There’s something shocking when realizing a decade is done. Of course, decades have come and gone outside of the calendar year. Turning thirty, that’s three decades done, and that happened in 2016. But there’s something more final with 2019 coming to a close. I’m trying to be less flippant about the end of the year as I’ve been the last ten years (ha!), which was around the time I had begun this flippancy, and be reflective of all that has occurred over the last ten years while also setting good intentions for the next ten.

In 2010, I was two years out of college and utterly miserable. I had fallen into a deep depression, had suicidal thoughts, and felt my world was crumbling down. I remember being in such a deep ditch of despair, feeling like such a failure. I couldn’t get a decent job because we were in the middle of a horrendous recession but my student loan bills were still coming in and I was unable to pay them. I was in my early twenties and unable to go out because I couldn’t afford to. I was desperate to do something, anything, so I began to write a book blog, Soon Remembered Tales. It opened up opportunities that I hadn’t expected: I was able to write reviews and receive ARCs from big publishers and I met a good number of bloggers who became friends.

Later on in the 2010s, I moved to Virginia and lived in the spare room of a college friend’s home. I stayed there for about a year, eventually paying rent for my room once I landed a full time job. When I first arrived in Virginia, I only had a suitcase of clothing; a suitcase of books, notebooks, and my computers; and my bike. I worked for a temp agency and purchased my first round of furniture: an IKEA bed and mattress, a cheap night stand, and a desk from Habitat for Humanity’s reuse store. At my first full time job, I was able to start paying off debt from the recession and travel.

The 2010s accomplished my dreams of the 2000s in terms of travel (and many others). But in the 2000s I so desperately wanted to travel. I missed out on numerous travel opportunities in both high school and college and by the early 2010s I was convinced I would never be able to travel…until I did. Boston, New Orleans and San Francisco were new-to-me cities. I visited and revisited All the states on the East Coast (beside Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont), Ohio, West Virginia, Northern California, and Louisiana. I traveled overseas for the first time to Scotland, England and Ireland and planned that entire trip on my own (and with utter joy).

I also went on more dates than I ever wanted to, but finally went on my “last” date where I met my boyfriend who is now my husband. I began a family with him and became a mother.

I also returned to school, something I had so desperately wanted and didn’t think possible. I worked towards a copyediting certification then a master’s. I also worked and began my career. Now, it’s the end of the decade and life is more similar here to the start: I’m unemployed and spending most of my time at home. But there’s thought behind that, seeing as I’m home with my son during the day. I want and intend to go back to work but I’m glad I’ve had at least these last nine months with him.

And there we have it, the end of a decade and turning our gaze to the next and I’m thinking of what intentions I have for it and wanted to place them in writing so that I may keep them in mind and hopefully ensure I obtain these goals.

In 2020, I hope to start with:

A FODMAP cleanse. I did one before, about five years ago, to see what foods triggered IBS attacks for me. I have generally avoided IBS attacks ever since; however, in the last handful of months I’ve had IBS nearly daily. I suspect what triggers the attacks is caused by a change in my body chemistry after having my son, so I feel another cleanse will be best to determine what now triggers it.

I am cautious using the word “cleanse” or “diet” because I am trying very hard to combat diet culture and be more body positive, and I am a little concerned with turning to the removal of high FODMAP content, that it will trigger the desire to lose weight. If I lose weight naturally, that’s one thing, but I do not want to turn into the calorie counting monster I was beforehand. The goal in going on a FODMAP cleanse is that I want to see what is triggering my near constant IBS attacks. I’m dreading it, to be honest. Eating only low FODMAP foods restricts my diet by a lot and it’ll be extremely tough. I’m allowing myself one cheat day when I do this: my son’s birthday. Luckily that’s at the end of February so I’ll be nearing completion of it anyway.

Using a bullet journal. I had a bullet journal for years and I made it my own. Rather than listing all that I had to do and my weekly schedule–as most bullet journals lean towards the side of planner–I made it as a way to track daily habits I hoped to obtain, how much sleep I had, how my mental state was, and the weather. I also would write a paragraph or two about the day itself, much like a diary.

When I got married, I was so overwhelmed with wedding planning and grad school that I stopped working on my bullet journal. That continued through my honeymoon and then my miserable pregnancy. When Ryland was born, I began to write in a nature observer to record life events but also write in more detail the weather so that Ryland will have that one day to see what the climate was like when he was an infant (because climate change is real). I enjoyed the nature observer and would like to do it once more in the future–preferably when we own a home–but for the time being I’m ready to go back to my bullet journal and have been so thrilled to prepare it for the coming year.

Taking vitamins. I slacked off on vitamins after I stopped breastfeeding. During pregnancy and just after birth I was consistently taking my prenatal vitamins but slacked off. I know it’s necessary, I’ve had issues with vitamin levels before, and I’ve also added probiotics to the list. I’m hoping to make it a regular occurrence and stick with it. Along the lines of vitamins, I’d like to take apple cider vinegar more regularly, and cranberry supplements. So it’s a simple goal but a goal all the same.

Drink more water. It’s simple but something I’ve failed at since becoming a mom. I drank water like a champ while I was pregnant, partially because it was a huge craving of mine, but since then there are many days I realize I haven’t had any water to drink. So a goal of mine is to get at least 25 oz a day.

A consistent bedtime routine. Much like vitamins, it’s something I know I need in my life, I feel better when it’s there, but I’ve slacked off on it. Already when heading to bed, I’ll apply chapstick and lotion, but I feel there could be more to complete it all. Like moisturizer. I always feel better with moisturizer. But also maybe washing my face beforehand? Or perhaps even remembering to brush my teeth. I’m always “on” with being a mom, and I feel that perhaps giving myself more attention at the end of the day will be great for my mental health.

A social media break. I’ve fallen into a world of comparison with my social media usage. Looking at friends or family posts and wondering, why are they doing this and not that, why do they favor those relations more than me? Why will that friend visit this other friend but haven’t made an effort to see us? It’s a toxic thing and it leaves me feeling gross. I understand most of this is my own fears and insecurities finding their way out, and I suspect most of social media users have similar experiences, but I find the toxicity silly to submit myself to. I’ve taken social media breaks before and it’s always been beneficial, so I feel it’s time to take a step back again. So I’ll restrict my use of Facebook and Instagram (the only social media I still frequent).

In 2020 I hope to continue:

Reading. I was surprised that I read as many books this year. I assumed I’d get very little reading done with a newborn but actually achieved a good bit of reading. It’s a part of my life, a way for me to discover other places and sometimes escapism. It’s a necessity for me and I hope to continue exploring different books. Particularly, I hope to read more books that I already own and not buy as many prior to reading what I have.

Crafting. I crafted more this last year than I ever have and have luckily been making some money off of my crafts. I hope to continue this. With some crafts up my sleeve for the end of the year and ideas through out, I hope to keep up with it all and make the time to complete different projects.

Going outdoors. This past year we have been the most active we have ever been in our relationship. We’ve hiked, we’ve walked, we’ve sat outdoors and explored all the nature that the area has to offer. This coming year, I want to continue that and ensure we do it even more. My heart is in nature, and I always feel all the better and happier to be out amongst it. There are so many state parks in the area and I want to grow completely familiar with them. I daydream, sometimes, of hiking and camping with my family when Ryland is a bit older, so I feel there’s no time like the present to get up to speed with that.

My physical activity plummeted when I was pregnant and it’s been slowly regaining strength since having my son. I have to start physical therapy in the new year, so I’m hoping that will only aid me in getting more active again as I continue my path of healing postpartum.

And there we have it. I’m sure I’ll think of other things but for now that seems to be enough. I always love the idea of resolutions in the new year, but I sometimes do such list of goals at the start of months, seasons, or school years. It just feels like a good beginning and I’m excited for it.

The last ten years have been a rollercoaster ride but one that I couldn’t have believed to be so good if you had asked me in 2010. So I can only believe that the next ten years will be similar. I have no idea where I’ll end up and how it’ll be, but I hope it’s wonderful.

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