Tag Archives: sanity

January – Goals and Resolutions

New Year's Decorations

New Year’s Decorations

Ahhh, January. The month of new beginnings, of fresh starts, of plans and goals and motivation. Of post-holiday depression, of dark mornings, of bleak weather (yes, even in Arizona). It’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

We’re a whole month into the new year, and I’ve had plenty of time to think about how successful I was on my resolutions for last year (surprisingly successful!) and what I want to do with the year ahead of me.

Last year was about the little things – the minor elements of daily life that tend to pile on top of each other to put me in a foul mood. With a few little adjustments, I started chipping away and the things that stressed me out the most. I took a test, tried to be on time to work (which worked out until the time changed), flossed my teeth (sometimes – I guess, slightly more than usual), started running, and compiled and began reading a very long book list. And then, as with everything else in life, huge gigantic upheaval entered and I was worried that all my work was for naught.

Arizona mountains in December

Arizona mountains in December

Turned out that was totally false. As far as helping me achieve my goals, moving has been one of the best things that’s happened in a long time. Of course, I’ve always loved moving. Yes, it’s hard. It continues to be hard every single day. But talk about new beginnings! I wrote a little about how moving has changed very basic things about my habits. Since getting our stuff back and moving into a new place, those habits have changed again, and not necessarily for the better. But I have the unique chance to re-organize my life, basically from scratch.

I have big plans for 2013. This year is about the big things, the goals that will pay off in the long term, but will take some work today.

In 2013 I’m going to:

  • take all my architecture tests. And hopefully pass them all, too, but let’s set reasonable goals, OK?
  • get an architecture job
  • move to a long-term house
  • continue my reading project: my goal is 52 books this year, 30 from my classics list. so far I’ve read 2 – both from the list!
  • grow a garden and start composting again
Snow covered tree in Cincinnati

Snow covered tree in Cincinnati

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My misplaced identity

We’ve been here over a month now.  I’m finally getting used to Tucson.  It still looks like a wasteland when you drive around – huge wide streets, gravel, dead grass that grew last monsoon season and was never removed when it returned to desert condition.  The mountains are beautiful, but they’re often foggy and distant.

I’m getting used to doing nothing.  Nate actually asked me what I did all day today.  It’s not that hard, you guys.  I live in a one bedroom apartment with very little actual furniture.  We have so little “stuff” that cleaning is a joke.  The only thing that actually takes any time is doing dishes.  We have a dishwasher, but too few dishes to make use of it efficiently.  I basically do nothing all day.

It’s been difficult to admit that I do nothing.  The last time I had this little to do I was probably 12 years old.  Even then, my Mom kept us pretty busy during the summer, and imagination and free play is way more acceptable when you’re 12 than when you’re 26.  I went from being employed full time straight out of college to being unemployed.  I spend my days inside my dark, empty, tiny, one bedroom apartment.  I have a list of really tedious things that need to be done, lots of making phone calls that never get returned.

For the first few days we were here, I would get up, shower, put on my brand new shorts (I never needed shorts before!  I was always working in the air conditioning and I had a few sun dresses for the weekends, or gym shorts, or I’d just wear my jeans), do my hair and my makeup.

Now I  try to wake up at a reasonable time (the sun comes up REALLY early here, its usually pretty light out when Nate gets up at 5:30) putter around for a while.  I’ve started going to the gym.  It’s kind of far away, so by the time I get there, work out, and drive back, its usually been at least 2 and a half hours.  Sometimes I dry off for a while, slather on my sunscreen, and go lay by the pool.  For one hour.  Mandatory.  30 minutes on my belly, thirty minutes on my back.  Try not to get the library book soaked.  Sometimes I just hang out inside.

I read a lot.  The library is my new best friend.  I got twelve books out of the library and I’ve finished six.  Only one book was from my reading list of classics.  I try to have dinner ready every night when Nate gets home from work.

Writing about all this, I hardly feel sorry for myself.  It all sounds like a grand vacation.  But a vacation with no end in sight.  And I’m not a sit-still person.

By the time Nate gets home from work, I’m crabby.  I’m crabby and he’s jealous that I’ve been sitting around all day, and we have nothing to do but sit and crab at each other.  At first, we would go out and buy something just to get out of the house.  It was awful.

That lasted for about a week.  Then we gave in and bought an X-Box and a little TV.  As much as I complained about video games before, I never would have guessed that they probably saved our marriage.  We got one with a Kinect, so sometimes we play funny little games together.  But usually Nate plays with his friends online while I continue puttering – reading or writing or finding one of the many other ways I have to entertain myself.  I have to say, there was no such thing as “bored” in my parents’ house.  “Bored” was not allowed then, so it makes it very difficult for me to be bored now.  And that has really come in handy.

We’re going back to Ohio for a wedding this weekend.  I really can’t believe it’s been so long since we moved!  I’m super excited to sleep in my own bed, with my own pillows that fit the shape of my head perfectly.  And then all of our stuff will be packed up and stored in an undisclosed location (seriously, they won’t store it in Tucson because it’s too hot) until we figure out what we’re doing with our living situation.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll give a tour of our apartment.  Ha!  It probably won’t be very exciting, but at least it will give me something to do!

It’s kind of funny, after some of my previous posts about being overwhelmed and over extended that I am now with almost nothing to do.  It has been nice to regroup and take some time to reevaluate what I really want to be doing and what is important to me.  But I think I will have to get a job soon or I might go crazy.

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New Year’s Resolutions

I’ve never been one to make New Year’s Resolutions.  It seems silly to me to promise to do a whole bunch of stuff at once, right after you’ve spent the past month running around to holiday events and all you really want to do is nap on the couch, preferably with a cappuccino, a romance novel, and a really fluffy blanket.  Besides, January mornings are not conducive to dragging oneself out of bed, into the freezing morning to the gym.

So this post isn’t really about New Year’s resolutions, per se, but more about goals and hopes for a new year.  It is a very convenient starting point, after all.

After my mini-freak-out a few months ago, I started a list of things I would like change/do that would make me feel more fulfilled and less like I was staring up at a giant cliff, and everyone else was having a party at the top.  It turned out to be a really long list, and was overwhelming by itself.  But I thought it couldn’t hurt to try to chip away at some of those goals.  Then I bought a house.  Yeah, because somehow that was going to make my life less stressful?  Not sure about the logic there, but here I am, a month and a half later, starting a new year in a new house, with new challenges and new opportunities to make changes and improvements in my life.

My plan is to phase in a new change every month or so.  My goals range from “floss teeth every day” to “be on time to work” to “sketch,” so I have a variety of activities and difficulties ahead of me.  Some will be easier than others, some will (is it bad or realistic if I acknowledge this already?) never fully happen.  But I think there is value in trying, in laying out a plan and setting goals and time frames, and telling other people to be held accountable.  I am going to start by putting aside time each day to study for my Architecture exams.  I have one coming up in late January, and I will not pass if I don’t put the time in to study.  It’s not a very fun goal, to do or to write about, but I will be SO happy when I pass a test, I’m sure it will be worth it!

New Year’s Resolutions can be scary!  They are so authoritative, and, even though it’s pretty much a given that very few resolutions are kept, it always feels like such a failure to flounder after only a week or two.  I’m hoping that the incremental approach will be more affective, and that maybe I will actually be able to take little steps toward a slightly saner life!

Have a very Happy New Year, with hope for bright futures and enthusiasm to make them happen!  Stay safe, and I’ll see you in 2012!

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It’s APW Book Buy Day!

Hooray!  The day is here to purchase your very own copy of Meg Keene’s very first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration!  As much as I enjoy reading her blog posts and tweets on a daily basis, I  am beyond sure that this book will be amazing.

So, despite being well past my own wedding planning, I am buying a copy of the first sane and practical wedding book, one that encourages you to embrace the traditions that are right for you, dump the one’s that don’t work, and not drive yourself crazy planning your wedding.  And I’m 100% sure these lessons can be applied to approximately EVERY OTHER part of your life.

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