I'm a big To Do list kind of person. I add all sorts of tasks — big and small — to my list (I use a piece of software called Things). I glance at how many items are on it in the morning and sort of gauge how my day is going to go. I find great satisfaction with ticking off the small, everyday tasks — I watered the houseplant today. Check. Even if everything goes to hell, I feel like I've made some progress, done something.

I'm working on an essay for Second Breakfast on New Year's goals and resolutions. I've seen quite a bit of pushback on the latter this year, and I get it — there are many reasons why resolutions are total bullshit. Optimization culture. Productivity mania. And so on. But I'm also a bit wary of this rejection of "self-improvement" — it's not that "self-improvement" isn't a ridiculous hustle; it's that I'm not thrilled about people making assumptions about people who are, indeed, trying to change their lives. Having goals around fitness or weight loss doesn't make someone a sucker for or proponent of "diet culture."

Anyway, I don't actually know what I want to say in this essay, so I've added a new item to my To Do list, and that's to actually sit down and devote unbroken time to writing every day. I mean, I do write every day, but it's often interrupted. This past week, while the housekeeper was here, (Poppy and) I stayed in the office and just wrote (um, the dog didn't do shit). I didn't goof off, convincing myself that somehow browsing Reddit counts as "research."

But first on the To Do list (or, more accurately, I guess, the task right now) is this review of last week:

  • What I cooked: black eyed peas with ham and bacon, cornbread with green chiles and cheese; green tortellini soup; coconut milk ice cream; overnight oats; scrambled tofu and air fryer fries; chocolate bread pudding; ginger scallion broccoli soup; white pizza with arugula salad
  • What I'm reading: The Mysterious Case of Rudolf Diesel; Same Bed, Different Dreams; The Woman in Me. I always try to read a book a week. This goal has done nothing to alter my relationship with reading — the kind of books I choose, the pace at which I consume them. I read over 100 books last year and over 100 the year before.
  • What I watched: the latest episode of Fargo; To Catch a Killer — normally I fall asleep when the TV is on, but I stayed awake for this one, as I find Shailene Woodley a compelling actress. (Confession: I did google to see if she'd split up with Aaron Rodgers before emotionally committing myself to this film.)
  • How I trained: Biking — I rode my bike for 60 minutes on New Year’s Day; I also rode to the bike store for a brake repair and to buy a bell; and I rode to and from the gym on Wednesday and Friday. Running — I did speed-work on Tuesday, a ladder progression (I’m doing most of my own programming and so when I have a tough workout, it is my fault) — it kicked my ass, and it counted towards the NYRR Resolution Run, my first (virtual) NYRR race of the year; on Thursday, I ran to Orange Theory Fitness (more on that below) where I did some treadmill work before running home; I ran to and from volunteering at the first NYRR race of the year in Central Park (more on that below); on Sunday, I did my long run — 90 minutes — in the cold and sleet but at least it wasn’t on the treadmill (and I started Britney’s memoir so time actually sort of flew by). Lifting — it wasn't as good a week as last, but I did the usual squats, bench, single leg rdl, deadlift (failed to get 140 pounds off the floor), overhead press, and bulgarian split squats. Swimming — I swam for 40 minutes, and didn't lose my mind.
  • What I "researched": On Thursday, I took a class at Orange Theory Fitness. The gym touts its "high tech" workouts, which I am writing about for an upcoming essay for Second Breakfast. (Writing that essay is on the To Do list.)
  • Where I volunteered: As I noted above, I volunteered at the Joe Kleinerman 10K in Central Park on Saturday. It was my second time volunteering for NYRR, the group that organizes the NYC Marathon. One way to qualify for the marathon is to volunteer and complete 9 of their races. So I've done 1 race and I've done my one volunteer task.
  • Where we dined (and explored the city: Kin got bagels, as usual, from Absolute Bagels on Saturday. On Sunday, we went to Old John's Diner for a late afternoon meal, stopping at Westsider Records on the way home. The city had its first winter storm this weekend, but not enough snow to end the almost 700 days it's gone without accumulation.
  • Goals I already gave up on: One of the items on my To Do list — not even my 2024 list, but the "Move to NYC" one — was "find a therapist." I spent some time last week trying to figure out what, if any, mental health coverage we had, then who, in the vicinity, I'd be willing to work with. And at the end of a couple of frustrating hours, I decided that I'm just fine and do not actually need therapy. So cross that item off the list.

Audrey Watters


Audrey Watters


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