2018 Resolutions.

   1. Manage my time more effectively.

This includes: 10:45 bedtime!!
Floss in the morning instead of at night.
Stick to my daily writing time.
Plan my weekends and leisure time in advance and get the
important stuff done beforehand.
Schedule time for reading books.
Overall, be more focused and mindful of my time!

 

   2. Read (at least) two books a month. Try to read more children’s fiction. Track reading on Goodreads!

   3. Make more of an effort to hang out with people and be open to making new friends.

   4. Cut back on Facebook/all social media (yes, this includes Youtube).

   5. Exercise at least three times/week (surpassing 21 weeks). Focus on arms, as well as leg strength and flexibility.

   6. Try to walk/ride my bike to work more often instead of driving.

   7. Finish first draft of manuscript (you can do it!!!).

   8. When life gets tough, be tougher. Don’t give up right away! When you feel lonely and lost, work on changing your mindset.

   9. Put more money into savings and keep better track of expenses. Have goals for what to spend the money on (pet cat? Dance class?).

  10. Stay motivated at work and always focus on improvement. Cut back on the negative self-talk and always remember the positive. This may mean having to accept that not everyone will get along with you.

  11. Figure out what I believe in and don’t believe in, both politically and religiously. Use this blog if it helps!

2017 was a bit of a tough year for me, especially socially, but I also made a lot of progress by venturing out of my comfort zone and starting my career. I’m excited/nervous for 2018 and I wish for safety and happiness for everyone as we go forth into this New Year!

Good luck! 😀 ❤

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2017 Year in Review.

Hello! It’s me again! Another year has passed in which I’ve been terrible at blogging, but I’ve still been writing, and this blog is mainly for myself anyway. 🙂

Anyway, I’ve found that blogging annual resolutions has actually been a helpful guide for me going into the upcoming year. This is something I’m going to continue doing, since it also allows me the headspace for self-reflection, which I’m trying to do more of.

With that in mind, here’s a recap of my 2017 resolutions:

1.  Floss daily.
DONE. It’s often been a pain, and means I’ve gone to bed a lot later than I could’ve, but there have only been a handful of days when I haven’t flossed. I think that was because I had run out of floss. The dentist told me that not flossing led to the development of cavities between my teeth that required fillings, so that’s reason enough for me to continue with it. I really wish flossing made my teeth look better, but having healthy gums is cool too, I guess. Next year’s resolution: STILL FLOSS EVERY DAY.

2. Be more assertive.
This goal took a lot of effort, in terms of self-awareness and venturing outside my comfort zone. I added some suggestions in my original resolution about ways I could tackle this, and I discovered that they’re still quite relevant in terms of habits I have to break.

Starting a new job in a new community was a difficult transition, and I felt very isolated. I even had my probation extended because I was so unconfident in myself and uncertain about whether the job was something I could handle. However, over the last couple months, I’ve found myself becoming a lot more comfortable with my coworkers, and I’ve noticed that they’ve been chatting a bit more with me beyond the usual small talk. I’ve had to push myself to be friendly and social, to trust myself rather than constantly ask for reassurance.

Although I’ve been improving, I know I’ll continually struggle to express myself  confidently and have to push myself to be more social. I think the key is to maintain a positive attitude, be grateful for the friends I have, and never give up trying to connect with people.

3.  Finish the first draft of my novel.
Haha ha.

Ha.

Nope.

So, obviously this didn’t happen this year (again). Working a full-time job has made me quite time-poor, and even though I built in an hour for writing during my 9-5 weekday, more often than not, I didn’t meet this target.

According to my work timer, I worked for 185 intervals, for a total of 92 hours and 30 minutes. May was my most productive month; I wrote for 10 hours and 30 minutes. My lowest month (unsurprisingly) is this December; I’ve been making cards, shopping, and generally doing fun/stressful Christmas-related things. Generally, when I do write, I’ve been quite productive, not worrying so much about writing beautifully, but concentrating more on building a solid structure. I would say I’m almost halfway through the first draft, with a clearer plan in place regarding how it’s going to end. Here’s a full breakdown:

March 7 hours
April 7 h 30 min
May 10 h 30 min
June 9 h
July 8 h 30 min
August 9 h
September 10 h
October 7 h
November 9 h
December 4 h 30 min.

4.  Exercise at least three times a week.
I accomplished this goal (3 days/week) for 21 weeks out of the year. I know that is far from adequate, but I have made other strides in terms of exercise. Towards the end of the year, I bought 8 pound dumbbells and have been using them for some strength exercises. I’ve been aiming to do an arm workout every Sunday and have mostly been sticking to that. The back exercises and leg exercises (back bows, swimmers, etc.) have also been getting easier. Some routines I’ve struggled through before are now a breeze for me. It’s tough to balance the need to exercise with the need to write — often exercise wins out, because I feel the need to move around/calm down/ be healthy. I think I’m still going to aim for 3 times a week next year, and hopefully I’ll be able to manage my time better.

5. Read and watch more non-fiction.
I’ve made some small strides: I’ve read Thanks for the Money (Joel MacHale memoir), Looks Like Daylight (interviews with indigenous youth), I’m also partway through Sapiens and Seneca’s Letters from a Stoic. In terms of TV, I’ve continued watching Cosmos and added a few documentaries to my list. Nothing super educational, though. I’ll have to work on finding where my interests lie.

6. Try to read or watch the news every day.
I’ve done my best. It’s certainly been a more…….interesting year for news, although sometimes I have to check out of the continuous catastrophe in the United States and focus more on what’s going on here, or stay updated on the crises happening around the world. I did try to get informed enough to vote in the local election, so I’m pleased that it’s become more of a habit (for better or worse).

7. Take a refresher driving course.
DONE! I was scared and somewhat embarrassed to take (another) driving course, and although my final score wasn’t as high as I would’ve liked, it gave me the skills and confidence to practice driving more often — even venture into the busy city! Not being limited to the town I work in has given me so much freedom and peace of mind, so I am quite proud of myself. I’ve had to trust myself to see improvement, but the risk paid off. Driving is sometimes essential for my job, so I needed to improve anyway.

8. Do better at managing my temper.
Headspace, the meditation app, has helped make me more mindful of myself. My sudden flares in temper may also be related to low blood sugar, so I’m going to the naturopath tomorrow to get this all sorted out. In January, I’m going to get officially tested for hypoglycemia. Hopefully, the results will better explain my mood swings!

9. Try even harder to stay informed, to show kindness and generosity, to be an example of forgiveness and understanding. To not be complacent, to distinguish myself.
I’ve donated to charities throughout the year, close to home and abroad. I also donated winter gear to the youth shelter in the city. I keep coming back to this Metric lyric that goes, “Have I ever really helped / Anybody but myself?”. Part of my job is to help people, and it’s important work, but I don’t just want to do it when I’m getting paid for it. I want to be part of something for the greater good, not merely live my life only helping people when it’s convenient for me.

There have been a few situations this year when I’ve struggled to show forgiveness, mainly because my pride was hurt and I felt people were being unfair to me. It’s easy for me to wind myself up in frustration or annoyance and question whether or not it’s rational for me to be upset. It’s a difficult realization to discover that you can’t trust certain people as much as you thought you could. I know, in the end, it’s better to let things go and either start fresh or move forward without them. I’ve grown a lot this year, but I always want to be a better person.

That’s it for now! Hope you’re having a safe and happy holiday! 😀

Signs and Symptoms of Unannounced Admiration.

One of my favourite films is about two close friends – a man and a woman – who both fall for the same guy. Since his sexuality isn’t entirely clear, they’re in tense competition for his affections, and any sort of attention paid to one of them is a setback for the other. In the end, they must surrender their feelings to the man of their desire, only for both to be met with harsh rejection. The competition was fruitless; it was all for nought.

I can relate so much to the feelings of ectasy and subsequent stress that accompany really, really admiring someone. Anything – any word, action or gesture, any look or period of silence – can be interpreted as a sign. A good sign, a bad sign – depending on my mood, depending on the day. The signs are constantly shifting, and I roll them over and over in my head, analyzing and reanalyzing, until it becomes a nebulous mass eating away at my brain.

Even that is a more appealing option than the silent dread of confessing how I feel, giving him the power to end the speculation quite abruptly. In an instant, every fantasy of us together, potentially swept away into the doldrums with the sudden shock of rejection.

And yet, even that would be more pleasant than having never met him at all. Having daydreams of people who don’t exist, or yearning for people who have long since moved on without me.

For now, I don’t have the choice of when and where I see him. I can only choose how I react and how I aim to move forward, running toward or away from this happiness, with the ever-looming threat of disappointment. Telling him would transfer the weight of my feelings onto him, and I don’t want to bring that stress into his life. Not telling him leaves me with the ever-changing, anxiety-inducing signs.

None of my options right now seem particularly easy or viable. But there’s one thing I’m counting on to show me what to do next: Time.

I’ve already spent quite a lot of Time and Energy on thinking about and reacting to this person, but I’ll spend some more, in hopes that he’ll make the signs more obvious.

Someday I may look back on this post and think of what a fool I’ve been. Well, those are the rules of the game. I’m never too old to be embarrassed, but I hope to become less self-conscious.

For now, I’m truly grateful for how happy and relaxed he makes me, putting a little more sunshine into my day. I hope one day he realizes this, and if that’s all that he can give me – it’s enough. More than enough.

Trivial Bliss.

I’m addicted to having mindless fun without any effort or concern. The more time I spent procrastinating working my novel, the less time I spend facing inadequacy, feeling frustrated, feeling like this is an exercise in futility.

Some people have their work time, then they go home and have leisure time. They watch TV, and spend time with their significant other or their kids, and it doesn’t require much self-discipline. At least not the same focus my novel demands. Sometimes I trick myself into thinking I want that life.

It scares me to have such a big dream — a published novel — and then grow old and have to admit to myself it went nowhere. Maybe because I lacked the ambition, but not because I lacked the time. Maybe because I lacked the talent, or the know-how to sell myself. But I can never say I’ve not had enough time.

I’ve placed the purpose of my days in a story. It might not be any good; it might turn out to be a car wreck. But maybe it’ll convey a message that I’ve always wanted to say to myself, and when I go back and read it in this story, it’ll finally make sense.

That’s my hope. Now I just need the drive to push myself a little more…

I feel so conflicted.

I’m in love with missing you. Part of me was afraid I wouldn’t feel any pain, but now the pain feels refreshing. All the good memories glow with innocence and perfection. The future dares me to accept uncertainty, to let go of what we were and begin my own plan. Even you want that.

I confess: I feel a spontaneous, vibrant happiness around someone else. I feel like I’m back to my old boy-obsessing ways. But it’s not right for me — not now. I’m afraid that I’ve already started clinging too tightly to every subtlety of every interaction, analyzing the layers of meaning.

I’ve been like this before. I’ve obsessed over not knowing if my feelings are reciprocated. Knowing might not be better anyway; knowing is a whole other fear. I don’t want to transfer my feelings for you to another person. Sometimes I wonder if our separation was the right decision, but I just couldn’t make these doubts go away. There was uncertainty and doubt down every path.

I know that as much as this new person brings me joy, he could just as easily bring intense loneliness as well. Without even knowing it. So I need to be prepared to go without this attention from him, to be willing to step back and be alone with myself. To not panic, to not compare. The adventure continues…

You were a wonderful boyfriend.

I’m so proud to be loved by you and be able to love you.

Moving and New Transitions.

I never thought that I would be able to cross off one of last year’s resolutions so soon. I finally found a permanent position at a library!!! I was blown away when I got the news. My interview felt mediocre when I analyzed my answers afterwards.

I’ll be moving tomorrow to a smaller city, near the major city where some of my friends live. I’m anxious about this transition and the permanence of the job. Being in school and taking contract jobs allows for a lot of shifting around. It means trying to get comfortable with uncertainty, but having something permanent naturally means that other parts of my life become temporary or inaccessible as well.

More updates to come…

2017 New Year’s Resolutions

These are my resolutions for 2017. I’ll add more resolutions and descriptions as I think of them.

1.  Floss daily.
Pretty self-explanatory. The dentist told me I should floss not once a week, not every other day like I have been, but EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Let’s see how this one goes.

2. Be more assertive.
‘Assertive’ includes things like:

  • not saying hello in such a soft voice that no one can hear,
  • kindly speaking up when I think my coworker is making a mistake or forgot to mention something
  • not worrying too much about saying/texting the right thing, getting back in touch with friends
  • not second-guessing myself all the time and try to trust that people will be friendly and polite if I strike up a conversation

3.  Finish the first draft of my novel.

4.  Exercise at least three times a week.

5. Read and watch more non-fiction. 
This also means not being intimidated by learning facts and history, not being afraid of confusion like I suspect I have been in the past.

6. Try to read or watch the news every day.

7. Take a refresher driving course. 

8. Do better at managing my temper.

9. Now that Trump is President-Elect, I’m going to try even harder to stay informed, to show kindness and generosity, to be an example of forgiveness and understanding. To not be complacent, to distinguish myself. 

 

A Review of Last Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year! Here’s a review of my 2016 resolutions:

  1. Finish the first draft of my novel
    I am definitely not even close to finishing the first draft, but I am working toward finishing the chapter summaries/outline. If I’m reading my productivity report correctly, I wrote for 31 hours this year, which really isn’t a lot. I’m learning a lot more about the techniques of novel writing and I know the outline will be quite useful in giving my story the structure it needs. I hope to finish the outline within a few months, and then I’ll have a much clearer vision for the first draft.
  2. Make more time for working out (at least 3 times a week)
    My workout schedule was terrible (rarely once a week, if at all) until it started picking up in August, near the end of my job contract. I did go to the gym a few times with my boyfriend and tried to get used to working out that way (with mixed results). Who knows what I was doing the rest of those months. I know in the summer months I was definitely outside a lot more, going on walks, doing stuff that didn’t get recorded in my calendar. There was definitely a commitment issue, though.
    During my three-month period of unemployment, my workouts multiplied to at least once a week, sometimes as much as four times a week. I’m trying to stay consistent in December, but with a full-time job now, it’s definitely going to be more of a challenge.
  3. Get my left and right splits
    Nope. After completing the Pop Pilates #JourneytoSplits challenge, I realized that getting my splits requires so much daily effort and needs to be a constant commitment. I would rather use that time to work on total body fitness (which didn’t work out so well either! See above). The splits are cool to have, but it’s not really a range of motion I need (to that extent) in my everyday life. I did notice progress in the splits challenge, and by the end of it I almost had my left splits. But it turned out to be too much effort for not enough pay-off.
  4. Get a permanent position at the library
    This was the most challenging goal, because it didn’t rely solely on my will power to achieve it. The library job market is been particularly dismal right now, and ongoing, entry-level positions are scarce. I’ve broadened my job search to other provinces and I finally managed to acquire a short-term contract close to home. Hopefully diversifying my experience will help! This is the one resolution I’m quite motivated to achieve because I don’t have much choice.
  5. Find new strategies of coping with anxiety and moodiness
    I really should have kept better track of this, because I can’t recall all the strategies I’ve used (if I was consciously using any at all) and which ones were effective or ineffective. I still throw tantrums sometimes, but I try to make sure they’re private. I think I’m becoming more aware of whether my mood is caused by some internal hormonal shift or by external circumstances (such as stress or an argument). One thing that definitely heightens my anger is when I know I’m not being listened to, so part of handling this issue is making sure I’m understood by the person I’m fighting with.
    I’m more aware now that there are consequences when I don’t keep my mood in check. If I’m frustrated or upset, I have to be careful about how I release it. More often than not, people don’t mean to hurt me, and if it’s not a persistent issue, it’s easier in the long run to just let it go.
  6. Make more time for self-care
    I’m not completely sure what I meant by this, but being unemployed certainly left me with a lot of time to look after myself! I established a loose routine to keep up my good habits. I started volunteering so I could add purpose to my days and get to know the city. This year, I was overall in a good place emotionally and physically.
  7. Read at least one book every month
    I’m not 100% certain, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t achieve this pathetically easy goal. I wasn’t even keeping track. I’m trying to start reading before bed again, but that involves going to bed early, another good habit I’ve been struggling with. Now that I’ve got a job again, I’m getting a bit better at it, and being around books all the time gives me more incentive to read!
  8. Be a good neighbour to those around me (which means being patient, friendly, considerate, instead of shy and withdrawn)
    I’m trying my best to be more aware of how I come across to people and to reign in my emotions when necessary. I try to catch myself when I’m being anxious about something that’s not a big deal, such as replying to texts or making plans with someone I’m not close to. I’ve learned strategies to suspend judgement of people and expel negative thoughts from me, although I’m still working on becoming a more positive, accepting person.
  9. Set limits for my time on Facebook and find something more productive to do
    I didn’t set a limit for my time on Facebook, but I don’t think it’s as much of a problem as it used to be; I’m finding it less interesting. I go on news sites a lot more now; I hope to increase my political awareness.

2016 Resolutions

I’ll Feel For You – Semisonic

  1. Finish the first draft of my novel
  2. Make more time for working out (at least 3 times a week)
  3. Get my left and right splits
  4. Get a permanent position at the library
  5. Find new strategies of coping with anxiety and moodiness
  6. Make more time for self-care
  7. Read at least one book every month
  8. Be a good neighbour to those around me (which means being patient,  friendly, considerate, instead of shy and withdrawn)
  9. Set limits for my time on Facebook and find something more productive to do