August 14, 2001
What's Next?


So we blew off bike-riding last night.

Usually David and I try to do at least four or five miles around the Navy Base after work on Monday nights  ...  depending on weather, hormones, traffic, our collective energy levels.  But when we got home last night, I looked at him and said, "Let's skip it." I'd had a long ridiculous day at The Totem Pole Company, and I was feeling even more flattened than usual.

(Besides, we'd managed to rack up fifty miles total, over the weekend -- bringing me to 100 for the month of August already -- and I felt I'd earned a night off.)

"Let's just stay home and goof off," I suggested.

I didn't exactly have to twist David's arm ... or any other critical body parts, for that matter. His day had been no less poopy than mine. "Sounds good to me," he said, and we both kicked off the uncomfortable shoes and the fussy office clothes and settled in for an evening of unmitigated blobbery. I cooked dinner for the two of us -- baked potatoes, bean salad, turkey keilbasa -- and when the food was ready we took our plates into the bedroom. We sat around in our underwear watching "Seinfeld" re-runs while we ate.

We felt decadent. And lazy. And vaguely naughty.

And -- of course -- guilty as hell.

"We should be bike riding," David said mournfully. 

"I know," I replied, 89.7% sincerely. 

But by then it was too late: we were already committed to an Underwear-and-Bed-Picnic evening.  Later, while David puttered around in the living room working on his latest mix tape (60's Garage Rock), I curled up in bed with a notebook and a pen, and I started making some new lists.

That's right. I'm making lists again.

Whenever I begin to feel rudderless and adrift  --  which is how I've been feeling, the past couple of days  --  lists are what anchor me again to reality. Now that the wedding and all of its attendant hoopla have blown through our lives, like a big noisy wonderful disruptive circus parade, it's time to start thinking about what comes next: personally, professionally, creatively, financially, maritally, every way that counts. And this seems like a particularly appropriate time to think about things like this, as David and I begin our bright shiny new marriage.

These are a few of the personal goals I came up with last night.

  • 200 miles on the bike in August. I'm already halfway there. As long as we keep going for those *big* rides every weekend -- and as long as we don't blow off any more Mondays -- I should make this goal with miles to spare.

  • Ten more pounds lost by the end of the year; twenty more by August 2002. A year from now I want to look at our lovely wedding pictures and think Thank god I don't look like THAT anymore!

  • A job I enjoy. I'm keeping this one purposely vague. "A job I enjoy" can either mean that a miracle occurs and the Totem Pole Company suddenly becomes my dream place to work ... or it can mean that one of the 43,897,621 résumés I'm tossing out into the employment universe lands someplace groovy. Neither seems all that likely, frankly ... but that's what "goals" are all about.

  • Debt relief. This is a Big One for David. It therefore becomes a Big One for me too, through the process of Marital Osmosis. We both want to pay off our wedding-related debts. We both want to start saving. And we both want a decent computer in 2002.

  • Switching web hosts. I want *FootNotes* safely and permanently ensconced in a new home before I tell my current ISP to cram their $40 monthly "User Fee" and their Customer Nonservice Department straight up their parallel flange indicator.

  • Going to see a doctor. As a species, I regard doctors as only slightly less ridiculous and unnecessary than poodles, most of the time. But I'm a married woman now, and I owe it to my spouse (and to myself) to make sure that all of my *operating systems* are functioning properly. So I'm gonna suck it up and crawl into one of those stoopid little paper gowns again ... preferably while I still have viable medical insurance. (See: Finding Job I Enjoy.)

  • Registering for the "Writing for Publication" class. I've written the check. I've filled out the registration form. I've addressed the envelope. Now all I have to do is mail the damn thing.

  • Weaning myself from my four remaining bad habits. These of course are:
    • Profanity.
    • Salt.
    • Nasal spray.
    • Making neat little bulleted lists all over the place.
    (I'm gonna hang onto caffeine and People Magazine for a while ... just so I have something to put on next year's List of Personal Goals.)

By the time I was finished making my list, I'd filled up four sheets of notebook paper.  (I'm only giving you the *highlights* here. You don't really want to hear about reworking my cover letter, finishing our thank-you notes and organizing my shoes, do you?) Seeing it all written down on paper like this is both inspiring ... and vaguely depressing. None of this stuff is as exciting or fun or "journalworthy" as planning for a wedding was. I'm not likely to have many groovy *Web Host Anxiety Dreams* to relate, here on the website. As a matter of fact ... it's all pretty prosaic. There is a little part of me that looks at this list and says "This is the most uninspired list of goals in the history of lists."

(In fact, looking at the list makes me want to invent some edgier, more interesting goals -- beekeeping, in vitro fertilization, starting a garage rock band, running for Congress -- just so I don't lose my audience.)

Fortunately, there is an even bigger/noisier/more sensible part of me that looks at the list and says "Thank god you HAVE goals, Secra." Because without goals -- without stuff to plan for, work towards, sweat over, crow about -- my whole life would be like last night: me sitting around in my underwear, eating turkey kielbasa, watching "Seinfeld" re-runs ... and thinking about all of the stuff I should be doing instead.

And every *FootNotes* entries would be as boring as this one is.

one year ago: ready to retire
two years ago: pantene

throw a rock