Meditations of Anticipation

Ahh, December 1st. The first day of the last month. We are here at last. Can you believe it? We’ve almost crossed 2018, another year. Another 365 days of learning more and perhaps wishing to have learned less. Maybe we achieved far greater goals than we set for ourselves. Maybe we didn’t even try to come close to them. Whatever the case may be, we are here in the greatest anticipation that seasons bring.

On my refrigerator is a Native American proverb that says, “Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today.” I’m guilty for disobeying this proverb. Every morning, I mentally trace my steps from the previous day up until that very moment when I woke up. I take a good 30 minutes to do this and reflect on what I did. I write it down in my journal – what happened yesterday, every detail I draw from memory. I evaluate my own actions and, from those actions, I rid yesterday of the things that no longer serve me. Now, the refrigerator magnet, if it had a say in the matter, would disagree. I spend far too much time retracing my past in the morning when I could simply let go of yesterday and allow today to unfold as it may. Nevertheless, I am stubborn and stick to my own ways.

I’m not saying this a practice for everyone. This just happens to work for me. I make time for it, no matter how freaking early I have to be up. But this is the time to start learning more about who you are and anticipating what you are capable of in 2019, if you haven’t already. 

Needless to say, not everything has to revolve around work or your job. Enjoy this time with family and friends. My husband and I are excited to visit my family in California next month. I cannot wait to show him my childhood home, the beaches I went to, the friends I made at the dance studio and the city I grew up in. 

I cannot plan or anticipate each day to happen according to my expectations. As I grow older, I notice that I tend to latch onto the past just a little tighter. I give it a nice squeeze before I have to release it into another chapter of my life. As I write this, I realize just how difficult that is. Don’t we all tend to hold onto memories? We take pictures and frame them to share moments of the past, or share memories on Facebook. We tell stories of people we used to know, whether that be someone else or even ourselves. 

Who’s to say it’s not productive in looking back? We take many forms every year and revisiting that as we approach a new year makes it that much more enriching. It’s worth looking back on who we were then and who we are now. That within itself is productive.  

Most of all, love you. FOR you.    


Welcoming 2018 Together

The idea of beginning again is like stepping onto a new Ferris Wheel.

We go around the same loop we did at another amusement park, except this ride is more grand and brings us to another vantage point we were never at before.

That’s the sense I’m getting as the morning moves on into the New Year’s Eve afternoon. My husband and I are newlyweds, and we get to enjoy welcoming the new year together. He’s playing Overwatch right now on his computer while I’m sitting in our tiny dining room, typing on my laptop. Our apartment is so small, but so befitting for our young marriage and we know we want to move out into something a little bigger when it’s right.

I am still in the army for at least another three years and he’ll be out next May. He’s already starting the job hunting process which is exciting. While we both love the army and are grateful to serve our country, he welcomes the idea of a fresh start to his career.

My new career in Public Affairs has been mediocre and not as busy as I thought it would be. In 2017, I published five articles – one in LA YOGA Magazine and four in the post newspaper. This is a huge step back from the weekly newspaper I worked for in California before enlisting. With my English degree, we’re discussing the option for me to apply for Officer Candidate School and move up in rank. If accepted, the risk of me losing PAO work is high. However, my mother-in-law was a 42A, a Human Resources Specialist, and we think that might be a good alternative for me. No matter where my career goes from here, I am grateful the army brought me to him and allowed me to get paid to write.

The morning after our wedding, we wrote down some short term goals we have that may stretch out into long term ones. However long it takes for us to accomplish them is however long it takes. There is no sprint in getting out of debt unless we miraculously win the lottery… knock on wood. We are in this marathon together. Our mantra is “we will get there,” or “we will make it.” I honor and respect that about us. We will work our butts off, and continue to work when we get there. One thing I admire about his family is that they don’t have to work, but they choose to. They are hardworking Midwest people, and I love them. I grew up seeing my parents work, work, work, and they still made time to love and care for each other and for me and my brothers. Lord knows it wasn’t easy for my parents; neither came from wealth. They made their own fortune which still wasn’t a bunch, but it was more than enough. My parents golfed together, they owned a business together, they raised three kids together, they traveled together – never wavering in love, responsibility or commitment.

I see that being us in thirty years. Still working, still dancing, still worrying, still laughing, still praying, still growing, still loving. I would be lying if I said it will be easy; it’s going to be tough. It’s going to take work. But with that hard work comes reward.

We will ring in this new year and welcome the ride.








What 2017 Taught Me

I swear I was just on a plane to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, a shy little Specialist Amanda Ridder straight out of airborne school traveling to her first unit, unsure of practically everything you could imagine. I blinked and here I am: Specialist Amanda Ridder about to become Specialist Amanda Baker, a young woman open to a new chapter of her life once again.

2016 was the year I graduated basic, AIT and airborne school. Before joining the army, I was a 25-year-old college graduate living at her parent’s house waiting tables. I took the leap and joined the 1%, and no regrets ever since. And I’m just getting warmed up.

After the whirlwind of 2016, I wasn’t sure how I was going to be ready for 2017! I had conquered my biggest fear yet by volunteering to jump out of five perfectly good airplanes! I set the bar pretty high for myself.

In 2017, I grew to understand that time would open my eyes to even bigger challenges that I never predicted; that Google never told me; that a manual could not teach me. I fell in love and got engaged. I am planning not only one, but two weddings: one here in Washington in 18 days and another in  Missouri on my fiance’s family property next year. This alone goes to show how blessed I am. And yet again, I have set the bar higher.

I can only imagine what 2018 has in store.