Happy New Year 2023!
Having given up “resolutions” (which I see as just an excuse to find something wrong with me, as a person and I don’t need an excuse to do that), a few years ago I started to write 10 New Year’s goals with emphasis on a Top 3. When I started, they were just open ended with no deadline indicated. In late 2021, a mentor suggested I add a “when” to my what. When all the world had started insisting we find our “why” she said “that’s BS, you know your why. Define your when.” So, I put my goals in order of time, with the top three to accomplish for 2022.
On January 1, 2022, I had my top three, plus a fourth that didn’t seem likely but had suddenly come out of left field as something I wanted. They were:
Goal 1. I had wanted to marry Charles for a few years. But, given that you must take a man at his word, I hadn’t even put it on my goal list until 2020 the year Daddy died. One of the last things Daddy had said to me was, “I’m glad you have Charles.” The implication was “to take care of you.” Both my parents worried about that. Mom loved most people, but she trusted Charles. They both did. Trust for them was a bigger leap than affection. After their deaths and the receipt of bequeathed family land (see Goal 2), I was determined that before we shared a mortgage, we would share a last name. Thus, on January 1, 2022, “Marry Charles” was at the top of my goal list to be accomplished in 2022.
Goal 2. Daddy left me a 4-acre plot of land near the house I grew up in. From a market standpoint, it was a sad little piece of land. The land slopes from the frontage down a hundred feet (MOL) to the back. The backend part was mostly erosion gullies with runoff water and all the trash that comes with that. There had been an attempt to stop the erosion by putting in large rocks and tires, and since the land wasn’t really used for anything, it was allowed to just do what it would naturally do. During the first survey I made I thought, “it’s like a Junk Drawer.” But instead of being overly disheartened by it, I took it as a challenge. I was going to make it beautiful. From that moment on, all I wanted was to live on it. Every nice day I would find an excuse to visit. One day, Charles was sitting on the patio of the house he had just finished to his satisfaction, complete with a lovely new workshop.
“What do you think of building a home on my land and living there with me?” I asked.
The question, by the evidence on Charles’ face, was unexpected. His response was less than what I had hoped for. But, I continued to visit the place, explore, plan, and, identify all the native plants living there. There was an interesting old tree, thriving despite a rotten out space in the middle of its trunk which should have killed it long ago. I called it “the Wizard Tree” because the cork interior looked like Merlin from the movie Camelot with Richard Harris. After learning it was a Sugarberry Tree, I dubbed the place “Sugarberry Slope.” Eventually, Charles began to share my interest and the housing market in the summer of 2021 was such that he was able to sell the home we shared at a significant profit – 18 hours after putting it on Craigslist. We moved into a rental with plans to build our small retirement home at Sugarberry. We met with an architect in December 2021 and “Live at Sugarberry Slope in 2022” was placed second on my goal list.
Goal 3. I worked in a high stress job. It paid very well. I got many perks like trips and gifts and a chance to participate in event planning. The powers that be called me “the General” which was supposed to sound like a compliment, but in hindsight it probably wasn’t. The work started out being everything I wanted, and ended up being the monster that ate Diane; a 24/7 snack on my soul. My boss, co-workers and board members had my cell number and didn’t hesitate to use it whenever it occurred to them. My vacations were interrupted with silly requests for help on something a toddler could have accomplished on his own. My stress level was higher than it had ever been, but I felt guilty because on the surface it looked like a great job. My inner voice and my sister were screaming “the perks and accolades are a trap. Get out!” I decided that “get a new job” would be the third goal in 2023.
Goal 4. Next to Sugarberry Slope was a four acre plot of land that had been an eyesore since I was a kid. No one had ever lived there, but it and the plot immediately next to it on the other side had been owned by a family that, in my Daddy’s opinion, “were worthless.” A number of years before the land had been split up and another really nice family bought the one on the other side, but the one next to Sugarberry Slope remained empty. It was also a sad piece of land, sadder even than the Junk Drawer. Sometime in late 2021 I started thinking about owning that property just to keep someone else from moving in there and to preserve the green space. I mentioned it to Charles. He responded in a less than enthusiastic way. Quietly, I put it at number four of my 2022 goal list.
So, here we are, January 1, 2023, and the results are:
Goal 1. On March 3, 2022, while on vacation in Costa Rica for the 10-year anniversary of the day we met, Charles proposed to me with a lovely emerald engagement ring. Was it a completely surprise? No. As we had talked about building a home it was clear he was moving away from being absolutely opposed to the idea. We planned our very simple wedding for September 3.
In front of 100 family members and most special friends, escorted by my children, we were pronounced husband and wife by my first-grade best friend. 2022 Goal 1, accomplished.
Goal 2. We broke ground on Sugarberry Slope in April 2022. During our meeting with the builder in December we were given a projected move-in of July. Friends and family laughed and said we’d be lucky to be finished in a year. Covid had caused all kinds of material shortages and it seemed no one wanted to work for a living anymore. Our builder saying “tomorrow,” usually meant “two weeks.” Those of you who have seen The Money Pit with Tom Hanks and Shelly Long, or anyone who has built a house recently, know what I’m talking about. After record heat and drought making daytime work dangerous, there was rain making work impossible. July became a pipe dream, and Thanksgiving became the goal. My plan was to be married on Sugarberry Slope near the Wizard Tree. My telling the contractor of my plan caused him severe stress. There was a giant lump of concrete and a pile of bricks where we would have said our vows. It is a good thing, I’m flexible. When Thanksgiving didn’t happen, we were promised we would be in by Christmas. I told our contractor that our landlord expected us out of the rental by year’s end. We would be homeless December 31. In the week before Christmas, there were delays around the inspections and in a conversation with our contractor in which I asked, “is Christmas still a reality?” he said it wasn’t.
“But to be fair, did I ever promise Christmas?” he asked.
There were some …. uh, words from me. Later that evening, his partner called to tell us the contractor had quit! Quit in the home stretch with nothing left to do but inspections, apparently because I was too demanding and asked too many questions. The partner said he would be taking over. I heard Santa in my head, “Looks like we’re going to have to cancel Christmas.”
But, by some miracle (maybe it was the magic of the goal list), the final home inspection passed on December 23. We spent Christmas Eve in our new home, with just our bed and a single loveseat. But I had promised myself I would have a Christmas tree at Sugarberry in 2022, so I jazzed up that mantel with Christmas cards we received and decorated a potted evergreen with the only two ornaments I had – 2022 Hallmark commentative ornaments marking our marriage and our new home.
I write this, surrounded by unopened moving boxes, the happiest I have been since the day I reached Goal 1. Yes! 2022 Goal 2, accomplished.
Goal 3. In April 2022 I received an invitation by my boss to attend a fundraising luncheon for a non-profit. He was willing to donate the money, but not the time to attend. I looked up the non-profit and was impressed by their mission. On a lark, I sent them my resume and was enthusiastically contacted almost immediately. By the time I attended the luncheon, I had already been interviewed and I got the job the next day. What a blessing it has been to work 8/5 instead of 24/7.
Less money, fewer perks, but a much better life! 2022 Goal 3 accomplished.
Goal 4. Sometime during the early months of 2022, Charles had become also interested in owning the property. The owner had passed away in February 2020 and it (along with two other pieces of property), was to be auctioned for back taxes in June 2022. The owner had two sons; one lived on one of the other properties and the other was in prison. We approached the local son about buying the property. He said he wanted to keep it and was working out ways to earn the money for the taxes. He said he hoped to erect billboards that would make him a living the rest of his life. Bless his heart So, we decided we would just show up for the tax sale and hope for the best. Charles would pay the son a visit from time to time to see if he had changed his mind. We could buy the one piece of property and that would provide him enough money to pay the taxes on the others. He declined. Then one day out of the blue, a phone call. The son who had been in prison was now out and was desperate for money and to not lose all his father’s property to the tax sale. He was interested in selling the one to us. One big obstacle: The land was still in his father’s name and his father left no will. The estate would have to be probated if we were to buy it and the sons could not afford an attorney. We worked out a deal. Months later, several dozen stomach acid inducing events later, we received the deed to the four acres. Charles is building his workshop there. 2022 Goal 4 accomplished.
My goal list, written out every day after my morning journaling and my mantra “There is a Divine Plan of Goodness for Me,” is a way to keep them front and center, and allow amendments if my wishes change. These four things remained constant, has have most of my goals for 2023 and 2024. Every morning, I remind my Creator, the Universe, my spirit guides, and myself what my goals are and acknowledge that they are good, in my best interests, and that I am worthy of achieving them.
I believe in goal lists. I suggest everyone give it a try. What’s the worst that could happen if you do? What’s the worst that could happen if you don’t? Might as well try.