April 2024 goals

3 April 2024

We had two wild and completely unexpected events in March, and their ripples affected almost every one of my goals and updates today. These events required a lot of conversation between John and me (and others), and left me feeling scattered and anxious many days. And so, for example, we spent more of our evening walks talking to each other instead of listening to Outlive. We didn’t have time to take the Birds & Bees course. I opted to turn out the light instead of read many nights. My deep work cratered and I made minimal progress on the audio course.

These events weren’t disastrous – one had to do with a house we were considering buying – but they were disruptive. Seeing this month for what it was helps me to have compassion on my lack of progress. Because I’ve been doing this for so long, the transition from frustration to compassion is almost instantaneous, but it’s still only possible by pausing to notice and reflect, and by adjusting expectations along the way.

There is one March goal I feel total peace with as I look back, and it’s the most important one: wholeheartedly enjoying and being present with my family in Connecticut as we celebrated my grandmother’s life. Really, really grateful for that.

On my calendar:
— A week in Texas for work. I was nervous about this same trip last year, since I’d never met most of my coworkers in person, but this year it feels more like returning to see old friends, and I’m grateful for that.
— Finance meetings with my younger sister. She recently started a new job (very exciting!) and John and I have been helping her roll over and set up various accounts, reimagine her budget, and set new goals, all of which has been just the nerdiest kind of fun.
— A pickle ball tournament with our church small group! We do something fun on months with a fifth week, and it’s a round robin challenge for April.

What I’m loving right now:
— I bought this sweatshirt on a whim while browsing in Connecticut, and I’m obsessed. Since I don’t shop for clothes often, I’ve learned (and given myself permission!) to just make the purchase when I find something I love, especially when I’m able to try it on in person. Currently having to restrain myself from wearing it daily. Also, this is a new brand to me and I’m in love?! Reminds me very much of Boden, another British brand that perfectly encapsulates my dream style!
— Our preordered copies of The Anxious Generation arrived on our doorstep last week, and I’m already several chapters in. This is Jonathan’s Haidt’s newest book, and I highly, highly recommend everyone read it who has kids they love. My full review will be May’s first (free!) post on The Connected Family, and I’ll be giving away a copy then, too!
— Run, don’t walk, to Trader Joe’s to get their Limone Alfredo Sauce. I think it’s the best alfredo I’ve ever had?! We tossed it with farfalle pasta, frozen grilled chicken strips (also from TJ’s), halved cherry tomatoes, and frozen peas. SO GOOD – I went back to buy two more jars the next day.

As a reminder, you can find allll the things I’ve loved over the last few years neatly organized right here!

What you’re loving right now:

This is where I highlight a few items here that have been popular in the last month with fellow readers, based on my analytics. Here’s hoping this will help you find something you’ll love!

— The delightful sketchbooks from our kids’ Easter baskets were by far the most popular link this month, and for good reason!
— The best best sunscreen, mentioned in my beauty post
— …followed closely behind by my face wash bar (for going on 7 years).
— A Bluey coloring book and water squirters.
— And, randomly, June’s new socks. Tis the season? :)

Last month on The Connected Family:
My Least Favorite Feature of the Smart Phone | And an essay that permanently changed the way I parent and move through the world.
Phones on the Fringe | A follow-up that asks: what about other people’s children?
How I’ve Kept Instagram a Positive Part of My Life | 8 small ways
The Magic of Taking Kids to the Grocery Store | And my nails-on-a-chalkboard moment (eep)

What I read in March:
Did I Say That Out Loud? | This is Kristin van Ogtrop’s midlife offering. Kristin was the beloved, long-time editor in chief of Real Simple in its heyday, and I’d read somewhere that she covered the highs and the lows of life at the magazine here. She does, which was rather cathartic to read as a long-time fan and someone with a background in magazines. I gave myself permission to scan the other essays and enjoyed many of them, even though they were geared more toward the 40’s-50’s crowd.
Drums of Autumn | I picked up this installment of the Outlander series on a whim at the library. (I’d read the first three in 2017, and this one is the fourth.) While I remember enjoying the first three, this one was a slog. It’s absolutely massive (1000+ pages!), it moved at a snail’s pace, and I found it hard to remember who everyone was and what had happened to them with such a large gap since I’d last picked up the series (very different from the books in the Kingsbridge historical series, which are also massive but zip right along). It felt a bit like defeat to give up after 250 pages, but I’m choosing to see it as clearing the way for something I’ll feel more excited to dive into each night :)

My reading list for 2024, if you’d like to follow along!

Revisiting my March goals:
Take the Birds & Bees course with John
Read chapters 7, 8, and 9 of Outlive (We made it just halfway through chapter 7!)
Choose fabric and send chairs off for reupholstering
Complete at least 45 hours of deep work (22!)
Finish the leadership program slides + deliver my talk
Write the second lesson of the TCF course
Wholeheartedly enjoy my extended family and time in Connecticut

April goals:
— Film Annie in April
— Write the second lesson of the TCF course
— Complete at least 50 hours of deep work
— Read chapters 7, 8, and 9 of Outlive
— Take the Birds & Bees course with John

As a reminder, many of these are drawn from my 2024 goals!

How was your March? Any irate Outlander fans in the house? :) Or Real Simple fans from back in the day? (It was the best!)

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April 3, 2024 10:22 am

I always love reading your posts, Emily! Your thoughtfulness and intentionality always give me something to ruminate on. I had a similar March (lots of sickness for everyone in the house)- here’s hoping for a quieter April!
I am an Outlander fan but I generally prefer the show to the books, which is rare for me. However, I do almost always find myself wishing for the non-dramatic alternative plot arc… like, what if instead of Jamie and Claire settling on Frasier’s Ridge and getting falsely accused of every crime possible, then one of them getting kidnapped or deathly ill, they just grew crops and had family dinner every night and learned moral lessons in each episode ala The Waltons? Or even Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman? All the elements are there, but currently I feel like I need counseling after each episode.

April 3, 2024 2:43 pm

Big OG Real Simple fan here! I still follow Jenny Rosenstrach and Elizabeth Passarella through various channels, and probably 75% of our non-digital recipe collection is ripped from a Real Simple. I canceled my subscription last year and I still miss it, but it’s not the same as it used to be.