New Year’s Absolutions 2020

2020

It’s that time again! Time to reflect on the year that was and absolve myself from those niggling ‘shoulds’ that I just can’t bring myself to do.

So, in time for the kick-off to the 2020s, I absolve myself of …

Finishing my ‘to be read’ list before buying new books

I LOVE books – as in, I love them so much I should marry them. I once said that if the TBR list on my Kindle was a stack of books on my bedside table and it fell on me in the night, it would crush me and I would die.

That’s still true.

And even though I feel guilty about the ones I haven’t read yet, I won’t stop buying books. It’s because of that moment when I’m contemplating ‘next read’ and I have so many options that I can find exactly what I’m in the mood for.

So, no more guilt. I’ll just keep buying all the books. BUYING. ALL. THE. BOOKS!

Taking up running (again)

I used to be a runner. I ran here, I ran there, I ran all over the darned place. Then I got runner’s arthritis and had foot surgery (it hurt worse than the arthritis for more than a year). And I kept promising myself I’d get back to running, because the truth is (and I know that may change what you think of me), I love to run.

LOVE IT!

It’s my meditation, it clears my head at the end of a long day, it fuels my creativity, it revs me up at the start of the day, and it does wonders for my legs. Or, it did. It’s been years since I ran regularly. It’s just too painful on that foot – not during the run, but afterwards and sometimes for days.

Still, that niggling promise rears its head from time to time.

So, new promise: no more running. I am, however, contemplating a new spin bike…

Doing keto

Keto is a fantastic way for some people to manage their sugar sensitivity, break their sugar addiction, lose weight, and live a healthy life. (BTW, if you think keto is eating as much bacon as you like, that’s not accurate and it’s worth reading up.)

Yet …

Having tried several stints of keto over the past 18 months, ever since I started learning about the health benefits, I know for sure that it is not for me.

I have a sensitivity to artificial sweeteners and to high fat food, even if it is good fat. I never get to the point where I feel great and have loads of energy. Keto has never once made me feel better, so never again.

However, I do intermittent fasting (intermittently – a couple of times a week) and that works amazingly to make me feel great.

Going 100% digital

My partner, Ben, is something of a tech aficionado and he’s tech savvy to the point of savantness. Thinking back over 2019, I can count the times I’ve seen him put pen to paper on one hand – and they were signing cards or documents.

I, on the other hand, am passionate about all things paper. I write lists, I scribble reminders on Post-its, I muse into notebooks (love me a good notebook), I write my character profiles by hand, and in my day job, I will sketch out plans and ideas on butcher’s paper. A stationery store is the mother ship to me.

So, no matter how many tech tools get designed and made to replicate all these paper-driven activities, I will fiercely hold onto my pen and will wield it to organise, plan, pontificate, create, and remind.

After all, the pen is mightier than the latest piece of software.

That’s all for this year. I wish you all the best for 2020 – may it be filled with grand adventures and lots of what makes you happy.

And remember to add a comment to this post with your absolutions …

 

 

New Year’s Absolutions 2017

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Every year I think of the (sometimes silly) promises I have made to myself – or the albatrosses of obligations I have somehow bought into – and absolve myself of them. This is in the spirit of seeking (only) joyful, authentic, positive pursuits, and releasing myself from the pursuits that make me resentful, angry or bored.

My absolutions for 2017:

Reading books that are boring. I have actually become good at this: putting down books that are not engaging enough. Specifically, I absolve myself of finishing John Grisham’s latest, The Whistler, about a (yawn) whistle-blower. I wanted to like this book. I have read and liked Grisham for 25 years. Except that this book is boring. I got 30% in and was using it to put myself to sleep each night. It’s still on my Kindle, but I will not finish it.

Watching TV shows that I don’t like – or stop liking. It’s 2017 and we are spoiled for choice. We can watch anything and everything. We can watch across genres and on demand. We can binge watch – binging on TV shows like they are giant bags of potato chips. In 2016, I started watching Mr Robot. It’s good TV – really good TV – only I got sick of the premise. I didn’t like characters. I can appreciate the writing and acting without liking the show, but I no longer watch it.

Instead, I watch shows I continue to enjoy because time is precious and life is too short to watch ‘bad’ TV (which also applies to good TV that you don’t enjoy anymore). In 2016, I also stopped watching Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, Rosewood, and Last Man on Earth. TV I am (still) enjoying: This is Us, Designated Survivor, Outlander, Madam Secretary, Modern Family, and Brooklyn 99. Oh, and the 4 episodes of Gilmore Girls that popped up recently.

Eating vegan/gluten free/organic/dairy free/Ayurvedic/Paleo. For about 20 years now I have subscribed to the 80/20 rule for eating/drinking: 80% of the time, I eat low-fat protein, whole grains, fresh fruit and veggies and drink tea (green, red and black) and lots of water. 20% of the time, I eat and drink what I like. This works for me. I don’t need to be dairy free because I am not lactose intolerant. I don’t need to eat gluten-free because I am not celiac. I have IBS, which means I have to be careful about eating uncooked fruit and veggies, but other than that, I’m good. If you need to eat differently to me to be or feel well, I will wholeheartedly support you. But I will not subscribe to a new way of eating just ’cause – Pete Evans, you lunatic.

Moving up the corporate ladder. I don’t want my boss’ job. He spends the majority of his time creating spreadsheets, writing tenders and taking meetings. In fact he spends more time in meetings than I do out of them. This is not what I want to do. I work in education; I want to educate. Like most industries, moving up at my company will take me further away from the thing I love. 2017 will be about exploring the breadth of my role, and discovering what my counterparts around the world are doing and sharing with them what I do. I want to make a difference more than I want to make a profit. This does not bode well for someone who wants to move on up, so, it’s a good thing that this isn’t me.

What I do want to in the next year: I want to travel widely. I want write across genres and for different audiences. I want to be fit and healthy. I want to make more of an effort to see my friends and family. I want to make solid plans to live elsewhere, and/or to expand my role, and/or to take on another role. I want to continue to learn and grow and be challenged. I want to give. I want to love.

Absolving myself of these things and more will give me time and space to pursue my loves, my dreams, and the things that will make me happy.

On that note, Happy New Year, everyone. May 2017 be grand, full of adventures and challenges, and replete with love and laughter. Be well, and be happy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No excuses

Three months and five days.

That’s how long it has been since I last blogged.

Now, as millions of people world-wide are setting (and already breaking) New Year’s resolutions, I find I have no plausible excuses left.  And so I blog.

Since I last wrote, I started working at Groundspeak, the days have turned dark and cold, and I no longer have to give myself pep talks to get out of bed in the morning.  These are all big changes for me.

Groundspeak has been all that I thought it would be when I went to the first interview back in July.  I walked out knowing that I wanted to work for these people, even if they only wanted me to make coffee and empty trash cans.  Fortunately, they want far more from and for me.

There is an incredible atmosphere at Groundspeak and it comes from the people who work there.  It is a positive, creative, clever, engaging, and supportive atmosphere which makes working there a pleasure.  Every day is different, and my boss, Jenn, frequently asks, “When you signed on to work for us, did you think you’d be doing this?”  The truthful answer is frequently, “No”.

Amongst the administrative tasks and responding to emails, I have worked on a project with the Geological Society of America, I am planning a three-day event for 100 in the UK, I am learning German, and I know how to simulate a generously proportioned chest with two stuffed frogs.

I am truly enjoying my work.

The weather on the other hand…

It is winter again.  I feel like there wasn’t really a summer, so it is sometimes hard for me to see the light at the end of the Winter tunnel.  Summer 2009 consisted of some Spring weather, some Autumn weather, and about a week of Summer when the mercury hit 95+ for 7 days in a row.

Seattle-ites moaned and stores ran out of fans, but I loved it.  And then it was gone.  Before I knew it the days got shorter and the temperature dropped in increments.  I have summer clothes that I never had a chance to wear, and most of them are currently vacationing with a friend in Columbia.  I thought I owed it to them.

I should say, though, that the Winter Solstice was marked with as much celebration at work as Christmas was.  “Hooray!!!  It is the shortest day of the year!  Longer, brighter and warmer from this point on!”  I had to agree that this is something worth noting, if not celebrating.  Especially as Solstice fell during one of the coldest weeks of the year: -8C daily maximums = “Brrrrrrrr”.

The last big change is that I no longer need to have a chat with myself each morning about getting out of bed and facing the day.  In August of last year I feared I was dropping into a deep funk.  I had landed my dream job, but wasn’t able to start.  Red tape was choking me and I feared that my new employers would give up the long wait to secure my work visa.  Two months later, the only thing standing between me and a new place of work was a stamp in my passport.

I should have been thrilled that the company was flying me back to Australia to finalize the paper work.  I would get to see family and friends (and the sun), and I could start working the day after I arrived back in Seattle.

I should have been ecstatic, but I was too terrified to feel anything but all-consuming fear.  “What if they say no and I can’t come back to my home (Seattle)?” became my mantra.  Friends were reassuring, the company was reassuring, Ben was reassuring.  “It will be fine.”  “It is a formality.”  “You’ll be back here and working before you know it.”

I wanted to believe them.

Then I talked to my dad.  “Darling, what will you do if they don’t give you the visa?”  Finally.  Someone actually said it aloud: my greatest fear.  Once he said it, he immediately dismissed the thought, “Don’t even think about that.  It will be fine, Darling.”  He was right, and so was everyone else.  I flew back to Sydney, had a (worry-filled) weekend with my family, attended the visa interview and walked out 15 minutes later with the visa.

Then I was on vacation in one of my favorite cities in the world.

And you know what happened then.  I flew home home to Seattle, started work, and lived out the rest of the year.

We celebrated Ben’s 30th with a huge party at our place.  We had a Thanksgiving dinner with 5 other couples, all close friends of ours, and then took off for a weekend away in a mountain cabin.

We enjoyed my first Seattle Christmas with my mom visiting from Las Vegas, and Ben’s Seattle family, and we saw in the New Year with dear friends, Nicole and Josh.

It was an extraordinary end to 2009, but I am very happy to start 2010.

I am healthy, I have love in my life, I have a great job and even greater friends, and soon we will be traveling to Europe.  I have much to be grateful for.  I can even spin the weather: how nice it is that I get to wear winter clothes, knee-high boots and my new (extremely cute) earmuffs.

So, here they are, my resolutions (it has to be done).

1. I will blog more frequently than once every three months and five days.  In fact, I will spend more time writing for myself than I have in the past few months.

2. I will continue to volunteer my time.

3. I will do flexibility training (yoga, Pilates) once a week.

4. I will learn something new (um, not quite sure what that will be yet).

Happy New Year to you all.  May it be prosperous, filled with adventure and spirited pursuits, and peaceful.