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Victories! February 5, 2013

Posted by phoenixhopes in Goals, lists, randomness.
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I almost titled this post “Small Victories” but any step forward is progress. Those baby steps deserve as much recognition as the humongous giant steps. I am happy to report the following victories:

  • I took breakfast and lunch to work and drank the free coffee (instead of visiting the Starbucks conveniently located just one floor below me) all of January. The only money I spent on food at work was 84 cents to buy some cheese to put on my chili one day. 
  • I cut back to Basic Cable, saving at least $40 a month.
  • I’m learning to cook in smaller quantities. It it quite the challenge to transition from cooking for six to ten people at every meal to just one, even if that transition takes a few years.
  • My middle son started a new job (technically that’s not my victory, but it’s a huge one for him and I am sharing in the celebrating.)
  • I have exercised in the morning, before getting on with my day, for two days in a row. I, uh, kinda slacked off this past weekend but I’m back on track and rarin’ to go.
  • I unsubscribed from some of that annoying junk e-mail, clearing some of the clutter from my in-box.

What victories are you celebrating? Big or small, each victory deserves recognition and celebration.

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Re-entering Reality September 16, 2012

Posted by phoenixhopes in life, lists, thoughts.
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I used to be a bit suspicious of hermits. After all, isn’t someone who chooses to go off by themselves for long periods of time, without even an internet connection, a bit of an odd duck? Truthfully, I’m an introvert by nature and require time alone to recharge my batteries. I’ve been known to spend a weekend holed up in my apartment, without talking to another person (as long as “talking” is defined as using my voice — I still plug in electronically via e-mail, Facebook and text). Instead my days are spent reading, creating, puttering, sleeping. Exactly what I was up to during that time was not important; the fact that I was doing it alone was the good part. But those people who go for weeks, months or even years without engaging another soul… I just couldn’t fathom it. Until now.

At this moment my brain is full and my heart is overflowing. I’m on overload and need time to process it all. There are so many thoughts I need to get out of my head and onto paper (or into the computer as the case may be) that it’s difficult to compose even a list, much less choose what comes first. I’d like to curl up with a journal and write until my hand cramps so badly I need to use the other hand to pry the pen out of my fingers. Once the Advil kicks in and my hand recovers from that writing session, I’ll move to the keyboard and empty more of my thoughts into the the digital archive. Maybe after a week or two of brain dump I might be ready to make sense of it all and format it into something intelligible. I want to ditch my normal life and hide out and become a writer. I think that means I want to be a hermit.

For now, this is only a fantasy. “Real life” is calling: back to the office in the morning, e-mail and paper mail to sort through, checking the news to find out what happened in the world while I was away for the weekend, catching up with family and friends. I wish I could wait a little while before entering that world. Unfortunately, I’m out of vacation time for awhile and can’t justify calling in sick so it’s back to that reality I go. And yet… and yet… I must find a way to make the time to write, to get the words and ideas and beauty and pain out of my head an into a language others can understand.

I started my journey this year with the goal to simply be more mindful in my life. The first month of the year is barely half over and already my direction is changing. Perhaps it is more accurately stated that my direction is expanding. Yes, I want to be mindful, but what does that mean and what does it include?

This morning I sat outside with my coffee, breathing in the country-style quiet, listening to the bird calls and the breeze in the leaves, and considering what it was I didn’t want to forget. I pulled out my phone and sent myself a text. (Please tell me I’m not the only one that does this — I send notes from my phone to my e-mail with some regularity.) This is what I want to see in my life and by extension, what is likely to show up on this blog. It’s not a complete list by any means, but it’s a partial list of what is important to my journey today.

Live mindfully

Give generously, with an open hand

Love freely, without judgement

Listen to the wind

Ponder, and document those ponderings

Say yes as much as possible, but don’t be afraid to say no when appropriate

Remember what is important; let that shape my life

A vacation into hermitude might be nice to jumpstart my creativity but it is rather unlikely I’ll be given that opportunity any time soon. Or any time ever. Rather than becoming a hermit my challenge is to apply that first item and live my life in such a way that that I have time to write. I can’t stop life and take a season to do nothing but write and process my thoughts. I can remember that writing is important and learn to structure my life in a way that shows it’s priority.

One step at a time September 10, 2011

Posted by phoenixhopes in Goals, lists, Procrastination, randomness, thoughts.
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When I am feeling overwhelmed, I make lists. Books to read. Knitting to accomplish. Clothes to sew. Spring Cleaning projects to complete (and yes, I am well aware that it is now almost Fall), Closets to organize. Errands that simply must be run. Work projects that never end. Birthdays I don’t want to forget (but probably will). Letters to write. And on and on and on. Writing lists helps me stay sane. If it’s on a list somewhere then I can hope that someday, maybe, if I persevere and my luck holds out, everything will get done.

Lately I found I needed a new list just to keep track of the ever-reproducing stack of lists on my desk. Yes, life is busy and ever-changing. Not that this is a necessarily bad thing – busy is better than bored – but too often the busy-ness of the urgent leaves little to no time left for the gazillion and seven other important things I want to do. Like blogging, for instance.

“Get back to blogging” is high on every list of personal goals I’ve made in the past year. I say that writing is important to me, a way to process the events in my life, a way to move some things from the hamster wheel in my brain to a more concrete format, a way to remember things I would otherwise forget. But do I make it a priority? Not very often. I write in fits and starts, as evidenced by the history here. Of course, I do write things, many things, that never make their way to this public peek into my brain, but even that has been much lower volume than I would prefer lately.

Writing is only one of the items on my “Feed My Creativity” list. Potential knitting projects take up an entire page there is even a line item for “learn to crochet”. I’ve been hit by a sewing bug lately (fed by a combination of weight loss and the fact that sometimes it’s cheaper to sew than buy new clothes) and have an ever-growing list of projects calling to me. There are recipes I want to try, crafty ideas for Christmas gifts, and practicing the magic of making yarn out of wool.

I think I’ve realized that the only way I’m going to get things done is to learn to be just a bit selfish. That’s not always a bad word, you know. Sometimes “selfish” means “take care of yourself too” or “remember to feed your soul”. I’ve spent most of my life focusing on taking care of others (and let me unequivocally state I have no regrets about that!) but I think I’m moving into another phase. My kids are growing up. It’s not that they don’t need me – I think and hope they will always need me – but they need me in different and less labor intensive ways. I’m not obliged to a spouse or significant other so my time has become more of my own. My challenge now is to decide how to spend that time.

All that to say that you’ll be hearing from me a bit more often. How often? Who knows? One little baby step at a time and I’ll get back in the swing of things. My hope is that very soon writing and blogging will become a habit again instead of just one more item on my wish list.