Friday, October 12, 2012

Burn Out

I've been here for awhile, in the total burn out zone. The cumulative events of the last high-paced year, combined with the emotionally-charged roller-coaster of events of the prior two years, have left me drained.

I'm even more discombobulated than normal. Stretched thin, disorganized, and attempting to navigate way too many competing responsibilities. I can't remember anything for longer than five minutes. I depend on others to provide frequent reminders or some electronic gadget buzzing at me throughout the day to remind me of anything. Before the last year, I prided myself in maintaining complementary goals toward life growth. It's amazing how a friend can effect so much change in such an indirect way.

Of course, I have lots of ideas about what will make me happy. Being more fit, being more active, living at a slower pace, traveling the world, starting a family, trying new things, "finding my passion" that makes me oodles of money, and so on. But what I really need is space. Space from myself.

In seven weeks to the day, I will get that space. I will be going under the knife to have a benign, but large, tumor removed from the lining of my uterus. I'll have nothing to do but to rest. I'll be out of work on medical leave for six to eight weeks. Maybe longer if I screw up on the whole resting thing and break myself.

If you know me, you know how much I hate surgery. Hate and fear. The idea of sedation makes me wig and the anesthesia makes me feel like I'm dying, and I signed the paper giving some whacko I met 15 minutes prior the OKAY. I'm afraid of going to sleep and not waking up. Or waking up in tremendous amounts of pain. Or waking up confused and disoriented. Or waking up and getting bad news. And I won't be able to remember why or what. A portion of my life will be this big, blank, black hole.

So, yeah. I hate surgery.

Making preparations for it has been like preparing for my untimely demise, well, because that's exactly what I'm doing. I want to make sure Jeff and the Dan are taken care of, that my parents are left shelling out anything on my behalf. Do I really want to be cremated, or should I donate my parts to science? Or to a living human that needs them more than me? Or all of the above? Should my remains be deposited somewhere? Or left with a trusted loved one? Or split up among anyone who wants a piece of me? (Wow, total awesome mental image regarding my creditors! Cut off my dead arm and send it to Chase for me, will you? Sorry...that's a little gross. But it's funny, you have to admit that it's funny....)

At the moment, when I need to unwind I'm riling myself up with old episodes of Dr. 90210 on Netflix streaming. I don't like watching living flesh cut into or noses broken with fancy chisels, but it's getting easier. Like watching it happen to others will make my own experience easier.

But it won't.

I'll put on a smile and keep my cool until those Velcro straps wrap around my arms. Then the shivering will begin. Then the silent tears will stream down my face. Some nurse will make a futile attempt to comfort me while I am completely incapable of communicating.... And then she'll wake me up.

From there, all I can do is wait. Kept overnight to rest, discharged for home in the morning. Exiled to the couch unless I get my shit together to get steps for the bed. And there I will stay. Dependent on someone else watering me, feeding me, making sure I get adequate light, and then little berries will...oh, wait.

It will just be me and my healing (and my super awesome friends who I suckered into babysitting me!). No work. No obligations to others. Just some space. Although I hate the means, I'm looking forward to the end. To the rest. To the quiet. And hopefully a metric fuckton of rain, because I know for a fact that makes me happy.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

To Have Love and Lost and to have Lived

I sit on my balcony, shrouded in pine trees, glancing up at the starry pre-dawn sky. Next time I'm in the mountains, I should remember the stars. I used to spend hours watching them in my youth.

Looking back, it's funny that I dreaded something like my birthday. Perhaps the changes brought by the Autumnal Equinox likewise shifted something in my logic, but I welcome it. A year ago yesterday, on my thirtieth birthday, the terrible loss of my Brother was discovered. He had passed two days earlier, but that didn't change the perceptions and it certainly didn't change the date listed on the certificate of death.

I felt selfish for wanting a day to celebrate my own birth. I simmered in guilt and anger that forever my solar return was tainted in the tragic loss from the Earth. I couldn't reconcile the two and for the two months leading up to my birthday, I wallowed in depression and self-hate.

With my travels slowing down, I lacked the distraction of something fast-paced that I could utterly lose myself to. And yet I lacked the time to connect with those I needed most to keep me grounded and level-headed.

Yesterday morning as I read memorials to my Brother alongside exclamations for my birthday, I cried. I noted the parallel threads to Jeff and he said something along the lines that it sucks that I'll have to deal with that forever.

And then I made a choice. In seconds everything about the way I felt and thought about this day changed, because I decided it needed to. In a moment, self-loathing turned to celebration. I basked in the knowledge that I had the blessing of sharing my day with someone so special. In a moment in time we represent both sides of the coin of life. He would have been pleased knowing that we together kept the momentum of Libra-balance going. It's a little running joke we had going for over ten years and it makes me happy even if no one else understands.

I'm done with the sadness, even though I would much rather have one of his infamous bear hugs. Much rather hear him say, "Happy Birthday, sweetheart," than hear it echoing in my mind. I will relish the memories I have rather than mourn them when I walk by his photograph several times a day.

Peace be with my Brother. And peace be with me.

Updated 10/12/2012 to fix BlogPress formatting.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Where Have I Been?

(Answer: I don't know but here's a picture of a seagull stalking me.)

Obviously my regular updates have been non-existent for the last four months. The last post I was working on was a sentimental letter for my "sister" in honor of her birthday. I never finished it. Her birthday was February 13. Epic fail.

The last several months I've been on the road for work. I had hoped to do more traveling this year, but this isn't quite what I had in mind. I've had mixed feelings about the whole experience. Well, I still have mixed feelings.

This adventure (and that is my understatement for the year) has been chaotic, fast-paced, and relentless. I am lucky if I have one solid day home a week, and that day is usually strained between errands and numerous relationship maintenance activities (couch time with the boyfriend, lunch dates with girlfriends, dinners with family members, etc.). I have had very little time for writing. I have had very little time for any of my goals or personal projects.

When I do have a moment for me, I'm anxious. I'm so wound up and stressed out I can't focus on much of anything. Why on earth to all of my hobbies or enjoyable activities require focus? When I stand still for more than five minutes, it means I'm unconscious. The one weekend where I had no plans SPECIFICALLY SO I WOULD DO NOTHING BUT WRITING? I slept through it. The whole thing. I came home and fell asleep, woke up to eat, and went back to bed (at 7pm). The next morning, exhausted by my morning ritual of drinking a cup of coffee, I went back to bed. I spent a few hours a day awake, breaking up that period of wakefulness between extended cat naps.

Apparently I needed the rest because the week following my downward spiral, everything started coming back into focus. I received a renewed sense of my goals, my ambitions, and my drive to accomplish what I set out to accomplish last year. The directions have altered slightly, but the process is becoming more refined as I stop and re-evaluate the direction I'm headed.

After nearly four months of being on the road, I finally had a week home with my family. I didn't, as usual, accomplish most of the things I set out to do. But I did accomplish some. Today I'm back on the road for another six weeks, and it looks highly likely that this round will be followed by another six weeks immediately after.

I couldn't tell you where I've been; the whole thing has been an unfortunate blur. I can tell you that I won't let myself get lost in the chaos. I have dreams that need fulfilling and a horrible penchant for being impatient about getting what I want.

And it definitely involves more mornings like this one....

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, February 10, 2012


Life certainly is a process, isn't it?

As I've mentioned, ad nauseum, been doing a lot of "house" cleaning the last few months.  As I've been making space to change, opportunities that I feel are in line with my desires and values have been rushing in to fill the space.  It's been amazing and overwhelming at the same time.

It's also been really hard as I let go of things that I love and have loved but no longer fit into my life as well as they once had.  From things to people, the experience has been heartbreaking as well as uplifting.  If my life had a flavor, it would be "bittersweet."  Maybe a little salty, too.

There are some things I still hold on to that I can't let myself release, even though it would probably be a major benefit to do so.  For as much space as I have created, I still crave more.  For all the fresh air I've been taking in, I am still suffocating.  I have this uncomfortable sense that I am running out of time.

Among certain friends, there has been a long-standing joke that I am decisive, but when it comes to making major life decisions I hate committing to one path over another.  I'm afraid if I choose something, I'll miss something else.  As a result, I often miss both completely due to extreme indecision or my experience with either is so full of distractions, I miss it anyway.  I've lived a life as though no experience is better than making the wrong choice.

I'm finally starting to see that in itself is the wrong choice.

I don't know what tomorrow holds, and I don't know how to go about breaking bad habits and insufferable patterns I can see but seem powerless (unwilling?) to change.  I need space but I'm afraid of the emptiness it brings.  What would life be like with real change?

I desperately want things to be different, but in order for that to happen I need to commit to be different.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January Results

I'm just going to cut to the chase and break it down.

Lose weight, be slimmer, get stronger.
1. Add 30 minutes of activity to every day: Low Success
2. Go on one hike: Success
3. Eat Paleo style more often: Low Success
4. Eat out only once per week: Low Success
Measurement: Lose five pounds.  Starting 192.  Yesterday (because I forgot this morning) 188, or -4 pounds.

Thoughts: I *suck* at this stuff.  It was an overemotional month for me, and I deal with emotions by eating things I know are bad for my health and bad for my wallet.  I cannot help myself.  And if you deny me, I turn into a temper-tantrum-throwing-toddler.  Really.  It's not pretty.  And horrendously embarrassing.  I've been better the last couple days, but for February I need to change tactics obviously.

More yoga, more consistently.
1. Do 3 sun salutations every morning: High Success
2. Resume hosting classes once per week: Low Success
3. Attend one studio class twice per month: No Success
4. Do at least one private one hour intensive once per week: No Success

Another big fail for me, except on the sun salutations. I didn't do them every day, but I have done them almost every day.  I'm rethinking classes and my reasons for doing yoga; and money hasn't been available for formal classes (see above), so I don't feel too bad about these.  I'm doing a little every day and that's better than nothing.  I still want to see more improvement.

Garden more.
I'm not even going to list anything because I did NOTHING gardening-wise this month.  Jeff did all the hard work.  Still I sit on the back porch and fantasize about having a beautiful lush something.  Honestly, I kind of just want to plant baby plants rather than start seeds so I might hold off until I have $20 to spend on something ready to go outside.  Seedlings are hard to do with kittehs that like to eat the baby greens.  Ebil kittehs.

Explore artistic endeavors.
1. Spend 1 to 2 hours everyday writing: High Success
2. Always have a project in hand while watching television: High Success
3. Dance drills: No success
4. Complete 4 short stories: Success
5. Outline 2 potential collections: Success

I consolidated my "Break out with some fiction" goal here because it made sense.  First with the writing, this has gone very, very well.  I find if I'm in a rotten mood (which has been often this month) after I've switched gears to writing, it's like I see the world through rose-colored glasses.  It's very bipolar (although, I'm not).  It's like running, it's hard to be in a bad mood after I've done it.  I don't know, but YAY regardless.  Yes, I completed 4 stories.  Yes, I completed 2 outlines.  Yes, I *am* badass.  I didn't write every single day, but it doesn't matter, I feel pretty solid about the time I have made and my ability to focus on it.

Dance drills, see the top goals.  Non-existent.  Re-evaluating what I want here.  Projects with television have been a success.  I always keep something in my purse.  I'm almost finished with the huge scarf project I took on last year, it's a pity we have late spring-like weather in January.  I'm afraid the future owner will have to wait another year before being able to enjoy the beautiful creation.  I've been busting my poor little hands to make this NOT the case, but it's the scarf that never ends!

Reduce clutter.
1. Yard sale: Success.  HUGE success, even.
2. Follow organizing calendar every day: No Success
3. Freeze purchasing: High Success

Yard sale helped us get caught up on bills, totally awesome.  Jeff has been posting and reposting items that didn't sell (or didn't get picked up) on Craigslist with some success.  Every day I find things I no longer need and get rid of them accordingly.  Some things are sold, some things are given lovingly to friends who could better use them.  Either way it's a constant process.  That being said, not worried that I'm not keeping up with the calendar since I'm already self-motivated.  It was just a tool to give me ideas, and I haven't needed to use it yet.  Purchasing has been good since we don't have money to spend.  And when we do, we use it on meals out :(

There were other items on my list, but they deserve their own post. Hopefully I will be better about posting in February than I was this past month.  Writing elsewhere just took me away from here.

Have you checked in with yourself?  Are you being honest about your progress and actions?  I'd love to hear how others are coming along!

Friday, January 20, 2012

January Mid-Month Update

I meant to post this on Monday, but I had a rough couple days, followed by days catching up, and so on.  I've been busy whittling away at old stuff more than I've been starting new stuff.  There's something about embarking on new projects and directions that seems unnatural when there's old stuff waiting for closure.

The yard sale was a big part of that push towards tying up loose ends.  But I didn't stop there.  Nearly every day I evaluate the objects I interact with, especially if the interaction only means moving unused stuff out of the way to get to well used stuff.  I wish I had before and after shots of just my medicine cabinet.  I cleared out about half of the crap in there one morning getting ready for work (Jeff had ONE personal item in the whole cabinet) and now it's all spacious and pretty.  Jeff now has TWO personal items in the cabinet!  Hey, that's a 100% increase!  LOL

So I'm still in purging mode, but I'm trying to decide how to use all the space I'm creating.  I want to move things from one room to another, but I'm having trouble finding an arrangement I think will work.  Part of me hates to leave a space completely unused, but that's the downside to having too much house, I suppose.  I'm mostly thinking with my fingers now, so I'll stop babbling and get on with my check-in!

The goals I set for this month are covered here.

Category: Physical
(1) Lose weight, be slimmer, get stronger.
Successes: I'm down 3 pounds (half way to my 5 pound goal); we went on a brief family hike in Wonder Valley

Needs Improvement: Struggling to get into a consistent habit tracking activity and food through  I try to go back in time and back fill, but it's daunting and time consuming.  Now I just try to update when I remember.  Also, getting started on exercise is mostly non-existent, aside from yoga.  I need to remember that even if I just go for a five minute jog once per week, that five minutes more than I was last week.  Changing the diet is going well, but I'm just not satisfied with where I'm at yet.

(2) More yoga, more consistently
Successes: 3 sun salutations every morning! Boo yah!  I've also decided to focus on one specific pose per month.  Camel pose!

Needs Improvement: I haven't been able to resume classes due to my personal schedule.  Giving this a lot of thought.  Also, can't afford studio sessions, just a situational hazard, it will improve with time.January mini actions:

Category: Lifestyle
(1) Garden more
Successes: Getting Jeff to do garden work!

Needs Improvement: I need to start seeds and dig my hole, probably will do tomorrow as well as some generally maintenance.

(2) Be more active
Successes: making opportunities to get up and get moving rather than making lunch/dinner dates or sitting around watching television.

(3) 2012 Goal: Explore Artistic Endeavors
Successes: Doing well on the writing, although some days are better than others, I'm maintaining consistency.  I've been hammering away at a large commissioned project and I'm getting closer to finishing; changing to shorter needles helped A LOT.

Needs Improvement: Dance drills.  What dance drills?  I'm finding I'm missing bellydance quite a bit so I need to make time for it (and I have plenty of time, I'm just not using it).

(4) 2012 Goal: Reduce clutter
Successes: I'm so obsessed with this right now.  I think once reduction becomes more of a maintenance activity than a major purge, other goals and activities will fall into place.

Needs Improvement: nothing, I think this is going swimmingly.

Category: Romance
(1) Spend more time with my sweetheart
Successes: So far this is going really well.  Making an effort to spend more quality time with Jeff makes everything in our relationship run more smoothly.  This weekend is our date weekend, but he's letting me have some alone time to focus on some creative projects, but I won't let that consume my entire date weekend with him.

Needs Improvement: I'm harboring some resentment because I want to stay home all day and work on my home, my projects, and myself, but instead I have to go to a day job and earn a paycheck to keep a roof over our heads and bill collectors at bay.  I can't help our situation, I'm doing all I can to earn extra money on the side (plus overtime as needed) and take care of myself so I don't miss too much work from flare-ups, etc.  I need to find better outlets for my frustration and stop misdirecting my emotions.

Category: Spirituality
(1) Meditate more
Successes: So far so good, at least 10 minutes a day, usually in the morning.

Needs Improvement: I have had a lot of anxiety all month.  I'm having trouble breathing properly all the time and staying focused on one thing at a time.  I'm too excited (in the good and bad sense of the word) to sit still most days.  I'm hoping regular meditation practice THROUGHOUT the day helps with this.  Also, sometimes I find myself jumping around, I have to drop everything and go back and finish the first thing.  

(2) Do more spiritual stuff
Successes: Decluttered the fireplace and mantle and setup a devotional area.  I usually do morning prayers after my meditation.

Needs Improvement: I feel like I should have more to say, but it's kind of a personal category.  

Category: Career/Education
(5) Break out with some fiction.
Successes: Finished 3 of my 4 short stories.  Two of which are edited.  I expect to do at least two more stories and create two new outlines (each outline is 4 stories) over the weekend.  Yes, I am in fact insane.

Needs Improvement: I don't have my formula down pat yet.  I'm still struggling to meet my minimum word count, but with practice this will improve.

I'm actually really pleased with my progress so far.  I wish I would have been better about adding more exercise to the day, but getting in the habit is a muscle-building routine in its own right.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Yard Sale Success!

This past Saturday was my first ever yard sale!  It was fun, but I'm so glad it's over.

Last week I laid down my intended goals for January.  Having a yard sale was one item on the list of one-off activities.  For a few months, I have been isolating items around the house that I wanted to either give away or sell.  The week leading up to the big day, I grew increasingly anxious.  Sure, I had collected and grouped things together, but those groups were still scattered throughout the nooks and crannies of my house.  All I could think about during my waking hours were all the little bits and pieces I needed to hunt down.  I fretted over remembering each teeny, tiny object in my home.  It was super exhausting.

By Tuesday or Wednesday (I forget now which), I informed Jeff that I was going to take a night off from writing and other chores and just focus on getting everything we wanted to sell into the living room.  I dumped yarn out of plastic storage bins to collect random objects.  We started in our bedroom, taking clothes, boxes, bins, everything out and analyzing what we could.  I went to the second closet that held a bunch of my random crap, things I have hoarded for years because they might be cool in a crafting project someday.  I went through each box, every bin, I threw away things that needed to be tossed, I put sale items in a plastic tub.  The process was a little stressful, but I took care not to make excuses to avoid doing what was necessary.  Jeff kept me company and occupied the cats while I kept at it.

Jeff and the boy had already done the kid's room a few days earlier, so we went ahead and moved it all down. Several trash bags and bins later, the bedroom was done.  I went into the third bedroom and decided that the specialty items it contained would need to be handled later; it wouldn't be appropriate to put these things out at a general yard sale.

We went through the entertainment room, the living room, the "dining" room, and the kitchen.  After a couple hours, we were sweaty and covered in dust.

The evening before the yard sale, we went through the garage and found twice as much crap as we did in the house.

Every time I moved through a room, I found something else that could be added to the pile.  Things that I had kept in the background for years but didn't technically use.  There were some items I wasn't ready to get rid of Thursday, but Friday I happily tossed it in the pile.  Getting rid of stuff started to become addicting.

Saturday, we started to setup in the cold dark of a January morning at 6:30.  Some asshole with his two pre-teen sons showed up at 6:45 asking about the video games I promised in a craigslist ad.  Now I had to stand and keep watch while Jeff did all the lifting and moving.  The games were for several systems and spread across a few bins since we still hadn't set up yet.  He kept asking me about the games, and I finally told him he would need to wait until we had everything out and setup at 7:00 (you know, when the ad said we would start).  He rummaged through the disorganized bins anyway and ended up leaving a few minutes later.

Fortunately, his high-holy-jerk-headedness didn't set the tone for the day.  It was slow and freezing until about 8:00, but Jeff read to me while I knitted a scarf to keep my hands busy in the quiet morning.  From about 8:30 to 10:30 there was a ton of activity and we off-loaded most of our stuff.  It was nice to have visits from friends to keep our spirits up through the morning.  By 11:30 we hadn't had any fresh faces in awhile and loaded up the left-overs into the van.

We celebrated our success with a Round Table Pizza lunch buffet before depositing our bounty in the bank and heading off to Goodwill.  We would have preferred to donate to Disabled American Vets, but we were exhausted and it was farther than we wanted to go.  I ran inside Goodwill to see if I could find a nice sweater while Jeff did the donating bit.  I came up empty handed out of the store just as he pulled up and parked.  Next we hit Target so I could get some liquid eyeliner and Jeff encouraged me to hunt down a sweater.  We only found one contestant, a jewel-tone teal that's nice and long and warm without being too drapey like my other sweater.  I would have preferred a more neutral color, but this one is nice.

Anyway, we were pooped and headed home for naps.  After long naps and a shower, we headed out to the theater, gift cards in tow, and caught the new Mission Impossible movie.  Afterwards, we shared a chicken sandwich at Red Robin, being the only restaurant open at 10pm on a Saturday.

The house was still in a state of disarray by Sunday, but we picked up what we could and Jeff vacuumed so we could do some yoga with a friend.  Through the afternoon, we had a Torchwood marathon while I worked on potential story outlines to carry me through the next month.

I still walk through the house and find things I don't want or need anymore.  I want to get rid of more, so I will be setting up a donation bin somewhere unobtrusive in the house.  When it's full we can donate it to DAV or sell more valuable pieces on craigslist.  It's a trip to think that I'm still not done purging and reorganizing.  Some things will just need a bit more time before I'm ready to let go.

I generally feel more relaxed in my home.  I still see clutter everywhere, but I feel much more prepared to release things than before.  Just taking everything off the counter in the bathroom (except for toothbrushes, handsoap, and a vanity mirror) makes getting ready at any time of day a lot less frantic.

I'm even playing with the idea of ditching the Internet at the house, but that's a blog for another day.

I'll have my mid-month progress report on my other mini-actions in a few days.  I wish everyone success in their endeavors to get 2012 off to a great start!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

January Goals and Stuff

Happy New Year 2012!

Frankly, I could care less about the new calendar year.  New opportunities, new starts, setting things in motion, they can be done at any time.  Today is better than tomorrow.  During the cold winter months, it's typical to start focusing inward, on yourself, on your family, on the things you really want out of life, more than any time of year.  So it makes sense to make goals and plans and plot right now.  But don't think just because the 1st has come and gone, or because Monday has already happened means that you can't still make a plan.

I spent the last half of December coming up with a list of goals and some steps I thought would help me get there.  The biggest thing I took away from 2011 as far as goal planning was to be specific and to think of steps in terms of something that can be measured.  In 2011, my goals were too abstract and while I tagged almost everything just a little bit, I didn't have any marked out to measure my success (or failures).

I split my goals into 5 categories: Physical, Lifestyle, Spiritual, Career, and Romance.  Each category contains goals that span across other categories, as it should.  For example, I have a goal to "be more active" under my Lifestyle category.  I define that as spending more time moving than I do sitting, at least during my time away from the office.  That's still really abstract, so I specified that I want to go hiking at least once a month.  This also works for a Physical goal of getting into better shape, a Spiritual goal that gets me out to commune with nature more regularly, and a Romance goal to do more activities with my sweetheart.  Booyah!

Here's my plan for 2012, and the mini actions I plan on doing to get there.  Starting with January.  I may add or subtract things as time progresses, and they should.  Don't feel bad about your plans changing half-way through the game.  Sometimes you need to make adjustments for evolution, life changes, and whatever.

Category: Physical

(1) 2012 Goal: Lose weight, be slimmer, get stronger.
January mini actions:
- Add 30 minutes of activity (dancing, walking, gaming, jogging, workout videos, whatever) every day, all at once or spread out throughout the day.
- Go on one hike.
- Make Paleo work lunches, home snacks, and at least 3 dinners.  (Exceptions being hosted dinners.)
- Eat out only once per week.
January measurement: -5 pounds (starting 192) or 75% success rate with mini actions. Using to measure activity and weight loss.  (Note: I'm not using body measurements because I suck at taking them and I'm not using women's clothing sizes because it doesn't make sense to.)

(2) 2012 Goal: More yoga, more consistently
January mini actions:
- Do 3 sun salutations every morning.
- Resume hosting classes once per week.
- Attend one studio class twice per month (limited finances mean I have to work up on this one).
- Do at least one private (or with sweetheart) one hour intensive once per week.
January measurement: 75% success rate with mini actions.  Using to measure activity and weight loss.  Time made for yoga activity count towards Physical Goal (1).  Because I'm cheeky like that.

Category: Lifestyle

(1) 2012 Goal: Garden more
January mini actions:
- Start seeds for yellow onions and golden beets.
- Dig small pit for composting.
- Spend 1 hour weeding and maintaining both yards each week.
January measurement: Completing all mini actions.  They're really mini.

(2) 2012 Goal: Be more active
(This is incorporated into every other goal and its mini actions.)

(3) 2012 Goal: Explore Artistic Endeavors
January mini actions:
- Spend 1 to 2 hours every day writing.
- Always have a yarn or creative project in hand when watching television (exception to this would be if cuddling is involved, it's easier to cuddle when you're not poking your sweetheart with pointy sticks, or so I'm told).
- Dance drills at least once a week (see physical goals).
January measurement: complete at least one creative project by end of the month.

(4) 2012 Goal: Reduce clutter
January mini actions:
- Follow MySimplerLife calendar each day.
- Host yard sale.
- Add intended purchases to a wishlist.  If after three months I still want or need that item, I can budget its purchase.  (Does not include household essentials.)  Anything over $50 should be discussed with sweetheart before purchase.
January measurement: Completing all mini actions.

Category: Romance

(1) 2012 Goal: Spend more time with my sweetheart
January mini actions:
- Set aside one weekend just for activities with sweetheart, whatever those are, mundane or romantic.
- Date night once a week (when step-son is over, date night becomes family night).
January measurement: Completing all mini actions.

(There's more to this category, but it's none of your business!)

Category: Spirituality

(1) 2012 Goal: Meditate more
January mini actions:
- Make 10 minutes every day for meditation.  (This can easily be paired with my yoga mini actions.)
January measurement: 75% success rate with mini action.

(2) 2012 Goal: Do more spiritual stuff
January mini actions:
- Declutter fireplace/mantle and make a devotional center.
- Go through "SS" course exercise each week
January measurement: Completing all mini actions.

Category: Career/Education

(1) 2012 Goal: Take a class in a subject of interest
(2) 2012 Goal: Get Cache certification.
(3) 2012 Goal: Get MS Certification.
(4) 2012 Goal: Update resume.
January mini actions: none
(I have too many things on my plate to get started on these. I may evolve these as the year progresses, but none are super high at the moment.  I'm too busy with other, more fun things. Also, while I have no intention of leaving my current position, I don't want to be caught unawares.  It's always good to be prepared and to keep your eyes and ears open.)

(5) 2012 Goal: Break out with some fiction.
January mini actions:
- Complete at least 4 short stories (approx 5000 words).
- Outline 2 potential collections.
January measurement: Completing all mini actions.

Maybe it looks like a lot, maybe it doesn't look like much.  At the moment, I'm pretty satisfied with my workload for the month.  Most of the mini actions lend themselves to multiple categories I am interested in improving.  What's more, I have some measurements that seem, from this standpoint, fairly realistic.  If time proves that I am wrong, then I will adjust.

Another big thing I'm going to look at is how to automate my behavior on some items.  For example, I found by leaving my yoga mat in the middle of the living room I would do yoga for at least a few minutes every day.  If I put it away, it's easier to forget so I wouldn't do yoga every day.  Little things like that.

I'm also trying to wrap up some projects I have left unfinished.  I have three projects for other people in various stages of completion.  I'm busting my ass to have those done ASAP, mostly because I don't want those projects sucking up my energy at all (I'm enjoying working on them, but if I try to work on something else, I spend more time feeling guilty about what I have yet to complete).

In other news, I deleted a bunch of draft posts I had intended to post here.  Some of them were relevant at the time and wouldn't make sense to schedule for a post now.  Also, I am going to try to put off scheduling posts.  I'm probably going to limit myself to two posts a week just to measure progress on my goals, and to chat about...well...whatever I feel is important to me at the moment.  We'll see how all that goes!

Hopefully my extrapolation on goals is helpful to someone.  It's important to break things up, make them tangible, and put yourself to it.  Remember, you don't need a New Year to start on a New You.