Taking on 2013 and hoping to revitalize my life

Posts tagged ‘blog’

Month 12 Check-In

December has been over for a few days but figuring out my wisdom for 2014 took longer than I thought it would. Who knew that I had learned so much? Anyway, here is my final check-in for 2013, in case you were wondering if it was coming.

I’m not really sure what happened in December. I remember frantically getting ready for Christmas. I remember baking with the kids and us attempting to decorate a gingerbread carousel. I remember present wrapping and unwrapping. I remember last-minute errands and visiting family. I remember arguments, laughter and love. But the rest is just a whirlwind of busyness.

I wish I could say I wrote, ate healthy and exercised. Well, I did write, just not my book… Ah well, there’s always 2014.

Here’s the round-up for the rest of my overall goals:

Eating more fruits and veggies/ day – I’m quite sure there were days in December where I didn’t eat one fruit or vegetable :(. I also put some weight on for Christmas. However, I am still down 10 pounds for the year so I’m happy. I just need to eat better!!

Exercising – I think that the only exercising I did this month was one session of yoga and several sessions of shovelling. I also made it to badminton one time this month. As I’ve already said, there’s always 2014. I did find out that there is a free skate at lunch time 3 days/ week close to where I work, so I’m going to try to get there at least one day/ week in the future. I’m not a good skater but every little bit helps.

Blog 4 times/ week – As 2014 came to an end I struggled to meet my blogging goals but I have decided to continue on and keep blogging. Yay!  I think I will aim for 2-3 times/ week as opposed to 4 but we will see what happens as the year goes on. The reason I decided to keep blogging was really because of the Winter Solstice Ritual. It was really great to look back over everything from the past year. It made the learnings more tangible and made me feel like I really accomplished something so I will soldier on and see what 2014 brings.

Putting myself out there more and creating better relationships – I had one friend lunch this month and the work Christmas party and New Year’s eve so I did OK with putting myself out there. Plus I hung out with my big, old family and that was awesome.

52 Actions – I tried to make December pretty easy and I did OK with my weekly goals. I think I’m going to keep them up for 2014, I may even re-use a few. But I also think that I will try to do less each week. Working full-time makes it a bit trickier to get some things done but I’m sure I can manage some small actions.IMG_20131231_204109

General happiness – Am I happier? Yep. Why just today I marvelled over a beautiful sunset, some deer I spotted on the way home and the great deal I got at Wal-mart. I was even pretty happy about the warm hot chocolate I drank while trying to warm up from the cold. And look how happy I look (even if I’m a little fuzzy).

2013 was a great year!! I declare it complete!

One other thing I like from the Winter Solstice Ritual is taking the month of January as a time to dream and then starting the new year in February. So there will be no goals or actions for January, just a time to dream and think of the possibilities for the rest of the year. Thanks for following my exploits in 2013, and here’s to more learning, love and laughter in 2014.

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Month 11 Check-In

I’m a few days late getting this blog post up but, better late than never.

November feels like a blur. I was sick, my youngest was sick, I had family over for the last weekend in November so that required some prep, plus I was also adjusting to being back to work. Throw a little bit of Christmas shopping into the mix, the regular ups and downs of being a parent and bam, 4 weeks is gone.

I wish I could say I succeeded with my challenge for the month, however, the catching up on my writing course was limited in nature and so was the healthy eating. As a matter of fact, my diet is a disaster area these days. I need to bring it back into a better realm of healthy.

Here’s the round-up for the rest of my overall goals:

Eating more fruits and veggies/ day – There were some smoothies this month, of course, but not as many as there should have been. However, if chocolate was a food group I would have it covered. Somehow, I am down one pound which is a total of 14 lbs for the year. I seem to have plateaued at this point but luckily I’m not putting any weight on so I will take it.

Exercising – Exercise has also declined as the month passed. I haven’t been to badminton for the last 2 weeks as I’ve had my kids during that time and the last walk I took was only 15 minutes because it was so cold out. I’m supposed to play squash tomorrow night, so barring any cancellations maybe that will help motivate me to get back to exercising.

Blog 4 times/ week – I’ve struggled to meet my blogging goal for the last 3 months and as the year is drawing to a close I’m wondering if I will continue blogging into 2014. I haven’t made any decisions yet but I am thinking about letting it go. We’ll see, still a few more weeks before the year is over.

Putting myself out there more and creating better relationships – I’ve had a couple of lunches with co-workers this month, I also had lunch with a co-worker from my last job and dinner with another. It’s funny how hard it is to coordinate things when you no longer see each other every day but I will keep trying, it is worth it. And as for Sven, it’s been hard seeing him this month too. Between kid schedules and being sick, we didn’t see each other all that much during the month of November.

52 Actions – I wish I was doing better with my weekly goals. I didn’t fail completely this month but I wasn’t overly successful either. For some reason they are no longer top of mind or maybe they are just things I don’t really want to do. Something to think about.

General happiness – Overall, I think I have learned a lot about how to be happier during this past year. It is so important to live in the present. To stop worrying about what may or may not happen in the future and to stop obsessing about what has happened in the past. Some days these things are easier said than done but if you can stick to the present, life will be better. I think that is the key.

Only 28 days left to 2013, where has the year gone? During these last 4 weeks I will try to review some of the stuff I have learned during this past year of blogging and make plans for 2014. Not sure what they are yet, but I’ll figure it out :).

An Abundance of Writing

Writing

Writing (Photo credit: jjpacres)

I’ve been asking for abundance to come into my life for a while now. The daily mantra has changed and morphed over the months but the premise remains the same. One of the additions to the mantra has been to ask for an abundance of writing. It’s funny how things don’t turn out exactly as planned but how they still turn out.

Originally I thought that my writing would take place here on this blog or in the form of a book that I’m supposed to be writing but that has not been the case. I am still writing here and one of these days I’ll take a stab at the book again but for now my abundance of writing is happening at work.

At work I’m writing. I’m writing blog posts and success stories and today I started writing my first brochure. I’ve been in marketing for years but have never written a brochure before. I was kind of wary about it at first but once I got some words on paper it got easier and by the end I thought it was pretty good.

As my workday came to a close I realized that I was proud of my writing and… I was happy. Happy to have created something. Happy to have a physical existence of my work. Happy to have something to show for my effort. And happy that I had written content that I was pleased with.

Not all of my writing makes me happy. Wait, that’s not exactly right. My writing makes me happy but I’m not always happy about people’s reactions to my writing. For example, we had Open Mic night at my writing course tonight and I put my hand up to read. I had decided to read my poem that I had written 10 years ago. I know it is a heavy piece but I always felt that it was good because it evoked emotions. Not all poetry is about trees and butterflies, sometimes it is about pain and suffering.

After the heart-pounding effort that it took to read my poem I was a little disappointed by the response. Or should I say lack of response. I did get a few people who commented but mostly I heard crickets chirping and I wasn’t even outside. The group follows the old adage that if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Based on the limited feedback, I guess people didn’t like it.

I wish that I didn’t care what others thought. I wish that I only cared what I thought about my writing. Why do we seek approval when really we should just revel in our personal triumph of getting the words onto paper? Why should we want the accolades when expressing our thoughts and dreams, since no matter what they are, the expression is a form of success all by itself?

One day I hope to be that person who writes and doesn’t care what others think. Some days I am better at it than others.

For now, I will continue to write and I will continue to try to find the joy in the act of writing itself. I think that the group of people who care about my writing is small but they do exist. And even if the group turns out to be a party of one, I hope that I can still be happy and proud that I did the work, wrote my thoughts down and created a physical representation of the ideas tumbling around inside my brain.

Month 10 Check-In

There are only 2 months left to 2013. The year has flown by.

October has been a bit of a chaotic month for me but in a good way. I have returned to work after a year hiatus (that sounds like a nice way to say it). I have written a short story and submitted it to a contest. And I am still trying to ride the happy train. I find that the hardest time for me to be happy these days is when I think about the whole boy-girl relationship thing or lack thereof. I just find that area of my life frustrating. I’m trying to let things be what they will be more, but that is difficult for me (hence the frustrating part)… maybe there is a better way to deal with those feelings.

I had a writing challenge for September and October. My plan was to write every day for at least an hour/ day. I found the challenge pretty challenging. It was hard to commit to writing everyday but I do think I wrote more than usual during these past 2 months. But in spite of writing more during these 2 months I was short on blog posts for both September and October. I was doing a different kind of writing so I’m still happy with how things have gone.

During the month of October I also discovered that I would like to write some fiction, I had no idea that this would interest me but I was inspired by one of the women in my writing class so I’m going to try something new.

Here’s the round-up for the rest of my overall goals:

Eating more fruits and veggies/ day – This month has not been great for the fruits and veggies. Junk food has snuck into my diet and I need to get a handle on that. Halloween sure does not help the situation. My weight is up a little this month so I’m only down 13 lbs for the year, I need to refocus on eating better and exercising as they are important habits to establish.

Exercising – Exercise has not happened as much as I would like this past month, especially during the last 2 weeks. The new work schedule is making things a bit crazy but I did manage to walk at lunch time a couple of days in there. If I can continue with those walks that will help me fit exercising into my schedule.

Blog 4 times/ week – I missed my goal in October again! I’m hoping to catch up in November or at least to hit my weekly goal.

Putting myself out there more and creating better relationships – I went for a couple of lunches with friends this month and to my sister’s for Thanksgiving. I also started a brand new job and have been trying to get to know my new co-workers.

52 Actions – I managed to purge some clothes and give some gifts but other than that the weekly goals are taking a bit of a beating. I haven’t forgotten about them but I may need to re-jig them as I have less free time than before.

General happiness – I think I am happier than I have been in quite a while. I’m still welcoming abundance into my life, I try to say what I am thankful for every day, I try to focus on living in the present, I try to write about my negative feelings when they happen and release them into the universe, and I think these things all add up to being happier with what you have. Not every day is a stellar day but a greater majority of them are and that makes me happy :).

Only 2 months to go, time to really focus on what’s important during this time. It might be a good idea to reflect on that and make sure that’s what I’m doing. I’ll try to come up with a challenge for November that encompasses that.

Month 9 Check-In

I cannot believe that 2013 only has 3 months left in it. How things have changed and yet how they have stayed the same. As of the 24th of October I will have been unemployed for a year. I did some consulting in there but not enough for it to feel like a real job. I have another interview coming up soon, perhaps this will be the one. As for changes, well I have been blogging for 9 months, I’m taking a writing course and I have spent a tremendous amount of time trying to find my happiness.

Am I feeling happier? Well not every day, but I have discovered some techniques that make it easier to redirect negative feelings and some techniques to focus on the positive ones. Today I’m feeling pretty damn good actually :).

I had a writing challenge for September. My plan was to write every day for at least an hour/ day. I thought it would be pretty easy as I have been blogging 4 times/ week but things seemed to change once I set up the challenge. All of a sudden I was no longer inspired and I could barely write a blog post (as a matter of fact I was short on blog posts 1 week this month).

I think that once I told myself that I had to do it then all of a sudden I felt like I couldn’t, I was resisting. I’m working on clearing up that resistance so I’m going to implement the same writing challenge for the month of October. I have sketched out an idea for a book so I need to put some effort into it. Even if it never gets published, I can leave it to my kids so they have a part of me later on. On a positive note, I have written a few things that I wouldn’t normally write this past month so that has been a fun exploration of my creativity.

Here’s the round-up for the rest of my overall goals:

Eating more fruits and veggies/ day – I was on and off with the fruits and veggies this month. I’m going to try to re-focus on this for the month of October. I really do love the smoothies and they are so good for me. I’m down about 1 1/2 lbs this month, so 15 1/2 pounds in total for the year. I’ve plateaued a bit but if I can increase the fruits and veggies again I should be good.

Exercising – I’ve been sick this past week so not exercising but I have big plans for badminton and boxing this fall.

Blog 4 times/ week – I missed my goal 1 week in September but I know I’ll hit it in October!

Putting myself out there more and creating better relationships – I took two classes this month: I went to a cooking class with Sven and took an HTML/CSS one-day course called Ladies Learning to Code. I also had coffee with a friend of mine who I hadn’t chatted with in ages, it was so good to catch up!! And every once in a while I manage to snag one of my friends for lunch so that’s always fun.

52 Actions – I’m doing OK with my weekly goals. I planned a scavenger hunt in town (which I have been talking about for ages), now I need to gather up some folks and try it out!! Some of the other stuff has not been accomplished but I’m moving in a forward direction.

Getting a job – Still no job. I really thought I would have one by now. I think I’m not selling myself enough. Job interview at the 11th company coming up next week. Wish me luck!!

General happiness – The writing course that I am taking is so much more than a writing course. There are sections about dealing with your inner critics and negative feelings. All of these things are helping me feel happier these days. I didn’t feel that good while I was sick last week but now I’m mostly better and feeling happy!!

3 months left, WOW! I think I need to take some time this month and see what I really want to accomplish by the end of this year.

Writing is Hard

"Writing", 22 November 2008

“Writing”, 22 November 2008 (Photo credit: ed_needs_a_bicycle)

I love how I’ve been blogging for a few months and now I think I’m capable of writing a book. Seriously, blogging is easy. Writing a book is hard.

When I blog, all I have to do is throw together 300 – 600 words and I’ve got a blog post. I pat myself on the back, enjoy the fact that I have a handful of readers and move on with my day.

The blog post doesn’t need any specific structure; it can be written about whatever the hell I want including rants, whining and trips to the beach; and I can write it straight from the hip with no editing or second thoughts if I like. Writing a book takes thought and effort. It takes clarity and outlines and proper sentence structure.

I’m feeling overwhelmed.

I haven’t given up yet but I’m already facing writer’s block and I’ve only been writing every day for one week. And most of the stuff I have written during this week has nothing to do with any book, unless, somehow I manage to re-package this blog into a book.

The WINS course is supposed to help unleash my creativity so I still have Hope. Hope is my best friend these days. I wouldn’t mind if Confidence and Inspiration could knock on my door too. They could keep Hope company. We could have a little party. I’d serve them hors d’oeuvres, we’d dance like no one was watching, and fall to the floor maniacally laughing about nothing in particular. It sounds a little crazy but also like fun.

Who wants to join us?

The Top 8 Benefits of Being Unemployed

I’ve been unemployed for 10 months now and I think I’m finally getting the hang of it. This time off has been an opportunity for me. An opportunity to explore new things, to take time for myself and to re-evaluate where I’m going in life. So without further ado, here are the

top-8

Benefits of Being Unemployed:
  1. The gift of time.
    One of the things about not working 8+ hours/day is that you have a lot more free time to do other things. Of course, searching for work takes up some time but you can’t spend 40 hours/week doing that soul-sucking task or you would end up in a fetal position on the floor.
  2. Less stress.
    I’m sure that several of you are looking confused at this one. Let me clarify, some days are pretty damn stressful, when you wonder why no one is hiring you after multiple interviews, that can be pretty stressing. But I haven’t been feeling that every day. For the most part I have been enjoying the lack of work-related stress. No deadlines to meet, no lack of communication, no problems with co-workers… you get the idea. Plus, when the kids get home, the evening rush of homework and activities is a lot less rushed and a lot less stressful.
  3. Better health.
    I have lost 14 pounds during the last 8 months. It has not been due to dieting. It has been due to eating better, less stress, more exercise and an increased focus on self-care.
  4. An opportunity to try new things.
    During this period of unemployment I have embraced blogging, tried meditating, learned about chakras and life energy, completed some small challenges, reached out to friends new and old, and signed up for a writing course. Plus, I learned a lot about happiness, positivity and gratitude, started playing badminton, and spent some time volunteering.
  5. Did some things I did not previously have time for.
    I’ve done a lot of reading, purged some stuff, organized a get-together, scrapbooked, did more yoga, taught my youngest how to ride her bike, planted a flower garden and a few vegetables, went on some day-trips, did a little dating, and watched too much TV.
  6. Explored options for my future.
    This time off has given me an opportunity to assess where I am in life and where I want to go. It did not happen quickly but after some soul-searching I have become a lot more serious about writing a book. I think I needed to go through certain steps to get to this point but I am excited about writing and I want to see what I can do in this field.
  7. Improved a friendship.
    I have this friend who I liked but we didn’t hang out that much. We both got laid off together and it was a bonding experience. She is one of my biggest cheerleaders in the whole blogging adventure and job search process. I really appreciate her support and I ❤ her. Thanks Regan!!
  8. Made new friends.
    Blogging has put me in touch with some people I never would have connected with before. I like that I have readers and I like reading other people’s blogs. Plus the writing course has added more people to my life. I’ve only been there a short time but they seem like a super supportive bunch and I am excited to get to know them better.

I know that these are my benefits, but if you’re unemployed you can make some of them yours too. Don’t spend all of your time feeling sorry for yourself. Put yourself out there, take risks and do something that you’ve always wanted to do but never had the time for. Of course, don’t give up the job search but keeping busy with things you like will help you keep a positive attitude and that will help in the big scheme of things.

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