2015 Goals

This year, I’m not very motivated to theme my year. I think the best attempt is self-assurance. I want to focus on things that will improve my confidence and help me grow and feel better and more sure of myself. I don’t want to be held back by uncertainty, insecurity, fear, or unhappiness. I’d like to work on making myself vulnerable and leaning into the things that freak me out, rather than avoiding them. I want to do things that build me up.

To do that, I want to do more things that freak me out (going to a movie alone, spin class, universalist service, complicated recipes), continue getting physically stronger and more fit, and work on recovering mentally from the last year (therapist, journalling). My non-concrete goal is to be OK with asking for things I need/want and to understand that asking doesn’t negate the value of what I’m asking for, and to generally care less about other peoples’ opinions and more about doing what pleases me.

Goals:

  • save $5000
  • get at least 2/3 “exceptional”s at work at my 18 and 24 month reviews
  • cook coq au vin
  • cook pancakes, bread, scones
  • store all online passwords somewhere
  • attend a universalist service
  • see a therapist (at least once, maybe regularly)
  • go to dr apts – eye dr, obgyn, regular physician, dentist
  • go to a spin class
  • see a movie alone
  • finish Couch to 5K
  • run the Parkway Classic 5K

Local things I’d like to do:

  • Go to stand-up open mic night at Arlington Drafthouse
  • Visit the Crime Museum
  • Visit the Botanical Gardens
  • See a military band concert
  • Check out a roller derby event
  • Visit Williamsburg
  • Try a few odd fitness classes, such as: Pound, Aerial silk yoga, Capoeira

Things I’d like to continue from 2014:

  • Book Club(s) – foodie and kink-friendly ones
  • Game Nights
  • Gratitude Practice – weekly, focus on one thing in detail and how it impacted me not just a list of happy things, keep public; if do list, can keep private
  • RSS reader
  • Goodreads – read 52 books
  • MyFitnessPal – tracking calories and community of fitness-minded folks
  • Strength training – with a trainer or my own weights
  • Cooking at home/trying new recipes – 1 new recipe a month, blog about it with photos
  • 100 days of happiness on instagram – repeat it

General list of  ‘do more’ things for 2015:

  • Keep up with current events and politics (read a newspaper every week, or The Week/Economist, or check CNN/Google news each day)
  • See more movies in theaters
  • Blog/Journal (try to do some 30 day exercises, or 100 days of 100 words; food blogging once a month, gratitude practice made public)
  • Give back to community/charity
  • Use my stand-up desk for 1hr each day (at least)
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Current Focuses (foci?)

What I’m focusing on in order to keep my mind occupied…

  • using myfitnesspal (app and online) as a food diary and exercise log, focusing on eating healthily and going to the gym or incorporating fitness where I can
  • educating myself on personal finance and keeping a strict budget, budget plan, and monitoring investments and overall financial portfolio
  • getting up to speed on “once upon a time”
  • maintaining routines, which for me includes book club, game night with grilling, and sunday errands
  • vacations and travel…dad coming to town, going to surprise him for his birthday, going to mexico for a week, going to boston for thanksgiving
  • staying organized in all facets of life
  • reading more, of all kinds – magazines, news, blogs/RSS, books
  • looking up classes to take with people – cooking for one friend, intellectual for the boyfriend, and artsy for another friend
  • getting my car up to date, including the GM recall, maintenance/preventative care, cleaning, etc.

If you have suggestions on things I can make into routines or make routine in my life, or things I could do to take my mind off things (preferably that are not food oriented and are inexpensive, and ideally, that can be done in 1-2 hours).

2014 Goal Setting

First, some things I’d like to continue:

  • Keeping a weekly gratitude journal. This year, I’d like to capture Sunday – Saturday, instead of Tuesday – Monday.
  • Weekly game and dinner nights with my best friends.
  • Blogging regularly.
  • Using goodreads to track what I’m reading and how frequently I read.
  • Regularly utilizing my RSS reader to stay up to date on technology, design, politics, cooking, and more.

Second, my overarching theme for the year is going to be “Healthy.” I want to focus on being healthier in spirit, mind, and body.

I’ve done a lot of reading this year on habits and willpower, and it requires too much energy to successfully complete a list of goals. I want to focus on bringing health into every part of my life, and then fundamentally on working out more to get in awesome shape. That’s it – that’s my one goal. In theory, in two months, it should be a habit and then I can move on to other ways to bring health into my life.

I’m still going to make a list of things I hope to do or accomplish, but I’m not going to actively work on those things. I spent a lot of time trying new things, visiting new places, etc. with friends to cross things off lists. I had a great year, but I spent too much money, gained weight, and was at a much higher level of stress.

So, first goal: get fit. Strength train every weeknight for about 10 minutes, and do calisthenics for another 10. Go to the gym at least 3x a week. Try to do more active things with friends.

Other ways to be healthy, should I make the above a habit, or to generally keep in mind:

  • Gossip less.
  • Volunteer or donate time and money to charity – give back.
  • Cook at home more.
  • Have better posture.
  • Don’t get lazy with hair/makeup routines.
  • Use mouthwash more regularly.

Outside my theme, below are things that I’m hoping to do in the next year anyway, but am not going to freak out or constantly work towards.

  • pay off credit cards and keep them paid off
  • save enough for three months expenses and an extra $1,000 (roughly $5,500)
  • pay off my car
  • read 50 books
  • clean out all of my material possessions and organize things better
  • get matching towels to replace mismatched current ones
  • learn to cook macarons, thai curry, and coq au vin/beef (the last using my french oven)
  • get a raise at my 6 month and 12 month reviews, as I am supposed to
  • write an erotic story
  • answer texts more promptly
  • write handwritten letters to close friends on their birthdays
  • store all online passwords somewhere
  • try the church my friend’s visit on Capital Hill, or attend a universalist service.

Local things I’d like to do:

  • See a show at Ford’s Theater
  • See a show at Shakespeare Theater
  • See a concert at 9:30 club
  • Go to stand-up open mic night at Arlington Drafthouse
  • Visit the Crime Museum
  • Visit the Botanical Gardens
  • See a military band concert
  • Check out a roller derby event
  • Visit Atlantic City, Ocean City, Virginia Beach, or Williamsburg

2013 Year in Review (Part 3 – Recap)

Last year involved a lot of growth, happy memories, and challenges.

I was much more responsible last year. I worked hard to budget, save, pay down debt, and plan for my future. I upped my retirement contributions. I did my taxes all alone. I invested into my car with new tires and oil changes, and my health by making doctors appointments, dentist appointments, vision appointments.

I realized that kink is less of a thing for me, at least in terms of my social life. I’ve been attending board game evenings and events, and occasionally hosting happy hours or vanilla events (like a book club) for/with kinky folks. I have attended a couple of monthly parties that I volunteer at, but I only went to the local dungeon a handful of times. I stopped attending most kinky happy hours, conventions, classes, and parties. I had a few bad experiences, either with jealous partners, insufficient aftercare, or fuzzy consent regarding touching. I still enjoy a lot of kinky things, but I want them within a relationship or with very, very good friends. Moreover, my closest kink friends haven’t been out and about, and I haven’t been up for attending things alone anymore. 

In the meantime, I’ve made up for less kinky-social with more vanilla-social. I was extremely social last year. I was home maybe one weeknight a week, and I tried a huge number of restaurants and drinks. I dated a lot. I put myself out there. I enriched friendships.

I had a lot of challenges with my family, but I’m in an ok-place there now. I’m trying to be less bitter and more forgiving and supportive.

A couple of lifestyle things I’m most happy with from the year:

  • Using goodreads to track my reading, and pushing myself to read more nonfiction and mainstream fiction (instead of all YA and erotica).
  • Keeping a weekly “awesomeness” or gratitude journal
  • Blogging regularly
  • Starting a tumblr and keeping it up
  • Having weekly game nights and cooking with two (sometimes more) of my closest friends
  • Learning to grill

Kink:

  • Attending Dark Odyssey: Winter Fire and Fusion
  • Attending and helping plan Board and Kinky events
  • Exploring romantic connections in more depth, both D/s, kinky, and vanilla

Social/Family:

  • Engagements and weddings of several close friends
  • All the memories in my awesomeness journal – musicals (1776, Book of Mormon, If/Then, Spamalot, Rascal Flatts and Band Perry, NSO holiday concert, Bela Fleck, Steep Canyon Rangers), adventure (whitewater rafting, florida vacation, snow tubing), a ton of new board games, many new restaurants, classes (wine and painting, knife skills, burlesque), sports events (capitals, orioles), bars (stand up comedy, science night), storytelling events, renaissance faire, museums (Mount Vernon, Newseum, Arboretum), shooting range, wineries/breweries/cider houses…
  • Weekly game and dinner nights
  • Reconnecting deeply with some friends from graduate school
  • Finding a new roommate and bonding with both of my roommates
  • Making a great friend from my old job

Professional/Real Life:

  • Finding a new job
  • Getting promoted at my old job
  • Making all my furniture and sheets match
  • Starting to drink coffee
  • Publishing a report for my last project at my old job
  • Integrating myself socially into my former office environment

2013 Year in Review (Part 2 – Resolution Update)

I didn’t keep all of my goals from this year, but I did achieve some of them, for which I’m proud. Not listed below, but I also read 57 books this year, which undershot my goal of 78 books.

Goals (resolutions):

  • Work out 156 times. A workout is a trip to the gym, an exercise class, or 30 minutes of cardio and/or weights. 
  • Complete a 5K. 
  • Pay off all of my credit cards.
  • Save at least $1,000.
  • Sign up for Mint and use to create a budget and monitor spending.
  • Collect and organize addresses, phone numbers, and contact information for all friends/family I can think of. (Done my best to contact all those I can – have 50+ addresses.)
  • Clean up the sites I follow in my google reader.
  • Compile all online passwords and store somewhere safe.
  • Organize saved documents on my computer.
  • Organize online bookmarks.
  • Take 52 photos.
  • Write at least one short erotic story.
  • Create Kinky&Awkward website or blog, fill with moments. (no longer have any desire to do this)
  • Go to at least one never-been-before destination. 
  • Learn how to tie a sommerville bowline knot, a double coin knot, and a TK harness.
  • Acquire a flogger and learn to properly use it.
  • Watch the movie Secretary,.
  • Experience wax play as a bottom.
  • Try cupping and/or fire cupping.

To-Do Activities:

  • snow tubing (NoVA Social group on 1/5)
  • kayaking
  • cooking class (LivingSocial Indian Cooking Class on 2/22)
  • racquetball
  • National Zoo
  • Botanical Gardens
  • Aquatic Gardens or National Aboretum
  • Twilight Polo
  • Williamsburg
  • Dancing at Glen Echo or Salsa Room
  • Hiking/Walking/Photography in Great Falls or Rock Creek Park
  • Military band concert
  • Ocean City/Atlantic City/Virginia Beach – visit one
  • Top Golf
  • DC Rollergirls or Charm City Rollergirls
  • The Mansion on O St
  • Spa World
  • Museum of Crime and Punishment
  • Ice skating at National Gallery/Smithsonian
  • Capitals, Redskins, Ravens, or Orioles game

Ch-Ch-Ch Changes…

Well, things are definitely changing in my life lately. Finally *officially* ended the dating thing I had going on. I’ve had a couple of oddball maybe-dates since then, although it hasn’t panned out yet. I’m being picky, but really, picky isn’t always bad. Plus, I figure, if something is annoying the hell out of me now, it likely will continue to annoy me throughout a relationship.

Anyhow, work is where all the big things are at. I was offered a job two weeks ago to return to somewhere I interned. It’s been a complicated decision, but I’ve taken the job, given notice, and start in two weeks.

It’s hard because I was just promoted in my current job, and it’s a step backward in terms of management experience. That said, the new job is matching my salary, and has the potential (after 1 year temporary and a second probationary) to be competitive status/permanent. My current job is temporary in that the whole agency is temporary. So, that’s progress. On some levels, I’m totally a woman, but I don’t mind taking more time to learn and develop before managing my own staff. I’m hella-young for where I’m at with these moves, so I don’t feel terrible about it.

Giving notice sucked, though. I’ve never left a job without a reason. I had time-limited jobs and internships, and worked in fellowship-type positions that were intended to end.The only other one was retail, but I went to college and moved so I had to leave. Added to my recent promotion and my supervisor’s departure a couple of months ago, I shocked the shit out of my bosses. It was an ego boost, in that they kept saying how they’ll be working for me soon, and it’s a huge loss, and I’m awesome. It made me feel like I’ve made a good impact in my time there. I only wish my current product was completed before I left.

I feel good about my decision, but it will be sad to leave the work environment. There’s a lot of drama at my office, but I’ve made a home there. I’ve personalized my office. I know everyone. I’m our charity coordinator and the one who coordinates kitchen-cleaning. I have friends to grab lunch and coffee with. It took about 6 months to warm up to the place, but now it will be so strange not to be there. It’s going to be rough to make new friends at my new agency. I hope I can do so more quickly than last time around.

I’m looking forward to these changes allowing me to manage my finances better, my fitness better (gym access at work = yay!), and generally start fresh. It’s just in time for the new year, too, so very apropos.

Fear and Letting Go

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. –H. P. Lovecraft

I went on vacation a week ago with a good friend. We drove South and hit the beach, Orlando (Harry Potter world!), and some port cities on the return trip. It was great – I got a pedicure and a massage.  I read a few books, learned about some new music, and bought some fun souvenirs. I bonded with my friend a great deal. I got to swim and play in the ocean. I also got a much-needed break from life.

It was a bit of awkward timing, though, since I had just had a huge week. I briefed the most senior staff in our agency, and got pretty good feedback (gratifying). I also learned I’d be running my next project, managing a more senior person, and would not be getting a salary or position increase. I also had gone on a couple of dates with someone that went pretty well. A lot has been happening, essentially.

I realized on vacation that I’ve been buried by fear lately. I’ve never been one to outwardly succumb to fear. If I have been afraid, it’s manifested in low expectations and losing myself in activities.

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. –Dale Carnegie

I’ve been afraid, though. Afraid of running this next project and having to navigate uncertain waters. Afraid of leading my team into the warzone, of managing someone older and more experienced than me (and arguably more qualified), of not doing something correctly. I’ve been afraid of being in a serious, long-term relationship. (And I hope I haven’t self-sacrificed past opportunities because of some hidden fear.) I’m afraid of power exchange as a concrete part of a relationship.

Fear doesn’t become me. I was reading the “Secrets to your twenties” book, and it just sort of reinforced that fear is good. Fear means I’m alive. Fear means I’m challenging myself. Fear is an opportunity – an opportunity to grow, be stronger, improve myself, and learn. Moreover, fear is natural – it’s the response to uncertainty.

Eleanor Roosevelt said it best, though:

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.

I’d resigned myself to doing just that. I got a few kicks in the ass and supportive comments, and they’re right. I know what I’m doing. I’m good at my job. I can handle challenges. It doesn’t matter that they don’t want to pay me appropriately, it’s still a good opportunity. In the dating world, D/s is flexible, and as long as the communication is there, it doesn’t have to mean losing myself. Long term relationships don’t have to mean losing my independence or my life. Really, if it’s a good fit, the person can blend into my life.

Today, I found out I will get the salary and position promotion when I start my next project. Turns out, the higher ups like me more than the lady who spoke to me first does. Basically, I’m now more motivated, which is good. I need to embrace the things that scare me. The dating thing may not work out for other reasons, or it will – who knows, but at least I’m not scared of it anymore.

A last quote I liked about fear:

Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will. –James Stephens