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  • Writer's pictureDrew Dotson

The Solar Saga: Reflecting on my goals for the year

Remember how I set the intentions to be more Simple + Deliberate this year? If not, you’re already caught up to speed. Since it’s nearing the end of February, it seems like a good time to give an update — in the form of a story.

I was returning home from a walk one afternoon in January. I started up the stairs to the front stoop and door. As I took the first step, I glanced up and realized a person with a clipboard was ringing the doorbell. I quickly tried to U-turn like, “Whoops, I don’t live here,” but I’d been caught.

The young woman approached and said she was with Georgia Power. She said something about a metered billing program and told me a person would be in the area tomorrow to see if I qualified. I thought, “No, absolutely not interested,” but the Woman with a Clipboard was sweet, and I knew her job must be difficult.

“Will the person need to come inside?”

“No, they’ll just make a report to see if you qualify,” she explained.

“Okay. They can stop by.”

I regretted the words as I said them, but I thought saying yes would help the Woman with a Clipboard in some way.

The next morning, as I got ready for the day, I thought, “Ugh, that mystery person is coming by this morning.” But I told myself it wouldn’t be a big deal. Plus, maybe the metered billing thing was a decent idea. I had a good experience with it years prior.

The mystery person called to let me know he was on his way. I was at my desk in the sunroom when he arrived, and he motioned for me to come outside. This was not going according to plan.

After introducing himself, he asked, “So, what questions do you have about solar energy?”

Plot twist.

I should have told him right away about the miscommunication — that this was supposed to be about metered billing. I thought perhaps the Woman with a Clipboard had made a mistake, and I didn’t want her to get in trouble. So, without hesitation, I summoned my improv powers.

I was suddenly a solar enthusiast.

“Well, everything, really. I’m seeing more houses with solar panels in the area, and I’m curious about the process.”


I repeatedly asked myself, “What am I doing?” But next thing I knew, a roofer was at the house flying a drone overhead to check the condition of the roof.

Meanwhile, I’m waiting for someone to call “SCENE!” so I can get out of this mess.

I did eventually get out of this mess — weeks later — by doing something else I’ve been working on lately: asserting boundaries. But I was frustrated with myself because I wasted so much time and energy, all in an effort to be some kind of martyr for the Woman with a Clipboard.

So, the solar saga inspired me to review my words for the year: Simple + Deliberate. As indicated by the story above, I have missed the mark on occasion. I started the year by letting things happen to me instead of remembering I’m the one who gets to make decisions about my life (i.e., “Solar panels? I can’t make that commitment at this time.” Door shuts.)

On a brighter note, I’ve had some wins, too. As I shared in a January post, my year started off with some turbulence. I should clarify that nothing happened directly to me, but my mind got a bit off track.

As I tried to rein myself in, I became more deliberate about self-care. I dislike that term for many reasons, most of which relate to being in the hospital with Ramon. But, in my effort to be simple, I made the easy decision to stick with the pre-established term of self-care.

In my planner each week, I make a table. The left side includes daily habits I want to adopt, and the days of the week are along the top. I put checkmarks as I complete the daily goals. In a never-been-done-by-me-before move, I added self-care to the list.

I got a little nervous after I added it. Could I come up with something to do for myself every day? It turned out to be easier than I expected. I’ll admit my most frequent self-care activity is napping. I used to fight myself on napping, insisting I had too much to do. But lately, I’ve found if I take a quick afternoon nap, I have a second burst of energy. Napping is much easier when I consider it a gift to myself — an investment — rather than deeming it lazy or unproductive.

Other self-care activities include taking baths, reading on the couch midday with the dogs, going to an antique store, or even saying no to something to make space for another. And some days I go on walks — and return home to see the Woman with a Clipboard at my front door.

If you, too, set intentions or goals for the year, I hope you’re crushing them. And, if you’ve veered off course, that’s okay, too. You can always recalibrate.

I almost accidentally got solar panels for goodness’ sake.

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