There are two things that are not heavily featured on this ’19 for 19’.
The first is work (there’s something on the list related to work, but it’s not a focus of the list). Like most journalists (I tell myself), my life is 80% work, 10% sleeping, 5% eating and 5% fun. This list is an effort to turn me into less of a workaholic, and more into someone with a well-rounded life.
The other thing that’s not on this list is reading. One of my great fears before I became a mother was that I would no longer have time to read (as too many new mothers told me). So 2017/2018 was me desperately trying to prove to myself that it was rubbish.
So I read. A lot. So much. And then I realised….maybe I overdid it (I’m not one for moderation, which is also why I mostly stopped drinking.)
I read three, sometimes four books a month in the past year. But it came at a cost. I didn’t go out much. I didn’t connect with people much. I didn’t leave the apartment nearly as much as I wanted to. It became an excuse not to grapple with French and find people to be friends with. I didn’t play with Mag (or Matt) as much as I could have.
So without further ado, here’ my 19 for 19:
1. Improve my French. I really want to get to the point where I can converse fluidly in French without having to obsess over it. The only way to make that happen is to speak more French with more people.
2. Spend time outdoors. As noted above, I spend too much time in the apartment. I have this (as yet unproven) theory that if I spend more time outdoors, it’ll make these wretched winter months go by much faster, and I’ll also be able to thoroughly enjoy the better weather when it comes.
3. Get immigration status sorted. My current visa for France has me listed as a visitor. That’s problematic. These next few weeks will be about getting listed as an ‘auto-entrepreneur’ so I can legally work as a freelancer for French companies (I can already legally freelance for non-French companies).
4. Travel. This year, I’m going to the International Journalism Festival in Perugia in April. I really want to see the ‘Museum of Romanity’ (Roman life) in Nîmes soon, which will give me a handy excuse to escape the bleak Paris winter for a few days. I’m headed to London for two days in January, to meet up with client and friends, and also see the Ashurbanipal exhibit at the British Museum. We’re heading to New York in February to see family, and we’ll be spending the month of August in Florida (five days), Ottawa (14 days), and northern Ontario (8 days). And we’ll be back in northern Ontario for Christmas.
5. Expand my reporting niche. I started out as a reporter writing about fish and the environment. I miss the fish. So, more fish in ’19.
6. Explore with Magnus. My glorious rambunctious little boy deserves more adventures, and adventures are what he will have.
7. Reinstate the weekly date night. Between the new addition and the moving to a new country, this one fell by the wayside. Time to reclaim that.
8. Get that Nikon/join photog club in Paris. I love taking photos. It’s about time I treated myself to a serious camera. And joining a photography group in Paris will help me meet more people and practice my French. All good things.
9. Build client base. Always good to have an excess of work opportunities.
10. Strengthen muscles. I’m pretty scrawny, so I’d like to bulk up a bit. Plus, Matt and I (and some friends) are planning on kayaking from near Whitehorse to Dawson City in 2020. In order to be able to contribute to the rowing (and preserve our marriage), my arms need to get stronger.
11. Get involved in an environmental project. I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to feel a deep-seated panic about our environmental situation. I’ve gone a bit extreme on the recycling end in our house, and I’m in the process of banning any new plastics from entering our abode. But I still feel like I need to do more.
12. Be healthy. I don’t eat as much fruit or veg as I should. I’m a little too in love with French chocolate pastries, often with detrimental effects. And, strangely, given that last bit, I still struggle to maintain a good weight. (It’s genetic, but still frustrating). So bring on the healthy eating habits.
13. Write for myself. Just to see where it goes.
14. Interior decorating. We have a magnificent apartment. But we haven’t done much on the decorating side (we tended not to live very long in our previous apartments, so decorating hasn’t been a priority). The plan, however, is to remain in France for the foreseeable future, and that means putting our personal touches on the place. We’ve already started in the bedroom. We need a few lampshades and wall décor for the main room, and comfortable balcony furniture to enjoy the summer.
15. Work from Paris. I’ve found a great coworking space that I plan to use a lot more frequently this year. This will go a long way towards practicing my French and meeting new people.
16. Make friends. This should be higher. Despite it being #16 on the list, it’s really priority #1.
17. Get serious about my spiritual life. I’m a bit private about this, so that’s all I’ll say.
18. Professional development. Find a mentor. Learn Excel. Perfect my pitch techniques.
19. Find a cause to volunteer with. I’ve already decided: homelessness. It’s a big problem in Paris, and it seems to be getting worse. My whole life, I’ve been pretty ashamed that the only thing I can think to do around a homeless person is step around them. So now it’s time to do something different. I’ve found a Meetup group that delivers food to homeless people on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and I’m going to start volunteering once a month. I’ve let my privilege blind me for too long on this issue.
This is a long list. These are not ‘resolutions’. A better way of classifying this is ‘things I would like to include in my upcoming year.’ It will be a handy guide if I’m ever feeling bored, restless, or lost for direction.
Thanks for reading, particularly if you’ve made it this far. If you have any questions or suggestions, I’d love to hear them.