So, what’s next?

That seems to be the most common question I get asked these days, and it’s valid. The answer is, I don’t really know. A lot of stuff gets pushed to the back burner when you’re wedding planning, so the first order of business is a triage of sorts. Just determining what needs to be attended to after being ignored for 17 months.

I cut my hair off which felt significant. Wifely.

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I’ll get confirmed after a year of preparation this weekend, and I’m ready to grow in my faith. It’s been such a meaningful, life-changing journey, and it’s really just the beginning.

Our house needs attention since we’ve been funneling all our money towards the wedding for some time now. We recaulked the bathtub and set up a home office, but we’re also saving and planning for bigger improvements like a patio and some insulation.

I came back to work to learn that my manager (mentor and friend) was moving on to new opportunities. She didn’t want to tell me before the wedding, so I only had a couple weeks with her once I returned. That threw my job into a state of flux, but it ended up working out as I got offered a new role. I’m still in the same group at the same company, but I’m now in IT which I expect will be challenging and exciting. There’s a certification exam for this new position in December, so I’ll be studying once again.

I’m tossing around the idea of going back to school for my masters, but it’s all up in the air at this point. I’d like to start in the spring of next year if I can get all my ducks in a row.

And as everyone always really wants to know, babies are (God-willing) on the (semi-distant) horizon.

All these changes and long term plans made me do a crazy thing.

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Guess which one I registered for? Yep. The marathon. I registered for my first marathon, and I’m not at all sure I’m ready. My body is still falling apart, and I’m still daunted by the distance. Chris is less than thrilled for my return to weekends of stress and soreness, but we all knew this was coming. It’s been a major goal of mine since my first 5k. If I do to back to school, I think work plus night classes plus long runs on the weekend would have been tough, so I figured it’s now or years from now. Now seemed better.

My plan has started. Things are happening. Big things. Let’s do this!

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September Goals: wrap-up

If you recall, I wanted to focus on ways to more effectively manage my time in September.

I have a tendency to only remember the last week’s progress on my goals, so I wanted to try something new with this month’s progress. I’m gonna break each down by week and score my progress (A-F).

*Strength train, cross train, do something other than run:
Week 1 (C) – I didn’t wake up early to do any workouts, but I did fit some arm work in. No bike rides yet.

Week 2 (F)- Literally nothing other than running. Honestly, I just forgot about it, but I felt my weak core in the form of lower back pain after Sunday’s race.

Week 3 (D) – I did some crunches and a couple planks. Not great.

Week 4 (C) – I only did one night of legs and core work, but it was the only workout I did all week, and I was sore for three days, so I’m calling it good enough.

Overall (C-) – I keep saying I want to do more strength training, but when faced with it and any other option, I will take the other option every time. I need to find a routine I can stick to. I’m working on it. I did get a little hike in while we were in Pennsylvania for the weekend!

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*Start doing meal prep on Sundays to streamline weeknights:

Week 1 (D)- I found myself in the somewhat unique position of only having to cook twice in the first week of the month (a combination of the shortened holiday week and lots of social events) so I didn’t do any Sunday meal prep. I did however make two dinners on Tuesday since I knew I had a long, late run on Wednesday, and I was so glad I did!

Week 2 (F)- I got home from Philly at 4 on Sunday and after spending a few hours with Chris’ parents, I was proud of myself for even making one dinner. Of course, zero prep meant a weeknight trip to the grocery store. Not fun.

Week 3 (C) – Technically I did no meal prep, but we only ate I think one meal at home that week, so I wasn’t missing out.

Week 4 (A) – I chopped, peeled, pre cooked and planned away on Sunday like a rockstar. It really makes such a difference. Not only do I cut down on time spent cooking and cleaning on week nights, but I also find I parlay some of that free time into making meals more flavorful and interesting. Win!

Overall (C+) – Sometimes my weekends are just as pressed for time as my weeknights, and I can’t make it happen. But when I can spare a few hours, it makes a HUGE difference, so I’m really gonna try and stick to this one.

*Start going to bed on time:
Week 1 (D)- I didn’t go to bed before 10:30 any night this week.

Week 2 (C)- Getting closer. In bed between 10 and 10:30 most nights.

Week 3 (B)- I was in bed most nights by 10! I could really feel the difference too!

Week 4 (B) – I was at least in full relaxation mode by 10. Felt great!

Overall (B-) – This one should have been a no brained. Go to bed earlier, have better mornings. Sometimes I rebel though and stay up too long because my free time feels so short these days. I’m working to find a balance between having a life and getting my Zzzz.

*Plan on leftovers/takeout one night a week to accomplish some “administrative tasks”:
Week 1 (C)- I didn’t eat at home enough to justify take out but I did get some tasks done including picking up the dry cleaning, filling the car with gas and mailing thank you cards! Chris helped a ton with all these.

Week 2 (B)- Takeout Friday night allowed me to pack and relax with Chris before my weekend away.

Week 3 (B)- Not a lot of administrative stuff, but I did have a lot of fun.

Week 4 (A) – Maybe it was because we ate most of our meals out, and I didn’t do any workouts, but I got so much stuff done this week! Usually our house looks like it’s been robbed by Friday, but this week I said to Chris, “It’s so clean it doesn’t even look like our house!”

Overall (B) – It’s not great on our wallets to eat out a lot, but it did wonders for my mental health to give myself a break during busy weeks rather than trying to do it all. I loved this improvement.

*Make train time productive time:
Week 1 (C)- I had a harder time with this than I thought because I really enjoy reading. My deal with myself is that I can read for half my morning commute. The other half is for responding to emails. Afternoons, I make phone calls then read for any remaining time. It’s been working out pretty well.

Week 2 (A)- Wrote posts, answered emails, made phone calls. Success!

Week 3 (B)- Not so many emails answered, but I did make a lot of progress on my Jackson book.

Week 4 (B) – Lots of emails answered and posts written!

Overall (B) – it’s frustrating to spend the entire 90 minute commute working rather than reading, but that’s 90 minutes I don’t have to spend later. I’ll take it!

*Start to focus on my what I’m eating:
Week 1 (B)- Not bad. Monday was a wash since it was Labor Day. I ate BBQ food for late lunch then a bowl of Frosted Flakes for dinner. The rest of the week was better. Whatever I can stomach for breakfast then yogurt at work, mostly salads for lunch and some pretty balanced dinners. I could definitely cut back on the cookies, but I’m unwilling to give up my nightly glass of wine.

Week 2 (A)- I focused on carbs and protein for the race. I avoided alcohol all week and dairy Friday-Sunday. I felt good but am happy to get more veggies and less carbs in my diet now that the race is over.

Week 3 (B)- It wasn’t a great week for my stomach, so my choices were limited, but I tried to eat a lot of veggie and good carb packed soups as those seemed to mostly work out ok.

Week 4 (D) – I did ok on breakfasts and lunches, but had a lot of restaurant food including a night out at Melting Pot to celebrate Travis and Laura’s engagement (yay!!), and have you had Birthday Cake Oreos? Yowza.

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Overall (B+) – Better than I thought! I really enjoy healthy fare in the fall, so I’m thinking October will be a healthy month for me!

*Accept the things I cannot change:
Week 1 (B)- This is a hard one to gauge, but I felt fairly relaxed this week.

Week 2 (C)- I let my stress over the race get to me this week. Combine that with weather shortening or canceling 2/3 of my runs, and I was a bit of a head case. I didn’t get too crazy, but I spent more time than necessary upset about forces of nature. That’s dumb.

Week 3 (B)- I had a bit of a freakout on Monday after going to the grocery store and getting home too late for my liking, but I caught myself and managed my stress really well for the rest of the week.

Week 4 (B) – Mostly chill. Can’t complain.

Overall (B+) – This month I tried saying to myself, “Just stop. Does this matter? Will this matter in an hour or a week?” If the answer was no, I took a deep breath and tried to move on, and I think it actually worked. I’m hanging on to this technique for sure.

September Goals Grade (B-) – I’m glad I tracked these silly goals this week. My original aim was to focus on time management, but I ended up with a more well rounded view of my health. I focus a lot on physical health, but it was nice to broaden my gaze to include mental and emotional markers as well. Just by tracking my progress throughout the month, I felt more motivated to go to bed early or take things in stride. I won’t do this every month as it can get a little obsessive, but it’s nice to check in and get a baseline from time to time, and there’s a lot a learned that I plan on taking with me to October.

September Goals

Remember how I used to do monthly goals? Me neither. I think that may have been a bit ambitious to maintain continuously, but I do think it’s nice to have now and then.

A new month is a great time to correct mistakes you’ve been making or look for opportunities to improve. August was a tough month for me with my transition to my new job, and I felt like I spent a lot of time frustrated with how I handled things. To try and turn that frustration into something positive, I wanted to focus on the things I’d like to do better. So, here are my September goals:

*Strength train, cross train, do something other than run: Basically, I don’t want to fall into the rut of just running then doing nothing on my off days.
I’ve mentioned before that I don’t feel safe running in the dark hours of the morning before work, but that doesn’t mean I can’t get up earlier and do a little strength training or some yoga. I’m going to start slow and aim for getting up 20 minutes earlier twice a week and doing either core, arms, light legs or a little flow yoga. I’d also like to ride my bike a little more before it becomes too cold and dark to do so. I’d like to get in three rides in September.

*Start doing meal prep on Sundays to streamline weeknights: My weeknights have been so hectic since starting my new job. I get home at 7, and by the time I run, shower and prepare dinner, it’s close to 9:30. Eating that late doesn’t really allow for an early bed time which means that if I want to get even 7 hours, I can’t wake up early enough to accomplish my first goal. I can’t shorten my commute, so I’m going to try and look at ways to reduce my evening chores.

I’ll experiment this month with sautéing veggies, baking potatoes, cooking rice and pasta and preparing meats so that on weeknights, all I have to do is microwave and serve. I have no idea how this will actually work out, but it’s a start.

*Start going to bed on time: Noticing a theme here? As a product of Goal 2 and an incentive for Goal 1, I’d really like to be in bed by 10pm on weeknights.

*Plan on leftovers/takeout one night a week to accomplish some “administrative tasks”: If you can believe it, every single day of every weekend in September is already booked. We are doing something every Friday night, Saturday and Sunday morning, which means a lot of the stuff I have to do to maintain order will have to take place on weeknights.

I’m going to pick one day a week that happens to be a rest day and not stress about cooking dinner in order to do things like grocery shop, pay bills, clean the house and pick up dry cleaning.

*Make train time productive time: I’ve already started on this one a little bit. I need to take better advantage of the fact that half of my commute is above ground, and I have a smart phone. This means responding to personal emails in the morning, and calling friends and family in the afternoons. In addition to making sure I stay in touch with the people I’m closest to, it’ll be a time saver for busy nights and weekends.

*Start to focus on my what I’m eating: Since the engagement party kicked off Wedding Planning Phase II, I’ve decided it’s time to start thinking about getting in my best shape for the big day. I’m not making any major changes until after the marathon in November, but I would like to start thinking about getting more veggies and protein in my diet as I think it’ll make for an easier transition overall.

*Accept the things I cannot change: Basically this whole month is about trying to find more hours in a day. I’m going to be busy as all get out for 30 days, and the fact is, things are going to slip through the cracks.

My last goal is just to be ok with that. Chris and running are my top two priorities, so as long as I spend some time with my love and hit the road as often as possible, I’m not going to sweat a few late bed times or weeks where I order takeout every night. If I can make it through this month with my head on my shoulders, it’ll have been a success.

An update on goals

This was actually going to be a longer post if you can believe it, but I’ve been experimenting with the WordPress app for iPad (SO much easier to insert photos), and well, it ate my post. I’m too tired to reconstruct the whole thing, so lets just discuss some goals shall we?

I had all these goals that I started the year with, and then my life took some amazing turns and all the plans I made in January didn’t all fit.

In case you missed it, in February, Chris proposed and I said, “Of course!” We started buying a home in April and moved out of the city I’ve live in for five years in June. Oh and then I started a brand new job last week. Phew! Obviously, these are all amazing things, but if I’m being honest, I’m really not sure how to handle it all.

Then there’s the running. For some stupid reason, this is also the year that my brain decided to be all “MARATHON MARATHON MARATHON” when I already have 1 million things going on. Partly this desire comes from the fact that somehow 13.1 miles now feels like a reasonable distance, so I guess that means I’m ready for more insanity. The other part comes from my obsessive life planning.

Basically, I know I won’t want to train for a marathon next year. Chris and I will be in the throes of wedding planning, and I just can’t see myself running 14 miles the day after my bachelorette party. I’d probably like to run one my first year as a wife, but after that, I think we’ll probably start thinking about a family, and I don’t think first pregnancies are a time for first marathons. I feel like I’d like to get two marathons (one disastrous, another slightly less disastrous) in before I hang up my shoes for a bit, so I feel like I have to do one this year. Obviously, I don’t have to, but I guess I mean I’d like to. Not that I’ve over thought this or anything. That would be unlike me.

The problem is, I just don’t know if I can do it right now. Between actual work and commuting, “work” takes up 13 hours of my day on a good day. I start getting ready at 5:30am and am lucky to be walking in the door at 6:45pm. I know this is nothing for most adults, but my commute for the past five years has been 20 minutes. I’ve been struggling to get in 5 runs a week when my longest non-long-run-run is 4 miles. I’m terrified to think about how I’m going to run 8 miles on a week night. Plus, I’m slow. I haven’t devoted much time or attention to getting faster, so it takes me a long time to work out this mileage.

My temporary goal is to make it to the half marathon in September, and then make a decision from there. If the marathon isn’t on the horizon, maybe I’ll turn my focus back to speed for a little while.
So there. Those are my #runningproblems.

And now for an update on all those other goals I set:

Bike a century– Hah! If I can’t fit in 2 hour runs, I certainly cannot fit in 4 hour bike rides. The bike is tough for me because it requires so much more time and gear and attention. I still want to do this, but not in 2013.

Go more vegetarian– Sadly, I haven’t even really been trying on this one. Despite all the good, 2013 has also been the year of the stomach disasters. Most times, I’m just trying to eat something that will stay in my system long enough to have some nutritional benefit. Gross, I know. Raw vegetables have been impossible most of this year, and cooked have not been a whole lot better. Most troubling, beans are decidedly out as a protein source. I really don’t want to rely solely on soy for my protein needs, so I’ve been relying a lot on baked, bland chicken and easy to digest starches.

I try to eat veggies on the good days and will usually opt for a vegetarian meal when dining out or at lunch when my stomach is feeling more stable, but that’s the best I can do. I’m taking this one off the list because I’d rather be healthy than anything else, and I don’t want to make myself feel guilty for things I can’t control.

Grow bangs– Out! To lighten the mood a bit, bangs are decidedly out. The year before your wedding is not the time to try out new hairstyles. Even this dense girl knows that. So, I’m growing my hair to an even length and not messing around with it. Until next year bangs!

Read 15 books– I got a little caught on Game of Thrones (which I think should count for more than 5 books) so I’m not halfway through this goal yet, but I still think I can pull this one off.

Learn a new skill (preferably with my hands)– I’ve actually learned a lot of new skills this year thanks to the house. I’ve learned everything from applying for a mortgage to negotiating with contractors to spray painting and removing wallpaper. Let’s call this one good!

Practice patience and kindness– This is the one goal I still think of every day. I am really making a conscious effort to show more patience and kindness both with others and to myself. Again, I feel so blessed and fortunate for all the good things that have happened to me this year, that any time I catch myself feeling frustrated or acting rudely, I stop immediately and remind myself that I have nothing to be upset about.

Volunteer with Alpha Chi– Hah! Obviously, I couldn’t have known at the start of this year that they’d shut my chapter down by the first quarter, but such is life. I could volunteer with another part of the organization, but I won’t. Fool me once and all that…. I would like to find another volunteer organization to devote some time to though.

Fund my emergency savings with 3 months expenses– Hah! Bought a house. Planning a wedding. No available funds.

Pay off my smallest student loan– Hah! See above.

Become a CIA– This is still one of the things I’m most proud of this year. I did it! It was a longer road than it could have been, but I stuck with it, and I’m so glad I did! It’s nice to have some letters after my name!

So those are my goals. Things change, and you have to be flexible. I’m glad I’ve been able to do as much as I have, and I love all these goals, so for the ones I won’t be getting to in 2013, most will be carryovers to a time when I can devote more energy to them. Until then, I think I have enough to work on and so much to be thankful for.

I’m a CIA!

sort of.

I passed the final part of my four part Certified Internal Auditor exam! I have some odds and ends to tie up (and a shiny new certificate to wait for) but the lion-share of my certification is over! It was hard. February has been hard. And rewarding. But mostly hard.

I feel like my life has been moving in fast forward 4x (maybe 16x) since the beginning the month. I touched on it here already, so I won’t whine anymore, but it’s been a lot. It’s been a “teachable moment” in my life too though.

I learned something that’s probably sort of “duh” but struck a resonant chord with me. In life, there are times when you give it your all and you win, and there are times when you give it your all and you lose. We all worked so, so hard at the sorority to have a great recruitment and save our chapter, and it didn’t work. There was no one to blame and nothing to say, and looking back on it, I would have done everything the same all over again, but we lost. It stung something fierce, and I still get choked up talking about it.

Then there was this. Fresh off the heels of the disappointing recruitment, I hit the books hard to put the finishing touches on this exam prep. Truthfully, I’ve been studying since early December. I took a class and read the books and did all the practice exams from December through February. This past weekend, I did it again. I didn’t take another class, but I reread all the material and retook all the tests twice. It was insane. I have not studied that hard since my junior year of college. That’s 5 years ago.

Saturday I cleaned our apartment from top to bottom because I cannot stand working in a mess then studied for hours. I rinsed and repeated Sunday, not moving except for a one hour lunch (mental health) break for over 11 hours. Monday was the holiday, so after a quick 3 miler with Chris, I did it all over again. My eyes are still sore from all the reading. I’ve had a headache for 4 days. I gave it my all, but I was still so scared to fail again.

But I didn’t. I passed, and I’m done! Here’s the crazy part: other than initial reactions, those two scenarios don’t feel that different. I was devastated when recruitment didn’t pan out and elated when I got my passing score, but within a few hours of each, I felt basically the same. I felt proud of myself for trying so hard.

Last night, I slept in a shirt from my first half marathon as a sort of token of good luck. I had a moment where I thought, “Oh no! This was my slowest half! I should sleep in my Chicago half marathon shirt!” Then I thought better of it remembering the effort I put into preparing for that first half. It wasn’t my best time, but it was the hardest I’d ever worked.

For me at least, it’s about the effort, not the outcome. I’m putting this in writing as a challenge to myself to be more bold. There are things that I don’t do because I’m scared I’ll fail (not many because truly everything frightens me, so I’m used to doing stuff even though I’m scared, but still there are some). I think this month I realized there’s nothing to be afraid of. Win or lose, pass or fail, I’m glad I did it and proud I tried.

 

As I mentioned, I had almost no life this weekend as my face was permanently stuck in a book, but I did enjoy a nice date with Chris and a fun dinner out with Debbie and Mike. I only have pictures from the date. I’m sorry. sort of.

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Friday night, Chris and I went back to Roman Nose, and it was still delicious.

 

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I got this yummy mess which was a much prettier looking gluten free penne pesto before I dumped a pound of broccoli rabe on top.

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Then we ran into this guy on the way home! That’s an opossum  Crazy, right? I saw him out of the corner of my eye and thought he was a cat! He politely posed for a picture, after which Chris and I ran fast as hell away for fear that the flash would send him into attack mode.

 

So, that’s my life update. And a picture of a possum. I leave for Jamaica on Sunday, and I promise I’ll come back with something (anything!) more exciting.

 

 

 

 

Kind Words February

I love February. I’ve always loved it. I think I enjoy the symmetry of a 28-day month. Four perfect weeks. I like that February 1st and March 1st are the same day of the week. I’m a little neurotic about that. (Don’t even get me started on leap years. I just can’t.)

I also love Valentine’s Day. I know it’s not the most popular holiday, and I get why, but VDay has never really been about romantic love for me. We always celebrated it as a family. My mom would give us cute stuffed animals and candy, and we’d make her heart shaped cards. That’s a tradition I hope to continue with my family. I love the love.

 

I didn’t make a lot of progress on my goals this month, but that’s ok because most of them are going to take more than a month.

  1. PR in the 5k- nope; no 5ks run.
  2. beat 2012 half marathon times- nope; no halfs run, but I am registered.
  3. bike a century- nope; no biking at all.
  4. try to be more vegetarian- nope; actually moving backwards on this one by having two meatballs on Saturday. Not good. I’m trying though.
  5. try out full bangs- nope; no money for haircuts right now. I’m trying to hold out until April.
  6. read 15 books- nope; stuck on The Dog Stars which I thought I’d love, but is actually boring me to death. I am listening to Game of Thrones Storm of Swords on audio though which is pretty neat.
  7. learn a new skill, preferably with my hands- yep! IMG_1749[1]      I made that scarf. I crocheted it. It’s a little longer and not quite as wide as I hoped, but I think it’s a good first effort and Moshi agrees.
  8. practice patience and kindnes-sort of; more on this below.
  9. continue volunteering with Alpha Chi-yep; oh yes. Recruitment is in full swing and we are busy bees.
  10. fully fund my 3 months living expenses emergency savings account- nope; but I didn’t take any money out of my savings account!
  11. pay off my smallest student loan- nope; I’m hoping to put my tax refund towards either this or my savings. Any suggestions?
  12. become a CIA- nope; but I have been studying my butt off (I wish!). The exam is in 17 short days. It’s crunch time.

So, about the kindness. I’ve been really into reddit lately. Chris got me addicted, and now I can’t stop.  I like the silly pics a lot, but what I really love are the “Ask Reddit”s. For those unfamiliar, someone poses a question, and everybody weighs in. Anyway, I stumbled up one the other day that was something along the lines of “What’s something that everyone says that hurts you deeper than anybody realizes?” and it really got to me.

The thread was filled with people lamenting the use of words like “retard” and “gay” or sayings like “that exam just raped me” or “I’m going to kill myself.” These are words and phrases that we really do hear all the time. Most people don’t mean it harmfully, but for anyone who can relate to these terms, it can deal a pretty strong blow.

I don’t think most of us mean to make others feel bad when we use these terms. We do it without thinking. What a stupid excuse though. I mean, when is it ever ok not to think? We’re all human beings blessed with (supposedly) higher capacities for thought. We should use them. So, this February, the month of love, I’m focusing on kindness by way of thinking before I speak. When it rains and my umbrella breaks, I will not say, “This is the worst day of my life!” I will say, “This is a total bummer.” When I make a dumb mistake, I will not say, “I’m going totally crazy.” I will say, “I must be tired.” It’s little things, and I know it sounds overly sensitive, but if being overly sensitive is the worst way I can be described, I’m ok with that.

“Be kind; For everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

 

Onwards. Friday afternoon, I drove to New Brunswick to help the Alpha Chis with the first night of recruitment.

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They were awesome! They put so much heart into decorating their house (Tea Party!) and preparing, and they met and spoke with 100 new women interesting in becoming a part of Greek Life. So cool. I know it might sound silly especially if you’re not really familiar with sororities, but honestly it teaches you so many great life skills. I was so much more prepared for post-college job interviews after years of recruitment. To this day, even with all my awkwardness, it’s incredibly rare that I can’t make conversation with anyone. Thanks Alpha Chi!

I mostly did behind-the-scenes stuff, and the girls continued to work hard all weekend. I’ll be back to help them out next weekend, and I can’t wait to meet our new members Sunday!

 

Saturday, Chris and I woke up slowly (which was lovely) then headed over to Debbie and Mike’s to visit their cats (our best friends 4lyfe) while they were at a wedding in Texas. Laser was happy to see us

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Libby not so much

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That’s actually her “We’re secret best friends, and I don’t want anyone else to know about it, so I’m pretending to be afraid of you” face. I know it because we’re best friends.

After visiting our buddies, we headed off to Queens to make pizza with Chris’ family! It was fun, and we tried like 89 different types of delicious pizza. I ate gluten! I had a blood test done that revealed that I don’t have Celiac Disease (thank God), and avoiding gluten is annoying and inconvenient, so I’m attempting to reintegrate it into my diet. I think I overdid it on Saturday, but it was cool and felt very badass (I have a boring life) to eat pizza without hesitation.

Sunday was the usual run, clean the apartment, cook some things and relax routine with some extra studying thrown in for good measure. I finished my reading materials for the exam while running 4 miles. It was excruciatingly boring, but it did the trick. Now, it’s just review, review, review for the next couple of weeks.

We watched the Super Bowl and cheered on the Ravens because we didn’t have an interest in either team but both went to school with Ray Rice (I met him!), so it was a good game for us. The commercials were pretty good too. I think my favorite was the “God made a farmer spot.” I cried like a baby and declared that I was quitting my job to become a farmer. It’s happening.

It’s going to be a crazy month. I knew it going in, but it’s already wearing me down a bit. I’m keeping my eyes on the prize. Jamaica in 20 days. Thank goodness. Happy February. I love you all.

2013 Goals

Happy New Year! As promised, I made a list of some 2013 goals. It’s a lot, and there are no pictures, so you can basically stop reading now. These are mostly for me because I think things written out, and it’s much easier for me to chart progress if I’ve got a baseline to refer back to, but, in case you’re interested, read on. I’ll skip ahead and give you the TL;DR version: My overarching goal for 2013 is to be really true to myself and honor my feelings. So crunchy granola, I know, but it’s the mantra I want in the back of my head all year round.

I like to organize my smaller goals into fields because I’m OCD like that and because it helps me focus and decide on goals that will help me become more well rounded. Some of these are serious and intense, and some are definitely silly, but it’s good to have a mix.

Physical:

  1. PR in the 5k
  2. beat 2012 half marathon times
  3. bike a century
  4. try to be more vegetarian
  5. try out full bangs

I like to be ambitious, but I don’t like setting myself up to fail. That’s self defeating and not what I’m about. I like the way I’ve been running, but it’s not conducive to PRing the half. It’s just not. My PR is from a time where I had little else in my life (good and bad) but running, so I devoted 100% focus to it. Now, I’ve got more on my plate, so I’m planning on beating last year’s time, and working hard to PR in the 5k. That feels more manageable.

On the other hand, biking a century sounds impossible at the moment, but you have to have at least one goal that totally scares you, right?

As for the vegetarianism, it might be a work in process. I was a vegetarian for a while. Then I sort of stopped  because it was inconvenient and I found myself feeling badly saying no at other people’s homes. Then I stopped eating gluten and started dating a meat eater, and it seemed impossible to avoid, but, and this sounds silly, this year taught me that I have to be myself. Truly.

I love animals, and I do want to lead a kinder life. Preparing and eating meat always makes me squeamish and a little sad. I was inspired by my amazing friend Debbie (inspirational friends are the best) who is a full fledged vegetarian and manages to never inconvenience anyone, and I thought, welp, it can be done! So, this is my long winded way of saying, I’m going to try and stay really true to myself in 2013, and a good place to start is cooking and eating the foods that I truly feel good about without worrying so much about what other people will think. That’s not to say that if a plate of lovingly prepared chicken is put in front of that I will say no, but I’ll only say yes, if that loving feeling (ooooh that loving feeling) outweighs my guilt.

Oh and the bangs thing? I just think that’d be fun!

Mental:

  1. read 15 books
  2. learn a new skill, preferably with my hands

I set a goal of 12 books last year, and knocked it out of the park. This isn’t really hard for me as I love to read, but I like ticking them off, and it gives me a goal I can feel pretty confident about. As for the skill, I feel like dexterity is one of my biggest weaknesses. I watch Chris play the guitar, bass, whatever all the time and am always so impressed at his skill. I’m not trying to learn guitar (that would require an ear for music, which I definitely do not have) but maybe knitting would be nice. I’m 100 years old. I know, but my boyfriend’s in a band! That counts, right? No? Ok.

Emotional/Spiritual:

  1. practice patience and kindness
  2. continue volunteering with Alpha Chi

The first goal is so vague, it might be hard to track, but I’ll record it as a pass only for the months where I can genuinely say I thought before speaking, gave others the benefit of the doubt, and approached everyone with gentleness and respect more often than not. Not so easy now, huh?

I’m signing on for another year with my Rutgers’ Alpha Chi Omegas, and I want this year to be great. Months where I meet this goal will be month’s where I felt I devoted the time to Alpha Chi that it needed. Months where I did the bare minimum or dropped the ball will be fails. I’m not trying to be extra hard on myself, I just think that applying myself is an awesome skill I need to work on.

Financial:

  1. fully fund my 3 months living expenses emergency savings account
  2. pay off my smallest student loan

I am so embarrassed that I don’t have a fully funded emergency account.  I will be 26 in 2013, and have been working full time since I was 22 1/2. Finally in 2012, I started contributing to my deferred compensation fund (sort of like a 401k for the public sector), and I only carry student loan debt (no credit card debt), but still, a 26 year old shouldn’t be in dire straits in the event of a rainy day. So, it’s going to require a little belt tightening on my part, but I’d really like to take advantage of the blessing of a steady paycheck and fully fund that sucker!!

I have about $27k of student loan debt remaining, and I realizing that makes me incredibly fortunate by many standards. Student loan debt is not harmful to your credit, so I’m not in a rush to pay it off. My other financial goals take precedent, but my smallest loan is only $2k, so I should be able to swing that this year.

I’m not sure how much I’ll detail these goals. I find it very helpful when I read blogs with detailed personal budgets, but I know some people are uncomfortable talking about finances. I have to see what feels natural and works, but I’ll try and share the ups and downs of my spending habits.

Professional:

  1. become a CIA

I’m so close I can taste this one. I’m one exam and one letter of recommendation away from being a Certified Internal Auditor. I know that no one cares about that, but I do. Truthfully, I should have gotten this done years ago, but I’ve been dragging my feet. My life is certainly not going to get any less complicated, so it’s now or never, and I choose now!

 

So, those are the goals. I’m granting myself permission to make additions/subtractions/adjustments at any point because a year is a long time.

 

What about you? How will you become stronger, smarter, kinder, richer (hah!) and more professional in 2013?