Looking Back, Looking Forward

Happy New Year! 

For the past few years, Bryce and I have spent time on New Years' Eve with three connected rituals. First, we do a roundup of the year -- what did we accomplish? What was good? What was shitty? Any notable events (including things like "bought a treadmill" or "hired a cleaning lady" or "started ordering Hello Fresh) go on the list. Then, we look back at last year's goals and evaluate -- what did we do? What didn't happen? What needs to be either abandoned or made into smaller, more manageable goals? Lastly, we make our goals for the coming year, broken down into categories (Home/Garden, Finances/Future Planning, Health & Wellness, Writing, PhD, School, Leisure, Family/Travel, and Things to Buy (like big purchases to plan for). 

The roundup is generally fun, especially now that we aren't regularly filled with angst. We referenced calendars and Google Photos for some of it. It's a good way to acknowledge the year that's ending and fully remember everything that happened, for better or worse. I did this sitting at the kitchen counter while Bryce made a Hungarian mushroom soup for our dinner (it was sooo good, creamy and tangy and forest-floor-y.)

Looking at last year's goals can be a mixed bag. There's pride about the things we managed to check off, and then a hint of shame about things that didn't happen, especially if they've been on the list for several years in a row. It made us realize we need to maybe do quarterly checks on the goals, so those pesky ones that aren't so fun (but are totally necessary) can finally get off the list. 

Setting the new goals is fun, and this year everything was about... SIMPLIFYING. Make them smaller, more attainable, but moving towards larger goals. Leisure had the most goals at 13, followed by Home/Garden with 12. I think this is because of the "on hold" feeling we've had from Bryce's PhD, and the anticipation of having that resolved. There will hypothetically be more time to "leisure!" We were talking about how everything we do that puts us "on hold" is a 7-8 year journey -- the PhD is almost exactly the same amount of time as infertility & adoption, and both put us in a holding pattern of sorts. Big difference...we'll have something to show for the PhD! Har de har har har. Ha. I'm excited about the projects to come.

I did start getting a little overwhelmed and anxious towards the end of our goal-making, and I couldn't put a finger on why. Maybe because there's change coming. Maybe because once the PhD is over, we can do more things. Maybe because we were thinking about travel, and all of a sudden all I could think about was COVID and war and fear fear fear. But, that's just something to work through. And something to consider... maybe the goals can be a New Years' Day thing, so we're not doing ALL the things at once. It becomes a reflection marathon.

It's good to have goals, but it's also good to not take them so seriously that they become stressors. I really love looking back at the year before we look forward to the new one. It's a good tradition that marks time and what we did with it, which I think is especially important as people without kids. Our milestones are important too, big and small. 

Want to read more #MicroblogMondays? Go here and enjoy! 


  1. Very cool! congratulations to Bryce on being almost done the Ph.D. We lived through Mr. Turtle's Masters and registration as a psychologist for about 7 years all told. It definitely shapes and affects everyone's lives. But it is nice to look forward to free(er) time when that goal is met!

    Reflection can be exhausting, and I like your idea of spreading it out a bit. I don't think I'm capable of living without reflecting, but it does take a lot of energy.

  2. Looking back, looking ahead, celebrating it all with delicious soup. Love. Happy New Year!

  3. I really love this. Reflection and goal setting can put pressure on you too, though. So I love your final paragraph. But it is good looking back on the year. I do it in the blogging sense, and DH and I talked about it briefly at Christmas Day too. And yes, when events that have you "on hold" are lifted, sometimes there are just too many choices. That puts pressure on too! Though I'm very glad to have choices now, I want to be able to just enjoy the simple things in life as well. You've got me thinking about this.

  4. Happy New Year to you and Bryce! I loved hearing about your reflection ritual and also what your reflections were. I totally get what you're saying about the anticipation of some leisure time because we are there, too, with the end of a years-long project shifting to a new phase in 2023.

    Here's to milestones. *clinkschampagneclass*