Things we’ll do this month: February 2020

Second month, second post of the year. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a trend!

I love the beginning of the year. I know it goes against the grain of popular opinion, but I think January is great. And February – February is one of my two favourite months of the year.

I’m using my TWDTM post to help vault me back into the habit of posting at least semi-regularly. Before writing this, I looked back into the history of these posts. I’d thought I started in 2017, but it was actually 2016 when I posted my first which means we’re coming up on a four year anniversary – fruit and flowers. I can get down with that.

Goal setting is fun. It’s great motivation to sit down and hash out the things we want to do and fantasize about the roads that will take us there. When we talk about goals, we talk about money and career and real estate and competition, but we rarely talk about good, old-fashioned leisure. What I’ve found is that having some fun and light-hearted goals is a nice way to interrupt the monotony and drudgery of obligation. Month to month, I will publish a list of things I would like to do during the month ahead. Of course, this list doesn’t take the place of all of my standard goals related to health, wellness, money and spirituality, but I reserve the right to, in some cases, blur the lines.

  • Post my 20 for 2020 & one little word
  • Super Bowl (my contribution to the snack-fest: almond butter rice crispy treats, veggie chili, sourdough biscuits, cookies)
  • Celebrate a milestone birthday for my Mom
  • Road trip to Seattle
  • Make and send Valentines
  • Valentine’s Day/Smackdown
  • Pancake Day!
  • Hike
  • Snowshoe
  • Make gluten-free sourdough bread
  • Take more photos of people
  • Replenish seed collection
  • Finish my personal commandments
  • Day trip to the valley

January was a very inwardly focused month. I did a lot of personal work, focusing on meditation, healing, calm and stillness. I found a way to perfectly balance the needs of my largely introverted personality with the part of me that wants to create and maintain meaningful relationships. For the first time in a long time, I was able to go out regularly without feeling completely drained by the experience. I want to continue with that internal growth and it’s time to start integrating my experience by wading further out into the world again while trying to maintain that feeling of peacefulness. I think this month’s list will really nurture that combination.

What do you have planned for the month of February?

Goals and meaning

I had an epiphany today.

In Passion Planners, there’s a section at the end of every month that asks you to review the month and detail the highlights, the lowlights and how you can build off of both. It wants to know what you learned and how you can use this lessons going forward. This is just my second attempt, but I’m getting the hang of it.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the month of February over the last few day, probably because it wasn’t my best month. It wasn’t the worst and there certainly weren’t any major negatives, but when I reflected on the month as a whole, I wasn’t left feeling much satisfaction. Sure, we ran into a lot of complications related to events being postponed and/or cancelled, but I didn’t feel really accomplished at anything. As I told the friend who recommended the Passion Planner and texted to compare month in review notes yesterday, I feel like I just stood still for the month. As I drilled deeper into that today, I feel like I got to the bottom of why and this was the epiphany: that I need to make goals that matter to me.

To explain, I’ll need to work backwards. The one big project I committed myself to in February was the Minimalism Challenge. (I know, I’m overdue for an update on that, but it’s coming, I promise.) It starts off easy and it get gradually more time consuming until it becomes, frankly, a real headache. The early days of getting rid of one and five and eight and eleven items are easy, but when you get into the later days of the month, trying to find twenty-five, then twenty-six and twenty-seven items a day becomes a lot of work. For the most part, I learned that as much as I feel like I have a lot of stuff, I want most of the stuff that I have. We are regularly culling our wardrobes and household items and sending the proceeds to work with Kevin. That doesn’t leave a lot of fat to trim in the easiest of places – bathroom cupboards, closets, etc. For the latter half of the month, it became really hard for me and while I don’t mind the rewards of that work (I did a lot of cleaning and reorganizing around the decluttering) I don’t really value having a sparklingly clean house. It actually doesn’t matter to me at all. Now, looking back on the month, I feel like I spent it working towards a goal that provided me with no real feelings of satisfaction, no accomplishments, no gratification. Sure, I’m glad I did it, but the most important result of the challenge is to realize that I should focus on taking on goals that are meaningful to me and not just to others. Or at least set up something that will contribute to my happiness alongside a challenge that is good for my overall wellbeing, but that isn’t likely to make me feel good.

Thankfully, after a month of focusing on out of body goals, I’m going to focus on personal ones this month instead.

February in review

First off, big news. My girl Lesley got into the NYC Marathon yesterday which mean *I* got in to go to the NYC Marathon with her. Hooray! And congratulations, Lesley!

February seems like it’s been both the longest and the shortest month. It feels like a lot has happened and at the same time, it feels like nothing has.

Looking back on my monthly goals, even though they were pretty lax, I still didn’t accomplish much towards them. Everywhere I turned, it felt like plans were being changed or events were being cancelled. That said, I didn’t do a lot to work towards them. I feel like I’ve been in a pseudo-hibernation. (And I don’t hate it.)

As for my 19 for 2019 goals, my reading challenge thrived, but I suffered a major setback in my running and, if I’m honest, I’ve struggled to light that fire again. I’m a day or two behind in my Minimalism Challenge, but I’m planning on making it up.

There isn’t much else to report, but I’m looking ahead and looking forward to thawing out and preparing for spring.

What were your February highlights?

February reading

The only thing I miss about being on Instagram is the records of reading I’d started keeping. Since I don’t really have another place to publish what I’m reading, monthly book posts it is!

February was a seriously productive reading month for me, perhaps my most ever. I finished ten books this month and, for me, that’s a lot. I didn’t even get to use as much vacation time as I’d hoped for reading!

Here’s a breakdown of the books I read. There were some really good ones in there.

Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich: after a couple of disappointing episodes, number thirteen restored some of my faith in Stephanie Plum.

Inheritance by Dani Shapiro: The first book in the Happier Podcast Book Club. Such a great memoir about a woman who discovers that her history isn’t anything like she thought it was, all thanks to a whimsical DNA test kit. (This is what I did during the Super Bowl.)

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh: A novel about a woman who decides to sleep for a year. Sure, her methods aren’t up my alley, but her madness (she wasn’t really mad at all) kind of is. Loved it.

Sing, Unburied, Sing
by Jesmyn Ward: A real doozy, this one. Sad and tragic, a little bit cultural, a little bit supernatural. It had a lot going on, but you’re going to have to have time for some ghosts if you’re going to enjoy it.

The Perfect Mother
by Aimee Molloy: Something I realized about this book just as I was finishing it up – I’ve never felt so confident that a book could be made into a really good movie. It’s a mystery that flirts with relationships and early motherhood set with a backdrop of Brooklyn.

Slow by Brooke McAlary: I’m not sure how I ended up with this one, but I did. And it was right in the midst of my Minimalism Challenge and it was helpful in that regard. The authour speaks to ways to simplify life in all aspects and it was a really nice little pep talk for me.

The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham: It may seem like mysteries are my thing, but I think I’ve gone down a bit of a rabbit hole in that regard. Again, this is suspenseful and deals with women and childbirth and babies. I don’t necessarily think that’s me, it’s more the genre that I’ve somehow stumbled upon.

Sex Object by Jessica Valenti: I read this memoir just in time to feel really and appropriately angry about the R Kelly story that broke this weekend. I am so thankful I picked this up off the library shelf and I am so glad I read it when I did. It reminded me that I need to mix some feminist literature into my queue more frequently than I have been.

The She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell: More mystery. More women and more motherhood. More Britain which seems to be another recurring theme in modern mystery/suspense novels. This was good. Very good. And as much as I knew what was going to happen early on, it made me realize that perhaps the intention of the authour isn’t always to fool the reader, but to have them walk along beside them as they riddle out the human nature of the situation.

Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by Jaron Lanier: I didn’t think I was going to like this book at all. And like may be a dishonest way to describe my feelings for it. I appreciated it more than I’d expected to. The authour came across as a bit paranoid to me and that was a turn off, but he is well educated, he knows his subject matter and he makes many very valid points. Most meaningful to me: he has me thinking long and hard about the things I’m giving up for “free” services and I am changing some of my practices. (But I’d already started doing that earlier this year.)

I thought about picking a favourite book for the month, but I don’t really think I can. Here’s hoping for a repeat success in March!

What did you read in February?

Things we’ll do this month: February

February is one of my favourite months. I like that it doesn’t have a distinct vibe and it can kind of become whatever you make of it. I also like the candy heart and pink and red everything.


Goal setting is fun. It’s great motivation to sit down and hash out the things we want to do and fantasize about the roads that will take us there. When we talk about goals, we talk about money and career and real estate and competition, but we rarely talk about good, old-fashioned leisure. What I’ve found is that having some fun and light-hearted goals is a nice way to interrupt the monotony and drudgery of obligation. Month to month, I will publish a list of things I would like to do during the month ahead. Of course, this list doesn’t take the place of all of my standard goals related to health, wellness, money and spirituality, but I reserve the right to, in some cases, blur the lines.

  • The Wellness Show For the second year in a row, I’m checking this out and this time I’ll have my mom and my aunt in tow!
  • Celebrate Chinese New Year. The Year of the Pig is coming up on Tuesday, February 5th and I have a few little crafts to finish up and share. I also have some work to do to get our house tidied up. Tip: now is the time to clean out all the bad luck in time for the new year! But do NOT clean on Tuesday or Wednesday.
  • Road trip to Seattle I have a race there – my favourite race! – and I’m excited to get back to one of our favourite neighbourhoods and to see how I perform. I am the most prepared for a race that I probably ever have been and that holds interesting possibilities.
  • Valentines Day All of it.
  • Vacation A week+ out of the office.
  • Houseguest! We’re super excited to have a friend coming for a super exciting, fun-filled weekend long birthday party!

Amid all that, I’m working on continuing my work on slowing down, focusing more intently and being selective.

What’s in store for you this February?

Things we’ll do this month: February

I’m really excited that one of my favourite months is here, but I am also feeling a little resistant to the backlash that poor January has been receiving. I mean, come on, guys. January brought you a whole new year. That can’t be all bad. And while it has certainly felt like it’s gone slow, at the same time, I haven’t even had a chance to hang up the most beautiful calendar I’ve ever owned, so that story doesn’t totally line up. It’s just a month like any other, only darker and a little more dreary and let’s remember that dreary is pretty good for curling up with a good book, movie or tv show.

I had to take yesterday offline. I just couldn’t deal with #BellLetsTalk day again. Now, don’t get me wrong, I ADORE the initiative. What leaves a bad taste in my mouth? Watching people who act like insensitive, rude bullies the rest of the year using a hashtag one, ten, a thousand times in one day. Does this absolve them of all the wrong they are doing on all the other days? Not in my thinking and I just can’t deal with the hypocrisy. But kudos to all y’all who did the job and raised the money/awareness. Six million dollars is pretty impressive!

But let’s talk about February. No more pressure of making (or keeping) resolutions. Candy, hearts and red things everywhere. There’s kind of a lot going on.

Things like:

  • The Super Bowl (although it’s kind of a snore this year) – the 4th
  • This Is Us – we are finally going find out about Jack’s death and on his personal high holiday, no less (I don’t know about you, but I live in constant fear that Milo Ventimiglia  will disappear from the show) – the 4th
  • Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday/Pancake Day – the 13th
  • Valentine’s Day – the 14th
  • Chinese New Year & The Year of the Dog – the 16th

For each and every one of those things I have at least a small celebration planned and that makes me really happy. And to add to those fun events, here are the tasks that I/we have got on my/our agenda this month:

  • Skincare. I am not very good at this. At all. And I looked at my skin in some horrifyingly honest light at work today and decided that I want to get a lot more serious about this.
  • Road trip. We are headed to the Seattle area for our first organized run of the year. I have dropped the ball on training so I’m moving from a longer race to a shorter one because A. it’s easier and B. I really want to love the My Better Half event and undue anguish might interfere with that.
  • Writing. Online. Offline, Publicly. Privately. Owning some of my words. Setting others free.
  • Total Divas. And maybe even Total Bellas. Don’t judge.

What’s keeping you busy this month? Have you set any goals for the month of February?

February in review

Catching up with February. How can two to three days difference leave a month feeling that much shorter?!? We had a few big plans that went by the wayside, but we also had a couple of little surprises creep in there, too. It was a good month, but it felt a little less energized than usual. Our impending move put us into a bit of a state of limbo – not out of here yet, not into the new place… It was a quiet month, but sometimes quiet is good, too.

  • Road trip to Vancouver, Washington – SNOWED IN
  • Super Bowl. FEATURING THE FALCONS. Rise up, errbody! – HEARTBREAKING
  • Make and send Valentines – I sort of did this! But I forgot to take pics for proof.
  • Nate Bargatze! In Vancouver! – AMAZING
  • Run 25km – We got back to it, but not as a routine. We need to tackle it this month. Seriously.
  • Order change of address cards AND wedding invitations – Change of address – yes. Wedding invitation – no.
  • Make plans for a weekend check out at our wedding venue, organize meetings with flower vendors, cake makers, hairdressers (?) –
  • Secure officiant and photographer – Officiant – hallelujah! Photographer – this.close.
  • Finish reading two books – I read way more than two books, BUT I didn’t finish two. I read half to three quarters of five books, but only finished one.

Extra things we DID do…

What were your greatest experiences or your proudest accomplishments this February? What made February 2017 memorable for you?