Connection, Loop Yarn & Robbing a Bank — Here Comes 2021!


This is the time of year when, like most, I look at 2021 and come up with a list of things I want to do or achieve. I pull out my blank piece of paper and get a feeling of newness, possibility, and excitement for how I get a do-over from all the things I didn’t get done last year.  

Thankfully, I retired my New Years Resolution list many years ago. I quickly realized that the possibility of the new me soon turned to disappointment by mid-January. I derailed my weight loss or exercise routine and missed days of journaling, (which I told myself I was going to have done by 6 AM).

For many years, I have done something different. I fold a blank piece of paper into 16 squares, pour myself a cup of tea, and then allow myself to dream. I mean really dream – outlandish dreams, really. I set a timer for 10 minutes and then write down anything and everything that comes up. Some years, I fill up all the squares and more, and other times just 8 or 10.  

What types of things are on my list?

  • Some typical ones, like feeling strong, healthy and at home in my body.
  • Serve my community – I believe in the power of volunteering. 
  • Visit a new place I haven’t been to before. Like Rome or closer to home like Joshua Tree or even the new restaurant in Little Italy. It doesn’t really matter where. I just like the feeling of newness!
  • My first loop yarn scarf
    My first experiment with loop yarn – a scarf.

    Explore a different creative outlet. One year a friend suggested Zentangle – a form of meditative doodling that has patterns drawn together on a tile. Sounded perfect. So I purchased all the supplies to become a Zentangle queen! And after a week of what the six-week program suggested I do every day, I lapsed, a few days at first, and then a few more until months went by and I never pulled it out again. Oh well, I said try and try I did, so instead this year I started loop yarn knitting.  

  • Rob a bank I mean I’m not really going to rob a bank (although after the year we’ve had the extra money would be nice). But something about the planning, intricacy involved and the possibility of getting away with it fills me with absolute giddiness. I recognize I can get that same feeling when I do a drive-through and pay for someone else’s coffee sitting cars behind. It delights me, the person receiving and the server who gets to tell the person that they won the coffee lottery. I mean, you should try it! The trick is to ensure the person you are buying it for doesn’t find out by driving away at such a fast pace you leave skid marks!  

But this is the year of COVID-19, and so instead of pulling out my sheet, I’m remembering the special moments that happened in 2020 instead. 

I reconnected with the family I have in Switzerland via zoom. I hadn’t spoken or seen them in over 15 years and after a few calls and emails, I recognize why and how we are family. It brought tears to my eyes for the missed opportunity and appreciation for knowing them now.  

My son's Seafood Paella
The final creation of our Seafood Paella adventure.

My son and I love to cook, so we signed up for an online Mediterranean course, skipped the basics, went out of order, and picked a recipe we wanted to make. We spent the afternoon shopping for ingredients, preparing seafood paella, and then serving to my husband and daughter. We laughed, argued, and tasted our way through a lovely time. 

Daughter & I after our makeup lesson
My daughter and I after our makeup lesson and, well, she added some fun things to my face.

Just prior to coronavirus, my daughter and I got a chance to do a makeup course. I’m a naturalist (or just never really figured out how to, so I don’t) while my daughter is a blossoming 15-year-old. So together, we ventured out to the mall and spent a few hours applying foundation and color. We looked lovely afterward, so we took selfies and then went out to lunch to celebrate our new glamorous look.

So while 2020 has come to an end and I once again was about to pull out my sheet of paper to dream my 2021, I realize I want more. More discovery, more connection, more moments that elicit how I want to feel instead of how I want to be. Fewer “mores” like losing weight or learning a new language, but more of the little moments that made up this past year.  

So I’ve put to bed 2020, mourned what could have been, celebrated what did, and planned my 16 squares.

Here is what I came up with:

  • Connection to family
  • Appreciate moments of laughter
  • Visit one new place
  • Strengthen friendships
  • Feel at home in my body
  • Connect to community
  • Special experiences with each child
  • Try new recipes
  • Joyfully make mistakes (no beating myself up afterward)
  • Creative outlet
  • Build upon the strength within myself (that I didn’t know was there before Covid)
  • Leave some empty spaces (because you never know what life might bring)
  • And possibly rob a bank!

                     What would fill up your 16 squares?  

16 squares exercise
The start of my 16 squares.


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