At the beginning of the year, I set myself three main goals. I figured three was enough, that I didn’t need to strive for a million different things, and wow, three was more than enough. But seeing how I achieved my goals, I’m still pretty proud, especially considering how massive my main goal was. The three things I was striving for were:
- Emigrate to the States
- Feel like myself again
- Reconnect and grow
Yeah, I was rather ambitious. But I think I was fairly successful.
How I achieved my goals – Emigrate to the States
This one was by far the biggest undertaking I’ve done in recent years. In fact, this might have been more stressful, difficult, important and rewarding than any goal I could have imagined. In case you don’t know, moving is hard. As in, ridiculously hard. I have moved before in my life, even doing international moves, but I was either moved along as a kid, or I moved as a student or recent graduate. This time, I wasn’t just moving myself, but my whole family.
In my original post, I figured the sub-goals for this overall goal were:
sorting out everyone’s passports and visas; finding gainful employment in a part of the country we might enjoy; getting our cats ready to be shipped to a new country; packing up and selling our house; flying halfway around the world with a toddler; and then all the arrival and getting settled stuff when we get there.
Oh, how naive January 2017 Zoe was! The passports and visas were definitely an administrative hurdle, as well as a financial one. Just getting Dean’s Green Card was ridiculous in terms of the various steps we had to take, as well as the costs. I swear, I should have become a doctor in a foreign country just so that I could be the only recognized physician to clear people for visas! But really, I had things listed on there that weren’t so difficult and other things I ignored that were ridiculous.
Sending our cats ended up being an easy task. I underestimated how great the animal movers would be. They were so friendly and helped figure out the paperwork we needed. I just had to get the cats cleared, and then they came with kennels and everything and shipped them to the states, where another company collected them and brought them to my mom’s house. I was worried about them the whole time and it was psychologically stressful, but the actual logistics were easy.
In fact, so was the trip with Harley. I purposely didn’t start weaning her until we got to the States, so I was able to nurse her along the journey and she slept decently on the plane rides. Plus, in the UK, we bought our way into a lounge which made all the difference for us. Yes, it was a little bit pricey, but we got more than its value out of it thanks to all the food and drink we had, plus the ability to let Harley roam around the little room that they gave us without worrying that she was going to break anything or bother anyone.
No no, the much harder task was packing up our home and selling stuff off. We ended up sending only 10 boxes of things over because of how expensive it was to move things. And while I was selling and giving away so much stuff before we left, our moving day was still hell, with a ton of stuff that we couldn’t organize and pretty much had to just throw at friends and family as a last minute thing. We were only able to take 3 suitcases with us (as well as carry-ons and Harley’s awesome car seat), and it ended up feeling like we were giving up all our things.
Thankfully, my years of networking and staying in touch with people paid off big time for me when we were getting ready to move. I mentioned to a friend I had traveled with for work years ago that I was moving, and he was able to help me find freelance work. It helped us have more stable income from the moment we arrived and has been a lifesaver.
Then there is the “get settled stuff” that I totally underestimated. We managed a ton in these first four months since moving here, and I’m really happy with where we are now. But it was a much bigger hurdle than I anticipated. We were lucky to be able to stay with my mom in the beginning, and Dean and I both had work right from the start, but that didn’t make it easy and we are only now starting to really feel like we are home.
So yeah, this one goal probably should have been the ONLY goal for the year. But still, I managed to do it, and I’m pretty damn proud of myself. But wait, there’s more!
How I achieved my goals – Feel like myself again
This was a more nuanced one that was harder to measure. It wasn’t about losing weight, although that was a part of it, but rather about finding ways to do exercise that worked for me, and more importantly to make time to be in my own head and think my own thoughts (instead of just being jealous of Dean when he got to do that).
This one I think I nailed. At the start of the year, I got Harley into preschool. It was super hard for us in the beginning, but absolutely necessary. It meant that I got a few hours every day to be in my own head, to breathe, and even to exercise sometimes. In the beginning of the year, I did yoga every day. It’s something I’d like to get back into because I fell off the wagon after our trip to Cape Town.
I was bad with exercise and space in my head during the tumultuous move period, but even before we left my mom’s place, I started going for walks and stuff, getting both exercise and mental space that I needed. Now, I’m back at the gym (more on that soon) and I have an office of my own! It’s definitely great to have the physical and mental space to think my own thoughts and dream big again. I feel like I’m so much closer to the human I was before, and so much happier (even if I still have a ways to go on the actual weight situation).
Today was my first day back at the gym since I found out I was pregnant with Harley all those years ago. It was hard, and a bit disheartening to see that I could only lift a fraction of what I used to, but also strangely motivating. I still had great form with ass-to-grass squats and wasn’t nearly as weak as I feared I might be. I have a lot of work to do, but it’s cool to know that I know what I need to do to get stronger, get fit. And soon, I will surpass my old personal records and even surprise myself.
How I achieved my goals – Reconnect and grow
This is also a bit of an intangible one, but I still think I did pretty well with it. Back in January, I said the subgoals were:
Make time to really connect with Dean, Harley and those close to us without everyday distractions (especially phone notifications) getting in the way; strive to contact those I care about at least once per week, or if it’s really crazy busy then once per month; produce regular content on my blog to help keep the community of awesome people who read my words up to date with our latest progress, thoughts and ideas, as well as hopefully hear more from you all here and on social media.
And maybe I’m deluded, but I feel like I really did that. I stopped checking my phone as much in the evenings, especially when we would sit outside for an afternoon drink or braai. I make it a point not to check my phone’s notifications when I’m with people, although that got even easier when we moved to the States because I don’t get nearly as many notifications during those usual peak times, instead mostly checking things when I wake up and catch up on what happened in SA, or late at night when people start waking up there. I was better at staying in touch when we were in South Africa, but I’ve even managed to stay close with friends and family since moving, which I’m pretty proud of.
Okay, the regular content. I was really in a good place before we left. I was writing more regularly, and having a ton of fun making Facebook Live videos. Then we moved. It was really hard for me to keep up with making content and videos, but I’ve managed to do a lot more since moving, and I’m inspired to write and share even more. I’ve stayed fairly active on social media, and it’s been great to have you all along with me for the moving journey, even if only on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter sometimes.
Looking back, I think I did pretty damn well with managing these goals for 2017. Now I suppose I’ll get a few more days to reflect on the year that was, and then I need to start really formulating my goals for 2018!