I started to write this in January but I was just feeling so dark about the state of the world that I didn't even want to post what I'd written. I guess I still feel dark, but I'm momentarily a little more inspired to write down some expectations and goals. I'm intentionally focusing most on the things over which I have most control.
Our basement renovation with the contractor just finished last week. It's a huge improvement. There are many smaller things that we plan to do ourselves over the next couple of months. We were able to refinance last month which helped consolidate the costs.
While things were still out of sorts anyways, we decided to renovate the kitchen ourselves. The kitchen had 20+ year old oddly configured low-end cabinets. Replacing those and changing to an under counter fridge with our existing fridge in the basement would give us a lot more useful space for a modest investment. It was only about a month from when we seriously discussed the idea to when we started the work. I hustled on planning and acquiring everything we needed, and we did most of the work in one very focused weekend so we already have a more functional kitchen space. However, the tiling turned out to be beyond our capacity to DIY so we're hiring someone to do that. We also took a risk on a craigslist fridge that turned out to be a total lemon so we've just ordered a new one.
We have some other ideas for home improvement projects but I'm not sure we'll get to them this year. Finishing the basement and doing the kitchen is probably plenty. The kitchen so far has basically been my main hobby this year.
The basement renovation really messed up the backyard. I've got some serious repair to do there. It mostly makes me sad and overwhelmed to think about but I'm hoping that come spring I'll feel more inspired.
We've got a few fun family trips planned this year: Jon & Adele, me & Jon, me & Adele, all of us with Jon's family, and all of us with my parents & some extended family. It's been great to see family more often again in person.
I think it's going to be an intense year. It's started off with some good and exciting events and in a lot of ways I feel like the seeds I planted years ago are coming to fruition, but it also feels like a fragile time. Things have finally come together to grow the team which should increase our resilience but there are key ways in which we remain very vulnerable.
I read on Twitter at some point last year, "You accept the work/life balance you think you deserve." I've been thinking about that a lot and setting boundaries on my work hours. I got more strict about the speaking invitations I'll accept and I won't do more than one per month as a general rule. I might even need to be more strict than that, e.g. no more talks until September. I should probably finish a separate post I started about saying no to things and the questions I'm asking myself when I'm asked to do something.
I am trying to embrace the idea of experimentation when I spend time on something for work that doesn't pan out and I think we've got a pretty good culture of that now. I find it more liberating than beating myself up over "time wasted".
The breadth of things I do for my job is kind of ridiculous. No one would ever advertise a job this way. It's like I have about 4 different jobs, so at any given time I am probably completely neglecting at least one part of it which doesn't feel great, but I think I've managed ok to focus on what's most important. I hope that some of this will change when we hire new staff.
I wrote quite a bit about navigating "high conflict people" in 2019 in the context of emotional labor at work. Unfortunately, that continues to be a major obstacle. We're trying to be better at heading them off and setting boundaries and expectations.
I've got a couple of work-related trips coming up that involve flying, which I still feel weird and anxious about but at least the omicron wave is subsiding. I haven't flown in 2 years. Then we've got a handful of family trips planned via planes, trains, and automobiles later this year.
I'm glad that under 5s will hopefully be able to be vaccinated soon. My not particularly educated guesses on other things:
- Our immediate family will continue to wear KN95 masks in indoor public spaces for the rest of the year
- We'll generally continue to spend time unmasked indoors with friends and family who we know are up to date with their covid shots, as we have for the last few months.
- A second booster will be recommended at least for adults
- Kids 5+ will get a booster too
- There will be 1 or 2 more disruptive variants (like delta or omicron) and during those times we'll do more rapid testing and/or limit our indoor unmasked time outside our pod.
I hope I find some inspiration for some later in the year, but I don't have any monthly goals for the time being. I'm just going to wrap this up now before I think too hard and then don't post it for weeks or months.
Here's hoping that 2022 ends brighter than it began.