So we’ve made it through the first quarter of 2021–three months down, and nine to go. While non-essential trvel (bacially anything other than work) is still semi-frowned upon hopefully by mid to late 2022, it will be allowed again. While numbers are still going up worldwide, hopefully between the various vaccine that are available the pandemic is starting to come under sometype of control.

I have a feeling that basically every year now there will be several ‘WTF’ moments scattered throughout the year. Though so far in 2021–we’ve had at least one WTF moment a month:

January & February saw issues with both the supporters of the orange blob and orange blob himself (for more see the post February in review), and winter weather. March then saw a cargo tanker get stuck in the Suez Canal for almost a week before it was unstuck and traffic started moving again. I loved the one meme that basically stated that you weren’t really having bad week unless your problem was visible from the international space station.

In terms of when I’ll be eligible for the vaccine–the state has opened up Phase 4 (which is my phase)-so all I really need to do now is call one of the local pharmacies and find out what the times are for the shot(s) and go get mine. So that means I should hopefully be ‘protected’ by summertime. Though I will still be social distancing and possibly self-isolating still as well.

I like the fact that we have a new administration that actually listens to science–we’re slowly starting to get the virus under control. When I published ‘February in Review’, I noted that the US was at a little over 29.2 million cases, and as of last night the US is at a little over 31.1 million cases (an increase of less than 2 million–and I’ve forgotten when the monthly increase was that low). Hopefully it is due to people getting the vaccine and listening to the experts. Though spring break was two weeks ago–so we will have to see if there is any upswing in cases during the early part of April.

So before I look ahead to April (with the plans of trying to become slightly more productive), I should look at the gaosl I set for March and see how I did with each of them.

Goals for March included:

Getting somewhere between 135-155,000 steps

Finishing up Barre Blend

Reading (or finishing) 2 non-fiction books

Reading 3 fiction books

Finishing up the assignments for the MWO & finishing the Clinical research coalition and Regulatory affairs council programs

No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month

Time outdoors and meditation/sitting quietly

Daily craft time (more emphasis on cross-stitching and jewelry design)

Finish at least two other e-courses

So how did I do with each one?

Getting somewhere between 135-155,000 steps. I manage to hit and surpass the step goal for March. With teh weather warming up and getting outside more–I managed to get 197,430 steps for the month. I had been able to do two walks at Boomer (a full ~5 mile walk and a shorter ~1.5 mile walk), plus walk Chaos through the neighborhood a couple of times.

Finish Barre Blend–well I managed to do the first four weeks of the program, and then switched and did CIZE and/or yard work/walking for my exercise regime for March. I switched the programs mainly because I’m not a barre fan. Being bowlegged/knock-knee didn’t help and the ‘modifier’ was still a professional dancer–so I felt like it wasn’t really a ‘modifier’–she was just someone who is doing the workouts low impact.

I am going to finish up the last four weeks of the program throughout the year–possibly a week at a time between other programs.

Doing CIZE has been fun–I still have two left feet and have to go slower and modify more than I would like to currently (there are certain moves that I just don’t feel like I can do them ‘on beat’)–but I’ve managed to try five of the six workouts (routine six will be tried next week), but currently I actually prefer the second and third one over the others (though how I feel on #6 is still up in the air until after next week).

Read (or finish) 2 non-fiction books

I managed to finish the following: ‘The Renaissance Soul: How to make your passions your life: A creative and practical guide’ by Margaret Lobensteine

I’m also halfway through the following: ‘You Turn: Get Unstuck, Discover Your Direction, and Design Your Dream Career’ by Ashley Stahl

I’m working on a post that incorporates an exercise from The Renaissance Soul, so I will also be posting it as a partial book review, along with it also being a partial book review for ‘How to be everything: A guide for those who (still) don’t know what they want to be when they grow up’ by Emilie Wapnick. I finished that book back in October last year.

Since I’m only halfway through ‘You Turn’–I’m about a half a book behind ‘schedule’ for the year. I’ve managed to read 5 non-ficition books so far–I’m a sixth of the way to my goal of 30 non-fiction books by the end of the year.

Read 3 fiction books

I read the following books during March:

Billionaire Unexpected–Jax (Billionaire Obsessions #16) by J.S. Scott

This is the 16th (though technically 17th book since there was a novella released within the ‘Washington Billionaires’ arch) billionaire obsession book. This series focuses on ‘ultra-rich’ billionaires and the trials and tribulations of being able to find someone who will love them for them and not their money. While every book is a stand-alone book, they’re ‘grouped’ into mini-series that usually introduces the next ‘mini-series’ (usually within the last book of that ‘mini-series’), and I would suggest reading them (at least each ‘group’ ) in order to have all the backstory for each character. Jax is the second in the ‘California’ group following his older brother’s book: Billionaire Undercover: Hudson, which had come out back in July of 2020.

Loving Arms (Slick Rock #30) and Wild & Reckless (Slick Rock #31) by Becca Van

I have the entire series and have been slowly re-reading the last 15 books since I decided to pre-order #32 which is out on April 2nd. This series (and all series by the author) are at the ‘hotter’ edge of romance (they’re menages), in addition to fact taht the heroines are all dealing with some contemporary social issue–so if you’re not into reading menages and don’t like dealing with various topics-then these books aren’t for you. While I would like to see a book where the female lead isn’t dealing with societal crap, I do like how she has numerous shoulders to lean on within the book and series. I read romance mainly to escape reality and transport myself somewhere where there is still a decent amount of good in the world–not saying that there isn’t good in the world, but with the way the world is going and the news–I’ll take my escapism every day thank you.

Exception to the Rule (Beautifully Imperfect #7) by Becca Van

Another contemporary series by Becca Van–again similar background to her Slick Rock series, so again–if you’re just into sweet and rosy romance series, again not for you.

There was also a sale on free e-books mid-month and I bought/downloaded probably another 30-40 books, so I will have pently to chose from during those weeks when I don’t have a new book to look forward to.

Finish up the MWO assignments and the Clinical Research Coalition & Regulatory Affair Council programs

I’m also through the third module for the clinical research coalition program. There are another eight videos left in this module (which is all about job search strategy) and then the fourth module (which has five videos about job trajectory) to finish. While I find the field to be interesting-if I decide to go this way, I think I will be focusing on the clinical research scientist side (the one that writes the protocols and does the analysis of the data collected in the study) instead of the clinical research associate side (which is the side that oversees the clinical trials–too much traveling for this girl).

I didn’t make any headway into the regulatory affairs council program this month (I’m still somewhere within module 1) and I ididn’t try to power through the writing/editing tests for the MWO.

No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month

I’ve been pretty good at this challenge (and will have a more detailed breakdown on it in the monthly update on this challenge).

Time outdoors & meditation/sitting quietly

For the most part I’ve been able to spend a little more time outside in March than I did in January or February, since the temperatures are warming up. The issue now will be to make sure that I’m not spending so much time outside that I neglect doing what I need to do on the computer.

I’ve been doing better at evening meditations, as I think I only skipped one night last month.

Daily craft time–so I’ve done ‘crafts’ daily (if one counts being obsessed with the color by number app on the kindle), but other than that or the few days of photography–I haven’t expanded my ‘crafts’ niche yet.

Finish at least two other e-courses

Since I’ve been thinking more and more of going freelance/independent in terms of the next career stage I decided that I should start figuring out my ‘personal/professional’ brand and brushing up on digital marketing.

Therefore I watch the following ‘short’ courses on Skill Share (each were less than a half-hour):

Personal Branding: Your Copywriting Secret Sauce by Bonnie Summerfeldt

Create a Simple Digital Marketing Plan by Tamara Budz

Both were good short courses, and of course left me with more questions than answers (plus an assignment or two to work through).

I’m also starting to refresh my Spanish with the website Mondly as well. I’m happy that I remembered that I bought a premium subscription to the site and have the choice of numerous languages to learn. I’m starting off by refreshing my fluency in Spanish, and then will refresh my fluency in German, and then move on to another language).

Since it is April already the goals for the month will include:

At least 130-150,000 steps

Getting a new pedometer; my fitbit zip is currently acting up and since I can’t find a decently priced replacement–I’ll be going with a different brand of pedometer (hopefully getting the new one on Saturday–so steps may be off for the first two or three days of the month

Finish up CIZE and move on to 21-Day Fix Live

Read (or finish) 3 non-fiction books (plus hopefully post book reviews within 2-3 days of finishing)

Read 3 fiction books (again post book reviews within 2-3 days of finishing)

Finish up the Clinical Research Coalition program, work on the writing/editing assignments for the Medical Writers Organization, and work through at least the first module of the Regulatory Affairs Council (bonus if I finish all threethis month)

No spend days/No spend weeks/Limited Spending Month

Time outdoors & mediation/sitting quietly

Craft time (more photography and designing/creating at least 1 necklace/bracelet set)

Finish (or start) at least two other e-courses

Manage at least 30-45 minutes a day on Spanish

While I didn’t hit all goals 100% (especially reading non-fiction and working through professional development courses), I’ve realized that part of the problem is that I’m afraid if I decide to go that ‘direction’ in terms of my career I may end up bored before too long, and unable to articulate the reason to managers/supervisors and end up either being dissatisfied with my work or possibly fired.

But now that I know what part of my issues are–I should be able to recognize the signs and be able to prevent boredom from either totally occurring or getting too out of hand (because lets face it–all jobs are going to be slightly boring at some point).

I’ve figured that the best way to deal with this issue is to create personal/professional development plan for the next few years–I’m going to tailor it towards freelance/remote/contract/consulting/blogging and actually try to reach out for help in a few areas (something that I’ve been slightly petrified of doing lately–not admitting that I need help, but trying to figure out who would be the best to ask for help from–aka trying to find mentors).

Currently I’m reminding myself of the following: “Progress over Perfection”, and “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one”. In addition to keeping the following words at the forefront: growth, creativity, curiosity, happiness, and prosperity.

How did your first quarter go?