2020 self-portrait, Danielle Alexander.

101 Things I’m Doing in 2020

“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.” – Joseph Campbell

This year I’m focused on home. After having a baby in 2019, I want to feel more at home in my body; feel at home in my role as mother and partner; and cultivate a physical space that feels like home for my little family. I want to find/create a home for my writing. I want to find home in meaningful friendships. And I want to feel a sense of home in myself when I’m making big decisions. I want to feel safe and brave.

So with all that in mind, here are my plans for 2020:

  1. Make a final project for IPRC class that I’m really proud of.
  2. Sleep for eight consecutive hours. (the biggest accomplishment of 2020)
  3. Go to Universal Studios (Harry Potter World).
  4. Have a fun and relaxing first birthday party for Ori.
  5. Celebrate Ori’s birth for myself.
  6. Celebrate Ori’s first year with Jeff in a meaningful way.
  7. See a play, opera, or other theatrical production [2016].
  8. Put feet in the Atlantic Ocean [2016].
  9. Go on a writing retreat. [2017]
  10. Drive a motorcycle. [2017]
  11. Visit Mount Hood. [2018]
  12. Visit Mount Saint Helens. [2018]
  13. Blog every day for 30 consecutive days. [2018]
  14. Go whale watching. [2018]
  15. Make a hardcover notebook [2018]
  16. Teach a writing workshop. [2018]
  17. Go for a long solo hike. [2019]
  18. Go on a camping trip. [2019]
  19. Buy art from a friend. [2019]
  20. Go strawberry picking and make jam. [2019]
  21. Take a 24-hour digital detox. No screens.
  22. Make a zine.
  23. Go a week without Netflix. [2019]
  24. Go dancing. [2019]
  25. Do a float tank.
  26. Relax in a hot spring.
  27. Vote.
  28. Replace plates and bowls with handmade ones.
  29. Get a king-sized bed.
  30. Decorate for the holidays.
  31. Hang a gallery wall.
  32. Hang plants.
  33. Bake a lavender themed cake.
  34. Decorate holiday cookies.
  35. See a movie alone.
  36. Make a collage.
  37. Go on a road trip.
  38. Do a boudoir photo shoot.
  39. Go on a double date.
  40. Go on an extended family vacation.
  41. Send out a homemade holiday greeting.
  42. Paint something.
  43. Visit a synagogue.
  44. Apply to grad school.
  45. Find a yoga center I love.
  46. Go on at least one date night every month.
    1. January: Kennedy School Soaking Pool + Mee Sen Thai
    2. February:
    3. March:
    4. April: Charcuterie night
    5. May: Charcuterie night
    6. June: Charcuterie night
    7. July: Charcuterie night
    8. August: Charcuterie night
    9. September: Charcuterie night
    10. October: Charcuterie night
    11. November: Charcuterie night
    12. December: Charcuterie night
  47. Plant a garden.
  48. Read five parenting books.
  49. Write a list of 10 reasons I am a good mother.
  50. Take Ori for a nature walk.
  51. Kayak in the harbor.
  52. Try dry brushing.
  53. Soak in a hot tub for an hour.
  54. Visit Denver.
  55. Get a pedicure.
  56. Get a manicure.
  57. Get a facial.
  58. Visit a sauna.
  59. Have an energy healing.
  60. Keep a reading log.
  61. Do something kind for a neighbor.
  62. Set up a Montessori environment for Ori.
  63. Finish reading The Wise Heart.
  64. Finish reading The Body Keeps the Score.
  65. Take a luxurious bubble bath.
  66. Subscribe to a magazine.
  67. Have a board game night.
  68. Set up a studio space that works for me.
  69. Visit five bookstores I haven’t been to.
  70. Visit an art museum.
  71. Take Ori to a children’s museum.
  72. Finger paint.
  73. Buy a nice pair of socks.
  74. Buy flowers.
  75. Visit a farmer’s market.
  76. See a comedy show.
  77. Watch a sunset.
  78. Go on a lunch date with a friend.
  79. Get a pearl ring or necklace (Ori’s birthstone).
  80. Get car mats and seat covers.
  81. Organize tools.
  82. Do a family photo shoot.
  83. Set up a relaxing space outdoors, a mini retreat.
  84. Find a water bottle that encourages me to drink water regularly.
  85. Get new retainers.
  86. Find a primary care physician I love.
  87. Do one 20-minute meditation.
  88. Do morning pages for a week.
  89. Send a collaged piece of mail.
  90. Leave a 100% tip.
  91. Have a 60-minute craniosachral massage.
  92. Get new pillows and a big fluffy duvet.
  93. Celebrate my birthday in a meaningful way.
  94. Ask another mom for advice.
  95. Visit a city I’ve never been to.
  96. Go skinny dipping.
  97. Make a family tree for Ori.
  98. Make a cup of tea and sit down to drink it. Do nothing else.
  99. Hang holiday lights in the bathroom.
  100. Submit work somewhere, at least once.
  101. Finish this list.

A Year-End Review.

This is a year that needs some reflection. Somehow, in 2020, I managed to finish 41 out of 101 things. Even one thing would have been an accomplishment.

I survived a pandemic, participated in a national uprising for racial justice, watched a presidential coup play out (unsuccessfully), ended two of my longest standing and closest friendships, battled postpartum depression and anxiety, and GOT MY 18-MONTH-OLD TO SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT CONSISTENTLY.

That’s a lot.

And that’s on top of the things that don’t have end dates or things to show: figuring out how to be mother; navigating my relationship with my mother; working full-time and then not full time and then full-time for myself; trying to find time for my relationship with my partner.

It was almost always too much.

And we went on beautiful walks. And I pressed my head to my son’s forehead almost every day and watched him smile. And I voted and made collages and prioritized being at home in my own body. I found a dream team of health practitioners that includes a naturopath, mental health counselor, chiropractor / body worker, and yoga instructor. I was vulnerable on Zoom with strangers and friends. I decorated my sweet little house between the pine trees for Halloween AND Christmas AND Hanukkah. I planted and tended a garden. I am surviving night weaning my son. And we threw him the sweetest first birthday party imaginable: just us and his grandparents in our backyard, eating hotdogs (my pregnancy craving), and blowing out a single beeswax candle shaped like a number one at exactly 6:18pm, the moment one year earlier when he was wrenched out of my body in an operating room.

What a beautiful and painful year. The irony that the word I chose for 2020 was home is not lost on me. I spent so much time in my physical home: my house in Portland, with its dark gray-blue siding and non-working fireplace and terribly tiled kitchen countertops. I know every divot in the wood floors and exactly how the light plays on the walls in every room during sunset.

I’m so grateful for this space. And the space that is my body — this sweet little soul container. I have gotten to know it and taken better care of it more so than ever before.

And the home that is my neighborhood and neighbors. Waving and smiling twenty feet apart with our masks on, we managed to make sure all the kids in our neighborhood had rain boots to wear and food to eat and streets to run in when distance learning was too much. My son made friends, even though he never touched another child. It is impossibly sweet and sad.

I’m glad to be here, at the end of it, and am humbled to be writing another list of 101 things for a new year.

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