That Squeaky Wheel

It’s been a while since I’ve posted…just about four months. The desire has been there, rattling around periodically in the back of my mind, demanding attention, but work has been more demanding and you know what they say about the squeaky wheel.

May seems like a great time to get back into things. It’s warmer (sort of), the days are longer, and I will be on vacation for about half of the month, which means I’ll have more time to write! Interestingly enough, the last “real” post on this blog was before I came back from vacation. That might require some more thought… but another reason to start up again was the theme of May’s NaBloPoMo over at BlogHer. I’ve been thinking alot lately about what I eat and how I nourish my spirit and creativity and just have fun. So I’m going to challenge myself this month to work on the creative part of my life by blogging again. Here it goes!

 

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Looking Back on 2013

It’s always interesting to look back over a period of time to see where you are compared to where you thought you would be or even where you would like to be.

Right now, I am sitting in a Starbucks in San Diego surrounded by others with computers, sipping an Earl Grey latte and blogging. In my dreams, it would be a normal occurrence and not just a stop on my way to the airport to go back to Chicago!

But I don’t mean this quite so literally. Last year I commented on the new start that the New Year brings and how it prompts us to turn over a new leaf and make new goals. It was interesting to read through last year’s post since I haven’t stuck with any of goals I had for myself last year.

However, they did remain themes in my life for 2013.

Faith: time with God wasn’t as regular as I would have liked, but it was a huge improvement from 2012. Reading Jesus Calling nearly every day helped me to start my days off right. And although I am still not in a regular habit of spending one on one time with God, he has taught me so much this year. So although it didn’t look quite as I expected this year, I am happy with the progress I made.

Fitness: well, I started off well with eating right but that didn’t last either. But again, improvements have been made from where I was. And 2014 will be a second chance: starting on Wednesday, my roommate and I are going to strive for a Real Food diet in January. Of course, Bar Method didn’t figure into my plans at all since I started that in May. This has continued to be an important part of my life, sometimes more frequently than others. I did have the pleasure and privilege of taking a class at Bar Method Point Loma while in San Diego on vacation. What fun! So again, this didn’t look quite like what I expected but improvement was made over 2012.

Blogging: hahaha! Well, I did set myself a lofty goal. Not sure I’m going to even try for this year! Completing NaBloPoMo was a satisfying blogging achievement, one I hadn’t planned. I’m not going to set any kind of goal for myself here for 2014, but I would like to keep updating periodically. We’ll see how this goes!

There were other achievements in 2013 that weren’t planned for as well, such as paying off debt, getting a second (and third!) job, and, the largest and most satisfying, earning my PHR-CA! None of these made my published list for 2013 and were still important this year.

If I’ve learned anything from 2013, it’s that personal progress is more important than perfection. This is important, for me, as a perfectionist, to realize. While my achievements didn’t look the way I wanted them to for 2013, I am making strides toward the end I wanted. And I can be satisfied with that, without cutting myself down for not reaching the extremes I pictured in my head.

It’s nearly time for me to head to the airport. It’s been a great trip with many lessons and I’m sad to leave. But I’m looking forward to the rest of my week off of work and the opportunity to get 2014 off to a good start. Hopefully this flight will give me a chance to sit down and make some rough goals for 2014.

How do you feel about your year in review?

Aquaphobia

Everyone should be used to my not following the daily prompts closely. When I need help with a topic, I’ll peruse the past week’s topics and see if something sounds interesting.

Somehow, I missed this one from November 19: What’s the thing you’re most scared to do? What would it take to get you to do it?

Now, this isn’t asking what I’m most scared of, just what I’m most scared to do. If I thought long and hard about it, I might come up with something else, but this is the one that came to mind first: SCUBA diving.

Here’s the thing: I’m not afraid of water per se, but I am afraid of water over my head especially if I’m not wearing a life preserver or using some other type of floatation device. Yes, I know how to swim, but I’m not a strong swimmer. And yes, I can date this fear back to a specific event which I’m not going to get into today, since the question was about the fear, not what created it.

People who know me might point out that I’ve been snorkeling.

Snorkeling

Do you know what my poor roommate put up with to get me to that point? Near panic attacks as we practiced on the beach, that’s what. We’ve been twice, once in the Bahamas and once in Australia, and I’m glad I went. Both times I also had a floatation device AND someone with me and I was still nervous. It was amazing to see everything, particularly on the Great Barrier Reef, but I was also very relieved to get out of the water.

And that’s just snorkeling.

I cannot imagine willingly removing the floatation device and putting all of my trust into a regulator and tank and diving down that far, with pounds of water pressing on me. The thought alone makes my pulse race (not in a good way). SCUBA divers are highly trained and go through drills in a safe environment before they are ever able to go out into open water – all of my parents have been divers at some point – but even that doesn’t comfort me.

Honestly, I don’t know if anything could get me to go SCUBA diving. It would have to be a LOT of money. And it would take a lot of time. I would want to spend time learning to be a better swimmer, something I’d like to do anyway, and would probably have to learn to be desensitized to not being able to stand up in the water.

There are times in life when this fear bothers me more than others. Right now, in landlocked Chicago, I’m not too bothered. After all, it’s not keeping me from doing anything I want to do right now. But I might want to learn to surf some day and the fact that this would keep me from doing so does bother me. I made myself overcome the fear to go snorkeling on vacation, but I had floatation devices that helped. Someday, I think I’ll find a YMCA that teaches adult swim lessons and take some. Maybe surfing could be in my future. Who knows?

Lessons Learned from Daily Blogging

Today I’m borrowing yesterday’s prompt from BlogHer which reads: 

Tell us what you’ve learned so far about daily blogging.

Oh my goodness. It hasn’t even been a full week and already I have a fresh appreciation for people who do this regularly. All those blogs in my Feedly? You all have my full admiration and respect for what you do. Coming up with a new post every day is HARD, even with help from BlogHer and TheDailyPost.

And that’s just the post idea, not to mention the research that goes into it. Because things are researched, they aren’t just tapped out and posted in minutes.

Of course, planning ahead and scheduling posts in advance would help. The planner in me absolutely loves this idea. The thought of an editorial calendar has me drooling. One of the blogs I read regularly recently posted about her editorial calendar. Something like this would help me greatly, but I didn’t exactly make it easy on myself when I decided on November 1 that I was going to participate in NaBloPoMo. Life hasn’t exactly given me a chance this week to sit down and change that either.

Thank you to bloggers like Melisa for advice on how to make it through this month. Every post I read with suggestions is encouraging – I hope others out there find them as useful!

This challenge is just that: a challenge. It’s a test of commitment and creativity. It’s forcing me to think differently, to be more observant, to manage my time better, to plan ahead. I even have some ideas for a few photo posts, something I’ve never done before!

While I probably won’t continue posting every day after this challenge is complete, I’m hopeful that I will have gotten an editorial calendar together and stretched my creativity to where I’ll have things to say a few times a week. Can’t wait to see what else there is to learn in the next 21 days!

Wise Counsel

One of the first things they tell you when you’re trying to achieve a goal is to tell people. Hold yourself accountable by telling people who will probably ask you how you’re doing. Even the Bible encourages you to consult others (Proverbs 15:22).

So far in my plan to move to San Diego, I have found this to be true. The closer the person is to me, the more they remind me of my goal. I told my roommate this weekend, and it has come up in every conversation we have had since. She is helping me plan and think about things I hadn’t put much thought into yet.

My roommate’s feedback to me was to be sure I’m not running away from difficulties here. I’ve had that same concern and I don’t think I am, but her caution made me stop and evaluate again. And I still don’t think I am. In fact, it will be even more difficult there. She reminded me of a friend who moved for their dream job and hated it for the first two years until they established a network of friends. I’m afraid that might happen to me, in spite of being closer to family.

Today, I’m sitting outside in the breeze and sun, enjoying the weather. It’s a bit warmer than it would be in SD and there are no palm trees, but hey, a girl can imagine! And it hit me that I can have exactly the same life I have now only in San Diego.

There’s only one catch to that: it has taken me five years to build this life. I don’t want to wait five years before I have friends, a church, and a job I love in the location I want to be in. So what steps can I take right away to get there? I wasted a lot of time in Chicago by not getting involved. So I’ve put together a list of things I can do right away to meet new people in a new city.

  • Find a church and get involved
  • Join a gym and attend regularly (yeah, Bar Method!)
  • Be social with coworkers
  • Find an alumni network
  • Join a professional group
  • Locate a running group
  • Go out and be friendly…no hiding behind my phone!
  • Learn a new hobby…like surfing?

Pencil Me In

There’s something about autumn. The days are cooler and the nights are crisp, inviting you to snuggle under a quilt and enjoy the warmth just a little bit longer. A chance to walk around in a hoodie and smell the change in the air. It’s a time of year that is alive with possibilities: new schedules (that are usually more structured than summer’s!), new places, new people to meet. There are so many opportunities out there that it’s hard to choose just one. Photography, voice, computer classes, languages; Bible studies, networking groups; there are so many things to do and learn and experience!

But in the midst of all that, it’s important to remember to save time for you. Time to spend with God, time to work out, time to relax. Why is it that we are always the first thing to get pushed aside? I don’t know about you, but time booked on my calendar to run to relax is most often pushed aside for work or friends or other things that are important. And it’s ok to do that sometimes, but I have to remind myself that it’s not ok to do it all the time. If I don’t have enough sleep or spend time with God or exercise, I don’t have enough energy to do everything else to the best of my ability.

In an effort to combat this, I have reserved one night a week as “me” time. This is a night when I can do anything I want to. If my bathroom needs to be cleaned and that’s what I want to do, that’s fine. But if I want to lay on the couch and watch TV, that’s ok too. It’s my night.

Credit has to go to my brilliant roommate for this idea – she did it first and encouraged me to do the same. And it has helped to know that I have that night to look forward to! It’s easier to do the things I need to do the other four days in a week when I know I can do whatever I want without guilt for that one night (no, that doesn’t mean I can go rob a bank. You know what I mean!).

So I’m looking forward to fall and the chance to learn some new skills, spend some time with new people, and plan out my alone time!

One Small Step

The Internet is addicting. You start off reading on article and – low and behold! – it links to another interesting article full of all kinds of interesting and sometimes useful information which links to another, and another, and another… at least, that’s how it works for me. Please tell me I’m not the only one?

I was recently browsing LearnVest’s website when I followed a link to another article, and another, and finally followed a link to an author’s blog. The blog intrigued me so I kept reading until I got to this article.

What great advice! It could apply to so many things, just like the author takes it. But, even if applied to only blogging, what a difference that could make. No rushing to get an article out once a week – you’ve been working on it all week! Plus, if you know you’re going to sit down and write something for 5-10 minutes every day, you’re much more likely to find inspiration in something. Maybe it’s mundane and you edit it out later – highly likely if you’re writing every day – but the writing development and improvement would be invaluable!

Even more important, how would we grow if we committed to spending at least ten minutes every day reading the Bible? Now, I realize that many people already do this. But for the rest of us, this could be a very important goal. Even spending ten minutes in prayer every day has impacted me. And when I get into the habit of doing something for at least ten minutes a day, slowly the time I spend lengthens until it’s considerably more. It also becomes a higher priority. I know that this would have a huge impact on my relationship with Jesus.

These will be my new goals: to write something – anything – for ten minutes a day. And to spend at least ten minutes reading the Bible every day. That’s just twenty minutes out of the day, something even very busy people can manage. What else could we apply this to? What could you do?