A long December (and subsequent long post)

I think one of my first acts of the new year will be purchasing a new laptop… Not having one has really put a damper on my blogging, among other things.

Lately I’ve had the song “Long December” by the Counting Crows stuck in my head. Not that the month was particularly long or that 2015 was bad year necessarily. When it comes down to it, I think the year was a challenging one for me and more often than not, I felt like I was being reactive more than proactive. As a Type A control freak, you can imagine how that left me feeling most weeks. And I admittedly didn’t handle it well.

I’ve spent a lot of time (almost to the point of overthinking…) considering what my word should be for 2016. By noon yesterday, I had a list of about 15 words and started worrying. None of them stood out to me and I was running out of time. Seemed ironic that this approach and mentality was similar to how I’d done most things in 2015.

Thankfully (as I was scrolling through my facebook newsfeed of all things), I came across a word that struck me. I knew I’d found my word.

Create.

This year is about creating routines, habits, attitudes, opportunities and relationships that allow me to better create the kind of life I want. Last year I felt like I was consistently saying I didn’t have time, I didn’t have the money, I didn’t have a positive attitude. I want to reverse that this year and create them. I have more power than I give myself credit for sometimes and it’s time to put myself back in the driver seat, as it were.

Given I’ve only had my word for about 24 hours, I haven’t outlined specific goals (that will hopefully come this weekend). Really, though, I think this year will be about trial-and-error as I figure out what works best for me. How do I strike a better word-life balance? How can I push myself outside of my comfort zone without exhausting myself? Am I comfortable and satisfied with how I spend my time?

There are three things that I’m going to start implementing right off the bat for experimentation, all compliments of the little (one of the perks of our fantastic in-person visits!).

The first is a new nightly routine. Based on Gretchen Rubin’s latest book on habits, I’ve decided to set an alarm to signify that I need to start getting ready for bed during the week. I’m really bad about pushing myself up until the very end, wanting to soak up every minute of my time at home during the week nights.

Unfortunately this impacts my sleep. I’m also tired of putting pressure on myself to be productive all. the. time. That left me feeling anxious for most of the year, and I’m ready to shake that feeling.

To hopefully counter that, I’m going to set aside a solid 20 minutes each week night prior to going to bed to allow time for stretching, some minimal toning (planks, pushups, etc.), and a creative task — coloring, journaling, meditating, reading, etc. I’ve got a whole list to choose from and may even create a jar with those options on popsicle sticks for the nights when I can’t decide what to do. I’m hoping that helps prepare my mind and body for bed, not to mention the added perk of creating a more consistent (and earlier) bedtime for more natural energy in the mornings. Fingers crossed!

The second aspect I’m going to incorporate is utilizing the Day One app (or something similar, since my Mac died and I’m not sure I’ll be getting another Apple computer). I knew going into the new year that I wanted to have a gratitude journal of some sort, something to help me capture the positives in my life instead of continually being focused on what’s next or what hasn’t been accomplished. What’s great about this is I can include a photo with entries, making the journaling process a bit more unique and easier. Even better? You can export to PDF and have a printed copy of the year. This should be a good activity (perhaps even as part of my new nightly routine) to make sure I’ve taken some time to reflect on the day.

I’m probably most excited for my last experiment. The little introduced me to the Passion Planner, and within a day, the middle created us spiral-bound copies through the first three months so we could give it a shot. Although I’m not sure I’ll use the hourly schedule part of it (I already have my outlook calendar and a big calendar at the office), I’m really excited to set a focus for each day and even the week. The challenges for each week should also be helpful for making sure I’m on target in terms of not letting myself and my goals fall to the wayside. Less reactive, more proactive.

Putting all those into writing makes me feel a bit overwhelmed at what I’m introducing into my life in the next few days. That being said, I think it’s the change I need to start creating a life where I feel more balanced and less anxious. Last year was a challenging year, but I also had an incredible amount of lessons learned (particularly with the leadership institute). Now it’s time to start applying what I’ve learned to take things to the next level.

Bring on 2016!

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Learning to hit pause

It always surprises me that, at least for me, health is generally the first thing to fall to the wayside once stress hits. It generally means half-assed (or no) workouts, lack of sleep and, perhaps worst of all, resorting to quick and often unhealthy meals. And all of this only makes my stress/attitude worse.

I knew I was approaching a particularly stressful time with work. I’ve got two big evaluation deadlines on August 14, and unfortunately my schedule is also packed with trainings that take me out of the office — including 6-day one in California next week. You know it’s bad (though incredibly sweet and touching!) when co-workers start leaving you chocolate because they know all that’s on your plate… (Random side note: it was pure coincidence that they got me the same type of chocolate!)

chocolate

So like I said, my health tends to fall to the wayside (though dark chocolate is healthy, right?!). I’ve been trying to avoid these pitfalls with lots of planning, particularly when it comes to meals. Last week I kicked off my Monday with a one pan cheesy chicken broccoli rice recipe. It wasn’t overly time consuming and I had nearly everything on hand, which is always a bonus.

I swiped out the white rice for brown, and the extra sharp cheddar cheese is the way to go. It was a perfect blend, plus the broccoli cooked perfectly. It was so delicious that I ate all my leftovers throughout the week, serving it’s purpose quite nicely.

broccoli cheese skillet

Unfortunately I still managed to eat out almost every day last week, in part because I was at a two-day training where lunch was on your own. One dinner, however, was entirely worth it. I lucked out in that one of my college roommates was having a quick family getaway to Omaha, a mere 50 minutes away!

liz and kayla

I can’t even tell you what a kickstart that was to my week and attitude. Like she mentioned on her blog, we were laughing the second I got out of my car. It was amazing to me that despite how much has changed in the last seven years, we still had similar mannerisms, attitudes and depth to our conversation. Plus I got to meet her adorable baby boy!

What’s also been fantastic, so I’ll put in a plug for this, is that we write handwritten letters to each other. A few years back when I was doing the happiness project, I made it a goal one month to reach out to people I’d lost touch with over the years. Thankfully this fabulous lady was totally on board for exchanging letters. Not only is it a great way to stay connected, but it also gets me to slow down and reflect on my life. Certainly sending an email or facebook message would be much faster, as would just keeping up on one another’s blog. But I’m telling you, there’s so much value in writing a legit letter.

I’ll get off my soapbox now…

I used the weekend to regroup a bit, including more meal planning. Wanting to start the week off right again, last night I made a Korean beef quinoa bowl. I almost didn’t make it because my mind and body were shot after spin…but when I saw it only took about 20 minutes to make, I knew I could suck it up.

It probably isn’t technically Korean beef given I used ground turkey, but I think that’s the only modification I made. Throw in a side of veggies, and I was set within 25 minutes. I’m happy to say it was very much worth the effort — and now I’ve got relatively healthy leftovers for the week, too!

korean beef

I will say I added in a bit more soy sauce to better mix the quinoa and ground turkey, but otherwise the leftovers worked really well.

Although I can’t say I’m even close to creating a good work-life balance during stressful times, I’m definitely making more of an effort than I have in years past. Speaking of balance, though, I’ve got an adorable yellow laborador who’s ready to distract me with a walk and exciting game of tug. If nothing else, he’s a big proponent of striving for that work-life balance — and makes it easier for me, too!

Taking control, part two

As a heads up, this post is going to be my long, round-about way of explaining why I’m taking control. Again.

For the last two weeks, I’ve essentially been living out of a suitcase. I’ve spent four of the last 15 nights sleeping in my own bed. And if you think my sleep routine is off, you should see my workout one. Actually, you really couldn’t since it’s been pretty non-existent.

In fact, I hit a low last week. After wrapping up a meeting last Wednesday I sat in the parking lot of the gym texting the middle and Lindsay about how much I didn’t want to go to zumba, even though I was already there and really needed a workout given that I’d just eaten a donut out of stress. Not my finest hour, my friends. And it was concerning for two reasons:

  1. Rarely do I not feel like going to zumba, even when it’s out of town
  2. I don’t even care for donuts

In my defense, I was traveling and still had a two hour drive to my next town/hotel. And it turned out zumba was an hour later (the ladies at the front desk thought I was nuts until I explained zumba.com failed me, just as it had the night before), so I ended up doing  PowerPump class that left me feeling sore for three days.

But that’s neither here nor there. The point is that I was feeling non-Liz like and I hate that feeling.

I’d been contemplating how to get my routine back on track when the middle sent me this article. That’s when the wheels started turning. One quote in particular stuck out to me: “When you comment on my life stage as if there was something I could do to change it, it makes me feel inadequate.”

Most of the things I may not be feeling particularly happy about? They’re things I can control. I can’t control my life timeline or the future, but I can make the decision to make positive changes that leave me feeling better about where I’m at right now (in other words, not eating the freakin’ donut and just going to the gym). It’s up to me to make the decisions that help me feel better, and ultimately happier/more joyful.

In fact, that’s the crux of the email exchange I had with the middle about this Happiness Project Q&A. Happiness isn’t given to me or owed to me by any stretch of the imagination. But it was the last answer that seem to really hit home as far as my current health situation (and while 16 days may not seem like much, I’m finding it’s just enough to make it really difficult to get back up on the horse). I’ve been feeling unhappy primarily as a result of feeling unhealthy, but I know once I’m back on track with that, I’ll be quite a content lady again. It’s a matter of climbing back up that hill.

This time around, though, I’ve decided to take it slow. I thought about starting my 30 days of vegetarianism and 90 days of no pop just to kick-start this taking control thing, but I knew deep down it would make me miserable and thus only last all of three days (particularly since I’m already struggling a bit to stay motivated with this 5K training thing…).

Instead I want to focus on making small changes…in part because I felt all domestic when I finally got home last night and baked cranberry orange bread.

Cranberry orange bread

Although health-wise it probably wasn’t my best decision, it made for a very peaceful and content night back at home. I likely wouldn’t make in the future, but it might be better if I used fresh cranberries (I ran out of patience trying to find some at the store) and if I didn’t bake it the full hour. This tastes a little more like a scone, though that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Perhaps not being head over heels for it isn’t such a bad thing, either. It just makes for one less temptation as I’m taking control. This time with (hopefully) more success.

Thankful Thursday #1

For the first time ever, I’m going to have a running “series” if you will on my blog.

This was inspired (no surprised here) by one of Brene Brown’s books where she mentioned she has a similar set-up on her blog. One of the chapters in The Gifts of Imperfection focuses on gratitude and joy, and it’s a similar message to what I’ve found in other books (as a side note, I wouldn’t be surprised if people start recommending or sending me fiction books instead so I can shut up about all this self-introspection stuff…).

Although it was probably something I thought about long before, after reading The Happiness Project a little over two years ago, happiness became a focus of my life. What could I do the cultivate more happiness and enjoy the life I have? But I’m slowly realizing it’s not really happiness that’s the end goal — it’s joy. One part of the chapter really stood out to me that made it apparent:

“…the Greek word for happiness is Makarios, which was used to describe the freedom of the rich from normal cares and worries, or to describe a person who received some form of good fortune, such as money or health. Robertson compares this to the Greek word for joy which is chairo. Chairo was described by the ancient Greeks as the ‘culmination of being’ and the ‘good mood of the soul.'”

Essentially, happiness is more likely to be connected to experiences and circumstances. And while we all want more happiness in our lives, ultimately the goal (at least for me) is to come from a place of gratitude and joy. Even when life sucks and I’m not particularly happy, I want to see the good around me and appreciate what I do have. It’s a way of life and something I have more control over (whereas I don’t necessarily have control over frustrating circumstances that make me unhappy).

While I have (and love!) my gratitude journal and we have a frequently used gratitude board at work, it feels like I could be doing more to really make it part of my life. And that’s where this Thankful Thursday series comes into play. I can’t promise it will be every Thursday, but I want to start somewhere.

It may seem like a standard response, but this Thursday I’m incredibly thankful for family — both my biological family and those who have become family to me. I’ve had a lot of life changes in the past two months, and I honestly have felt nothing but love and support from all those around me. The middle and little are there at the drop of a hat and the parents always give me 110% of their support and the needed reassurance that everything will be okay (which was particularly helpful during the whole car shopping experience…).

It’s also spectacular when friends become family. Lindsay, for example, is like a sister to me (and that’s saying a lot given how important the sisters are to me). And what’s amazing is that it’s not just her. I’ve created my own home away from home in Columbia. The friendships I’ve developed on a personal and professional level make me feel like I’m never alone or far from a comforting presence if I need it.

And that even includes those who aren’t in Columbia. In retrospect, reconnecting with my old roommate was very needed, and it was slightly surprising (although it probably shouldn’t have been) how quickly our letters dove into deep life chats and questions, reminding me once again of how much I love her presence in my life. I’m thankful that I’ve been able to hold on to friends from undergrad and that we’ve been able to see the changes and progress in one another’s lives.

Sadly I don’t think I always recognize just how vast my support system can be or let those people know how much they mean to me, but hopefully that changes over time as I embrace gratitude more.

This series may seem a bit self-indulgent, I admit, but hopefully it also inspires others to reflect on what they are grateful for in their everyday lives. I think in some ways it also helps remind me that life doesn’t have to be as hard or as complicated as we make it out to be. It really does boil down to the simple things in life. And for that, I’m incredibly thankful.

Striving for happiness

Not that I need any more books (I feel like for every book I cross off my to-be-read list, I inevitably add two or three more…), but I couldn’t resist purchasing Happier at Home. Love doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about The Happiness Project (it’s in part what prompted me to start a blog in the first place, other than the middle coercing me into Juneathon). Plus who doesn’t like to enhance their happiness?

That concept, though, can be hard to grasp (and Lindsay actually wrote a blog post about this the other day). Like Rubin talks about in The Happiness Project, it’s not that I’m unhappy. But there are certainly days where I’m not as thankful and excited about the opportunities I have. I think that leads to another misconception, too. My happiness project (or whatever you want to call it) isn’t about finding ways to be happy about 24/7. I think it’s more about recognizing that I’m more responsible or in control of my emotions than I generally think.

Another one of my favorites, Elizabeth Gilbert, touches on a lot of similar concepts. One of her big messages in Eat, Pray, Love is that if you’re a slave to your thoughts (not to get all philosophical on you, though, particularly since I’ve already written about it). Essentially I like to have the reminder that I can choose happiness. I can focus on things that enhance my life rather than detract from it. Once in awhile, you have to work at it:

Many people will say happiness is a result of circumstance. And to some degree, it’s true. I’m probably going to be a heck of a lot happier reading a book on a beach in Hawaii than I would be during a hectic day of work. But I think the point is the find a happy (no pun intended) medium. The circumstance in life are not always going to work in my favor. I’m going to have crap days and a bad attitude now and again. How do I cope with those, though?

One of my favorite mantra, if you will (which is actually something that Lindsay’s also written about, which should come as no surprise!) is that just because you’ve had a bad day doesn’t mean you have a bad life. I think striving for happiness is, in some ways, about discovering that very thing. It’s not about being cheerful 24/7 or never indulging in a pity party. I’d be the first one to admit when I’m angry at the world. What matters is that I can recognize it and eventually move on from it, and frankly that’s an effort that I’m willing to make.

So long story short, I’m excited to dive into a new book on happiness that gives me new perspective and inspiration (and undoubtedly some blog posting content…).

Feeling frazzled

In the most recent interview for The Happiness Project, the interviewee mentioned that the one thing that detracts from her happiness is rushing. Although being rushed makes me feel frazzled and unprepared (a feeling I hate), I’d never really made the connection it has to my happiness, and it absolutely makes sense.

I’m very much a multi-tasker and on the surface I’m pretty good with managing stress. As I’ve probably alluded to before, though, I’m not so great under pressure. It’s primarily the case when I feel like my life is a constant stream of activity, which is what it’s felt like for the past month or so. Most mornings I feel like I’m rushing out the door and after work I run around town or my apartment like a crazy person trying to get X, Y and Z accomplished.

Wanting to not feel frazzled when my parents are in town and before I travel for a week for work, I happily clicked on this link when I came across it on pinterest (seriously, how did I live without this website before?!). With limited time, I wanted to know how I could rein in and not feel so crazy. Some of the items don’t necessarily intrigue me, but other could be great modifications to my life.

One thing I need to do is make the switch to tea. It’s gotten to the point where I drink at least 2 pots of coffee per day (granted it’s only a 4-cup pot in my office, but still). I didn’t realize how bad it had gotten until I was visiting the doctor yesterday and she said she could tell by my skin that I was a caffeine drinker (I probably would have been offended had she not been so nice about it). Caffeine can leave your body feeling dehydrated, which seems to be the case for me. It’s time to get back to herbal tea and water. (I’m afraid once again Diet Coke and I have to part ways…)

The other big thing is postponing major decisions. Not that I have any decisions to make, but often I feel like I need a big shift in my life to avoid feeling frazzled in the future. Or it could be that I often want to make a change that leaves me feeling empowered instead of exhausted and depleted. Last night, for example, I thought about signing up for spinning classes or a handful of sessions with a personal trainer. I’d also thought about taking on another volunteer position. All great ideas, but making that decision (not to mention committing to it) mid-stress and in a frazzled state probably isn’t in my best interest.

At some point I also think I need to assess what the unessential responsibilities in my life are and/or at least learn to say no to things. Since I’m an all-or-nothing kind of person, I often struggle prioritizing tasks and determining what on my to-do list doesn’t necessarily need to get done. Do I go to the gym or work on a project for the side job? Do I try to clean my apartment or get errands done? It’s all important and needs to get done at some point, but feeling rushed and constantly on the go is not going to help my case.

Perhaps someday I’ll kick some of my Type A personality traits. I’m willing to bet that’s a root cause of feeling frazzled…

Making my Monday

Anticipating a case of the Mondays, as they say, I wanted to be proactive in making sure my week started off on the right foot. I decided to rise and shine with the birds, setting my alarm 30 minutes earlier so I could have time for coffee and homemade (not by me, mind you) pumpkin bread while reading The Fire Starter Sessions (I promise I won’t give updates for every “a-ha!” moment). I read almost a full chapter, and it was this simple statement that jumped out at me:

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you
–David Whyte, poet

It definitely gave me something to reflect on this morning. I also loved the statement “Being well-rounded in highly overrated.” (I’ve likely heard it before, but there’s something about seeing it in bold, size 72 font that makes it click a little more.) It made me think about the goals I’ve been setting for myself. They’re not stressful or burdensome by any means, but a big part of it is my attempt to be more well-rounded. Why? Why not do, read, talking about and enhance what I like and am good at naturally? Things that I enjoy shouldn’t necessarily have to be scheduled in or dictated by goals. That makes it less enjoyable for me. A girl can have goals, but sometimes even those can be overrated.

Deep thoughts for a Monday morning. Naturally I loved it.

But the greatness of the morning didn’t stop there. I also splurged on a Cafe Canela from Caribou. (If you haven’t tried it and love the fall-inspired latte flavors, it’s a must have!)  They’ve had the “for limited time only” sign up for awhile advertising that particular drink, so it’s even more of a mood-booster when I discover I can still order it. Plus extra caffeine never hurt anyone…

While I was there and on an impulse, I decided to buy myself flowers. I often hear women talk about doing that but I never understood the appeal. Now that I’ve got a gorgeous bouquet of flowers on my desk at work just because for the rest of the week, I get it. Instant pick-me-up. And why not celebrate you? Why do I have to wait for my birthday, holiday or celebration to have flowers around? They look pretty, smell fantastic, and I was complimented at work for buying them just for myself. I’d definitely recommend flowers (or any other gift that strikes your fancy) to brighten your day.

The best thing is my efforts paid off. I easily dove into work, I’ve been peppy all morning (which could have something to do with the large amounts of caffeine I had…) and I’m energized enough to keep hammering stuff out this afternoon. Who knew Mondays (mornings, no less!) could be this pleasant?

Notes on happiness

Once in awhile when I’m in a slump (or just need something interesting to read and/or blog about…) I frequent the interviews that Gretchen Rubin posts on her website. What I really love is that it always seems to give me more insight to what I hold to be true about my own happiness and outlook on life. Since I don’t have any great crafts or projects to post yet, I thought I’d share the lessons I learned today:

  • “Happiness without good work ethic is pretty impossible.” This actually made me feel better about my own path to happiness. For some people, particularly when they’re younger, happiness tends to be equated with partying or leisure, and that doesn’t always have to be the case. Given I’m content as can be when I’m organizing or on a roll with a project, I’m glad someone promotes that work ethic plays into happiness.
  • “At some point in the day you have to say, ‘No more work.'” While I appreciate good work ethic, I also need to know when to shut it off. It’s something I’m trying to get better at because, let’s face it, no one wants to or should be productive all the time. So last night when I finally got back to my apartment, I ignored my home organization projects to put in a movie. And it was fabulous.
  • “The less money matters to you, the more careful you need to be with it.” As I’ve been tackling my own personal budget, it seems no truer words were spoken. Making money has never been a major goal of mine (with my heart set on a career in nonprofits/public health, how can it be?), but like this young’en (seriously, how young is he?!) mentioned, if you don’t like thinking about money and aren’t paying attention to it, someday it could be all that you think about. Let’s try to avoid that, shall we?
  • “I am not Type A, but AAA.” Need I say more? If I’m not a AAA-level, then I’m definitely at AA-level in my Type A personality. I particularly loved how she expanded on it, though, noting that “overdoing leaves insufficient time for savoring.” I think I’m running into that a little with my June goals, which is why the next title caught my eye…
  • “Happiness shouldn’t be associated with guilt.” (The interview was also really entertaining – like laugh out loud entertaining for me). I don’t know why or how, but I’m really bad with guilt – both feeling it and giving it out. I think instead of feeling guilty for not accomplishing goals that I think will enhance my happiness/life, I need to cut myself some slack. The world will not end if I drink pop twice this week or only log 12 miles instead of 14 (although no worries yet – I’m still on track to accomplish all my goals this week!) It did get me to ponder an interesting question, though: does the happiness I feel in accomplish a goal counteract the frustration I had in getting to it? Who knows.

The culmination of my interview search came from this man. I love just about every single one of his answers (although you’d have to replace cat with dog). I’m also intrigued by his Six-Word Memoir project. Given I’m not one to be brief, I think I’ve got a new challenge on the horizon…

June goals

I got out of the habit of setting up goals for each month way back when, in part because I’d set up my monthly action plans jar as a new year’s resolution. While I love it and still follow it, I was also re-inspired looking back at my initial posts and figured it was about time I incorporated other goals to keep enhancing my life.

As an overall goal for the month, I’ve decided to set up a monthly budget. Either out of pure luck or naïvety, I’ve never had to work off a personal budget. I always have a general sense of where my account balances are so I can plan accordingly. Now that I’m living on my own and have some car issues that need fixing (and not to mention the fact that I’d like to take an actual vacation next year…), it’s time to get serious about my finances.

In addition to that, I’ve taken my monthly goals a step further and set up weekly goals. (I realize it sounds intense, but I’ve found it’s the only way I really stay accountable and on top of my goals). So, each week in June I will…

Read at least 50 pages. It may not sound like a lot at all, but it’s actually appalling how little I read during the week. I think a lot of it has to do with my environment. When I’m at home I’m easily distracted – I’ll think of a blog post or start organizing my desk or closet. While I love reading, it always feels like I should be doing something better with my time when I’ve got free time. I’m hoping that with my spare room as an office I can create a reading nook and actually make a dent on my growing pile of books to be read.

Spend one afternoon or evening alone. While I was home, I re-realized that I always surround myself with people. I love sharing an office with Lindsay, and if I’m not at the gym, I generally try to find someone to hang out with during my evening and weekend hours. Rarely am I alone. Although I prefer it that way, I also know that I need my alone time just to de-compress and feel more grounded. To make sure I follow through on this goal, I started a list of things I can accomplish during my “me” time this month so that I’m not tempted to make other plans. (That probably sounds a little sad, but I need to start somewhere).

Only drink pop (or soda, if that’s your word of choice) once. I switched up my new year’s resolution this year to where I didn’t have to log an extra mile for every 12 ounces of soda I drank. As a former Diet Coke junkie, probably not my brightest idea. Especially during the spring and summer when coffee doesn’t really quench my thirst, I reach for Diet Coke a little too often. It’s time to scale back on that. (Plus it saves money!)

Try something new. Whether it’s a class at the gym, a unique social activity or craft/project, I need to start shaking things up. My life shouldn’t be this routine at my age.

Log 14 miles per week. It sounds weird (and I’m realizing just how much my Type A/OCD personality shows through in this post…) but I’m diligent about logging the number of miles I workout. I normally average about 50 miles each month (counting 2 for zumba and cutting my bike miles in half  so it doesn’t substantially skew my numbers). Since I decided not to do Juneathon, I wanted to make it a goal to beat my current best mileage of 53 (reached in May, but it took a toll on my knees, which is why I figured Juneathon wouldn’t be a stellar idea). We’ll see if I feel accomplished or angry by the end of each week…

June will definitely be a busy month, but I’m feeling surprisingly excited great about incorporating other goals and priorities into my month. My life’s been so hectic yet routine these last couple of months that it will be a much-needed shift. Plus it should give me more content for my blog, which is never a bad thing!

Road map?

I realize I’m super behind in posting. Hell, I’m even super behind in reading other blogs. When I finally caught up and read this post, though, it spurred some reflections potentially worth posting.

I’m approaching the one-year mark of my job, and while it’s exciting, it’s also prompting some freak-out moments. Two years ago right before I graduated* (asterisk added by the fam since I was sticking around another year for a second degree), my old roommate point-blank said, “We have to stop pretending like we aren’t adults.”

Sadly, the statement is just as real today as it was two years ago. Sometimes it just doesn’t seem possible that I’ve been in the elusive “real world” for a year now. I’m closer to 30 than 20, and just last month I signed on for another year at my apartment (this time solo, which prompted another freak-out moment when I saw my roommate packing up her stuff yesterday afternoon). Is this what I wanted for my life? Where do I see my life going?

Like the post that I linked mentioned, the world is my oyster. I’m young, healthy and single, but often it feels like my life is already settled and routine (hence the happiness projects, monthly goals, etc.) I’m happy with where I’m at in life right now, but how long will that last before I want something more or different?

I think what’s difficult is that now my long-term life goals aren’t the things I can work toward easily anymore (which is difficult to fathom as a type-A planner…). I want to be geographically near my family, but how do I make that happen when we’re all spread out? I want to have my own dog (or two…). I want to travel (ideally outside of my Missouri and South Dakota trips). I want to be married someday. I want  to have a house with a walls I can paint when I’m inspired, a wrap-around porch, lots of natural light and even more bookshelf space.

How do I make those things happen naturally at this juncture in my life?

Like always, I seem to have more questions than answers. And lately, I just can’t seem to shake the “what’s next??” question. I feel better knowing I’m not the only one facing these questions, and thankfully I’ve got people in my life who love life chats so that maybe someday, I’ll actually figure it out. If only the Type-A side of my brain would be okay with that…

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