Welcome to So Relatable, a bi-weekly newsletter featuring conversations about the creative process, suggestions for nourishing yourself, and inspiring links. Hit reply to say hi!
2021 may have veered off course, but I still managed to accomplish most of my goals. How about a quick recap?
In 2021, my creative life thrived. I joined a virtual writing group that gave me incredible chapter-by-chapter feedback on my novel, finished my fourth draft, and, just last week, sent the whole thing to my first readers. (HUGE NEWS, WILL SHARE MORE LATER.) I also reached my goal of 1,000 newsletter subscribers AND maintained a 55% open rate, which is pretty incredible. (Y’all are the best, truly.) I woke up early most days (mostly by abstaining from alcohol most nights) and devoted the first hour of each morning to my own projects. You really can write a whole book in just 45 minutes a day!
I quit my freelance work and instead started volunteering with the Northside Food Co-op, a great local organization trying to bring a grocery store to one of Wilmington’s food deserts. I got promoted from election official to election judge and spent a very long day in November checking in voters. And finally, in an effort to lighten my carbon footprint, I rejoined a local CSA, quit fast fashion, and we began transforming our front yard into a vegetable garden.
It was a great year for us money-wise, which is ironic considering we’re still living off one income while my husband wraps up graduate school. We remained consumer-debt free, contributed to various retirement accounts, finally learned how the stock market works, and began working with a financial planner and a CPA. I also made some leaps and bounds professionally, venturing out of my comfort zone and taking on new roles and responsibilities.
I got vaccinated and boosted, did a ton of yoga, and kept lifting weights with my favorite YouTube trainer, Heather Robertson. I maintained the gainz I made in 2020, even though I relaxed some of my more stringent habits. I found more balance in my life and felt better in my body than ever before.
Not a bad year, all things considered. (And trust me, I considered them!)
But that was last year—old news. Now we’re turning the calendar to 2022 and, in a move that will surprise no one, I have GOALS and a WORD.
My word for 2022, which I use as a mantra or theme for how I’d like to focus my energy, is reimagine.
The world is build on stories, but sometimes we get stuck in a narrative that no longer serves us. We continue telling it, year after year, even though the ending doesn’t quite work, or the characters’ motivations feel off. We believe our stories are written in stone; in reality, they can change at any moment. Why not throw in a plot twist?
In 2022, I’ll turn 40. More than ever, the world around me and within me feels ripe for transformation. This year, when I’m faced with choices or opportunities, when I’m tempted to tell myself the same stories I’ve always told, I want to pause. Consider. Ask myself if it’s time for a new beginning, a new ending. To redefine, rethink, and reimagine what’s possible. To pick a new thread, and see where it leads.
All My Goals for 2022
Finish my novel and get a freaking book deal (dream big!)
Write and workshop some new short stories (a change is as good as a rest)
Reach 1,500 newsletter subscribers (forward this to a friend!)
Invest in a wardrobe of intentional, quality clothing (it’s called ~style~)
Keep volunteering with the Northside Food Co-op (you can become an owner!)
Study Buddhism, alone or with a group (I need more zen in my life)
Plant a kick ass summer garden in the front yard (grow food, not lawns!)
Go on 40th birthday trip with Nathan (destination suggestions welcome!)
Take 10-year anniversary photos in November (20 years together!)
Continue to learn and advance in my career (corporate ladder, here I come)
Make a student loan repayment plan and get cracking (#studentloanforgiveness)
Max out our retirement savings as much as possible (we’re playing catch up)
Make a will and get our shit together (more adult things)
Learn to use the barbells at the YMCA (I’m ready to level up)
Find and follow a weight training program (just bought LIFTOFF, v. excited)
Practice yoga at least twice a week (starting with Adriene’s January challenge)
Maintain good habits that nourish my body and mind (balance + consistency)
Most-Clicked Reads of 2021
Instead of rounding up a bunch of new reads, I thought it would be fun to end the year by compiling the most-clicked links from 2021. And the snapshot of what y’all found the most interesting is… revealing, to say the least. I’m tempted to say let’s be less neurotic in 2022, but who am I kidding. We are who we are, and that’s why I love us!
7 Steps to Tidying Your Digital Life, Wirecutter.
Remember: What You Do Is Not Who You Are, New York Times.
How The Pandemic Changed Baby Names, Refinery 29.
58 Things to Do With the Rest of Quarantine That Aren't ‘Get Hot’, Vice.
Stop Spending Time on Things You Hate, The Atlantic.
Hundreds of Ways to Get S#!+ Done—and We Still Don’t, Wired.
Which Big Fall Book Should You Read?, LitHub.
Thank you to Kathryn C., Arianna V., (the other) Sarah K.! Support like yours makes this newsletter one of my favorite goals.
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Hey Chrissy, you did pretty spectacularly considering all the roadblocks 2021 threw up. Found you in my Substack Go writers' directory and I'm happy I did. I just turned 40, we have some common goals, and my word of the year is twofold: TRUST and SOAR.
Pleased to meet you!
Just found you through the roll call thread as well, and love your optimism and goals for the future! My theme or word of the year, I suppose, is consistency. I write micros, so looking forward to your posts