If you know me, you probably know that a few years ago, I started doing an annual vision statement (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020). I’d think about what I wanted to accomplish in the upcoming year and write a long missive incorporating all the areas of my life – work, family, health, relationships, personal growth, etc. – and tack it up here on my blog, to help with accountability.

Last year, I wrote “20 Things I Will Accomplish in 2020,” with grandiose plans to Play Piano and Sing (#12)! Learn to Speak Spanish (#10)! Get Paid for Public Speaking (#9)!

I started off the year traveling to SoCal twice to kick off several of my goals. On the drive south in January, during my first trip, I visited a place I’d never been before (#20), Avila Beach on the Central Coast. It was a relaxing and productive trip to San Diego and Santa Barbara, visiting friends from college and the navy, working with a ghostwriter on a leadership book (#5) and earning my Mindful Resilience Training certification from Veterans Yoga Project (#19).

sunset at Avila Beach pier
Avila Beach Pier

In February, I flew to LA and worked on my one-woman show (#11) with my director, Beth. I flew home feeling excited about the prospect of performing it on stage in Palo Alto in September, having already reserved a theater space.

And then the pandemic hit. And George Floyd was murdered. And California was on fire.

The uncertainty of the future was frustrating for a planner like myself (#Virgo). But really, when you think about it, when *is* the future certain? Thank you, Universe, for the “growth opportunity” to learn to relax my fixation on grandiose plans.

So we sheltered at home. I baked a lot. I gained 15 pounds. I joined an anti-racism coaching group and educated myself about the privilege I’ve enjoyed as a white woman and the white-supremacist societal structures I’ve benefitted from. I got to spend a lot more time with Julia, who has been living with me full time. We went to racial justice protests together. I didn’t get to travel to any more new locations, although we did spend a few days in Tahoe, courtesy of my real estate agent who lent us her cabin (thank you, Shelly!), and a weekend in Monterey at a beachside hotel that had no central HVAC, because that felt safe. I sold my home and started renting a condo a block from downtown, which I love, because I can walk to so many places. I feel incredibly grateful that my friends and family have stayed healthy and safe. I mourned those in my extended circles who weren’t as fortunate.

I was able to knock a few things off my 2020 list. I arranged a second printing of my book, She’s Just Another Navy Pilot and made it available on Kindle (#4). I took the kids to Yosemite for a weekend get-away at the end of January (#3). I performed my one-woman show to a small audience on Zoom, in November. I finished my coaching certification training (#8) and am waiting to take my oral exam, in Feburary.

My book in paperback!

As for the other 14 items on my 2020 list? Ha! Fuhgettaboutit.

So now, what’s up for 2021?

I decided to take a break from my annual “to do” list and instead, for 2021, I’m compiling a “to be” list. I’m stealing this idea from my coaching friend, Amy Koop, who also is a proponent of “micro-resolutions”: one small habit you do every day for 30 days (e.g. meditate for 10 minutes, do 20 push-ups, etc.), which feels much more do-able than 20 big-ass resolutions. A “to-be” list doesn’t trigger my hyper-achiever saboteur, and I can work toward more self-awareness rather than focusing on things I think I “should” be doing. (side note: if you’re interested in learning more about “saboteurs” and strengthening your inner Sage, I’m leading workshops about this. It’s work that’s helped me be more productive and happier, and I love sharing it with my coaching clients. Learn more here).

I’m also influenced by a book I read this year, The Surrender Experiment, by Michael Singer. It’s an autobiography of his experience going with the flow of life and what the Universe presented to him, instead of trying to over-control his circumstances. It’s heightened my curiosity about what would happen if I relaxed my plans and just went with the flow for a year.

How do I want to be in 2021?

I want to be:

  • Curious
  • Open
  • Creative
  • Present
  • Loving
  • Kind
  • Brave
  • Light-hearted
  • Strong
  • Grateful
  • Generous

Yes, my list goes to eleven.

So, here we go, 2021. Please don’t be another dumpster-fire of a year.

Fooling around with the iPhone wide-angle lens and my two favorite children.