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Day 25

I’m a quarter of the way through this, which seems unbelievable to me. I didn’t bother to update you last week, because a) who cares, really, and b) it wasn’t a great week. After some pondering, I realized that I needed to further refine a few goals to better suit the purpose of this exercise. I’ve updated “30 minute walk” to be “30 minutes in the world,” since the entire point of that goal was to have some interaction with people, and I found that walking was largely a solitary activity. I also changed the gym goal to be “intentional activity.” And, with that, I think we can all say that I’m officially Crunchy California. Basically, though, a two hour walk should count, even if it doesn’t occur at the gym. I’ve lived with these edits for a week, and this week was much better.

I also decided that to count any extra “once a week” things. Thus, if we go on three dates, two of those can cancel out two times that I didn’t make the bed, etc, when figuring out my success percentage. At first, I thought this was cheating. And then I remembered that this entire activity is A MADE UP THING. It doesn’t count. And, as mentioned above, no one cares. The point is to feel happier and better, so whatever, man!

Here’s my chart!

You’ll notice that I laughed a lot this week, and I hadn’t realized how much I’d been missing that. The Horse Whisperer and I played mini-golf one night, and we also have started playing this dumb game that involves tossing a wiffle ball at the back wall of our garden. I’m certifiably terrible at both activities, which cracks me up. I also spent two days in LA with my wonderful friend, Anne, which was all kinds of good for my soul.

This week should be a good one, too! I’m headed back to San Francisco on Friday for a work trip, and I cannot wait. I’m a little bit nervous about how it will feel to be back home-not-home, but I’ve filled my dance card with many wonderful things and people. I’ll be eating the heck out of all of my favorite things, and I’m sure I’ll over-Instagram it. Good stuff!

Here’s our picture of the week. Have a great one, friends!

Blog 8.26

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Status update: ten days in

Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 3.11.34 PM

I got a 79% this week. That’s a C+, my first C+ on anything ever. (WRONG!!! I got an 84%, because I am only counting the full week! MATH IS HARD.) Hopefully I’ll notice some big improvement over time.

I think the weirdest and most glaring lack of completion was beach time. I live literally four blocks from the beach, and I made it there once in ten days. That is ridiculous! That said, we had houseguests for most of the week, so there were plenty of other things that didn’t fulfill a spreadsheet box, but were nevertheless awesome.

I updated the “read something funny” to be “do/read something funny.” I had a hilarious evening with two wonderful friends, during which I laughed until I cried. The entire point of this exercise is to LIVE, and laughing at real life feels preferable to laughing at something written. Given my druthers, I’d always choose real life. But I’ll also take a funny book, or even a funny movie.

The biggest revelation so far has been the “being nice to myself” checkbox. It’s hilarious how often I’ll stop myself before finishing a thought by saying, “If you keep this up, you won’t be able to check off that box!” Yesterday, I fell down the rabbithole of my Flickr archives, resulting in about an hour of self-derision. I was also ill from something I ate, so I wasn’t in my finest mental form. It was pretty dumb.

Overall, I’m enjoying this exercise. Having small goals within a set timeframe helps me stay on track, and I like the gratification of putting marks in boxes. I also like being able to measure how I’m feeling against the data I’m collecting. I’ve realized that I’ll likely edit these goals as I go, and that’s fine. I’m looking forward to trying some new mini experiments within this one, but I’m mostly just trying to hit my stride in the first few weeks.

Oh! And here’s our picture from last week!

Week 1 - take more photos together.

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100 Days

I’m really good at certain things. Give me a work project, and I’ll break it down into tasks, timelines, and metrics, and I’ll deliver on time.

I’m really terrible at other things. Suggest that I prioritize self-care, and I’ll blow it every time. I’ll sabotage my best efforts, or I’ll get ridiculously obsessive. And the undercurrent of all of it: I’ll be really, really mean to myself about the whole thing. If I’m not doing the right things, I’m a failure. If I am doing the right things, I’m not doing them well enough. And no matter what I do, I will always, always berate myself for having the particular body that I have.

It always comes back to that, doesn’t it?

This gets particularly bad when I have too much time for navel-gazing, as is the case right now. I’m doing things, sure, but I’m alone most of the day, every day. I haven’t yet established a real routine, and I don’t have forced interaction with anyone else. I worry that I’m becoming socially awkward, that I’m wasting time, that I’ll never make friends. And these worries turn into self-criticism: I am socially awkward, I’m a sloth, I am not capable of making friends.

This has been a downward spiral for the past three months, and I’m now officially BORED.

So, in looking at what I’m good at and what I’m not, I’ve decided to treat this like a project manager. Yep, I’m going to micromanage the crap out of Outlook Improvement, and I’m going to do it for 100 days. Well, probably more like 103 days, because that gets me to my 34th birthday, and I like to bookend things like that. It feels satisfying.

My goals are pretty simple, and are divided into daily, thrice weekly, and once weekly tasks.

Daily, I want to eat healthy things at regular intervals, because it makes me feel better and prevents self-loathing of many varieties. I plan to take a 30-minute structured walk, to force myself to get out of the house and explore my neighborhood. I will floss my teeth, because I did this for three years every night, and I hate that I’ve broken the habit – again, five minutes of action to reduce self-loathing is a good thing. I’ll make my bed daily, because walking into a messy bedroom is totally deflating. And finally, I will be radically, deeply kind to myself. No more negative self-talk, no more awkward jokes at my own expense. No more talking to myself the way I would never, ever speak to a friend. Period.

Three times a week, I will go to the beach and the gym. If I rotate days, this means that I have structured, out-of-house time six days a week.

Once a week (on the seventh, non-structured day), I’ll go on an adventure of some type. I will also do a fun project once a week: making something artsy, cooking or baking something new, rearranging a room or hanging art… just something. I also want to remember what it feels like to laugh my arse off, so I plan to read something hilarious every week (suggestions more than welcome). And finally, since I really do enjoy my partner-in-crime, I’d like to go on a date of some kind every week, and take one picture together.

Just in case I didn’t make it clear before, I am not messing around with the micromanagement. I’ve made a chart. See? Structured fun in a delicious series of checkboxes.

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I can’t promise that I’ll update you on this, or that I won’t OVER UPDATE YOU on this, but I feel better having a plan in place.

Here goes… almost everything.

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2014 Update

When I made my list of 2014 goals, I honestly thought it would be super simple to check things off.

How adorable that was.

The truth is that I’ve made pretty meager headway on my list thus far. In usual Me Fashion, I’ve accomplished most of the task-master-y things, and haven’t really done much on the fun or self-care front.

(I’ve also apparently forgotten how to write a blog post in any kind of eloquent or interesting way.)

1. Transition healthfully – This category is checked off!

  • disengage from my current job - Yes! Though, I have a fun and hilarious update on this to share in the next week or so.
  • say goodbye to the people we love - Yes, and it was lovely. Bittersweet, but lovely.
  • find a new homeYes, and it is finally becoming a comfortable place, ants notwithstanding. And they do withstand, let me tell you.
  • find a new job - Basically, yes! More on this later!

2. Be the best version of myself – Oh, dear. No. I’m starting a project tomorrow to prioritize this – more on that.

  • laugh more
  • make things
  • be healthy
  • be comfortable in my body

3. Be adventurous – Sort of? I mean, moving is pretty adventurous, and I’m taking some major leaps of faith in the career department. This category is also going to be a part of my aforementioned Life Project.

  • take a surfing lesson
  • try a new craft - My parents were here last week, and we started a garden! So, I think this counts. But I’d still like to try something maker-y. I’m not checking this one off yet.
  • take a dance classYes, I did this, and it was hilariously bad. I’d kind of like to take another one, though I need to find an alternate location. Let’s just say that “beginning adult ballet” should not consist of two out of three class members wearing pointe shoes. Ahem.
  • visit Mexico

4. Nurture our marriage – I wouldn’t say that our marriage has been a non-priority, but we certainly haven’t done any of the things in this category. The Horse Whisperer is in the midst of his busiest season at the new job, which coincided with his start date. After Labor Day, things at the office will slow down dramatically, and we’ll be able to do fun things together. 

  • take more pictures together
  • develop “couple hobbies”
  • find a balance of work/life/creativity/productivity
  • be a team - I always think we’re a good team, though I think some non-traumatic team building (like, say, AN ACTUAL VACATION) would be a good thing for us.
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Two Months

Ocean

As of today, I’ve lived in Encinitas for two months. I feel like I’m finally figuring it out – I know where to get all of my various groceries, and I don’t need to use a maps app to get there; I mostly remember which restaurants, cafes, and businesses are closed on Mondays; our house is almost set up to my liking; I own more than one temperature-appropriate clothing ensemble.

For the most part, I like it here a lot. The people are nice, the weather is always beautiful, the pace of life is lovely. It still isn’t home, but only time solves that problem. When people ask where we lived in San Francisco, I keep responding in present tense: we live on the line between the Western Addition and Lower Pac Heights. It always takes me a moment to remember that we don’t live there anymore. Nine years will do that to you.

Wonderful things (in no particular order)
1. The beach is glorious. I don’t go as much as I should. I have a goal to get there every day, but I usually make it about two or three times per week.
2. Trader Joe’s is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before!  You drive up, find a parking space in the lot without waiting or circling, walk calmly through the store, and head to the register, where there is never more than one person in front of you. This happens regardless of the day of the week, or the time of day. I don’t quite understand it, but I sure do like it.
3. Time off with my honey is a regular thing! We have had every weekend to do what we want. So this is what that’s like!
4. People are incredibly kind and mostly considerate. There’s been a little bit of inconsiderate growth over the past few weeks, as our area is taken over by vacationers, but this too shall pass.
5. It really is a great little town. We live so close to the coast that we can basically exist along the 101 Highway corridor, which is loaded with locally-owned businesses and quirky landmarks. People have started to remember us at the places we frequent, which is lovely.

Challenging things
1. I haven’t yet made any friends. I’ve met some people who seem fun and interesting and may potentially become friends, but that hasn’t yet developed. Since I’m currently doing consulting work from home, this means I spend the vast majority of my time by myself. I’m an over-thinker, so too much solitude can be problematic. Working on this.
2. We’ve had a lot of house challenges. For about two weeks, something went wrong every day. And I’m talking about big things: the heater was leaking gas, the main line sewer backed up into our bathtub, etc. For those two weeks, I spent a lot of time with random people tracking equipment through our house. It was really unsettling. And yes, I understand that home ownership has its challenges, but we do not own this home. We pay a significant amount of rent so that someone else has to deal with this, and it was frustrating that we were, in fact, the ones dealing with it. That said, things seem to be settling down, and when the house is good, it’s really good.
3. I’m wasting a lot of time. Consulting from home has its up-sides, but I haven’t settled into my routine yet. I have three separate projects that I’m working on, and ideally I should set a schedule of work hours… but I haven’t done that. I’m not falling behind on anything, but my time feels very disorganized. I have, however, done a lot of house projects. I’ve also watched the first two seasons of Bones, and therein lies the rub. I am not a TV watcher, and I have no interest in becoming one. I need to find ways of getting out of the house (that don’t involve spending money). I’ve been going to the gym about three times a week, and heading to the public library once a week, but I need more of these things.

That’s the status update from two months in. Among the many “routine goals” that I’m setting for myself, I am hoping and planning to write more. But let’s be honest, I’ve been trying to force that for a few years now, and it hasn’t happened. I feel self-conscious about posting status updates, rather than thought-out essays, but that’s where I am at the moment.

Look, here’s another pretty ocean picture!

Sunset

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