21 for 2021: Let’s Get This Party Started

Theme for 2021: Librate

Landscape pic from floor-level POV of two large gray cats, Statler, foreground, and Waldorf, background, sprawled on the floor. Their heads are upright and they are wide eyed, appearing annoyed or angry.
Statler, front, and Waldorf, back, suffer in annoyance during the 2020 summer heatwave.

The Things I Carry

While I am in the habit of writing down all the things I want to leave in the previous year and ritualistically burning them in effigy on New Year’s Eve, I would be wise to also acknowledge what I am bringing with me from the previous year as I set my intentions for the New Year. 2020 brought two awesome little house goblins into our lives that have enhanced Pandemic Life. 2020 gave me, despite my dilligent work for years prior to set work-life boundaries, the direct experience of Work From Home life, and a taste of what could be. I passed through 2020 with my SO, our little townhouse, and the life we build together relatively intact. We move into the New Year carrying the privilege of our health, neither of us having been in a position where a COVID test was necessary, nor do either of us consider ourselves in a position necessitating that we run out and line up for a vaccine ahead of so many others that will benefit more directly. We carry into the next year the privilege of relative financial security.

The Things I leave Behind

In the really big, life-altering news department, two things I will not carry into the next year are my parents and my job, and the two are partially related. My step-father passed at the end of February, just as life as we know it started to turn upside down. Heartbreakingly, my mom was granted only 10 weeks thereafter, and we lost her, too, in mid-May. It’s a profoundly complicated affair on so many levels that I’ll try not to dig too deeply into, suffice it to say that it has been, and will continue to be, a relentless process involving great expense, near-daily communications with lawyers, utilities, neighbors, friends, family, financial institutions, real estate agents, tax professionals, the county, the IRS, and a private investigator, and of course the time and energy all of these things demand and that which we’ve spent visiting the property to secure it and start cleaning it up. My SO has been a persistent administrative assistant through the process and I’d certainly be in a much worse place without the support he’s provided. With an eye toward pursuing alternate career passions and embracing the weight of the task before me, I chose to leave my job to accommodate the proper focus required for seeing this process through and to make room for a pivot in my professional life.

Another Year Unlike the One Before

Sitting to review and finalize my list of intentions for 2021 and to identify a theme, I noticed how many of these items involve purging, and this makes me happy, as getting rid of stuff is the surest way to organization, and organization is a key to happiness. I’ve identified a number of items in my own home that I’m looking forward to getting rid of, and this category of tasks has just exploded exponentially in the context of cleaning up the lifetime of hoarding at my mom’s house—I aim to get rid of a lot of stuff this year and the concept of contracting came to mind. Yet at the same time, I’ve opened up so much figurative space in my life to grow into so many new areas, professionally, creatively, and possibly into a new house, that I’m simultaneously looking toward expansion in the coming year. Contraction where things do not serve me, expansion where they do. There’s got to be a word for cycles of expansion and contraction, universes and economies do it, animate and inanimate objects do it, and while it is difficult to pin down just the right one, it turns out that there are several, none of which quite struck me until I saw librate. First, I noticed it was just one vowel short of “liberate,” which felt very appropriate, and I liked that it’s a verb, for intentions are nothing without action. “Of the moon,” started one definition, and I am a moon child.

1. To oscillate or move from side to side or between two points.

2. To remain poised or balanced.

Oscillate doesn’t precisely capture the expansion-contraction dynamic, though it does capture that I will be oscillating between these two states, and oscillating literally and figuratively between two lives and two households, in two different parts of the state, no less. It’s also one consonant from “vibrate,” and I’m sure I’ll be doing a lot of that, too. Finally, I learned pretty early that life is relentless, and that perhaps, the secret sauce of life is doing it with grace, and that librate captures both the movement and its extremes, as well as the balance and poise of the transition at the center, that sweet spot that is everything done with grace.

And so, carrying some of last year’s intentions into 2021 to continue habits of contraction and radically overhauling others to hold space for the coming expansion, and vibrating with the excitement of the liberation to come from oscillating energies, movement, and activities, I present my 21 for 2021:

Get Your House In Order

1. Identify, inventory, and quantify the categories of closet items and purge at least 10%.

2. Move items marked for purging out the door.

3. Hang pants/skirts.

4. Have a blanket made from old t-shirts.

5. Sell/purge vintage items.

6. Set up a craft/hustle work space in the garage.

7. Investigate and if available, acquire and install door attachments for hat cubby.

8. Tackle mending/alterations pile.

9. Create better use of space over shelf in coat closet.

10. Hang decor & pictures.

Get Your Mom’s House In Order

1. Close probate.

2. Make the house livable.

Creative Expression

1. Coffee roasting school.

2.Mojo List.

3. Meditate at least 5 minutes every day.

4. Resurrect some language skills.

5. Learn at least 12 origami well enough to execute without following directions.

Get Your Finances In Order

1. Pay off your student loan debt.

2. Inventory/check in with your portfolio.

3. Write living will.

4. Investigate long Term Care Insurance.

Welcome to the party, 2021, we’ve been eagerly anticipating your arrival. Settle in and let’s get to work!

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