that’s caused the enjoyment to fade. Sharing my life in a genuine and artistic way is something I love, but coming up with things I don’t feel passion for in order to hit a post deadline is not. Ultimately, I want to share my life as it is — not just the way I want it to be. I don’t know what that will look like yet, but I plan on sharing less, and sharing more authentically in the coming year — and I hope you’ll stick around!

  • Speak up. The amount of times I’ve done things I didn’t want to do/gone places I didn’t want to go/accepted conditions I didn’t want to accept in the interest of not making waves is appalling. Combine that with the innate urge to never call attention to myself and you have one silent girl, miserable by her own making. I no longer want to settle for things I’m empowered to change, or bury my voice when I have every right to speak.

  • More salads. I LOVE salads, but making your own salads is kind of a lot of work? If I ate out all the time, this would be easy because every restaurant is packed with delicious greens that require no prep from me…but I’m still going to try because vegetables are the best and I should eat more of them.

  • Become photogenic. It’s weird and it’s vain but it’s a real desire of mine so it’s on the list. I hate photos of myself. I get this weird double chin that (I promise) I don’t have in real life. I look like I don’t have eyelids. I sometimes look like a chipmunk with things stuffed in my cheeks. That all changes in 2019. By this time next year, I will have mastered the head tilt/soft smile/bright eyed gaze that everyone else in this world seems to understand.

  • Nurture my creativity. Now that I’ve invested myself into pursuing a passion (writing), I’ve learned just how quickly the flames of excitement can be diminished. Whether it’s through monetizing or burnout or just plain feeling BAD, it’s hard to let that creativity shine through when so much is getting in the way. That’s why I’m going to focus on nurturing my creativity instead of self-sabotaging it by being hard on myself. I’m going to let myself try and fail and step away when things aren’t flowing. I’m going to hope this works and I write something worth reading some day. WE’LL SEE.

And finally, some cool things 2018 has brought me:

  • A DOG. The love of my life sweet baby angel scruffy Rooster man. Committing to getting a new dog was so hard for me — if you knew Hazel way back when, you knew that she was a dog with a larger-than-life personality that left a giant hole in me when she left. But nearly three years later I decided I would be ready should the perfect dog come along, and that’s when my matted, shaggy boy showed up on the local shelter’s page. I knew I loved him from the moment I saw him, and now I love him so fiercely it sometimes makes me cry. Loving him has been my biggest joy of 2018, followed in close second by watching Bird love him as well. They’re the best of pals and things feel very whole in my little family unit.

  • A PASSION. Enrolling in a writing class was one of the things I was most nervous about and also turned out to be the most beneficial. Having a “thing” — even if right now I am under-educated and under-published for my chosen field — has filled me with a sense of purpose I don’t think I’ve ever had before.

  • AN EXERCISE. I’ve been bouldering off and on since college, but this is the first time I’ve ever been serious about it — and I am having SO MUCH FUN. I am scared and tired and exhilarated every time I go to the gym and it’s amazing. It’s also brought me together with one of my dearest gal pals (HELLO EMILY IF YOU’RE READING THIS I AM DEARLY THANKFUL FOR YOU) which was so needing in my life. And I feel ~healthy and fit which I am very grateful to be able to feel.

  • A STRONGER SENSE OF CONFIDENCE IN LIFE/LOVE/EXISTENCE THAT I AM STILL CULTIVATING BUT ACTIVELY DEVELOPING. I’ve made a lot of self-progress this year. I’ve pushed myself, loved myself, and worked on myself a TON and it’s made such a difference in every aspect of my existence. I’ve given myself space to introspect — something that once seemed so scary and traumatic that I wholeheartedly avoided it — and though it isn’t always fun it is always so rewarding. My internal monologue is better, my relationships are better, and everything I do has gotten a little bit better as a result.

Amanda McDowellComment