I'm in an overwhelming season as I write this-- I see the light at the end of the graduate school tunnel (coming in June!), I'm dealing with big shifts in my role at work, and Noah and I are gearing up for some big life changes, but I noticed this week in my planner that I had accomplished one of my New Year's Resolutions a few weeks ago: I've exercised 100 times in 2022. 


 If you clicked over to the link and read that post, you might be thinking, "wait a second, you wrote that you wanted to exercise 200 times." And it's true. That was my original goal, but about two weeks into 2022 I realized that this goal was entirely unrealistic (see: grad school) and adjusted my goal without updating it here. And last week, on a random day in September, I reached that goal.

I've kept one of Elise Joy's yearly trackers (free when you sign up for her newsletter) in the front of my planner all year and every time I exercised: CrossFit, yoga, hiking, or rucking, mostly, I've circled in the corresponding date on the tracker. Occasionally, I count up how many colored-in bubbles I've got on the tracker and write the number in the margins.


New Year's is an arbitrary date. It just works well with my life because, as a school librarian, I have at least a ten-day vacation around that time and I've had time to relax, recharge, and reflect by the time January first rolls around. Goal setting can be done just as easily on September 8th, March 30th, whatever. The date doesn't matter so much as the commitment.

 

For me, New Year's Resolutions are a way to build habits and add (or subtract) things from my life. In this case, exercise, but I've also complete goals around donating blood and knitting socks. I've left a ton of goals-- garment knitting and sewing, probably my hiking goal this year-- incomplete. The numbers I set at the beginning of the year are either entirely uniformed (my hiking goal) or very ambitious (my sewing goal), but I make progress on every single goal. And progress is the point! Nothing about my life changed when I crossed the 100 days mark this year; the change happened little bit by little bit, in the hundred times I showed up to exercise. So here's a post reminding you to just start the thing! On a random day, you'll reach the goal. And isn't that satisfying?


I turn 29 this month (on the 24th)! For the past two years, I've posted an annual round-up of stuff I love in celebration. I dig thinking through the year in terms of things-- what I've loved, what I've valued over the past year; it's neat to see what changes (and what doesn't) from year to year.  

 

When I posted my new year's resolution post eight months ago, I wrote that this year would be a lot of growth but not a lot of change and, so far, it has been that and I definitely see it in this list: some repeats from previous years' posts other stuff that I've written about wanting to get into before.

 

1. Temeraire series: In my new years resolution post, I wrote: I'd love to get into an epic, long series this year. I loved that feeling as a kid of going deep, deep down a literary rabbit hole. This fit the bill and is so much fun. It's about the Napoleonic Wars from the perspective of a captain of a dragon in the aerial corp.

 

2. my local cobbler: I have lots of thoughts about aftermarket businesses, some of which I touch on in this post, most of which I'll have to save for another time. My favorite spring and fall chore is taking my shoes for the upcoming season in to get repaired. We had a ton of shoes to bring in this spring and all of them were beautifully repaired. I also brought it my weekender bag from Target circa 2017 that I absolutely love but the pleather had started to flake. They did an excellent job replacing it all with real leather that will last for ages. Now I love the bag even more. 


3. CrossFit: I started CrossFit in January of 2022 and it quickly became the top tool in my mental health tool box. It's hard to think about what's going wrong in work/life/country/planet when your lifting heavy weights for time, I guess? CrossFit helps me complete the stress cycle, as Amelia and Emily Nagoski say. It also makes me feel like a badass. 


4. five year journal: This made my list last year too: it is what it sounds like, a journal with space to write daily, for five years. Noah and I take turns (usually weeks at a time) updating it. It's one of my favorite memory-keeping practices.


5. #mjh30hikes: I resolved to go on 30 hikes this year and am having so much fun documenting each one under this hashtag on instagram.


6. Habitation throw pattern: Four of my favorite humans had babies this year. I used this pattern to knit them baby blankets. It was a delightful and worthwhile derailment of my 2022 knitting plans. 


7. seasonal nail polish: I love a pedicure, but can never find the time and energy to paint my toes consistently until this year, when I developed a seasonal routine. I paint them on sunday mornings: a matcha color for spring, a pinkish nude color for summer, an orange-y brown for fall, and a deep, dark bluish purple for winter. It's nice to also have a nice looking pedicure and regular routine that I don't have to think about when I'm going to make time for painting my toes or what color I should paint them. 

 

8. Bikram yoga: I've written about my love for Bikram before (it made a previous birthday list). I still think it's weird and I still love it; going to my weekly class feels like I'm wringing the past week out of my body-mind and leaves me ready for the week ahead. 

 

9. Imperial Radch series: This series is darker than my dear Murderbot Diaries, but with similar plot and themes with an extra gender commentary that led to great conversations between Noah and I about "default he." 


10. our new composting system: We switched our compost system to a bokashi and tumbler bin combination and it's been the hobby highlight of my summer. The bokashi bin creates a compost tea that we use to water our plants and it starts the breakdown process before we transfer the waste to the tumbler bin. It's a little more labor intensive and much more efficient and effective than our previous system. 


11. Wisdom Supply Company: a conscious, zero-waste school supply company run by two real humans. I've used their planner, utensil tin, and pen on a daily basis for the past three years. 

12. international travel: We went to France earlier this summer and while I love any kind of travel, there's something really special about experiencing a different culture than your own.

 

13. Hughes family pizza night: Every Sunday, we make pizza, listen to albums, and play cards. It's the best Sunday scaries preventative.


14. byo utensils and receptacles: I've gotten really good and bringing my own utensils, coffee mug, bottle, and bento box this year. It has little impact on the environment in the grand scheme of things, but it does ease (some of) my climate anxiety.


15. I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free by Nina Simone: According to Spotify, this was my number one song of 2021. It's a deeply moving song and the opening piano chords get me.


16. professional photos: I always wonder if they're worth it when I can take photos on my phone. Note to future Madelyn reading this: they always are. These ones are done by Olivia Kate Photography and I can't wait to show them to my grandchildren one day.  


17. barefoot shoes: I wear these barefoot shoes for any kind of exercise that requires footwear. If you're not sure about barefoot shoes (or if you're unsure why your feet hurt when you run), check out this book. 


18. satellite shawl pattern: I've picked out some great green (who am I?!) colorways to knit up this beauty for myself and have big dreams of throwing it over my shoulders to do car rider duty on a chilly fall or spring afternoon.


19. thrifting: There are some great secondhand and reuse stores in my areas. Our clothes in our family photos up there? All secondhand. My most recent score is a maybe-rattan coffee table that is the right length for our new couch. I got it for $70 at the latest Chartreuse Barn sale. I love finding one-of-a-kind things that require no new resources. 

20. french bistro table: my sweet mama bought Noah and I the blue-and-white French bistro table of my dreams after I raved about them when we returned from Paris. It was such a thoughtful anniversary present and I love seeing them out our front window almost as much as I love sitting on them drinking coffee, eating pizza, or playing cards with my fella. 


21. therapy: having a neutral third party to help process life is game changing, y'all. 


22. Voices for Justice podcast episodes on Harmony Montgomery: I wouldn't say I *love* this, but it was important to my year. It is a two-part series about the disappearance of a little girl after her father is given custody of her and DHS in multiple states looses track of the family. It shows how many cracks are in our child protective systems, especially when multiple agencies are involved. I listened to both multiple times while writing court reports over the past year. If you want to understand why this system badly needs reforms, this would be a great introduction.

 

23. Cobblestone Farmer's Market: My local farmer's market made last year's list too and it's still my favorite place to get groceries and wander on a Saturday morning. 


24. Find Your Marigold essay: I love everything Cult of Pedagogy does, but this essay is something I reread every year and gift to the first year teachers I mentored at my old school (along with a bouquet of marigolds). It's about how to succeed your first year teaching, but it's applicable to sooooo many things in life.

 

25. photo albums: I guess this is a carryover from #16... I used to love looking through the scrapbooks my mom made us as kids and I'm feeling that kind of sentimental lately, though I'm no scrapbooker. Our wedding album and album from our recent couple's session are both from Pinhole Press. I love having something physical (rather than scrolling on my phone).


26. being a librarian: I got a job in an elementary school library this year! It's all of the meaning with less of the BS that being a classroom teachers entails. I (surprisingly) adore 2nd and 3rd grade.


27. Celebrate by Anderson.Paak: I recently found this song and it makes me want to open up all the windows and feel grateful for my life, even when (especially when) it's not perfect: "time never cares, if you're there or not there/ all you ever needed was a simple plan/ but you're doing well, I mean, you're not dead/ so let's celebrate while we still can." Ugh, so good.


28. Postcards to Swing States: I've written SO MANY postcards to voters through this organization over the past few years. I don't have a lot of free time and this allows me to be involved in politics within my (currently small) margin.


29. pressing flowers: conversations with my niece this past year have gotten me back into flower pressing (something I did a lot with my mama growing up). I stick them in between pages of books I inherited from my grandparents and have used them as extra decoration when wrapping the bazillion baby shower presents I've given this year.



And there we have it! 29 things I'm digging at the beginning of my 29th year. I'm at the age where I'm not *supposed* to be excited about getting older, but I think that cultural programming is malarkey. I'm lucky to be this age and lucky to keep getting older. Cheers to this year and many more!