Counted Cross Stitch Jan 2 2024

Positively Unquantifiable.

Last week, the last one of 2023, I was seeing so many people post their Goodreads 2023 Reading Challenge results. I thought every single one of them was so impressive, but I noticed there were some sour grapes. For some reason, there are people out there who take others’ achievements personally, as if it makes them “less than.” That really bugged me, so I did two things.


I wrote in my Instagram stories about when people we know achieve their goals (or get things done), it’s not an affront to everyone else. It is ridiculous for people to feel badly about themselves just because others have success, big or small. I wrote that not all achievements are quantifiable anyway, and I had a feeling that a lot of my friends had done things they were proud of in 2023, things that weren’t attached to a number. I put a call out in my stories for those achievements and planned to share them (without names), so that everyone could have some feel-good moments as a community, my community.

I never know what the response is going to be when I put a question into my stories, but I had high hopes for this one. I wasn’t disappointed! I received SO many answers, all great stuff and such a wide range, too. In 2023 my friends completed college courses and professional certifications, welcomed babies, returned to therapy, became (in their own eyes) better parents, bought a house, recovered from medical issues, survived losses of all kinds, and…just survived.

I loved doing this, sharing with everyone as well as messaging the respondents privately. What a celebration; I may make it an end-of-year tradition.


I also took some time to think about what I accomplished this year, things that cannot be (or don’t need to be) counted. I wrote up a quick post about it, which is below, along with more info I’m adding today in italics and parentheses:

Things I accomplished in 2023 that cannot be quantified, in no particular order:

  1. Preserved my peace more than ever before, including not wasting energy being upset about so many things that are out of my control. Also, did very well at not taking on other people’s problems as my own while still being supportive. (More on this: This is hard to do! I credit my therapist for helping me finally absorb this and put it into practice. Therapy is great! Highly recommend!)
  2. Started lifting weights regularly for the first time in probably a decade. (More on this: At 55 years old, lifting weights and feeling stronger does so much to combat my semi-regular feelings that my body is falling apart.)
  3. Worked on enjoying little moments, like the steps involved in cooking a meal, without thinking about the next thing I needed to get done. (More on this: Living in the moment without so much multitasking is the only way I have found to give the impression that I have the power to slow time down.)
  4. Stayed fairly consistent at going through small storage areas in the house and getting rid of/donating/rehoming things that are no longer in regular use here. (More on this: I highly recommend watching “The Art of Swedish Death Cleaning” on Peacock if you’re having a motivation problem. It’s a cute show and every time we finished an episode my brain turned into some sort of Incredible Organizing Hulk: “LET’S GET RID OF STUFF! GRRRRRR!”)
  5. Watched more documentaries and listened to more podcasts. (More on this: I have almost completely given up listening to music while I workout at the gym and instead listen to podcasts, which is very weird. But it works for me!)
  6. (My fave) Continued joyfully developing my relationships with the two exemplary young women my sons chose to marry, not only because I love them dearly and am interested in making sure we have a strong and loving family unit, but also because I am very interested in doing my part to break the traditional, negative mother-in-law stereotype that continues to run rampant. (I don’t think I need to say more on this! I love this era of my life and my sons’ lives.)

That post got very positive feedback, which is always nice. (I am connected to the best people!) It made me think about other unquantifiable goals (Not resolutions! Blech!) I’d like to work on in 2024.

Besides continuing to work on what I’m proud of from 2023, here’s a work-in-progress list of what I’d like to see from myself in 2024:

  1. I started a super complicated cross stitch pattern around two years ago. The design was inspired by a Tiffany stained glass window and it is absolutely gorgeous. It requires 100% focus and I only worked on it for a few months before setting it aside. I hope to finish it by this time next year. Technically that’s a quantifiable goal, especially because it’s a COUNTED CROSS STITCH project, but I think my secondary goal that’s related to finishing it is regularly taking the time to do something I love doing.
  2. After being able to say thank you to Tina and her mom in person back in November, I want to look for more opportunities to express my gratitude to people who are important to me. I’ve already written letters and that was an incredible exercise. This year I’ll be working on expressing more gratitude in real time, verbally and in person.
  3. I want to reach out to more people, and plan meet-ups. I became sorely out of practice with having regular get-togethers during the pandemic and I’ve done a pretty good job and jumping back in, but I want to increase the frequency of that as well as reconnect with people. In fact, last week I reached out to someone from high school, who I haven’t seen since graduation. We have been connected on social media for a long time and she seems to be in a similar lifestage as I am. I always enjoy her posts and finally messaged her to see if she’d want to get together for lunch. We’re meeting up in two weeks! Here’s to new old friends!
  4. I want to diversify my reading genres. In the past decade I’ve clung pretty tightly to memoirs, and this year I’d like to toss in some fiction as well as some non-fiction-but-not-memoir books.
  5. Related, I want to read, and then get rid of, some of the books I bought and put on our bookshelf years ago. I think my plan will be to read one of those oldies in between every audiobook or newer book. That said, I probably won’t get too much reading done this year because of #1 up there, which is also fine.
  6. I want to get a better handle on my work schedule (which is largely up to me) and time management (which is completely up to me) and, whenever possible, finish my workday by mid-afternoon so I can get busy on other things.

There will definitely be more, but those came right off the top of my head. Working on goals that have no fixed number (or end) really works well for me, and I hope this inspires you to think about what you’d like to do with your time in 2024. Happy New Year!