Hello again, 1001

In which I start a roundup of what I’ve accomplished and learned over the course of this list, beginning with a big goal that didn’t work out at all as I’d envisioned (#7).

sunrise

Today marks the end of my third 101 list, and I’m really thrilled with how it’s closing out. Surprisingly contented and excited.

I expected the conclusion of this list to be bittersweet because I spent most of the 1001 feeling disconnected from myself. When things were so hard after I had my son, lots of people encouraged me to find something to do for myself. Something I enjoyed or that recharged me. I looked to my 101, which I’d intended to be a road map “back” to myself, and drew blanks. Motherhood was a profoundly unsettling experience. I lost time, energy, and had little to no sense of self. Looking at my list felt like reading someone else’s goals. I felt discouraged not because I wasn’t accomplishing things but because I didn’t feel any sparks of interest. I resented that I’d felt like I needed to improve myself or fix my habits. What more could I possibly do in one day?

I particularly struggled with the one goal I thought would be most helpful: a fairly open-ended challenge to make a plan to maintain three important aspects of my life over the first year with a kid, with monthly actions and results. I wanted to hold myself accountable to not lose track of everything and not become one of those mothers who have no other interests beyond their kid. Instead it just seemed like a reminder of how differently hard things were than I thought they’d be. As I struggled with feelings of isolation, ineptitude, and discouragement, this goal was getting under my skin. I thought I’d be good at this. I thought I’d be bouncing back after four months. I thought I’d handle this better, be happier, be able to be the same person as before and just add on this new role to my sense of self…

But the 101 also really helped me start back to a more balanced and sane view of my life. Even if I couldn’t quite get hyped for some of my goals, I could still relate to my big five wants from a 2011 blog challenge. And then I could see that I had been working on some of the goals all along, because they were still things that were applicable to my new life. Which led to recognizing other things that were applicable, which led to recognizing other things…

Of course, now I know that there were so many other things affecting that first year or so that I couldn’t see at the time. Reflux medicine was like a glimpse into another world. Weaning was downright thrilling. And, after months of being the only one seeing and dealing with it, having someone else recognize a sensory meltdown was healing.

Which brings me here. 1001 days, one pregnancy, one c-section, one son, and one (long) dark time later. 1001 days, immeasurable baby kisses, one SPD diagnosis, seven months of life-changing occupational therapy, and two new friends later. 1001 days, sixty-seven goals attempted, and fifty-two goals completed later. Fifty-two! That’s only two fewer than my last list.

And I’m closing things out feeling great about this last year. I didn’t maintain any aspect of my pre-kid life. I reacted to that goal in a very opposite, negative way when it came down to it. And now, I know why — I can feel it. I’m done with looking backwards. I don’t want to maintain something that once felt right or important. I want to progress to something that feels right and important right now. I don’t want to wonder when or how I’ve changed, I want to explore how I’ll change next.

I’ll be mining my list for what worked for me and what didn’t as I post about those goals I attempted or completed. At this end, I’m looking forward to the beginning of another list in January. I have no idea what will be on it. I have no idea how it will be structured. But this list really reminded me that I could take small, seemingly inconsequential steps towards the life I want to live. I had 101 reminders. It didn’t matter what they were or how many I completed.

All that mattered was taking step after step after step.

In that way, I think this was my most successful 1001 yet.

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