I have been listening to Happier with Gretchin Rubin for years and I love her weekly newsletter 5 Things Making me Happier. Both are lighthearted and focus on something everyone can use a bit of help with— finding happiness. Every year Gretchin encourages her audience to make a list that identifies their ambitions for the year. I don’t view this as a list of resolutions, but more as I am going to get these things done this year. The goals can be fun, easy, challenging or whatever you want to take on for the year. My friends always remind me that I am the “get crap done” person. Between that and my obsessive love for lists, this is one of my favorite things to do!
As I was working on my list, my husband suggested that I brainstorm a few action items for each activity on my list. This way when I selected one, I would know exactly what steps to start with. I tried to categorize the items and prioritize them, but this was an exercise in futility. I have enough items to keep me busy all year long. When something strikes my fancy, I’ll tackle one of them. I know which ones are a priority to me and which ones are somewhat of a filler.
Here’s my 23 for 2023…
#1 Lose 10 pounds
Tom and I each lost 30 pounds in 2022. It’s astounding to look at pictures of us especially during COVID. I took a self portrait today for 52 Frames and it still surprises me to see the difference. I’m still 20 pounds from the weight I was when Tom and I met in 2000, but I would be happy with losing another ten pounds for now. After a bout of gluttony during the holidays, we are back on track with our healthy eating habits and regular exercise.
#2 Incorporate a regular yoga practice into my daily routine.
After losing my job, it became abundantly clear that I need to add self-care into my daily life to avoid a total mental collapse. Ever since I started running, I have loved doing Yin Yoga. I have not been good about staying on top of it. Now that I have an abundance of time, I have started doing a great Travis Elliot video every morning in The Oodlearium. It’s an awesome way to kick start my day.
#3 Start a side hustle
Anyone who knows me well or follows this blog knows that I have A LOT of interests and A LOT of different talents. While a lot of those are not things that could fully replace my teaching income, I can earn some cash from them. A little bit here and a little bit there will add up. I will start a side hustle this year. Just not sure which ones I’ll dive into and which ones will eventually bring in a bit of cash. Stay tuned! I am working on a book called Beautiful Moments– a journal for capturing the beautiful moments in life, a clothing line based on a piece of my photography, adding my paintings to my website, teaching a class on making photobooks and a cookbook and much more.
#4 Write 23 blog posts
Tom teases me so much about my lists, but they are my love language. I have a long backlog list of blog posts to write and I hope with the extra time to be more consistent with posting and sharing my adventures in creativity and life.
#5 Host Mobile Oodlearium Events
I am working on some graphics for Mobile Oodlearium events. I am hosting my first-ever kids birthday party tomorrow for a close friend’s daughter. If that goes well, I will open that up to the public along with my regular girlfriend night out painting parties.
#6 Stay connected with friends from Harlem
After almost 19 years teaching German at my school, I left E120 for the last time on December 16ht. I left behind some incredibly dear friends and I have committed to staying in contact with them. For now, my hair lady is still in that area, so once a month I have an excuse to catch up with someone.
#7 Start doing portrait sessions again
In my pursuit of starting a side hustle, I am looking at doing portrait sessions again. It is disheartening to do the math and see how many I would have to do to earn a relatively insignificant amount of money. When push comes to shove, I don’t know if this will end up happening, but I am considering it.
#8 Add more pins to the foodie map
The Foodie Map is one of my true joys and if that is the case we should be adding to it more often than we do. I have a solid backlog of recipes to try, but given that we are trying to be healthier, I have a bit of a mental block that I need to work through. I just need to focus on finding healthier recipes or enjoying those recipes on date night when we are a little less focussed on healthy eating.
#9 Make cutting board from scrap wood
I am absolutely obsessed with cutting boards like this one after I bought one for a friend. Tom promises me that he will teach me how to make one with a bunch of our scrap wood from various projects. I have a design picked out. We just need to find a time when he can teach me to use some tools.
#10 Have conversations with other artists/creatives
I so badly want to start a podcast, but I dread the idea of recording myself talking. I keep telling myself that I can just get together with other creatives and chat with them– and not record anything. I have a video chat scheduled for next week with a fellow creative from Israel. I’m hoping that will spur me to schedule some more. If you are reading this and you want to chat– please reach out!
#11 Finish scanning photos
Sometime last year I grabbed all my containers of albums from the crawl space and I started going through the prints. What a waste to have them sitting in bins in the basement. There were so many HORRIBLE images that were just wasting space. I did a massive purge and got the images down to a couple of shoe boxes with the promise to myself that I would scan them all and make a few photo books that I could store upstairs. I am more than halfway through the boxes and just need to stick to doing a few stacks each week.
#12 Host Oodle in the Park
Last year I put my heart and soul into developing an awesome event that brought together a bunch of creatives for an entire day of art in the park. I was so disappointed that the event didn’t pan out, but I am committed to doing a version 2.0 this year and making a solo go of it. Stay tuned for details! I have a voucher for the park until the end of May.
#13 Find a new job/career
The irony of the fact that this is #13 on the list is not lost on me. It’s a priority, but all these other things are helping me in pursuit of finding out what will be my next chapter.
#14 Visit family in Arizona
I haven’t been to Arizona to see family since the summer of 2021. With every day my sweet little niece grows a bit more. I can’t believe she is going to be four this coming August. I must get out there to see them!
#15 Visit Taos, New Mexico
Our original retirement plan involved us finding a piece of property with a small house for us, a cottage that we could AirBnB and a space for a workshop where we could hold classes and maker type events. A friend told me to look at Taos because it is an artist community and would welcome this type of venture. We need to check it out.
#16 Explore new art forms
The fact that I have paintings stacked three deep in The Oodlearium is a constant reminder that I both need to and want to explore other mediums. I just haven’t had the time to do so until now. Just a few days ago, a dear friend gifted me a huge box of beautiful beads. I am so excited to dive into them and make something special with them. I also discovered this awesome fabric art video on Instagram. If I can figure out how to do it, I think it will be a beautiful canvas for pouring. Once Tom gets the downstairs shop set up, I’ll be able to dive into wood burning as well.
#17 Random acts of kindness
I am trying to find ways to give back to my community more regularly. Random acts of kindness are an easy way to do that. Tons of ideas out there and I want what I do to be spontaneous.
#18 Take the Domestika Cookbook Writing Class
I am obsessed with the idea of writing a cookbook based on the Foodie Map idea. However after signing up for this Domestika cookbook writing class I am not sure that this is something I am going to do right now. Even if I don’t write a book now, the teacher introduced me to some amazing cookbooks that I have already gotten from the library and sampled recipes from. Claudia Roden’s Mediterranean is stunning and the recipes are amazing– especially the Sicilian Lemon Pasta.
#19 Spend more time in nature
It’s January in Illinois, so this one is going to be tricky. As a year round outdoor runner, I will do my best to get outside 3-4 times a week– especially as I start training for my next half-marathon. Now that I am not getting all my steps walking around school, I have started walking as many errands as I can. It’s not quite getting out into nature, but it is getting me outside and into the fresh air.
#20 Sell five paintings
My pour painting is one of my mental health go-tos. That means I have A LOT of paintings stacked up. While people graciously receive them, you can’t assume that every person is going to want one of your paintings. So I am looking to get them out into the community. Today I started a list of local spots that let artists hang art. I’ll start contacting them next week. Even if they don’t sell, they will hopefully bring joy to people in the community. And perhaps they will help draw some attention to my pour painting Mobile Oodlearium classes.
#21 Look into etsy or something similar for selling some art
I have had so many people over the past few months tell me that I could totally open an Etsy shop. After dismissing these compliments for ages, I am going to at least sit down and see what is involved in doing it and what I might actually be able to sell. I would love to sell some paintings just to get them out of the house and then I am thinking of trying out stickers with my Oodle Doodles. I have a whole mess of stuff pinned on Pinterest to read and see how it all works.
#22 Birthday running goal
Every year since 2020, I have set a running goal for my birthday. In 2022, I ran 100 miles during the month of October. As I head towards my 50th birthday in a few years, I am thinking of edging closer to the idea of running a crazy amount of miles in one long weekend. I have a bit of time before I need to decide on it, but I’m sure it will be something that pushes me and also allows me to spend time with friends doing something we love during the whole month– a beautiful gift indeed!
#23 Run a 10:30 mile
Aside from completing the Great Western Half-Marathon in 2:30 (15 or so minutes faster than the Ooh Lala in 2021), I want to break my mile record and hit 10:30. My PR thus far is 11:04. I’ve got time to work on this goal and my coach knows I am pushing for it, so he’ll keep me accountable.