First of all, I hope everyone had a totally delightful holiday. Mine had its ups and downs (honestly, I am not a fan of Christmas in general) but I love my parents and brother and it’s been good to see so much of them. I’ve got a long drive in between me and Indiana right now, but I think it’ll be good to get back, too. I’m fired up about my work for the coming year and really ready to plunge back in.
When I set my financial goals for 2016, there was something conspicuously missing: in among all those hard dollar amounts, I didn’t write anything about the rest of my plans for the year. But I do have some. Unlike the financial goals, which are highly measurable, these plans all involve exploration: I don’t know what will come of them.
1. Explore freelance writing.
In March I’ll celebrate two full years of writing The Single Dollar. However, this is the one-year anniversary of moving to self-hosted wordpress. I made some gestures at the time in the direction of making some blog-related income: adsense, affiliate links, etc. I think I also may have said I was going to look into freelance writing. However, it was such a busy year, both work and personal, that I did no such thing. I’ve already taken concrete steps towards changing this in 2016. I took a gig to write a few short posts on another blog, and have a tentative agreement for a sponsored post/review in February. I’ve also sent a few emails to acquaintances asking to be thought of if they find themselves with more work than they can handle. For those first few gigs, I’ve pitched my rate low, and then we’ll see.
2. Explore my options around children.
Duh, I’m still single. But I’ll also be 37 in January. If I want to have a biological child, the time to be thinking seriously about how much I want to is now. This is kind of controversial, and to be honest I’m not sure what I think about women deliberately having children without a partner in the picture. It’s one thing to accidentally get pregnant, or to leave or lose your partner, but I just don’t know if I would be up for deliberately having a kid who would never know his/her father. So, note, I am NOT saying that I intend to have a kid in the next few years, or at all! However, I have decided that I’d like to spend 2016 exploring the idea. I want to look into costs and technicalities, but I also want to talk to single mothers and to read stories both of women like that and of the kids they’ve had. I mention this because I suspect I’ll end up writing a number of posts about it as I do this research. My goal here isn’t to figure out how to have a child; it’s more to spend time seriously thinking about what the implications would be if I did. It’s more than possible that I will end up deciding not to try.
3. Explore Volunteering
One of the best things I did for myself in 2015 was get pretty deeply involved in volunteering for a local community. It’s a little hard to describe — it’s part shelter, part food pantry, part mini-farm, part religious group. I took on a few tasks for them in fall 2014 and spring 2015, but didn’t commit too much time until summer 2015, at which point the number of hours/week I spent on this went way up. I love it. And I want to do more, maybe with another group. I have a few local groups in mind that would be a different kind of volunteering than this is, and I want to figure out which of them needs new people and would be a good fit for me.
4. Explore my area.
It’s looking very likely that I’ll stay in Indiana for quite awhile. Both because I’m busy and because I’m a stick-in-the-mud, I haven’t gotten out much. I know the city I live in pretty well, but beyond that, I haven’t been doing things like taking daytrips on the weekends, seeking out places I can hike, etc. I might make this into a more concrete goal, like “at least 30 trips to new places in 2016,” but for now I’m leaving it more amorphous: I just want to prioritize breaking out of my comfortable routine, in the hopes that I’ll find lots of new and interesting places.