My First Quarter Self Review

How has the first quarter of the year already come and gone? I wasn’t ready for this. I realize I’m a few days behind on this post, I should have done it last week probably, but oh well. I’ll do things on my own time. I had debated this morning if I was actually going to even do a first quarter review, knowing that my year isn’t going to go as planned, not any more. The thing is, if I don’t try to hold myself accountable at least a little I’ll never get anywhere. So, here we go…
According to my Bullet Journal here are the goals I had set for myself this quarter:
1. Write 1-2 articles
2. Blog post every week
3. Make & achieve weight loss goals
4. Study more
5. Start paying off debt
6. Start first draft of novel

So how did I do with these goals? Not super great over all, but individually I did okay. I didn’t get any articles written, not one. I did some brainstorming on ideas, but that was as far as I got. Writing has been fairly difficult for me this quarter and I’m just now trying to get myself back into a space that I can write again. So maybe this quarter will have different results? Only one way to find out.
I did post a blog almost every week. If you don’t count the two weeks I took off from writing anything at all, which I don’t. I needed that time off. So I will count that one as a success!\
I made my goals, but as of today am just slightly off from reaching them. I will still count this as a success. I am doing something that I’ve struggled with my whole life. And I’m doing well with it. I even met with my Personal Trainer 2 times last week and she kicked my ass.
I actually did a good bit of studying the past few months. I was trying to get an IT position with my company so I did quite a lot of HTML, CSS and JavaScript classes. I still have some to finish and then I’d like to move on to something a bit more interesting to me personally. I did not get the job, and that is okay because it will give me much more time to focus on the skills I need to get it, or something like it, in the future.
I spent zero time or effort in the debt department. I am frustrated by this, but I hope to do better this quarter. I really want to get a handle on this and on my savings in general. I have big goals for the year, and this is one of the things that needs to get handled in order to reach my goals.
Up until yesterday I hadn’t really reaching the first draft goal. So I will say this was a no for the first quarter. However, Camp NaNo started yesterday and I started my draft of my novel. Fingers crossed I make it through the month and reach my 50,000 word count goal. That will put me at, or near a full first draft of a novel! I can do it!
Overall for the first quarter, if I had to give myself a grade, I would say it was something around a C, maybe a C+. I don’t think I anything that I did could have been improved much, not knowing how the end of last year was for me. This year is going to be an adjustment period that is for sure. I know that I have to keep pushing through, and I’m trying, that is why I keep giving myself these goals and why I keep adjusting them when I can.
For this next quarter, and for the rest of the year, I have changed slightly how I’m doing my goals. I have found this thing, called Level 10 Life and I am giving this a go. The link provided is of an example of what you can do with this philosophy, it is not the be all end all resource. If you want to know more I suggest doing some research and possibly reading The Miracle Morning, which I have not read yet, but it has been on my to read list for awhile now.
My 10 areas are as follows:
1. Health & Fitness
2. Family & Friends
3. Career
4. Personal Development
5. Writing
6. Being Involved
7. Marriage
8. Finances
9. Fun
10. Culture

This is what I will focus on for the rest of the year. And I feel like they are great areas of focus for me. So, now that you’ve been let in to my most personal thoughts, what are your goals for this year? How have you stacked up so far for the goals you made at the start of the year?

I took 2 weeks off and here is what I learned….

I didn’t write anything for the last two weeks, aside from my daily journal entry. After my brother’s death I’ve had a hard time adjusting to my life and figuring out where I’m supposed to go from here. Everyone has said that it will take time to find the new “normal” for my life. I’m not there yet, probably not even close, but my mind has started to settle down most days, and nights long enough for me to get through.

One of the ways I tried to help myself get through this time was take breaks from the things that seemed to be pushing me too hard. Writing and blogging was top of that list. Every time I sat down to write one of two things happened: First my mind would go completely blank, even more blank then when I’m fighting a case of writer’s block. I would basically lose the knowledge that I had of the written word. Poof, gone. The second thing that could happen would I would be able to think of nothing but my brother. I wanted to do nothing but write about him, base characters off of him, and just pour my heart out. Which would have been fine, probably, but the minute I would start to try I would lose either all motivation, or like the first scenario all knowledge I had of how to put words together to form sentences.

It has been a horrible three months since his death, taking two weeks off from writing won’t “fix” me in any way. I’m not really broken, I’m just no longer whole. The reason I took the time off in the first place was because trying to push myself to get everything done every day was killing me. I started medication for the first time in 15 years and it made me so fatigued I could hardly keep myself awake for a couple hours at a time. So after an exhausting 9 hours or more at work I couldn’t make myself write, workout, eat, study, read and everything else adults have to do. Something had to give, something had to be put to the side to see if it was still what I needed in my life now that my life is no longer the same.

So, at the title to this post states, I want to talk about what I learned from this break. I learned that I miss blogging, even though I don’t have much of a following, but I realized that maybe I would really like to grow this thing in the future. Not just as my “I’m a writer look at me” kind of thing, but just in general. I can’t be the only person in the world who goes through what I go through. Being a part of #TheBloggessTribe has shown me that beyond a doubt. Maybe something I write here might help someone else out some day? I also learned that writing in general is still my life and my therapy. Without it I am not a person that I want to be. I may never be a famous writer, I may never even be known as a writer, but that is okay because it makes me happy and in the end, that is all that matters to me. I need, now more than ever, to be happy. Or as close to happy as I can get anyway.

That might not be as much as you expected. I won’t apologize for it, but the reason behind that is the possible subject of another post for another day maybe. I would really be interested in hearing your thoughts, either in comments, on twitter, tumblr, google+– whatever format you prefer. And you can find me on all of those platforms if you want to stay in touch with me. I’m sure the links are on my site somewhere.

I hope to everyone out there that is struggling with one thing or another that you all know you are not alone. Please, if you ever need someone to talk to reach out to me. I am here. #NeverAlone

Find Your Why

I recently read an article, which sadly I can not find now that I’m writing this down, about why people aren’t usually able to keep their New Year’s Resolutions. I’m not really one to make Resolutions in general, but if you saw my first post of the year (I think), I do tend to try to set goals for myself on a fairly regular basis.

The reason this article spoke to me was because it basically said that Resolutions, or goals in my case, are things that we know we should be doing, for whatever reason, but people don’t make time for shoulds. Instead they will only make time for things if they know why they are doing them. And not just the superficial reason: “I want to do x because it will make me y.” You’ve got to think harder than that. Why do you want the result from that statement? What does it really provide to you, your family, and your life?

I’ve spent my last few days of journal entries trying to figure out my own why, and I think I may finally have it, but only time will really tell. I’m planning on re-visiting this search in a month or so to see is my why sticks, or if it has changed or evolved.

I just think this whole concept is quite interesting and would be interested to hear other peoples thoughts on it.

On Writing

As usual I had other ideas about what I was going to write about today, but when I sat down to write none of those ideas spoke to me. So here I am, writing off the cuff as one might say. I wasn’t sure what I was going to write, until I just started to do it just now.

I’ve been struggling with my writing lately. I’ve been struggling with a lot of things. I know it is a part of the process and I’m trying to be okay with that. I don’t want to stop grieving for my Brother, because that is how I feel. I am sad. I am beyond sad and nothing is going to change that. At the same time, I hate when my sadness makes me unable to achieve my goals, and that is what is happening. So now I’m just getting mad at myself for being sad, but being sad is what I want to be. It is a fun cycle I have going on in my mind.

I’ve tried to break the cycle, at least with my writing. I’ve tried starting a new project since the current one held no draw for me. That didn’t work. I thought about past projects that maybe I could take a look at and breathe new life into. That didn’t work either. So I’ve gone back to the original project that I was working on and have started to edit the first 52 pages that I have written. It is sort of working. I get about a page done every day, not because I can’t do more, or because it takes me that long. Nope, it is because I can’t stand to look at my writing for more than 20 minutes.

I had the thought, briefly, that maybe I just wasn’t supposed to write any more, but I quickly was able to pull out my ‘Depression Lies’ list in my Bullet Journal to remind myself that isn’t true. I’m just depressed. So I will keep editing, maybe by the time I’m done I’ll feel like writing, maybe not. Maybe when I finish I’ll have to edit another project. I don’t know. What I do know is as long as I keep sitting down to try to write, edit, or whatever it is I do when I open up the document, then I am working towards my goal. Slowly, sure, but I’m still working towards it. I can’t do much more than that can I?

I think I might start reading On Writing again, it is one of my favorite books to inspire me to write, and re-motivate myself in general. I’m thinking that would be a step in the right direction to get myself back on track. And if that doesn’t work, that is fine. I’ve got plenty of projects that need to be edited. Even if that is all I do all year, at least I haven’t given up.

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The Saturday that Worked

I have had a fairly off week this past week. I won’t lie, I’ve been having fairly off weeks since the end of December when my brother passed away, but I’ve been trying to get through them, some more successfully than others. I’ve even started thinking about my attempts at putting my life back together as all the attempts I made at quitting smoking. My life is going to be littered with failures until one day I wake up and refuse to fail again.

I don’t know if this is going to be that time or not. Probably not, but we will see. The struggle I’m having with trying to put everything together is that if I get my life into some form of normal, does that mean that I’m no longer supposed to be destroyed over losing my best friend? Am I now supposed to be “okay” or “all better”? Because that is exactly what it feels like is supposed to be happening if my life gets into some form of stable.

If there is one thing that I can guarantee to somebody, it is that I am not okay, nor am I all better. I am a mess, completely and utterly destroyed, so doesn’t that mean that I can’t allow my life to reflect otherwise? It’d be really nice if there were a guide to this kind of thing, but there isn’t, so I’m trying to work it all out on my own. On one hand I know that Matt would want me to do my best to be okay and to live my life, but on the other I am so sad and not okay that trying to put any kind of normal into my life feels like a betrayal.

This post has gotten far more personal than I intended, and really fast. It is hard not to when I start talking about my brother, any of my brothers really, they are all very important to me and when you have (had?) five of them, they tend to take up a lot of your time. But let me try to get back to my point….

After several weeks of some okay days, and some not okay days I actually had a good day. My husband Jason is out of town for work this weekend. Normally when he is out of town I struggle more with my depression because I don’t have my other half here to tell me things are okay and give me a cuddle when I need it. This weekend I decided to try to have one day where I was productive and did new things, even if it meant trying to deal with my anxiety and go into crowds of people.

I was successful. Yesterday I woke up early and went to a local coffee shop for my coffee with several shots of espresso and promptly headed out to the local Farmer’s Market. I got there early thinking that I might have less people to deal with, but I was wrong, very wrong. It wasn’t as bad as I thought though. I walked around to a few tables and picked up a lovely soy candle, some soap for my husband, Patchouli essential oils that remind me of my brother’s smell, and a whole box of fresh fruits and veggies (all you can fit in the box for $10!!). I could have stayed longer, and I probably should have, or gone to my favorite Vegan restaurant in Columbia, but I didn’t. That is okay though, I did so many other things as well.

Up to this point would have been considered successful for me, but still I did more. I went home for a brief moment to put my fruit and veggies away and then headed out to see if I could find anything at Goodwill. Before getting to Goodwill I decided to swing through and get my car washed, as she really needed it, then headed off to the store. I didn’t find anything there, or Ross either, but that is okay because I left at first feeling like the reason I didn’t find anything was because of me, but quickly was able to turn those thoughts around realize that I was trying to shop in areas of the city that might not follow my specific style needs, and maybe next time I should go somewhere that I know they might sell things in my style. Once done at those stores I hit up Whole Foods to finish off my food shopping.

After getting home from there I gave my dog Idris a bath, because like my car, she really needed it. And started washing my bedding. Once that was started I packed up my now dry dog and took her to the Riverwalk for a nice walk. She had lots of fun, as did I. I hope to make this a more regular trip for us in the future.

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That was more or less where my day ended, other than finishing laundry, cooking a yummy dinner and doing some work on my computer while watching Anime. All in all it was the best Saturday I’ve had since December 30th, 2016. It showed me that I can enjoy my day, but still be grieving for my brother and still not feel okay.

So here is to more days that work for me in the future. Fingers crossed.

Podcasts

I swear, I make plans of what I’m going to write about for blogs every week, and then when Sunday comes I totally change what I write about. I’m not upset with this, because in reality this is just how my mind works. It always reminds me to a spoof of a semi-famous quote that was altered slightly from a cartoon I used to watch called The Grimm Adventures of Billy & Mandy. In the episode Mandy says “The road to stupid is paved with good intentions.” This is of course a rewording of “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Either one can be fitting for this situation I find myself in on a weekly basis.

 

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Anyway, this weeks post is going to be about podcasts. The idea came to mind because I was reading the latest Bloggess post and she mentioned a podcast Lore, which seemed quite up my alley and I have added it to my iTunes podcasts and look forward to listening to it in the future. So then I started to wonder what other awesome podcasts are out there that I’m not listening to?! I also thought that maybe some of the ones that I listen to might be interesting to others. So, I’m going to give you a list of my current podcast subscriptions! How exciting, I know. I will at least try to organize them by category.

Tech:
Diva Tech Talk
Women in Tech
Tech Leaders in Action
JavaScript Jabber
Basic HTML
Start Here: Web Development
Programming Throwdown
The CyberWire
Talk Python To Me
Hackers

Vegan:
Vegan Warrior Princess Attack!
No Meat Athlete Radio

Writing/Reading:
Writing Excuses
Odyssey SF/F Writing Workshops
I should be writing
The Writer’s Panel
The New Yorker: Fiction

Education:
Adam Ruins Everything
Stuff you missed in History Class
Stuff they don’t want you to know
Stuff you should know
TED Radio Hour
Lore
StarTalk Radio

Entertainment:
Nerdist
Radio Free Burrito dot COM
TV Crimes
Light Speed Magazine
Women of the Hour

 

So there is my list. I used to have more, mostly fitness related, but found that those didn’t hold my attention as much as these ones. Maybe I just didn’t find the right ones. Who knows.

So do you have any suggestions for podcasts that you really enjoy? I honestly am open to most anything, but some of my major interests, if you can’t tell are Technology (especially Women in Tech), Programming, Cyber Security, Yoga, Interesting Facts, Writing, Reading and Veganism, but I’m open to anything new and interesting!

Re-Commitment

I wasn’t really sure what to write about this week. I’m struggling to stay on top of writing a post a week. I’ve had ideas planned out so I could work on posts throughout the week and be all ready for a Sunday post, but well some of the ideas I came up with just don’t speak to me through the week so I can’t get myself to write about them. Or, as has been the case this week, I’ve just been so hard to motivate that I wasn’t able to do much of anything.
I guess what I’ve decided to write instead is a re-commitment to this blog. I’ll do better in the following weeks. For any of you that know a bit of what is going on in my life you know things have been rough for me lately. I’m trying to dig myself out of it. I really am, but this is a hard time in my life. I’m going to get better, slowly, but I can only do so much.
Until the time comes that I am close to the person I used to be, I can use some help. I need to know what I should be putting here. What are the kinds of things that you guys want to read about? I have some ideas, that I’ll get back to next week hopefully, but they seem a bit cheesy to me sometimes. I’m always open for suggestions.
Stick around, things will be getting better!