Progress Not Perfection, 2017

I thought I would skip this whole New year’s Resolution thing. I thought I would just keep going as I have been going and hope that December 31st, 2017 would find me better off than The year before. I thought I was wise. There is no “new year, new me” after all. I am smarter than that, I am better than that…or maybe I am just afraid.

This past year was a hard one. There was so much death and disappointment. There was so much I thought I was sure of, but I learned in the end that we are all living on much shakier and shiftier ground than we knew. I finally learned what I thought I knew,  that the world is big and scary and indifferent. So, I thought, why eve try?

But of course we should try, we should always, always try. I wouldn’t forgive myself if I didn’t at least consider what the new year could bring if I tried hard enough. Progress, not perfection is my mantra but progress cannot happen without a willingness to examine where you are, and an occasional course correction and I suppose that is what New Year’s Eve is all about.

So, here it is, my dreams and goals for 2017, a year I hope will have more good and less bad than 2016.

Yoga and less sugar. I hate physical activity, and I hate thinking about what I eat, but I am getting older now, and things have got to change. I’m not going promise a whole new lifestyle, but I promise to start I promise to try out a Yoga habit and to be more aware of the amount of sugar I am consuming.

 

30 books, for real this time. I failed my reading goal this year, but I don’t care, I read way more than I did in 2015, so I am happy. This year I am going to have a reading plan, a list of specific books to read so that I don’t waste any time.

A new direction in writing. This year I am going to be very busy. I am going to be working more hours at work, and I am going to spend more time writing. I want to put together a collection of poetry. I want to work on this novel and possibly start on a sequel for next year’s NaNoWriMo. I want to write more on science, philosophy, and current events too. I hope to do everything I can to start getting paid for these words too.

Snail mail! I have always wanted a pen pal, and I think 2017 is as good a year as any to get one. I love snail mail and paper products, and I’d love to have a reason to start making things and sending them out to someone. I need a reason to experiment I suppose.

Weekend trips and a real vacation? I want to see new places, eat new foods, and breathe new air. I want to stimulate my mind and make some memories. I want to get out of this town and see the ways that other people live. I want to slow time and see the world.

I will never be a real artist. I had to choose between language and art and writing was something I could never let go of no matter how much art pulled. So, art will be regulated to nothing but a silly thing I do when the words don’t come so easily. I look forward to sharing my doodles with you.

Do scary things! There are two things hat give me terrible anxiety, and they are two things I need to be able to do if I want to start changing my life in real and meaningful ways. I need to meet new people, and I need to get over my fear of driving. Every day next year I will do one scary thing. I will tweet someone I admire, I will share ugly drawings, I will ask for help, I will drive to the store, and I will submit work wherever I can. I will do the thing!

I know that even though a new year starts tomorrow that doesn’t mean I am instantly a new me. I know that change takes time and hard work. I know that I need dedication and motivation. I know I have to be flexible and let myself fail a few times too.

Tomorrow I will still be me, but I will try to be a better me. Maybe I will make it and maybe I won’t but I will treat January 2nd the same way, and January 3rd, 4th, 5th, and so one all the way to December 31st, 2017. A new year is a new chance, and so is every day of that.

I hope we all make progress. I hope we all find what we are looking for, learn to love ourselves and each other, and come out a little better than we hoped. That would all be wonderful, but even if we all just survive with our hope and curiosity intact we will have accomplished more than most.

Good luck to you all in the coming year.

***

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Currently // December 2016

Welp, we’ve come to the end of another month, and I wanted to take a moment to share with you how I feel, all the changes I have made, and everything I am looking forward to. Here is what I am currently:

Writing poems, lots of poems. I am trying something a little different for awhile. I used to hate poetry but over the past year I’ve written a few small things here and there just to change it up, and I’ve slowly fallen in love with the medium. I’m thinking of putting together a collection next year if I can write anything worth sharing.

Planning my wedding! We’ve been engaged for so long, but we can’t ever seem to save enough to manage our time well enough to make it happen. We’ve had to push the date back again, BUT we have chosen a venue, and we even made a guest list. It’ll happen eventually, sigh.

Making a mini-zine all about how much I suck at making zines. I got the idea from this beautifully messy Tumblr post all about zine making. I’m over thinking the whole thing, I know, and I am scared too. I want to make something perfect, and that just isn’t the point. The words are the point. The ideas and the feelings and getting them out that is what I need to focus on.

Anticipating all the great movies, music, and TV shows coming in 2017. The return of Game of Thrones and Stranger Things! Star Wars: Episode VIII, Logan, and Wonder Woman! And, maybe, that fabled Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole project will drop? It’s going to be a wonderful year in pop culture.

Reading Republic by Plato. Wow, this is not a very fun read, but there are some pretty important ideas in this book, and I think I should try to understand them. I’ve been thinking a lot about elections, and democracy, and the inherent flaws of various systems of government, and I hear Plato had a few things to say on the subject.

Watching nothing at the moment. I finished TheOA, True Detective, and Narcos all within the last month. I’m on the lookout for some new shows to watch so if you have any recommendations drop them in the comments, please.

Feeling lost. I feel like I am floating out in the middle of the ocean with no idea in which direction to start swimming. I desperately want to find land, but I don’t know how to get there.  My self-esteem has taken a dip in the last few months, but I feel incredibly motivated and hopeful. I want to do something, but I don’t know what I can do or if I will be any good at whatever it is.

Needing to get back to my regular schedule already. I had hoped that having all this time off would be good for my writing but the holidays ruined all of that. I tried but the truth is having a day job is the best thing for me right now. It gives me a reason to get up early. It gives me a schedule to keep. It gives me a place to work quietly and away from distraction and the pull of Netflix and my couch. Just a few more days.

Loving this bit of advice from Seth Godin. This past year I didn’t write as much on current events as I wanted to simply because I felt I didn’t know enough about an issue to have anything to say about it. I told myself I didn’t know the first thing about politics, war, and civil rights but Seth reminded me that I did. I know something, I know how I feel so far, and I know that I don’t know it all, and knowing all that means I can start.

Hating Donald Trump, still. Sorry but I’m not sorry. The man seems to be doing whatever the hell he wants and making the entire country and nearly every institution we hold dear look like one big joke. I am embarrassed by him, and I am angry beyond words about his appointments and conflicts of interest.

Hoping that 2017 will be a year of motivation and milestones. I am working on a list of resolutions to share with you either later today or early tomorrow. There is a lot I want to do, and I think with focus and flexibility I can make some big things happen.

All in all, I had a good month and despite my emotional ups and downs, the deepening dread I feel for our collective future, and the stress of gift giving and receiving, I honestly felt surrounded by love and warmth and grateful for all the people in my life. I’m looking forward to January, and to 2017, and an incrementally better me, hopefully :)

***

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The inspiration for this post comes from Andrea at Create.Share.Love.

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Currently // November 2016

This one is a little late, I know, but November was a hard month and as hard as I tried I just couldn’t find the time to get this written before the 30th. I still wanted to write it and share it with you, though. I want you to know about all the changes I have made, and what I am looking forward to in December. Better late than never, right?

So, here is what I am currently:

Writing my zine! I was able to get 50,000 words of my novel written for NaNoWriMo (Yay!) and, to be honest with you, that pace kind of burned me out. I think I might put it aside for now and work on another project, one I have been trying to get off the ground for a very long time. The zine will have the same title as this blog, and it will be what I always meant for this blog to be, a mixture of science and poetry. More details to come :)

Planning a new year of blog posts and ideas. Everything fell behind last month when I found that I had no time for anything except research and writing for NaNo. I fell behind in a lot of planning for this blog and my goals to get my work published other places too. So I’m dusting off my calendars, planners, and notebooks, and working on my to-do list and my editorial calendar.

Making a real effort to start talking about what I do and what I hope to do with my family and friends. I enjoy talking to all of you about my goal, dreams, and accomplishments but my closest friends never hear any of it. They have very little idea what I am doing when I go off on my own to type away on my tiny keyboard. I suppose I figure you all will understand and they won’t. I guess I’m just afraid to be laughed at. I have to get over that, though, and soon before I really start putting myself out there, right?

Anticipating the crazy Christmas season. Usually, I don’t care much for either Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or even for New Years but this year I feel differently. I wonder if it’s me getting older, or maybe I’m just happier and feeling more positive. Maybe I’m just desperate for any scrap of positivity I can find now that Trump and Company are doing scary things to the government. Either way, I’m glad to be feeling happy.

Reading The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White. It’s a very short book, but it’s boring! I’m almost there, though, and I’ll finally be able to move on to Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. By the time I’m done with that, I am sure I will have had my fill of writing advice for a while, and I’ll return to fiction.

Watching Narcos on Netflix. I was watching The Fall which sounded very promising (plus I have a serious lady crush on Gillian Anderson *drools*) but the ending royally pissed me off. I can’t even talk about it right now, ugh. Narcos, on the other hand, is excellent. Don’t watch The Fall, watch Narcos instead.

Feeling a little lost now that NaNoWriMo is over. I worked so hard and accomplished this amazing feat, and I look around, and the world is still spinning the way it always has and the people around me are still doing the same things they always do. I guess I feel like I didn’t actually accomplish anything. Not really. I suppose that’s just a reminder that while I got through step one, there are many many more steps to go. Sigh.

Needing the next couple of weeks to just came and go quickly and easily. The best part of working for a school district is getting all the time off that the kids get. Two weeks off for Christmas feels so, so good. My plan is to write of course but I’ll more than likely end up sleeping in and binge watching more Netflix.

Loving my lady. She’s pretty awesome, and I’m so lucky to get to know her and have her in my life. I almost feel guilty, listening to my friends talk about their relationship woes and how harsh, and scary, the dating world is but then I remember that relationships aren’t easy either and it’s taken a lot of painful self-examination to get to where we are, 14 years and counting! I don’t feel guilty anymore, I feel proud, of both of us.

Hating Donald Trump.

Hoping December will be a month of preparation and planning so that 2017 can start off on the right foot. I want this next year to be a year of feeling, for the first time, that I am a real writer. I want to find a community to belong to, to write for, to be encouraged by. I want to feel the validation that comes with receiving a real life monetary payment for the words I work so hard to string together.

***

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The inspiration for this post comes from Andrea at Create.Share.Love.

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Currently // August 2016

We’ve come to the end of another month and, as always, I want to share with you all that is going on with me, all the changes I have made, and what I am looking forward to. This is what I am currently:

Writing my blog post in advance so that I might have a little more time to write for places other than here. I have a long list of publications that I’m interested in being a part of and one by one I’m making my way through them.

Planning something for my lovely lady’s birthday this month, or trying to anyway. I’m not very good at this.

Making very slow progress through my art journal. I had hoped to post pics of it at least weekly but like all things I plan, it’s coming along slower than anticipated. I haven’t given up, though.

Thinking the limits of the human mind. I’d never considered that there might be things we just can’t do. Like everyone, I saw an unlimited possibility for all of us, but maybe there are things we can’t do or know, or decisions we can’t make? It’s strange and exciting to feel the boundaries of human potential.

Reading The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I thought it was boring at first, and I had to force myself through the beginning but things are picking up, and I’m finding I can’t put it down. Look for a proper review, and one for Catch-22, in the coming weeks. 

Watching The Night Of on HBO!  Actually, I just finished it and I’m very sad it’s over. It’s pretty dark, pretty twisted, and it has a lot to say about the what human flaws. My kinda show exactly!

Feeling winter approaching. I hate winter. I hate being cold, I hate snow, and I hate when everything goes all gray, and the world looks dead. Winters are long here, and I am trying to prepare for the feelings of depression and hopelessness that will hang around me until April.

Needing to hurry up and get this driving thing done. I’ve finished my first lesson, and I am desperate to practice, take another lesson, and maybe get my license soon. We need another car badly, but I don’t feel comfortable practicing in our car until we get a few things fixed on it.

Loving Butterfinger candy bars again. They were my childhood favorite, and I recently rediscovered them during a strange period of craving sweets. I never crave sweets but for some reason, all of a sudden Butterfingers are what my body says it needs. I’ll try not to let them become a bad habit.

Hating the Donald Trump campaign more and more every day. He’s horrible, and I still cannot understand how he made it this far. That’s not true; I can understand, I just hate it. I hate that there are people in this country who subscribe to an “Us vs. Them” mentality and choose to support a candidate who thinks this country belongs to certain people only.

Hoping that my girlfriend’s workload lightens soon, and she can stop working late into the evening and weekends too. I understand she has a very important job, and there is a lot on her plate all the time, but I miss her dammit!

***

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The inspiration for this post comes from Andrea at Create.Share.Love.

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Currently // July 2016

I’m late; I’m late! At the end of every month, I like to share with you all that is going on with me, all the changes I have made, and what I am looking forward to, but I am late! Oh well, better late than never.

This is what I am currently:

Writing a bunch of new blog posts inspired by everything I am learning in the #BlogLikeAMag workshop. I plan to keep writing about my story in the hopes that you can relate and maybe learn something too, but I want to write in a way that if more useful to you, my dear readers.

Planning the next steps in my journey to finally quit my day job. Freelance writing maybe? A collection of poems maybe?

Making some art in my new handmade art journal! I got the idea from the Tumblr Tangled Ribbon Sketchbooks and if you want to do something creative and a little bit messy I encourage you to make one of your own. I will be posting a new spread to my Instagram every week if you want to follow along.

Thinking about how scary and exciting the future looks. I am finally going to get over my driving phobia, my girlfriend may be taking her first steps in a big career change, and one day I might work from home while taking care of our kids. Whoa!

Reading Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck because I am still stalling on finishing Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, still. I will finish it one day!

Watching Stranger Things! I mean I already binge-watched all eight episodes of this beautiful sci-fi love letter to all that was good in the 80s, but yeah, I’m gonna watch it again.

Feeling my anxiety levels rising. Yeah, I am starting to think everyone around me is right, and I should see a doctor about these panic attacks and my inability to enjoy a good night’s sleep. *sigh*

Needing to start exercising. I’m not getting any younger and every day I feel more and more out of shape. I have to start thinking about my long term health. I have to start thinking about my heart and my joints and all the ways I am causing a future failure by neglecting my body today.

Loving the newest addition to our family, my baby niece Mari. She is so little, and cute, and quiet, and I just can’t get enough of her!

Hating that before I knew it my summer was over. I work for a school district, and it’s that time of year when the kids are coming back to school. So, today I started back working regular hours. Today I said goodbye to my summer freedom for another ten months.

Hoping that this school year will be a good one. I’ve struggled these past few years to find a balance between this job and my passion. I’ve also struggled to maintain my patience and not let the things the kids say and do get to me. This year I will do better.

***

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Currently // June 2016

We’ve come to the end of the month again and as always I like to share with you all that is going on with me, all the changes I have made, and what I am looking forward to. This is what I am currently:

Writing a few bits and pieces—just ideas mostly—of what I hope will one day be my first novel. Eek!

Planning a camping trip for the weekend of the 8th. It will be the first time I bring my puppy into the great outdoors. I’m worried she won’t mind her manners, and we’ll have to cut the trip short. Cross your fingers and wish us luck.

Making up a new daily to do list. One that will lead me to the goals that are important to me know and follow the philosophy of progress not perfection with items such as “Spend 15 minutes writing flash fiction.” or “Spend 10 minutes working on a drawing.”

Thinking about blog design, email design, and design in print. I’m not good with things like choosing colors, or fonts, or images, but I’m getting to a point where I need to start incorporating these concepts into my “personal branding”, whatever that is.

Reading Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, still. I will finish it in July!

Watching a series on HBO called The Leftovers. The show “takes place three years after a global event called the “Sudden Departure,” the inexplicable, simultaneous disappearance of 140 million people, 2% of the world’s population, on October 14, 2011″ and follows the lives of people who were left behind.

Feeling super excited about my goals for next month. I have never made anything that I could sell before, it’s scary and, well, exciting!

Needing to spend more time writing in quiet places instead of on the couch while the TV is playing in the background. TV is not good for productivity at all. Shocking I know. The plan is to start setting aside four hours or so every Saturday to write in my “Creativity Room.” A place in my house where TV is not allowed!

Loving the sweet gingery taste of Moscow Mules. I had one for the first time last month, and it was so delicious I can’t believe everyone can not drink them all day, every day.

Hating this joke of an election. Seeing Trumps face on the news every day and hearing his hate speech is beginning to get real nauseating. Election day can not come and go fast enough!

Hoping that everything I am doing, and want to do, are things that will lead me into the kind of future I want. One where it won’t be so hard to find time to do all the things I love.

***

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The inspiration for this post comes from Andrea at Create.Share.Love.

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Currently // May 2016

Writing my first piece for the newsletter I am starting up. Right now it’s a way for me to share where I am with my projects, how I am feeling creatively, and share my thoughts on human nature and experience. Oh, and there will be links to things and people that inspiring and helpful too.

Planning some big summer projects. There will be a collection of essays and poems, maybe artwork if I can make it look nice, and, hopefully, work being submitted to small publications. I might even get my shit together and start working on a book :/

Making a real effort to silence my inner critic and let go of my fears. There is so much I want to start doing and I haven’t because I am afraid and because I think no one would care what I have to say or share. I need to stop thinking about all of that and just do what feels right and good. I need to start having fun.

Thinking about how little I know about what is happening in the rest of the world and how that ignorance comes from a place of privilege as a US citizen. I am trying to find ways to become more informed.

Reading Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. The book and the reader have to fit together for any wisdom of understanding to flow between the two. Catch-22 and I don’t fit together easily but the more I stick with it the more we see eye to eye and the effort is reaping big rewards.

Watching The new Roots miniseries on History Channel. I never did watch the old miniseries but the book has always been among my favorites so I was very excited for the premiere last night. It did not disappoint and I look forward to watching the rest all week.

Feeling a bit overwhelmed by the demands of the world and the demands of my dreams and passions. There never seems to be enough time for both and I am in constant fear that I will have to give up on what I love so that I can be a normal functioning person in the real world.

Needing to clean up my “creativity room” and get to work in there. It’s a mess and not conducive to any sort of creative process what so ever. I need an entire day dedicated to getting it together but I’m not sure exactly when that will happen.

Loving the strange combination of fruity vinegar flavors and the fizzy foamy texture of Kombucha, or fermented tea. It sounds weird, and it is, but it’s weirdly good and I think you should try it. I want to start making batches of my own at home :)

Hating the fact that my phone decided it couldn’t go on any longer and overheated, froze, and died in my hands. Hoping the replacement won’t give up on me so easily.

Hoping that the summer won’t fly by so quickly and that it won’t be too hot. I hope my girlfriend and I can make the most of our time off and make a few memories. We need the break from the bleak and boring days at work. We need to get out and see a little of the world.

***

The inspiration for this post comes from Andrea at Create.Share.Love.

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