What a Difference a Year Makes

My birthday is this week, and I am turning 34.

So much in my life has changed in the past year. I’ve stretched and grown.

Last year, I made a list of goals for my 33rd year, when I was on the brink of these major life changes that precipitated some real, profound transformations in my life.

bubbles on beach

And yet, I still feel pretty good about how many of them I was able to achieve.


I didn’t build my own little free library, but I adopted one around the corner from where I live in front of a retirement home. It’s on my way to the laundromat and grocery store, and I regularly drop off review copies and galleys I get in the little white house.

I got the most fabulous Marc Jacobs black eyeliner as a sample at Sephora, and mastered a ‘cat eye’ and even wore it out a few times.

I work out nearly every day—mostly long walks and relaxation yoga. I feel stronger and more active.

I’m not sure I’ve made any new friends, but I’ve done a pretty good job of cultivating acquaintances in Santa Barbara. ‘Friend’ is not a term I apply indiscriminately, but I’ve had lunch and coffee and drink dates with a handful of ladies since moving.

I finished an embroidery project, started a killer succulent garden and plant collection, and I regularly send cards and letters in the mail to people I love.

I tried a vegan diet for a month, largely due to my Green Chef subscription. I still love cheese, but I did feel great for that month.

raw pad thai lunch

I amazingly purchased less than 12 books this past year, even though I started a Book of the Month subscription. Of course, my mail carrier still hates how many books arrive on my doorstep each month from publishers.

As a result of my cross country move, I did a major overhaul on my wardrobe and now have more California appropriate and dressier work clothes, not to mention three bikini tops.


I’d wanted to finish my WIP and start querying agents for my fiction, and though I did write a nice chunk of a new book, post-election depression derailed my fiction writing. But somehow I still managed to land a book contract, for a professional nonfiction title on a topic very near and dear to my heart: social justice, teens, and libraries. So all and all, I’m chalking that up to a win.

I didn’t keep up with this blog, but I’ve been silent these last few months for a good reason: I got a really big promotion at work, and I’ve been swamped. Now feels like the right time to renew my commitment.

I presented at a national conference, albeit a virtual one, and reconsidered my goals of being more involved in my professional association. Taking a break and postponing that particular goal was a smart move.


I visited Palm Springs (twice!) and I went to a lecture on how to camp on the Channel Islands, and that will be the first trip Mister BS and I plan once he’s here. I didn’t get a chance to go whale watching, but I did go to the beach almost every week and not only visited several wineries,  but also became a member of one. Comic Con will happen eventually.

All and all, I met about half my goals, which I’m proud of, all things considered.

Now I’m thinking about what goals I want to focus on this year, and I’m getting to old for a long list.

1 – Renew my passport.

I might not make international trip before the year is out, but I want to be ready when it is time!

2 – Budget and savings.

This move has been expensive and emotionally draining. And as happy as I am in Santa Barbara, I’ve realized that after a few years, I’ll probably be ready to move again, and I want to be prepared for that (moreso than I was this time).

3 – Work/life balance.

With a new job plus all my freelance writing, this has gotten way off kilter, especially because I didn’t have Mister BS around all the time to get me to relax and have fun. I want to stick to a 40 hour work week at my salaried job, and not overcommit myself to freelance projects.

4 – Try, perfect, and document 24 new recipes.

I only tried a couple new recipes this past year, and haven’t very many at all to this blog. I want to change that.

5 – Keep blogging.

I miss the personal reflection that accompanies blogging, the networking, and the exploration and archiving of ideas that it prompts me to do. So, I’m holding myself accountable here and now.

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  • Keep blogging for sure! glad to read an update!

  • Happy birthday! I love that you pared down your list for this year. I’m thinking of doing the same thing once my birthday rolls around again. More than 30 goals is kind of daunting. It’s also really cool to see everything you accomplished this year. I can’t wait to see more updates from you as you get back to blogging!

    • Thanks, Heather! Yeah, I’m learning to balance keeping goals ambitious but within reach.

  • Happy birthday Molly! What a year for you, I think you should be really proud of what you’ve accomplished. Congratulations too on the work promotion, especially since you haven’t even been at that job for that long, right? They must love you there 🙂 I think your goals for the coming year are good ones. I have budgeting/savings on my list too, and that’s such a hard one. Glad to see your update!!

    • Thanks! Yeah I got a promotion about six months after I moved. It’s a big leap! Budgeting/saving can be tough, but downsizing and moving to a smaller place has helped a lot.