Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Annual post on goals

For the last few years, I have chosen words that would be my annual mantra.
2016: Support
2017: Survive
2018: Juggle

2019 has the potential to be a solid stable year for me.  As of this writing, I have no major life changes planned in 2019.  In 2018, we moved from Riyadh, I changed jobs and Sara started a new job.  In 2017, we had Crosby.  In 2016, we moved to Riyadh, I switched jobs, Sara left her job,  and Mom died (all that happened in a fun 3 months).  In 2015, we had Jack and I moved from Frankfurt.  In 2014, I got married.  In 2013, I moved to Frankfurt and got engaged.  It's been a busy half-decade.  My words each of the last three years echo that constant movement and upheaval.

In 2019, Sara and I will both be in steady jobs (presumably).  We won't be moving.  We're not planning any new kids.  I want 2019 to be steeped in that idea of steadiness.  I've contemplated and discarded a number of possible words.

  • Run - physical exercise as well as related to political ideas
  • Liberate/emancipate - Related to work issues I don't want to discuss on public blog
  • Discover
  • Light/Lightness - again, weightloss motivated

So, rather than spend 2019 focused on movement, as so much of the past half-dozen years have been, I want to slow down and reflect.  I want to appreciate my job, the opportunity I have in this position to improve people's lives.  I want to immerse myself in my family life - loving my boys and Sara every day, even when they drive me crazy.  I want to focus on the good things that are happening in the world, particularly in my little corner of it.

The word of 2019 will be GRATITUDE.  Here's to being thankful and appreciating the good things in my life and the world.

2019 goals:

  • Exercise
    • Work out 2+ times/week
    • Finish Cherry Blossom 10 miler
    • Bike 200 miles (cumulative)
    • Lose 2-3 lbs/month (24-36 total lbs).
  • Personal
    • Attend Church weekly and volunteer with church
    • Volunteer with AFS
    • Read 6 books
    • No TV Tuesday
    • Make local friends
    • Hang all pictures/art on wall by March 1
  • Travel/Entertainment
    • Visit 3 new places (city, state, or country)
    • Spend 21 days with my Dad and/or Sara's mom
    • Go on an adults-only trip with Sara
    • Attend two college/pro football games
    • Attend two concerts/shows
    • Watch at least two sunrises and two sunsets
  • Political
    • Volunteer for a presidential campaign
    • Attend two or more political rallies
  • Professional
    • Work Goal #1 - not stated on public blog
    • Get a top 3 choice assignment during bidding
  • Financial
    • Pay off student loans
    • Pay off credit cards
    • Re-build savings

Recap of 2018 goals



A recap of last year's goals.

  • Support Sara in her search for a new job in America
    • Sara got a new job and I think I was supportive.
  • ·         Find a house and childcare that works for our family and our budget
    • The stress of finding childcare and housing from abroad was more excruciating than I expected, but in the end we found an option that worked for us.  We love our boys' daycare and it is only 10 minutes from our house.  Our rented townhouse has its foibles (the front door is 100 yards and 3 flights of stairs away from our parking spot and this has been the rainiest year in DC history), but it fits our family.
  • ·         Pay off my student loans (with help from Public Service Loan Forgiveness)
    • I submitted my application for Public Service Loan Forgiveness in November and in December, I joined the thousands of others who were denied PSLF.  The initial review stated I owed another 3-4 years' worth of payment and I almost cried.  My case is undergoing a manual review (said review has been pending since May) and the number of payments owed will likely drop to 3-6.  
    • The PSLF system is a model of bureaucratic inefficiency..  
  • ·         Visit 3 new countries and 1 new state (ND, WI, MI, MS, ME, VT, CT, AK, AR, RI)
    • Visited Egypt, Oman (New), Thailand (New), UAE, England, Texas, Arizona, California, and Michigan (NEW) this year.  So fell, one new country short of goal.
  • ·         Attend at least two college/pro football games
    • Attended Nebraska vs. Michigan football game in Ann Arbor, but didn't make it to any others.
  • ·         Attend at least two concerts
    • Saw 'Hamilton' with Sara for our anniversary and it was awesome.  Had tickets to see Ed Sheeren, but had to cancel.
  • ·         Weigh under 200 lbs at the end of the year
    • Massive fail.  Gained 15 lbs and am up to 235.
  • ·         Spend at least 21 days with my dad or Sara’s mom.
    • We more than met this goal this year.  My Dad visited Saudi in February and we met him in England in June.  We visited Arizona in August (🔥) and in December.
    • Sara's mom visited Saudi in February.  Sara and the boys spent the summer in San Antonio and I was there in June and July.  She has visited DC twice since we moved.
  • ·         Complete a race of at least 10k/6 miles (I thought about making this a half-marathon, but I don’t think I can pull that off this year with the timing of our move).
    • Utter fail.  Signed up for the Cherry Blossom 10 mile in April.
  •          Go desert camping/glamping and see the stars
    • We went desert camping.  It left a little bit to be desired.
  • ·         Watch at least two sunrises and two sunsets
    • The world remains beautiful at dusk and dawn
  • ·         Join an organization or board or volunteer with a group when I return to US
    • I recently started the process to volunteer with AFS, but not yet done anything.
     Learn to juggle 
:)



 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

It's 2018 already

Somehow, it is 2018 already.  2017 flew by pretty quickly.  We are already on the down slope of our tour in Riyadh.  2018 will see us jet back to Washington DC where I will start a two year tour as a desk officer.  For the third year in row, I am choosing a word of the year.  2016 was ‘support’ and 2017 was ‘survive.’  I chose ‘survive’ in 2017 because 2016 was so hard and just getting through what was sure to be a difficult year was going to be enough.  I think that I, along with Sara, did more than just survive 2017.  By no means has the year been easy.  Being separated for six weeks from my family was tough.  I lost my grandfather and namesake in May.  The Saudi summer was rough.  And I have probably never slept as little as I have this year.  But we have two healthy, happy boys.  Sara and I have developed a routine here in the Magic Kingdom that is heavy on time together – the way we want it.  We have friends and family who love us.  The year has been better than I hoped twelve months ago.

Before we flip the page to 2018, I want to take a look back at my 2017 goals and see how I did.


·                     Have a healthy baby boy
    • Sara is way more responsible for this than I am, but it’s my blog so I will call it a goal achieved.  Crosby is doing fantastic.  He will be crawling within weeks.
·                     Get promoted at work
    • Joy! Relief!  When the promotion list came out in September, my name was on it.
·                     Visit two new countries
    • We visited Dubai in February, Bahrain in September, and Egypt in December.
·                     Watch at least two sunrises and two sunsets
    • There are some beautiful sunrises and sunsets out here in the desert.  We have a desert landscape path here which gets really beautiful sunsets and sunrises.
·                     Get a "good" new  post during bidding season
    • Returning to DC was our back-up option.  I really am looking forward to the position I will be working in, but we preferred to stay overseas.  So, this counts as a fail.
·                     Weigh 185 lbs or less by end of year.
    • Complete fail.  Instead of losing 10 lbs., I gained 15 lbs.  I am not sure if it is Saudi or kids (it’s kids!), but finding the 30-60 minutes to workout when I am constantly exhausted was difficult.  And it turns out, I stress eat when I am tired.  Not a good combo.
·                     Work out 3x/week for at least 30 minutes
    • Failed on this one.  If I average over the whole year, I probably managed 1.5x/week.  I am hoping to schedule more dedicated exercise time for 2018.
·                     Run a race of at least 10k/6 miles or more
    • I managed this one this summer in San Antonio.  I even managed to set a PR in the 10k.  The best part was I convinced my Dad and sisters to race as well (Dad and Katie walked the 5k).

So, my word for 2018 is going to be “juggle.”  There is going to be a ton of change in the next year.  We will leave Riyadh to return to DC.  I will start a new position.  Sara will find a new job.  We will move to a new house.  We will spend most of the first half of the year with one foot headed towards DC and the other foot planted here in Saudi Arabia.  Once we get back to the U.S., we have to balance work, kids, family, money, health.  The whole situation feels like one giant juggling act – a year spent to keeping all the balls in the air.

  • ·         Support Sara in her search for a new job in America
  • ·         Find a house and childcare that works for our family and our budget
  • ·         Pay off my student loans (with help from Public Service Loan Forgiveness)
  • ·         Visit 3 new countries and 1 new state (ND, WI, MI, MS, ME, VT, CT, AK, AR, RI)
  • ·         Attend at least two college/pro football games
  • ·         Attend at least two concerts
  • ·         Weigh under 200 lbs at the end of the year
  • ·         Spend at least 21 days with my dad or Sara’s mom.
  • ·         Complete a race of at least 10k/6 miles (I thought about making this a half-marathon, but I don’t think I can pull that off this year with the timing of our move).
  • ·         Go desert camping/glamping and see the stars
  • ·         Watch at least two sunrises and two sunsets
  • ·         Join an organization or board or volunteer with a group when I return to US
  •      Learn to juggle :)