Resolution Do Over & 16 for ’16

I have had on my to-do list for several months “write blog post.” As fantastic as it is to have graduated on a Friday and started a full time job the following Monday, I have yet to re-acclimate myself to that whole work/life balance thing. Heck, Throatpuncher even gave me the book Thrive by Arianna Huffington that spells out the importance of that balance, but I have yet to get to the end of the book.

That isn’t to say I spend all my time at work and sleeping, I know I waste time staring at my cell phone when I could be reading books, magazines, calling friends to catch up, practicing my banjo, etc. Which, as I reviewed my 15 for ’15 list I realized most of my resolutions would be the same for 2016. I may have also realized that I did not do so well on the resolutions in 2015.

Here’s the old List and how I did:

  1. Win the Daily Step Challenge (Most Days): Check! Well, at least I was 1 for 1 going into the resolutions.
  2. Blog more, at least once a week: Well, considering my last post was something like 5 months ago, I’m going to call this a fail.
  3. Share the blog: That one I accomplished immediately…so, current score is 2 to 1. Still not bad.
  4. Limit Facebook time to none-ish. Nope. All tied up again.
  5.  Look at the bucket list I made when I was 21 and do some of the things: I think I found the list…Pretty sure I did none of the things.
  6. Work on my non-confrontational nature: Uhhh, well, nope.
  7. Put myself/my goals first: This is another constant struggle. I am learning from my superiors at work that I need to do this more. Somehow with all of my work hours I have let working out go to the wayside. The executives I support manage to workout almost daily. They make it a priority, and I’ve been making completing their expense reports my priority. Not cool man.
  8. Phone Curfew: I don’t do this, I forgot about this one even. This is going back on the list.
  9. Write down a couple lines about what happened with my day: I do this most days, but often I fill in several days all at once. I’m calling this a win, but also a work in progress.
  10. Complete what I can in the “Story of My Life” book: Yeah, haven’t put one thing in there. Still want to do that.
  11. Practice my banjo, learn 2 new songs that people know: Haven’t picked up the banjo in months, definitely haven’t learned any new songs.
  12. Refine and build my friendships: If anything I have done the opposite here. Throatpuncher went through some stuff and I was too busy doing God knows what to be the helpful, supportive friend I have been for her in the past. I haven’t seen DangerMom in months. I certainly didn’t reconnect with the old friends as I had intended in the original resolution. Except for one who reached out to me, so I don’t know if that counts. I am glad she’s back, and will have to think up a nickname for her.
  13. Read more books/magazines…less internet: Well, judging by the stack of unfinished books and unread magazines I’m looking at across the room from where I currently sit, this one is also a fail.
  14. Get my assignments done at least a week early: This one I actually did for the most part. Made for a less stressful final semester in college. I highly recommend getting stuff done early.
  15. Live more fearlessly: I think I did this a little bit. There were some things I did that would definitely not be considered within my comfort zone. Still something I would consider a work in progress. But, probably something that should always be a work in progress.

My list for 2016 will look a lot like this one. I have two conflicting quotes running through my head:

If at first you don’t succeed, try try again. – William Edward Hickson (according to Wikipedia)

Try not. Do or do not. There is no try. – Yoda

I think this is one of those rare times where I disagree with Yoda. Gotta keep trying until I get it right. Sorry Yoda, otherwise you the man. Little, green, man-like creature with cool ears.

Once I decide on exactly what my 16 for ’16 will be I’ll write about it here. Might have to make a call to Cakethrower to see what she’s come up with. Her lists always make me think of a couple of my own.

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Birthday Check-in

Today is my birthday.* It has been a pretty darned good day. Usually on my birthday I look ahead to what I want to accomplish by the time I reach the next birthday. I know this year is going to bring many changes, so it is difficult to say for certain at this juncture what exactly it is I want things to be like for me next year. Instead I decided to look back to my 15 for ’15 resolutions list and see how I’m doing. I have my doubts, since I haven’t thought about it since…well…mid-January??

1. Win the Daily Step Challenge (Most days): Score one for me! At least I can start the list off on a good note. I did, in fact, win the daily step challenge more than my competitors. Woo!

2. Blog more: The original post set a goal for at least once a week, which is still one I would like to obtain. I have definitely not been on top of this, but I can do better.

3. Share the blog: I did this immediately, posting the link through my Facebook. I haven’t done any of the other sharing things people do, like creating a Facebook page for the blog, nor do I have a twitter. What I’m saying is I accomplished the original idea behind the sharing, but I could probably take it further if I were more consistently blogging.

4. Limit Facebook time to none-ish: This continues to be a work in progress. For a while there I deleted the app from my phone, which severely cut down my Facebook time. I believe I spend less time on the site then I used to, excepting today because that red bubble that tells me I have notifications drives me crazy. When I deleted that app I deleted a couple of other time sucking apps. Although Facebook is back, those others are gone and I think I do spend less time staring at my phone than I did previously.

5. Look at the bucket list I made when I was 21 and do some of the things: I have to find this list first. I know I have it somewhere, I just have no idea where that somewhere is. There is one thing I know was on the list that I really want to do, and I think I’m going to get to work on it ASAP. I need to find that freakin’ list.

6. Work on my non-confrontational nature: This I have epically failed at in one situation. In another, which was honestly more frightening for me, I recently handled. So far everything seems okay. If I’m grading I give myself a 50%, which is still a failing grade, but luckily there is still time to bring the grade up before the end of 2015. I even know some things that are likely going to need to be dealt with this year, so I certainly have the opportunity for at least a B.

7. Put myself/my goals first: I am improving on this one. Again, not perfection, but I’m getting there. Sometimes my goals can be at cross-purposes, so that can make it tough to navigate.

8. Phone curfew: I kind of forgot about this one, oops. I break this a lot, but not in the same way I did before. I used to look at my phone after 10 to check Facebook, emails, buzzfeed, news, reading apps, etc. Now if my phone is out after 10pm it means I am talking on it, and usually the person I am talking to reminds me that it’s past my bedtime and then I go full-on six year old: “BUT I AM NOT TIRED YET.” Because I’d rather get 5 hours of sleep then appear like some lame-o that needs to be asleep by 10? Yeah, I’m a crazy person.

9. Write down a couple lines about what happened with my day: I have completely abandoned this one, but I want to bring it back. The always amazing Souzapalooza recently wrote about her experience with a “One Line A Day” Memory book, which thanks to Amazon Prime, I will have one of my very own on Tuesday. I think this may help me, especially since I was trying to just keep this information in a plain old moleskin notebook before. Thanks Souzapalooza!!!

10. Complete what I can in the “Store of my Life” book: I have not started this. I will put it on the to-do list.

11. Practice my banjo, learn 2 new songs that people know: Nope.

12. Refine and build my friendships: There has been some refinement. I have made some efforts to see some friends that I do not spend enough time with. This is one of those ones that I think will always be on the list, because I don’t think refining and building friendships ever stops.

13. Read more books/magazines, less internet: I am definitely reading more books. My one magazine subscription is still a bit neglected.

14. Get my assignments done at least a week early: I think the “at least a week” is a bit lofty. I have been getting my assignments done early for the most part, barring one mid-term project. It is less stressful. I still manage to procrastinate, but as long as it’s done in more than enough time, who cares?

15. Live more fearlessly: There are some things I’m thinking about doing that would fall into this category. Maybe once I have my “One line a day” journal thing I can think of fearless things I have done easier than trying to come up with something in the dwindling moments before bedtime.

Overall for four months into the new year I think I’ll give myself a “Not too Shabby.” I might have to set some mid-year goals, just because.

*Or because of time-zone settings I can’t figure out how to undo yesterday was my birthday, but whatever.

Long walks on the beach

My favorite way to get my steps in for the day is to go out to the beach and start walking. There are closer beaches to me than Doran Beach in Bodega Bay, but this particular one is worth the extra drive time. Plus, some of the time I meet Cakethrower and Camp Counselor for the walk. It’s nice to meet up with them and have the time to catch up. Our conversations run the gamut of past, present, and future. The talking flows seamlessly between parties we’ve had at the houses we’ve rented there, upcoming adventures, and current life ups and downs. Our chatting is occasionally paused when Cakethrower finds a sand-dollar worth keeping or decides it’s a good time to take a picture. Basically, it is a fantastic way to start or end a day.

For a short time we had what we deemed “Tradition,” I think because we were hoping that’s what it would become. Every Friday at the end of the workday I would run for my car (okay, maybe not literally, but I would make it snappy) and head out to Doran Beach. I would meet Cakethrower and Camp Counselor out there and we would walk, decompressing from our work week. When we were done walking we would head over to the Casino Bar & Grill (FYI: not a casino) and have dinner. I don’t know if the Casino is still doing it, but on Friday nights they were having guest chefs come in and make fabulous meals. I cannot imagine a better way to start the weekend. The serenity of the beach, good food, a good beer, great friends. Is anyone else chanting “bring back tradition!”?

I do occasionally go out there by myself, and have done so a couple of times in the past week. I get an impressive number of steps when I do it, and I love the disconnect. Unlike going to the gym, I am not staring at a TV. I am not wearing my headphones. Even when I go on a couple of other outside walks I find that I put my headphones on. I like listening to music, but with the sound of the waves, and the birds, and saying hello to the people I walk past I feel like I’d be missing out if I were to distract myself with music.

Last time I was out there was on New Year’s Eve. It helped me to think up some of the things that ended up on my resolutions list. There is an excellent chance I thought of a few other brilliant things that did not make the list, because I forgot before I could jot them down. Sometimes I get distracted by the walking and the waves that I forget that my phone is in my pocket. That thing is basically a laptop, and I could easily notate something I think of on several different apps in several different formats. Then again, I like forgetting that I have my phone on me. The only time I use the phone when I’m out there is to take a picture either before or after my walk, which is silly. It’s the same beach, and most of the time the picture I take looks the same as any of the pictures I have taken before.

The other day I started reading the book Thrive by Arianna Huffington. Throatpuncher bought it for me a while ago, but because of my incessant Facebook and internet scrolling I haven’t picked up a book in a while. Admittedly, I may have had other things that were also keeping me busy, but those things are such time wasters I have decided to blame all my problems on them. I am not very far into the book yet, but I know I’m going to have much more to say about it as I keep reading. I am now at a section where she talks about mindful meditation, which is something that I used to practice several years ago. At the time I felt great, I highly recommend it, but I got out of the habit. I realized while reading that is why I love beach-walking so much. It is very meditative. I might let my mind wander all over the place, but I always bring myself back to the waves, the sand, the coldness of the water, the brightness of the sun, the surfers, the children building castles, etc. Out there I feel relaxed, centered, and peaceful.

I think I might get up right now and go find some peace.

15 Resolutions for 2015 (or, better: 15 for ’15)

I decided to try out the 15 for ’15 resolutions. Hopefully this will go better than the 13 for ’13, but I think I went fairly easy on myself.

  1. Win the Daily Step Challenge (Most days): There has been some smack-talk that this will not happen, but I am fairly determined to be the winner and take my friends’ dollars.
  2. Blog more, at least once a week. I enjoy blogging. Sure, it’s a silly little hobby, but who cares?
  3. Share the blog. I used to have a different blog that I shared with friends and family. Then I started caring about one potential reader getting information I did not want them to have about me and I abandoned the blog. I started this one because I missed blogging but shared that information with no one. It’s foolish to abandon something I enjoy doing because of potential complications (see #6 for another thing to work on). I should not let a potential complication ruin something that I enjoy. If the complication actually arises, it isn’t something that I cannot handle anyway.
  4. Limit Facebook time to none-ish. I am still figuring this one out, honestly. The rules of this resolution are under construction. The part I want to change about Facebook time is the checking 1st thing in the morning, last thing at night, and the time I spend both of those times scrolling through my feed. I’ve been thinking maybe “no Facebook until I get x amount of steps in for the day or have spent x amount of time at the gym” or limiting the time on the site. Work in progress, but less Facebook is the goal.
  5. Look at bucket list i made when i was 21 and do some of the things. I have not looked at that list in a while. In fact, when I went to look for the list last night in preparation it was not stuck within the pages of my old journal, where I had thought it to be left. Luckily, I remember a couple of items I can definitely work on. Hopefully I find it soon so I can work on some of the easier ones. Or cross off some of the ones I no longer want to accomplish.
  6. Work on my non-confrontational nature. I avoid conflict. When faced with potential conflicts I have had panic attacks. Most of the time I can feel it coming on and I can breathe through it, but if I know there is some situation arising that could trigger the panic I do whatever it takes to end the conversation/meeting/whatever or flee. Unfortunately, life is full of conflicts. This problem has done me all harm and no good. The bottom line is I end up never being able to self-advocate (prime example: asking for a raise is a torturous nightmare). I need to get better at handling confrontations. Part of that is to stop avoiding, even if that means letting myself experience that panic attack feeling until I can push through and handle the problem. Practice makes perfect. ick.
  7. Put myself/my goals first. This kind of piggy back’s on the last. I have some pretty lofty goals for the next few months. One of the reasons they are lofty is because they are things I’ve been wanting to do since taking time off to go to school and I haven’t yet done them. I am really good at procrastinating. The excuse I use most often is “I can’t do _____ I have to go to the office and do ______ they have called me and need me right now.” In reality I can: a) do both, doing the thing I need to get done for me 1st followed by the thing that probably does not need to be done immediately or b) say no. This should be easy because the one job I am doing at this point is for someone who would punch me in the throat if I were to sacrifice my own goals to do stuff for her. But, work isn’t the only procrastinating tool, just the best one. The bottom line of this one may end up being letting people know exactly what my goals are. Attention anyone reading this: I am very, very dedicated to resolution #1.
  8. Phone curfew. This is something I used to do that I would like to do again. At 10 pm I used to put my phone away for the night. After 10 there was no more looking at the glowing screen and I think I was better off. I got out of the habit for a while, but I think getting back into it won’t be problematic. Especially with resolution #4.
  9. Write down a couple lines about what happened with my day. This one comes from a cruise I took back in 2009. Every night at dinner I would jot down a couple of interesting things from the day. Places I’d seen, interesting or funny incidents that had happened in the day. I did that so that I could go back later and maybe write some essays about my travels, which I still haven’t gotten around to writing. It was fun to sit at the table and come up with what was going to go into the book that day. But why be limited just to traveling? Sure, not every day will be a winner, but there should be something noteworthy. If not I need to spice things up.
  10. Complete what I can in the “Story of my Life” book. For Christmas Cakethrower got me a book called “Story of my Life.” It is a journal, but has all sorts of places to fill in things like “My 20’s” My 30’s” etc. As well as basic information and whatnot. Sure, it’s a little bit on the silly side, but I like silly. This is right up my alley.
  11. Practice my banjo, learn 2 new songs that people know. I like learning a new instrument. It was easy when I had lessons scheduled with an instructor. I would like to make time to practice more/again. I would also like to learn a couple of songs that people know. Maybe I can go camping, bring out the banjo by the campfire…have a little sing-a-long. Okay, yes, really my dream is to secretly bring my banjo camping and in the middle of the night just start plucking out “Dueling Banjos” to see who wakes up screaming. I am evil.
  12. Refine and build my friendships. There are friends that I have that I haven’t seen or talked to in a long time, because sometimes life gets in the way and I forget to take time out to not let that happen. Recently I went to see a friend because I do some work for him. I hadn’t seen him since last year when I went to do some work for him. Work should not be the only reason I see or talk to one of my best friends. On the other hand, I have a friend or two that I have grown out of that are still around. Honestly, and to be more confrontational, it’s not so much that I have grown apart but that I have grown into someone who no longer wants to spend my time with “friends” who say horrible things to me under the guise of honesty. I would rather spend my time with friends who are able to be honest while still being kind.
  13. Read more books/magazines…less internet. I have a stack of books I would like to read, and a good stack of magazines too. Instead I read internet news, Buzzfeed, the Onion, or watch funny YouTube videos. I bought the books and subscribed to the magazines. I am interested in the contents. The news isn’t a horrible thing to keep up with, but it’s not like I’m only reading articles about missing planes and the situation in the Middle East. The phone curfew should help with this problem. As will the less Facebook thing. Basically I need to break up with the internet. It’s been fun internet, but I have changed. I will miss the good times we had, and will never forget you, but I have some things I need to do right now. I hope we can still be friends.
  14. Get my assignments done at least a week early. I’ve mentioned before my procrastinator tendencies. If I’m not working furiously at the last minute then I’m not working on whatever needs doing. Last semester I managed to get things done early, and it felt great. I would like to continue that tradition for this coming semester. This seems a little more specific than “Stop Procrastinating,” which is something I would love to achieve. At least if I set my own due date a week before the actual due date I can still procrastinate until my deadline, and be done early. I love tricking myself.
  15. Live more fearlessly. I think some people would argue with me, but I do not consider myself brave. There’s a chance a lot of people would argue with me…Anyway, my intention with this one is to keep it broad. Living more fearlessly means trying new things, stepping out of my comfort zone. It also hearkens back to several of the other resolutions above. I like it when they are related, it means if I do one I automatically succeed at least a little bit at another.

2015 is a complete mystery to me. I have no idea where it is going to take me, and I am loving that. I know it is going to be a year of changes, and I hope this list helps me to make the best of all of those changes.

Almost a new year

Tomorrow is new year’s eve. My friend Cakethrower likes to come up with a list of resolutions. For example: 14 resolutions for ’14. She claims she did pretty good last year. Not knowing what those resolutions were I have no way of knowing, but I’m sure she did just fine. I participated in this resolution madness one year and felt like I did fairly well. I believe it was 13 for ’13 that I had done; and I think I made it a good way through ’13 before I gave up on most of them. Here’s that list:

  • Meals out no more than three times per week. 
  • Try 2 new recipes per month. 
  • Complete my Couch to 10k app. 
  • Do a 5k. 
  • Write at least one blog post per week. 
  • Ride my cruiser. 
  • Roller Skate more/try roller derby. 
  • Chip away at my credit card debt. 
  • No scale. 
  • No commute eating.  
  • Try one new thing per month.  
  • Be better about keeping in touch with people. 
  • Calendar/schedule/set reminders for things. 

Yeah. I was awesome at not weighing myself. The no commute eating lasted a while and was really great, I highly recommend that one. I am not sure about any of the other ones. I was definitely not any better at keeping in touch with people. Probably did get a little bit better about using the calendar. Did not try 2 new recipes per month, overslept and missed the one 5k I signed up for, never completed the couch to 10k app, didn’t ride my bike, stopped blogging due to that privacy problem, and I think the eating out thing went out the window with a job change I had in the middle of the year.

So, 13 resolutions, 1 lasted the entire year (which probably shouldn’t have, considering it was the not weighing myself one), 1 lasted several months, and the rest…well…not so much. I did bring my credit card debt down, but not all the way down to zero. The question is what would my resolutions be this year if I decided to tackle something like that again? What I find interesting is that the one I stuck to was the one that was not doing something. Maybe I can come up with 15 things to not do in the new year. Resolutions are about changes I want to make, and I can name a few things that need changing. Sadly through actions, not inaction.

Maybe tomorrow or the next day I will be posting a list of 15 resolutions for ’15. I might throw in a couple of “gimmes” so that the list is more successful than ’13’s. We shall see.

My lack of epic-ness

This has been on my mind a lot lately. Possibly to some weird obsessive level. It kind of all started when I saw a preview for Wild, the movie that will most likely get Reese Witherspoon an Oscar Nomination. It is a true story of a woman who walks the Pacific Crest Trail by herself. I saw the movie, and it is an amazing story. I would like to read the memoir it is based on, because movies can never get as in depth as a book can. That’s right kids, reading is fun!

Before I even saw the movie I started to think about my own accomplishments. I could spend the next paragraph here humble-bragging about this or that, but really, there isn’t anything that stands out in my mind that is that level of epic. Sure, not everyone needs to take some crazy journey of self discovery to figure their shit out, but there’s a part of me that thinks maybe I need to do something life-defining. I’m no hiker, I certainly do not want to walk from the Mexican boarder to Oregon; but there has to be something out there waiting for me to tackle.

As I thought about it I considered other examples of these journeys. There’s what’shername that wrote Eat, Pray, Love; or even one of my friends. I found out recently she decided to fulfill her dream of hiking to base camp at Everest. Sadly, she had some travel difficulties and never made it, but she has an awesome level of determination and I know she will get there. We actually met up for happy hour not too long ago, I told her that as a kid I dreamt of living in Europe someday. She was telling me I should consider Asian countries, without telling me anything about her time spent in Nepal. She is sneaky. Or another friend of mine who not only has climbed Kilimanjaro but biked the length of Africa. On a bicycle. No, for real, I know someone who did that. Or another friend who seems to be addicted to ultra-marathons. 26.2 miles is no longer good enough a distance for her to run. I can’t run .25 miles, but she breezes through 50 milers now.

For the record, I’m not talking about something so epic it has to turn into a memoir followed by a feature film starring a major Hollywood star (I wouldn’t say no to that…but that isn’t a goal). I’m not necessarily talking about some sort of feat of physicality, like the accomplishments of the friends I’ve mentioned. Just something where I can feel like I was truly brave, maybe a little crazy, took a leap, and whether I succeeded or failed at least I went for something.

I don’t have the funds to pack it up and move to Europe, although that might be a good way to duck out on repaying the student loans once I’m finished with college. What’s feeling like the right thing at this point is a move, but within the United States. Currently I am in Northern California, and it’s a little bit extremely expensive here. So far only one friend, DangerMom, has an inkling about how serious I am about leaving the State after graduation. She is sad about me leaving, but she also encouraged me to book a trip to my front-runner city; which I did last night. I’ve never been to Seattle, but I’ve been hearing for years how much I would love it up there.

I leave in a couple of weeks on a trip to check it out. Not to look for a job, or a place, just to visit and see if it’s someplace I could see myself living. Originally I was going to go up there on a road trip with another friend of mine who used to live near there and is considering returning; but it is ever so slowly dawning on me that his nickname should be Dreamer. He has big ideas, some of them are surprisingly good, too. I am at a point in my life when I am trying to make dreams into reality. I can’t wait around to see if Dreamer is going to follow through on these plans. Carpe Diem or whatever. Yolo? Nah, I’m too old for yolo, I’ll stick with the Latin.

Moving to a new city where I know no one is not exactly what I was thinking of while trying to figure out what my epic thing will be, but I do think it is a good start. Heck, traveling alone to a new city where I know no one is a good start, but I’ve done that before.