I know that after the dumpster fire that has been 2020, it seems foolishly optimistic to make any kind of resolutions for the new year, but maybe that’s why I decided it was time to do so. I’ve never been good at resolutions. I mean, who is? But I like setting semi-achievable goals for myself as I look to the future. My husband likes to call these my “Sarantees,” promises with good intentions that get forgotten in the shuffle. I guess a year will tell.

So what do I plan to pursue in 2021?

Be more intentional with relationships

This has been a weird year for a lot of things, including relationships. 2020 has shown us people’s true colors, for better or for worse, and left a lot of us reeling. My husband and I haven’t hosted in our home like we have liked to in the past, and while we still allowed the kids to participate in sports, our outside-of-the-home socialization has mostly come to a complete stop. The few close friendships that we treasure haven’t been nourished and yes, it’s been a little lonely.

This past year also brought me surprise relationships with people online. Acquaintances from church who became actual friends via online chats, strangers that I have connected with in online groups as we’ve shared our struggles through all the weirdness of 2020, and longtime friends with whom I’ve reconnected as we’ve commiserated over our mutual struggles and concerns for our families, the Church, and our country. In the month of December I said “goodbye-for-now” to one of those friends as her body finally gave up, the damage from cancer just proving to be too much. I hadn’t been able to attend my grandmother’s funeral in November, so I went to my friend’s, remembering a woman who had been a good acquaintance in Bible study but proved to be a kindred spirit during the last couple months of chats online (and one significant conversation outside of our kids’ school when we happened to just run into each other just weeks before her death).

I want 2021 to be the year I truly reconnect with those inside and outside of my home and allow myself to take down some of the walls that 2020 has revealed. I want to get back to dating my husband, do better with communicating with those geographically distant from me, and spend real time with friends when it is finally safe to do so.

unrecognizable couple standing on rocky shore
Sarah Styf | Accepting the Unexpected Journey Photo by Rachel Claire on Pexels.com

Focus on health

Yeah, 2020 hasn’t been fantastic for my health either. While I’ve kept up my running, I still gained some of those quarantine pounds. I fell off of the weight lifting bandwagon about a year ago and I miss the tone and strength that the minimal weights gave me. I need to relax more and after doing a session of yoga before leaving for our Christmas vacation, I’m remembering just how much I miss the feeling of being stretched and rejuvenated. And yes, I should probably focus more on what I eat, although now that I’m in my 40s I really don’t want to have to worry about what I’m eating. I really just want to enjoy my life and that includes food. My physical health goals are less weight-related and more “I just want to physically feel good” focused. Feeling good about my body means feeling good in my body.

I need to find a good family physician and make that a regular part of my yearly routines. (Don’t freak out, I see my dentist twice a year, my eye doctor, and my dermatologist. It’s just the OTHER doctors I need to see.) I need to get that mammogram and I need to know that I’m on the right track with my health. The truth is, I’ve been terrible about this since having kids and I really need to do better, because mom needs to take care of herself too.

And I need to work on my mental health. I need to clean out my social media as part of my mental health initiative. During the last year I’ve discovered Twitter (yes, Twitter) as the best place for diversity of thought which challenges my thinking and forces me to defend my positions. While I still want Facebook for staying in touch with family and friends, I’ve come to accept that repeatedly snoozing people with whom I have little to no relationship might not be the best for me and as it appears they have done the same to me, staying “friends” with them isn’t having that much of an impact. And I need to finally find a therapist. I’ve been saying it for years but maybe if I say it publicly, I’ll finally do it. I always use “time” as the reason for why I can’t, but I can’t keep letting that be my excuse.

unrecognizable woman showing three legged downward facing dog pose
Sarah Styf | Accepting the Unexpected Journey Photo by Anete Lusina on Pexels.com

Finish manuscript

With nearly 80,000 words of mess and about 20,000 of those words cleaned up, it’s time to finally finish the camping memoir that I started nearly three years ago. When I started it, I had no idea what it was going to look like, I just started writing. Now I finally have a thought on how to finish it, so I just have to work on the middle. Oh, and find an agent. And find someone who will publish it. And still do my job and be an amazing wife and mom at the same time. And…

man using laptop on table against white background
Sarah Styf | Accepting the Unexpected Journey Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Complete NaNoWriMo

This is entirely dependent on the success of me completing the above. November’s National Novel Writing Month is a tall order for anyone who decides to tackle it, but it also sounds like fun and I have an idea. Fiction writing is not my strongest genre, but I enjoy it and I think it could be a really fantastic writing challenge. Again, IF I finish the above manuscript first.

black and red typewriter
Sarah Styf | Accepting the Unexpected Journey Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

And there ends my ambitious list for 2021. Between that and my word for 2021 (“light”), I have a lot planned for the new year, especially consider we are still in the middle of a raging pandemic. But I’m trying to be cautiously optimistic about what the next year will bring us, and really, that’s the best I can do.

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3 Replies to “My “Sarantees” For 2021”

  1. I wish you all the best for 2021. Truly 2020 has tested us all especially relationships. Hopefully 2021 will be far better

  2. I like that these are ‘sarantees’ rather than full on resolutions that we often feel deflated when we don’t keep to. Very exciting that you’re close to finishing your manuscript – that would be a great achievement for 2021! Good luck for the year ahead. x

Thoughtful and nuanced responses welcome!