Category: career

Capricorn New Moon: self-development, self-compassion, & defining my purpose/vision

So the moon will be entering the Capricorn constellation today, and it is also the first new moon transition of 2021. I’m hopeful that things are going to slowly start mellowing out over the next few weeks/months. Joe Biden & Kamala Harris will be getting sworn in as the new president & vice-president of the United States in a week. Hopefully all the knuckle-draggers and ass-hats will just slide back under their rocks for another couple of years. Though, white supremacy is an issue that we have to address as a country, specifically heterosexual male white supremacy (not to say that Caucasian women aren’t part of the problem–but the boy’s club is a bigger piece of the pie).

So one of the long-term goals I have is to try to consistently set and post goals for each new/full moon every month. I know that I missed several throughout 2020, so I’m hoping to be more consistent this year in setting, posting, and actually working towards the goals.

So, back to the first full moon of the year, which is happening tonight (or possibly last night depending on where you are in the world). The moon is moving through the Capricorn constellation, and according to “Moonology: Working with the magic of lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland, there are several things that one can do during this time:

Plan for next year

Be ambitious with your plans for the next year (or few years)

Be kind (to both yourself and others)

Cede control (don’t micromanage or manipulate others)

Establish traditions (also working on your reputation–both personal and professional)

Then one should also look to see what zone/house the constellation is traveling through. You can base it off of your star/sun, rising, or moon sign. I usually do all of mine using my rising sign: Scorpio, though I could do it with my star/sun sign (Virgo), or even my moon sign (Pisces).

So the new moon in Capricorn is entering my third house, or my communication zone. This is a time to concentrate on communication, and spending time with siblings and friends. So there are several things that one can do during this time (again, taken from “Moonology”):

Take a public speaking course

Read the books you’ve got stacked up

Take a short trip

Hang out with your siblings

Study a foreign language

Really listen to others

Write those letters you’ve been putting off

So looking at the above lists there are few things that I can cross off, since we’re still in the middle of a pandemic (and it’s difficult to be around anyone who isn’t living in your house). Therefore, I probably won’t be spending too much time with my siblings (namely my older brother who is out in California)–though I am helping the younger one move back to town. Traveling is still out of the question (even a short trip), and any courses need to be virtual and already purchased (I’m trying to do a limited spending year).

So if I were to take ideas from the two lists and compile a short goal list for the Capricorn new moon they would include:

Work on developing my vision of where I would like to be in 3-5 years and what I wouldlike to be doing. In the same note, write out very specific goals/milestones that will help me achieve said vision.

Read (or finish) at least two non-fiction books that I have on my curated 2021 to-read list; and read at least three fiction books.

Finish at least one e-course from my curated 2021 to-be-completed e-course list

Work on getting better at self-compassion.

The vision will probably be the hardest goal to be working on–and one reason (at least for me), is that I enjoy learning and jumping from topic to topic. So while people might think that scientific writing is the best (and it is one of the careers I’m looking into)–I want to possibly do something that allows me to bridge STEM with the more interdisciplinary fields (such as humanities and social sciences), plus figuring out how to give back in a way that helps to improve the educational system of the United States.

So I will be using the words I chose for 2021 as guidance: growth, creativity, curiosity, happiness, and prosperity.

In addition, this month has already shown that I need to focus on ‘progress, not perfection’ and to quit reading the last chapter of my life and start writing the next one.

No Comments AstrologyBookscareerNew Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Reflecting on December’s Sagittarius New Moon Goals

So the moon will be entering the Capricorn constellation tomorrow, marking the first new moon of 2021. We’re entering week two of 2021–though it still feels like 2020 (mainly due to the fiasco last week of the attempted coup by right-wing nut-bags (all of whom I hope are arrested, found guilty of treason, and spend the rest of their miserable lives in prison)). So before I can look ahead to the Capricorn new moon, I need to look back at the goals that I set for the Sagittarius new moon, and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for the Sagittarius new moon included:

Developing a ‘fluid’ daily/weekly schedule to for getting things done.

Setting up a goal list for 2021 (working via the larger 150+goals in 2002 days post)

Starting to work through different e-courses (and taking notes for future blog posts)

Finally, setting up a dedicated work station, and a semi-dedicated meditation area in the bedroom.

So how did I do with each of them?

In terms of developing a ‘fluid’ daily/weekly schedule–I’m getting better at it. Basically, I’m trying to do things in a 90-minute chunk with a 20-minute break between the ‘work chunks’. Currently I’m finding I do better in the morning than the afternoon. While I’m fine with this (everyone has a time of day that they work the best during), I may actually try to possibly get some more creative work done, or possibly work through an e-course (but not have a timer set for 90 minutes like I do in the morning) in the afternoon. This may also be the time when I could probably get some uninterrupted meditation time in.

Setting up a goal list for 2021–I managed this one. I decided that this year I would try it in the form of a bingo card. In addition to the bingo card, I also have a curated list of non-fiction books I would like to read this year (from my extremely larger list I started a couple of years ago), and a curated list of e-courses I would also like to work through (again curated from the huge list I’ve accumulated over the past few years).

2021 Bingo Goal Card

Plus I decided that I would also do a workout bingo card, but stretch the time frame to be from 2021 through 2023.

2021 to 2023 Beachbody fitness program bingo card

I worked through the ‘e-course’ Listen to Your Body Method. Though this was more of a weekly coaching/personal development program where there was a group zoom meeting once a week for about 10 weeks. This course opened my eyes to several different things that I’m going to try to start practicing (channel switching, incorporating ‘right’ brain activities into my day, having ‘conversations’ with my inner critic, acknowledging my inner critic, and slowly stepping into my power). Again, as I mentioned above with the goals–I have a curated list of courses I would like to finish during 2021.

In terms of setting up a dedicated work station and semi-dedicated meditation area–well, I almost have the desk cleared off and I’m thinking of turning the other desk/table into where I do my oracle/tarot card readings at night. I’ve realized that I’m still allowing a few things to keep me from totally moving forward in setting up these areas: 1) I use the desk chair as a nightstand (for my glasses, kindle, and journal)–I can easily still use it for that, as I wear my glasses during the day and would just have to find a different spot to lay the kindle and journal during the day; 2) things are still under the desk, but since I don’t really like sitting forward (unless there is room to stretch out my legs), I need to figure out what to use as a possible foot stool, and 3) I need to have a discussion with both my inner critic and anxiety about whatever other issues that are holding me back that I may not recognize day-to-day.

Currently my workstation is bouncing between the table at the window and my bed (and yes, I know that I shouldn’t be working on the bed as I may have a hard time falling asleep at night), and the meditation/oracle card reading is being done on the floor where I currently have my meditation mat.

I’m heading into 2021 knowing that I’m slowly getting better at time and project management (though I would rank both as can-get-better-at). I’m slowly figuring things out, and realizing that the path I carve for myself moving forward doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s path. I know that focusing on time and project management will be key for moving forward both personally and professionally in 2021 and beyond.

Also, taking the time to sit and reflect/question when I realize I’m hitting a roadblock in either area. One of the key things I realized last year–I’ve spent way too much time over the years being a ‘people pleaser’/team player in my career. That isn’t to say that being a team player is bad–it isn’t, but I also need to stand up for myself and my career and learn to start saying no to things that don’t align or wouldn’t help me move my career forward.

I have decided that the following phrases are going to be stay with me in 2021: “Progress over Perfection”, “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one”, and “Not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make”..

In addition the words I’ve chosen for 2021 are: growth, creativity, curiosity, happiness, and prosperity

No Comments AstrologycareerNew Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Quickly gazing back at 2020, while planning for 2021

So 2020 is finally over (and I’m cautiously looking out the window at 2021), but it is also time to reflect back on the year (ups, downs, hills, and valleys). So my apologies if this seems to be a really rambling post–I’m covering the year, but there isn’t any particular order for my thoughts.

2020 managed to shake up the entire year by itself. Earlier in the year there was talk of a novel coronavirus that had popped up in China and was possibly making its way around the world. The first ‘identified’ cases in the US showed up in late January/early February (though now we know that the virus was actually here earlier); and now at the end of the year-the US had just under 20.5 million cases as of New Years Eve, and leads in total cases and number of deaths (I wish someone would explain to people–this isn’t a damn popularity contest; you actually want to be coming in last).

Vaccine development was pushed to the forefront as case numbers due to the virus continued to climb; currently there are two vaccines that have been granted emergency use (I also think that there are two or three more entering phase III clinical trials)–but I won’t be eligible for either of the them until late summer/early fall (with a three-to-four week wait period between the two shots). So needless to say–there was no travel this year, and probably won’t be any travel (at least international) probably until 2022 (at the earliest).

Though I’ve been self-isolating for the most part this year, I decided I would buy some face-masks for whenever I needed to go out and possibly be around people. So far those times have been walking at Boomer Lake this fall and winter (I figured fewer people out in the cold weather), I have the face-mask on, but pulled down and when I can’t keep at least six to eight feet between myself and the other person, I pull the mask up over my mouth and nose. I also have one that I wear when I need to go buy the weekend newspaper, plus several others that I can go between for any other errands I may need to run in 2021.

Both puppies that we adopted last year have settled in, grown, and are showing their unique personalities. Rolex seems to have developed an autoimmune disorder (Vitilgo), which is also an autoimmune disorder that humans can have. So now whenever she loses a little bit of fur-it will grow back in white instead of black. So at some point, she may start looking like a reverse Dalmatian (black with white spots), though she still has a pinkish jaw (the fur hasn’t totally grown back).

Rolex, our boxer-mix puppy, before her Vitilgo started acting up

Chaos has basically finished growing, though I think he still as a little more muscle mass to put on, and should top off somewhere between 55 and 65 pounds. He walks nicely on a leash for me, and listens to most commands (though to get him in–you do need to have a treat in your hand, he is a little devil in that regard). His only ‘health’ issue right now is dry/itchy skin that we’re treating with a combination of bendaryl, flaxseed, and anti-itch pills (which are a combo of various omega oils). Though we may be switching the food to see if that has anything to do with his issue.

Chaos snoozing on the bed.

Now once the weather starts to behave, I’ll be walking him more and possibly trying to walk him at Boomer Lake where we may see other people and animals–he grumbles a little at people he doesn’t know very well. When Arick is in town, Chaos grumbles at him every so often–though it may be due also to the fact that Arick was wearing dirty clothes that day and Chaos didn’t like the smell of them. But I do need to try and get him a little more social–mainly so I don’t get the lecture from the vet on his personality problems.

Looking back at what I had planned for 2020, I almost want to break down into tears–I had the idea of trying to focus on just a couple of areas, creating a monthly calendar to keep me on track, posting more on the blog, and just getting more stuff done in general. I also had plans for at least one mental health break trip and then a networking trip as well–needless to say, neither trip happened (and probably won’t happen for another year or so).

While I’m still slightly stuck in the weeds in terms of trying to figure out the next direction for my carer/job, I have realized a couple of things. 1) I know realize that once I feel like I’ve learned all there is to learn within the position, I start ‘coasting’ and have a hard time asking for more things to keep me engaged at work; 2) I really don’t work well with micro-managers and straight up-right upholders (if you don’t recognize the term–I suggest reading ‘Four Tendencies’ by Gretchen Rubin); 3) I do like working in a group setting where there is interaction between people (at least conversations every so often).

While trying to figure things out, I decided that I would retake the Clifton Strength Assessment to see if any of my strengths had changed since I first took it. The top four stayed in the exact same order (learner, intellection, input, and achiever), while the fifth one changed (deliberative to ideation; and when I averaged the two assessments, the fifth changed again to arranger, followed by deliberative. Ideation fell to number nine on the average).

This means that when looking for jobs/assignments/positions, I need to choose things that allow me to be learning (but I also need to have at least a small interest in the subject), dive as deeply as I want into the subject matter, change topics on a whim, work remotely, at an office, or both, and realize that I could be changing tones/subjects/ideas or whatever on a day to day (or even hour to hour) basis.

Earlier in the year (basically at the start of the pandemic) I had more of a drive to try to transition into an industry position and joined an accountability group to help make that happen. While, I haven’t transitioned yet–it did give me ideas on how to go about filling in my job search spreadsheet, which I will be starting a fresh one in the coming weeks for 2021. One issue that was brought up is that since things are probably going to be sticking remote for awhile (especially interviews), one should try to have a dedicated ethernet connection for virtual meetings. Currently, we don’t have one and probably won’t–I don’t want the headache of having to stretch a cord from my parents room (which is where the closest phone jack is) into my room–but this is also a problem to address at a later day in 2021.

Informational interviews probably won’t start happening until the earliest April, since 1) I still haven’t figured out the direction(s) I want to be focusing on in terms of job transition, and 2) I will still need to build rapport with people online before asking if they have time to answer a couple of questions either via email, a phone call, or a Skype/Zoom call.

Another area I was trying to focus on in 2020 was health and fitness. I managed to get serious about pushing play on working out in June. Up until then I had been trying different times of the day for working out and none of them really stuck, until I decided that I would workout in the morning after having breakfast. So, I made the decision on June 1st to push play in the morning (and so far the latest has been ~10AM), and I managed to finish three and a half programs (I still have probably another week or so of the Yoga Booty Ballet-Abs&Butt Series to finish) by the end of 2020.

The goal for 2021 is to complete a total of nine Beachbody workouts.

I also made the decision to step back from trying to do coaching via Beachbody. I had several reasons for this, and I will probably do a separate post on that during the first month or two of 2021.

I had made note at the end of 2019 that I was trying to focus on too many different things, and therefore would try to focus just on health/fitness, career transition (these were tied at number one), then personal/professional development (number two), and if possible crafts as number three. Needless to say–having multiple things actually helps me focus better, when I can switch between things if I start to get bored. My problem was actually needing to figure out how to prioritize the projects/topics and setting up a workable schedule/calendar. Though if I look at my reading list–I did manage to read eighteen non-fiction books in 2020, which is about the average of the past couple of years.

So to help with the prioritizing, setting up a schedule/calendar, I’m going to do the following:

Have a list of non-fiction books that I would like to read–instead of just saying that I will randomly pick one out of the three hundred that I still have to read. This way, the list is smaller and curated–almost guaranteed that I should be able to read at least twenty-five of them during 2021.

I also have a goal to read about forty to fifty fiction books as well during 2021–and I think that I have probably forty-five on pre-order already for the year. I’ve also decided that for the books that I still want to get in 2021, but haven’t been put up for pre-order yet–in order to buy one of them I will need to have read two non-fiction books and two to three fiction books and posted a review on them (blog and amazon) before buying another book.

I’m also going to have a list of forty to sixty different e-courses that I would like to work through for the year as well. These will include most of the advanced Cheeky Scientist programs and then a variety of other courses that I’ve bought from other sites. The goal is to continue working towards an industry transition, though now I’m thinking more remote/freelance/independent/consultant/contract type of work for a while (mainly due to the pandemic situation). As I work through various courses, I will be taking notes and posting updates on the the blog as to what I think of the courses and how taking it has benefited (either by being something I will continue working with or showing me that the topic isn’t for me).

In terms of crafts and hobbies–I’m hoping to get out more with the camera and work on my nature/landscape photography skills and maybe also some architecture/city photography as well. Photography was one of my saving graces during 2020–with sheltering in place I managed to get quite good at getting pictures of hummingbirds in motion at their feeder. I think my top three photography subjects were the ruby-throated hummingbird, the red-bellied woodpecker, and the downy woodpecker.

Hummingbird sitting in the pecan tree

I’m also going to sit down and teach myself cross-stitching and jewelry design, plus work on my drawing skills. I have a couple of books on jewelry design (and I’m sure I can find other articles and so forth on-line), e-courses on drawing, and I can probably look up an introduction video on YouTube for cross-stitching. One thing I’m having to remind myself of lately–that trying new hobbies doesn’t mean that I’m going to be dedicating my life to them.

I also got back into the habit of doing an evening oracle/tarot card reading. I decided that instead of taking a picture of every reading–I’d ‘sketch’ out the cards in my journal along with what I took away from each card. Then once I started doing a review on the oracle/tarot deck I would reference back to my journal for the layouts that I wanted to use as examples. I’m slowly working on those reviews–I find that even though they’re ‘creative’ writing, I put more thought into them than I do some of the other creative writing posts I do.

Another idea that I had bouncing around in my head during 2020 was to do a weekly recap of the various science news posts that I had read and shared on twitter or LinkedIn–needless to say the idea stayed in my head all year, but will hopefully be put into practice in 2021.

While 2020 was difficult year–December was a very trying month. There were a couple of deaths in the family (one due to the SARS-CoV2 virus, one to other health issues/surgery complications, and one to old age/health issues). Also it didn’t help hearing from an friend who is just getting over botulism poisoning that they are having to go through surgery due to possible cancer tumor on their salivary glands. Then to top off the month–a close friend and her entire family caught the SARS-CoV2 virus, but luckily they seem to have “recovered” from it. Luckily, we’ve been fortunate that no one in the immediate family has come into contact with anyone who has tested positive for the virus.

So while there was zero traveling during 2020, I did manage to get a few things accomplished–I got better with my camera and getting pictures of birds; I have several ideas of possible directions to go in terms of my career; I’ve done quite a bit of self-reflection (though there will be more of self-reflection in 2021 as you can never really be done with it), found quite a few more book series and new (to me) authors, and managed to stay safe and healthy in the midst of the SARS-CoV2 pandemic.

While traveling is still probably on hold for 2021 (damn you both pandemic and poor government response), I will be focusing on the things that make me happy–learning, reading, crafting, photography, meditating, tarot/oracle card readings, and spending time with my family and pets.

Hopefully 2021 will also be the year of making numerous new friends and having coffee/tea/water chats over Skype/zoom/phone/email. I’m going to slowly start trying to get out of my ‘shell’ but at the same time realize that the shell may be the best place to be at times.

The phrases for 2021 are now going to be: “Progress over Perfection”, “You can’t start start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last”, “Not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make”, and “evaluate the people in your life; then promote, demote, or terminate. You’re the CEO of your life.”

I’ve also decided that the words for 2021 are going to be: growth, curiosity, creativity, prosperity, and happiness.

No Comments careerfinancesfitnessHealthPandemic2020Personal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentRebootBreakReflectionsYear in Review

Reflections and planning for 2021: Cancer Full Moon Goals

So tonight is the last full moon of 2020–that means there will only be two days left in the year. This has been a very long year with everything that has happened, especially the SARS-CoV2 pandemic that we’re still in the middle of; while there have been two vaccines that have been granted emergency use–I’m not eligible for either of them until probably the summer time (I’m currently in tier four for OK in terms of need). Therefore I’m probably not going to be making any major plans for any type of traveling until maybe sometime in 2022 going towards 2023.

So the full moon tonight will be moving through the Cancer constellation. Looking within “Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland, there are several questions that one can reflect on during this time:

Have I been insecure, clingy, and no fun this month?

Have I been coming at what I want sideways instead of tackling it head-on?

Have I been sulky, moody, brooding, or manipulative?

Have I been secretive, and possibly even a tad paranoid?

Have I had enough family time, or time with people who feel like family?

Well, if I were to number the above questions 1-5, my answers this month would be as follow:

  1. I don’t think that I’ve been insecure or clingy this month. While I’m still not 100% certain of what I want to do with my life–I have several ideas, and need to fine-tune a plan/schedule to be able to devote enough time to each potential project. In terms of not ‘being fun’–we’re in the middle of a pandemic, and therefore there really isn’t anything to do, if one is listening to the health officials and staying home. Finding time for hobbies, in addition to the different ideas for my career are on the agenda–I’ve realized over the past year or so, I do have the tendency to be laser-focused on one thing to the determinate of other things (for example–laser-focused on career/job/school and ignoring health/fitness/hobbies).
  2. Yes, I probably have been going at what I want sideways instead of tackling it head-on. I think I found it a little easier to do it this way, since I’m not 100% certain of what it is I want to be doing.
  3. No, I have not been sulky, brooding, or manipulative. Yes, I’ve been a little moody–but hello, we’re entering the tenth month of this damn pandemic–everyone is getting a little moody.
  4. No, I have not been secretive or paranoid.
  5. Yes, I have been having enough family time (again–there is a pandemic and I’m self-isolating at home with my parents; and we’ve seen my younger brother twice since it started. We’ll probably be seeing more of him once he moves back into town). I would love to spend more time with friends, but again–pandemic, and it really isn’t safe to be getting together with people who aren’t in your immediate family/household.

In addition to the above questions, the full moon in Cancer is also entering my ninth house. The ninth house is the “Big Picture” zone. Basically this zone deals with all things in terms of personal growth, professional growth, travel, religion and philosophy, and so forth.

There are actually two questions you can ask yourself in terms of the above topics:

Have you been fussing too much over the details of your latest problems or tasks?

Is your life and mind expanding or narrowing?

If I were to number the above questions 1 and 2, my answers would be as follows:

  1. This is both a yes and no answer. Yes, I have been fussing too much over the details. I like lists, and I also like to basically have an outline (or at least rough draft) for various projects before starting things. This is more difficult to try to do when you’re thinking of switching directions career wise–especially, if you’re still uncertain about the direction. So instead of doing various things like networking, reading, listening to podcasts, and so forth I’ve been trying to make lists of skills, jobs, companies–but always second guessing and asking myself–“is this really the direction you want to be going”, and more often than not the answer comes back “I have no idea”. I don’t think I’m fussing over the tasks, but that is mainly because I’m not certain of what those tasks should be.
  2. I think that I’m slowly getting back into a learning mindset, and therefore I am slowly starting to expand both my life and mind again. I fell into a ‘closed’ mindset for awhile, more out of self-preservation since I didn’t know what I was wanting to do with my life. I now realize that instead of investigating things and asking questions, networking, reading and trying to figure things out (basically where I am now)–I narrowed my focus to just getting through the day/week to the weekend, and that isn’t the best way to live one’s life.

So the goals for this full moon period may look like a long list–but a couple of them are hopefully going to be checked off the list before the New Year (as they’re part of another goal series that I’ll share in another post).

The goals for the Cancer Full Moon include:

  1. Continue with my night tarot/oracle card reading and brief meditation.
  2. Update various goal posts (150+goals in 2002 day [next installment will be in Feb]; Level 10 life)
  3. Develop a fluid schedule/planner
  4. Make a list of books (mainly non-fiction) to read in 2021 and e-courses to finish in 2021
  5. Read at least one personal/professional development book from said list
  6. Finish one small e-course from said list
  7. Renew one professional membership

And as always the following quotes are going to be coming with me into 2021: “Progress over Perfection”, “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one”, and “Not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make”.

No Comments AstrologyBookscareerCraftsfitnessFull Moon GoalsHealthPandemic2020Personal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Time for reflection, planning, & goal setting: Sagittarius New Moon goals

So the moon will be entering the Sagittarius constellation today, and its last ‘new moon’ phase for 2020. That means there are 18 days left in December and 2020. Truthfully I’m more than ready for the month and the year to be over (but more on that in the month in review post).

So what are some of the things that one can do during the time of Sagittarius new moon?

Looking at the book “Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland, you can:

            Get away—travel.

            Study.

            Search for meaning.

            Laugh.

            Be grateful.

With the moon entering into Sagittarius, this is also my second house or the “cash, property, and values” zone.  Since the world is still in the grasp of the SARS-CoV2 pandemic, the holidays may not shape up the way they do normally for people (I’m actually hoping that people are smart and stay home and have very small gathering for the holidays—set up zoom meetings with family that live far away). I haven’t really been in the holiday spirit the past couple of years—at least not wanting to have a lot of gifts under the tree for myself.

There are several reasons: the main is that hopefully within a year or so I’m going to be moving and I don’t want to be adding any more boxes than what I’m already going to have to add to the ones in my storage unit.

As I’ve mentioned before in numerous posts—I’ve been thinking of working towards a minimalist lifestyle. Luckily the lifestyle can be tailored—as I know I will have quite a few tarot/oracle card decks (one thing that I am trying to limit—but at the same time I love), but will have very few books on the shelves. The books that will be on the shelves will mainly be school textbooks that will be serving as reference books for various posts/courses that I’m also thinking of developing in the future. Anyway, back to the second house—the cash, property, and value zone.

So some of the things that you can do during this time include (again, according to “Moonology: working with the magic of the lunar cycles”):

Start a savings account.

Pay your bills, taxes, debt, etc.

Hire an accountant, if it’s all too much.

Showcase your talents.

Get a neck and shoulder massage.

Invest in an expensive neck cream.

So if I look at the above two lists, there are some items that I can simply check off already—I have a savings account (though it has been used over the past year), and I’m paying my bills, and trying to get my debt down. I would love to travel—but again, we’re in the middle of a pandemic and the holidays. Even if it wasn’t the holidays—travel (especially plane travel) is on hold until I’m able to get the vaccine for the virus and that probably is going to be late summer/early fall 2021 at the earliest. Also—not getting a massage, because hello—pandemic and not wanting to be in close contact with strangers.

With the way the year has started and is ending—I am working on trying to develop a daily gratitude practice, where I write down at least one thing I’m grateful for daily; I’m also trying to find humor in the day (but again with the state of the world—this is a little difficult).

So if I were to make a small goal list for the Sagittarius new moon period, the goals would include:

  1. Develop a ‘fluid’ daily/weekly schedule for getting various things done.
  2. Setting up a goal list for 2021 (working via the larger 150+goals in 2002 days post)
  3. Starting to work through different e-courses (taking notes for future posts)
  4. Setting up a dedicated work station, and a semi-dedicated meditation area in the bedroom

And as always as I head into the last few weeks of December, I am going to remind myself to keep the following phrases/quotes front and center:

“Progress over Perfection”, “You can’t start the next chapter of your life, if you keep reading the last one”, and “Not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make”.

While 2020 did NOT go the way I was hoping—it is almost over, and here is to a hopefully joyous and prosperous 2021.

No Comments AstrologycareerfitnessHealthNew Moon Goalsno spend challengesPandemic2020Personal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Gemini Full Moon: Time to work on my time management & planning skills. More self-reflection wouldn’t hurt.

We will be entering the full moon for November probably tonight (and I’m going to be a day late in posting). This means that there are only 31 days left in 2020—one more month. Then we cautiously peek around the corner to see what 2021 is going to bring.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to give myself grace when it comes to trying to get a lot of stuff accomplished. The reasons for this are: 1) I currently not working under any type of schedule; 2) depending on how I try to structure the schedule I may (or may not) give myself an anxiety attack; and 3) I still am trying to determine what direction(s) I want to be pursuing. In regards to the last reason—I want to be semi-confident that I’m going in the direction I want before sitting down to do a lot of work. This means I need to figure out the minimum workload to do in order to give myself an idea on the direction.

So, with that being said—I’m hoping to get back into some type of posting schedule in 2021. It will include photography (probably restarting the photography challenge for like the 5th time), and then it may also include more science, spirituality, humanities, social science and so forth. I need to determine the best mix of things to both keep me engaged in creating content and learning.

Therefore getting back to the topic at hand: November’s Full Moon. After this full moon, there will only be one more new and full moon for 2020.  So what are some questions that one can contemplate during this time? Looking at “Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland, there are five questions that one can ask during this full moon:

            Have I been gossipy, superficial, or flighty this month?

            Have I been glossing over other people’s feelings?

            Have I been too quick to change my mind, or too restless?

            Have I been too much of a silver-tongued hustler?

            Have I done enough reading to keep expanding my mind?

If I were to number the above questions 1-5, my answers would be as follow:

  1. No I haven’t been gossipy, superficial, or flighty this month. With the pandemic still going strong, the only people I see on a daily basis are my parents; I talk with one friend usually weekly, and keep in touch with everyone else via social media. The only thing really in the news has been the pandemic and the fact that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the election earlier this month.
  2. No I don’t think I’ve been glossing over other people’s feelings. Again, not around that many people and I’m pretty sure my parents would let me know if I was being too irritating.
  3. This one is a little more difficult to answer—I don’t think I’ve been too quick to change my mind on things; but I also haven’t been quick on deciding on things either. So, I would have to say I’ve been a little restless in terms of career transition and other things.
  4. Nope, I haven’t been a silver-tongued hustler. I’m actually going to be stepping back from doing Beachbody coaching this coming month, as I’ve realized that currently that type of coaching isn’t what I want to be doing—and I also need to try to get my life in some order before trying to help others.
  5. This has both a yes and a no answer. Yes, in terms that I have quite a few books on my digital to-be-read pile and I’m slowly making my way through the list. It is also a no, in that there are days (and if I’m honest weeks) where I decide to either reread different romance series or I’m just doing color by number pictures instead of reading a personal/professional development book.

So I’m also going to see what house the moon will be transition through during this time. Using my rising sign (which is Scorpio), the Gemini constellation is moving through my eighth house—the focus of this house on “death and rebirth, reinvention and transformation”.

This makes sense as I’m still working through and figuring out my reinvention and transformation plan. This plan will focus on personal/professional development and encompass both career and personal health. The pandemic this year was the ‘death’ to quite a few plans (that luckily hadn’t been finalized yet, so I didn’t lose any money), and hopefully 2021 may be the ‘rebirth’ of some of those plans.

So this is the time to try to find balance between slowing down, rushing to learn things, being real with people, money, and determining one’s self worth.

Therefore my small goal list for the last month of 2020 (since the full moon showed up on Nov 30th) will include:          

            Read (or finish) at least two non-fiction books, and take (or highlight sections) notes in order to also post a book review on the blog (and possibly amazon as well).

            Continue to work on improving my evening/afternoon meditations.

            Get creative in figuring out an schedule/calendar for things. I’ve had ideas of doing everything from a ‘syllabus’ (treating different areas like they were ‘school subjects’) to making a to-be accomplished list. Needless to say neither has really stuck (though to be fair on the to-be accomplished list, the first draft was more of a brain dump). I may try to make a hybrid of the three—a brain dump, cleaned up into a to-be accomplished list, which can be formatted into one or more ‘syllabus’.

While reminding myself: “Progress over perfection”, “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one”; and “Not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make”.

Also just wanting to try to finish 2020 on a somewhat positive note.

No Comments AstrologycareerFull Moon GoalsLifestyle ChallengesPandemic2020Personal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

The Taurus Full Moon falls on Halloween–a Blue moon & goals

So the moon will be heading into it’s latest full moon phase today—Halloween. This should be a very interesting few days—it’s a full moon, Halloween, plus (at least in the US), we have to set our clocks back an hour before heading to bed—then the US presidential elections are a few days later.

This weekend besides the full moon and Halloween—I will also be spending time outside dealing with all the broken branches from the ice storm that we had this week (our poor maple tree is now about half the height it was last week). We will have a nice amount of wood to stack and use next year (since it does take about six months or so for the ‘green’ wood to age).

In terms of some self-reflection during this time, there are some questions one can ask themselves (taken from “Moonology: working with the magic of the lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland), and they are:

            Have I been lazy or overly self indulgent this month?

            Have I been too obsessed with money or status symbols?

            Have I been stubborn, jealous, or possessive?

            Have I been doing too much comfort eating?

            Have I done enough exercise?

If I were to number the above questions 1-5, my answers would be:

  1. I would say this depends on what one considers overly self-indulgent? I haven’t been lazy, but I will admit to probably buying a few too many e-books. I’m going to try to make it through November with minimal purchases.
  2. I’ve never really been one for status symbols. I may be currently thinking a little more about money—but that is just because I’m on the reboot break during a pandemic and I want to make sure that I don’t totally run through my savings.
  3. Any and everyone would tell you that I’m stubborn. I freely admit to being stubborn—I think it is the one thing that got me through grad school. I personally can’t think of anything (or anyone) that I’m currently jealous of (unless you count countries that are actually handling the SARS-CoV2 pandemic decently). There is currently nothing that I’m possessive over either.
  4. Yes, I probably have been doing a little too much comfort eating—it’s the Halloween season, which means candy, candy, and more candy. Also, chocolate seems to be one thing that is really helping me manage this damn pandemic.
  5. I currently only have about 2 weeks left on the LIIFT4 program (I’m doing it for a second time), and I already have the next year workout schedule planned. I’m using fitness as more of a marker than nutrition currently for judging how I’m doing with certain things.

Then I should also look to see what house it is passing through as well—and for me, Taurus passes through my seventh house—or my “love zone”. This is the time that we spend a little energy on other people, instead of making everything about ourselves.

For me, currently there are no romantic relationships (I’m still trying to get my life in some semblance of order), I’m not working, therefore that means focusing on other relationships—(family, and friends).

In terms of trying to spend time with friends—we’re still in the middle of a pandemic and therefore it isn’t safe to really get together with anyone outside of family. In terms of family—it isn’t safe to try to visit anyone who is living out of state—that means I’m usually just around my parents (and every-so-often my younger brother when he comes into town).

This is a weird year (we’ve been in the grasp of the pandemic since March and truthfully there really isn’t an end in site), and I acknowledge that I’m doing the best that I can—even if it looks like I’m moving backwards in some areas.

So if I were to pick a couple of things to work on during the Taurus full moon period they would be:

            Finish up LIIFT4/YBB and then start 10 Rounds/YBB

            Start trying to dial in my nutrition a little (try to eat a few more fruits/veggies and a little less candy)

            Continue working on my life handbook

            Start being a little more active online (commenting, liking, posting) in various groups on Facebook and LinkedIn

            Meditating nightly–and hopefully for more than just a minute or two.

While reminding myself: ‘Progress over Perfection’; ‘You can’t start the next chapter of your life, if you keep re-reading the last one’ and ‘Not caring what others people think is the best choice you will ever make’

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Looking back at the goals for the Aries full moon

So the moon will be entering its second full moon stage on Saturday—which is also Halloween. So, hopefully the temperatures will be nice, and after doing quite a bit of yard work throughout the day—I will sit outside in the backyard with the dogs for a while basking under the light of the moon. But before one can start looking towards the next full moon, one should reflect on the goals that they had set for the previous one.

Therefore, I need to look at the goals that I set for the Aries full moon and see how I did with each of them.

The goals that I had set for the Aries full moon included:

            Review, edit, and reassemble my 150+ goals to accomplish in 2002 days. I know that there are some things that I can probably remove from the list—I won’t be changing the time period, I will just be changing out goals—seeing what has been accomplished, what needs to go, and possibly what can be added.

            Figure out what other ‘notes’ to post around the computer to help in time management. I’ve currently been telling myself when I can check my email and get on social media—it is slowly helping in managing my time.

            Continue with personal/professional development. This will include working through e-courses, reading, and journaling (especially taking prompts from different books and/or e-courses).

            Draft a ‘master plan’ that includes the blog, the transition (remote, freelance, contract), personal/professional development, hobbies, and life in general.

So how did I do with each of them?

In terms of the 150+ goal list—I did remove one goal (totally finishing the dream job hack program), I also removed the ‘number of days’ that I was going to be pushing play in terms of working out.

I removed the number of days and instead just stated that I was planning on trying to complete each of the following programs at least once.

I also then updated the rest in terms of how I was doing with each area—some I haven’t done much in, others I’ve done a bit more in. I’ve also decided that I would probably look at the list every 100 days or so and decide if the goals were still working or if I need to remove/add any goals.

In terms of the ‘notes’—the first two only lasted about a week and a half. I’m thinking of actually trying to find the programs to block access to various sites (or at least remove the bookmarks for certain sites). I’m getting a little better at time management, but not to the standard I really need to be at, especially if I’m thinking of starting up a freelance/consulting/remote/contract work.

I managed to get a couple of books read during the month, and slowly started working through another e-course (I’m about halfway through the medical writers organization). This is something that will always be on the list of things to accomplish—personal and professional development should be a never ending path that we travel on.

Still working on the ‘master plan’ for my life. Even though I have some ideas, I usually break out in an anxiety attack when I start writing them down as goals (since I haven’t though of how to break them down in to smaller goals). Now I’m just going to refer to things as going on my ‘to-be-accomplished’ list instead of a to-do list. The first has a much more positive spin on things.

So progress is being made—in terms of ideas of the direction(s) I would like to go with my career (just need to work on various courses along with two very important transferable skills—time and project management. I’m reading more (though at times it is more fiction, than non-fiction—but I’m working on trying to balance that out).

I realize that no matter how next week turns out—I’m in the driver seat of my career and life and therefore I need to determine the best direction(s) for me (and the pets) to be going in.

The following quotes are one of the things I keep coming back to as I work through various things: Progress over Perfection; You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one; and not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make.

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Check-in on the 150+ goal challenge. 100 days in, & only 1902 days left.

So I’m 100 days into this challenge, and there are sixty-six days left in 2020. We’re also just about a week away from the presidential election as well (fingers crossed it goes the way I’m hoping).

I decided a couple of weeks ago, that I should probably look at the list again, and see if there were any goals that I wanted to remove (for whatever reason), and possibly any goals I wanted to add—but also to see where I was in terms of the different goals.

There is still the pandemic going on—which means that the travel plans are still on hold, and I’m still sheltering in place. I will probably continue to shelter in place at least until March of 2021 (when hopefully a possible vaccine is available). I’m still working on trying to figure out what my ‘new normal’ is going to be looking like.

As I stated in a previous post, I’m also thinking of replacing the list on the odds and end bucket list with this list—so that change may be occurring soon as well.

So how are things progressing?

Professional development and career:  On-going

            1. Transition into an industry position (probably remote/online or freelancing at this point to start); there will be several posts on this goal

            2. Learn a programming language (python or R—ties in with #6)—going to go with python to begin with.

            3. Finish various e-courses that I’ve bought, but in particular:

                        4. Dream Job Hack Removed, currently going through the modules but trying to tailor to my needs (program is best for those wanting to get into high level manager type roles—not the greatest for someone switching from research to industry and who also hasn’t been in a manager type role).

                        5. Medical Writers Organization

                        6. Data Scientist Syndicate—Finished September 3rd 2020

                        7. Project Management Consortium

                        8. Management Consulting Firm

                        9. All other courses—see additional lists in the journal.

            10. More interacting on Linkedin—Hard to score these, I’m doing the best with #11; though I have started doing my own posts—mainly photographs and quotes; need to start working more on the other 2 (especially the giving/asking for recommendations).

                        11. Sharing articles from various biotech pages, and other science pages

                        12. Commenting on posts

                        13. Giving/Asking for recommendations

                        14. Start writing my own posts

            15. Creating monthly/weekly/daily calendars for above goals—trying to get better at the editorial or to-do-list calendars.

            16. Renew professional memberships—Need to pick just one or two currently to renew; can’t do all at once.

Both Personal and Professional Development—still working on all of these

            17. Become fluent in Spanish

            18. Become fluent in German

            19. Become proficient in French, Norwegian, or Swedish

20. Read at least 300 personal/professional development books; this will include books from my previous attempts at 1001-day challenges as well. I have over 300 books on the list, and I would like to get through at least 100 of them before I keep adding to the list.

            21. Finish the books on scientific writing

            22. Start building up a portfolio of work (writing/data analysis/plus other ideas)

            23. Develop a daily writing habit (tied with several goals below)

            24. Write a letter to my future self

Personal development and hobbies—started a few, but need to also start in on others as well

            25. Paint and frame at least one original painting

            26. More photographyHave been doing this; started a new challenge (though I haven’t been totally consistent with daily postings) and updating/adding pages

                        27. 365-Day Challenge (aim for 365 different pictures)

                        28. Update photography pages on blog

            29. Make my own jewelry

            30. Learn to cross-stitch

            31. Get a new sewing machine—On hold; seems getting a sewing machine there is a 50/50 risk that the machine will have problems winding the bobbin

                        32. Make a new quilt (or this may wait until I move)

                        33. Make a set of drapes for the bedroom (for backdrop for any zoom calls)

            34. Start a new afghan (write a post on finishing the other)—need to figure out how to patch the other afghans

            35. Show case crafts on blog (possibly a weekly update?)

            36. Start writing a book

            37. Learn Photoshop

            38. Write in journal daily (answer questions/prompts from journaling books and free thought)

            39. Create my own coffee-table photography book

            40. Learn basic sign language

            41. Start a virtual book club

Finances—still working on these, since I’m taking time off there isn’t a steady paycheck coming in yet.

            42. Create monthly budgets—currently this is just paying off the bills.

            43. Credit card debts down and hopefully paid off monthly—some are high, but that is due to buying a couple of personal/professional development courses that were rather expensive.

            44. Declutter the house (way of earning extra cash)

            45. Savings account up another 20K (hopefully)—this will be tied in with #44, #46, and any other ways of trying to earn a little extra cash.

            46. Talk with financial person about short-term investment possibilities

            47. Continue doing the small surveys as a way of earning a little extra cash

            48. Finish the various financial e-courses, and decide when/how to start investing

Fitness & Health—On going

            49. Get into the best shape of my life

            50. Multivitamin and supplements daily

            51. Manage to make it through the following Beachbody workouts

                                    52. Morning Meltdown 100 (will probably do this 2-3 times, as I’m currently doing this program right now—07/19/2020)—Finished my first round on 9/15/2020

                                    53. Yoga Booty Ballet—Abs & Butt (should be done mid-Nov)

                                    54. 10 Rounds—Will be starting this mid-Nov & done by Christmas.

                                    55. Barre Blend

                                    56. Insanity Max 30

                                    57. LIIFT4 (have already done this program once); 2nd round will be done mid-Nov (combined this with Yoga Booty Ballet—Abs & Butt)

                                    58. 22-Minute Hard Corps

                                    59. T20

                                    60. Insanity

                                    61. Insanity: Asylum 1

                                    62. Insanity: Asylum 2

                                    63. 4 weeks of Prep

                                    64. 6 weeks of the work

                                    65. T25 (have already done this program once)

                                    66. Brazil Butt Lift

                                    67. 21-Day Fix (Already done this program once)

                                    68. 21-Day Fix Extreme (Already done this program once)

                                    69. Country Heat (already done this program once)

                                    70. CIZE

                                    71. Muscle Burns Fat

                                    72. Muscle Burns Fat Advanced

                                    73. 30-Day Breakaway (this is a maybe—it’s running based)

                                    74. 9-week control freak

                                    75. Shawn Week

                                    76. 80-Day Obsession

                                    77. Brazil Butt Lift: Carnivale

                                    78. Shift Shop: Proving Grounds

                                    79. P90

            Plus any other possible Beachbody program that is coming out that I may want to add.

            80. Manage 5 push-ups on my toes

            81. Manage 10 push-ups on my toes

            82.  Hold a two-minute forearm plank

            83.  Hold a 90 second plank

            84.  Meditate nightly

            85.  Start jogging (as another way to try to keep my mental health up)—may tie this in with #73

            86.  60-80 oz of water a day

            87.  Stretch daily

            88. Go one weekend a month with no social media (no scrolling through social media pages; may still post on the sites)

            89. Get at least 10,010,000 steps (breaks down to 5K/day)—on my way; I’ve managed to hit all month goals (and surpass slightly).

Blog and Social Media–Ongoing

            90.  Finish YouTube for bosses course

            91.  Finish YouTube course creation for bosses course

            92.  Finish blog to biz course

            93.  Launch a YouTube channel

            94. Launch an online course

            95. Get blog traffic to 500+ views a day

            96. Rebrand myself (?)

            97. Get Instagram followers to constant 800+

            98. Get pintrest followers to constant 400+

            99. Get twitter followers to constant 1000+

            100. Publish at least two blog series

            101.  Editorial calendars (monthly/weekly/daily)

                        102. Blog

                        103. Instagram

                        104. Facebook pages

                        105. Twitter

                        106. Pintrest

            107. Get Fit with Jessi to 1000+ likes/follows

            108. Get becomingJessi (or new name if I change) to 1000+ likes/follows

            109. Various top 10 author lists

            110. Various top 10 book series lists

            111. Launch a podcast

Spirituality–Ongoing

            112. Full/New Moon Goals

            113. Create my own altar (wicca/pagan)

            114. Weekly (or daily) tarot/oracle card readings

            115. 15 minutes outdoors in the morning (coffee only) weather permitting; probably on hold now until spring—fall/winter mornings are usually somewhere between the 30s and 50s (if it’s closer to the higher end—maybe).

Others–ongoing

            116. Keep at least 3 plants alive

            117. Design a science based board game

            118. Create and update digital vision board

            119. Reorganize my storage unit

            120. Put in at least one flower garden around the house (backyard, and/or front yard)

            121. Help put up partial privacy fence in backyard

            122. Start downsizing clothes and creating different “minimum” wardrobes (work/professional/casual; home/casual/working out)

            123. Develop at least 10 different 100-day challenges

                        One challenge will be 100 days of iPhone Photography.

            124. Start downsizing rest of my things./ as well—would like to probably be able to live comfortably in a smallish size apartment (or house) wherever I move for the next job.

TV shows to binge watch—Haven’t felt like sitting and watching anything lately

            125. Hawaii 5-0 (latest remake)

            126. Grimm

            127. The Librarians

            128. Once Upon A Time

            129. Blacklist

            130. Numbers

            131. Agents of SHIELD

Goals on hold due to the global coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) outbreak (either because they require traveling, going into a large store, and/or being around large groups of people):

            132. Re-pierce my ears

133. Go to at least 1 scientific conference

                        134. Present at a scientific conference

            135. Go to at least 2 professional networking events

            136. Move to a new (or maybe not new) city for job

            137. Visit at least 3 new countries

            138. Visit at least one new national and/or state park

            139. Visit at least one new national and/or state monument

            140. Visit at least one new zoo

            141. Visit at least one new aquarium

            142. Fly out and/or land at 3 new (to me) airports

            143. Visit at least one new city

            144. Visit at least one new state

            145. See the northern lights

            146. Attend at least one blogging conference

            147. Attend at least one author-reader conference

            148. Swim with whale sharks

            149. Parasailing

            150. Run a 5K (connects back to goals #73 & #85)

Once I move:

            151. Get fabric and foam and make new cushions for chairs

            152. New couch & chair for living room

            153. New dresser for bedroom

            154. New mattress & box spring for bed and/or a new bed set

            155. New TV & stand

            156. New desk/craft workstation

So in terms of the goals:

So I’ve removed one goal (finish the Dream Job Hack program), though I’m still going to work through a little that I think is relevant to what I need to be doing. I did find the program helpful, but it is geared more towards people who have been (or are in) management type positions—while I would like to get there, I know that I probably need to start a step or two below.

I’m making some headway with others—I’ve finished the data science syndicate program from the Cheeky Scientist Association (will be writing a post on late shortly), and am looking forward to trying to learn python and then start building a data science portfolio.

I’m working my way through the medical writers organization (another advanced Cheeky Scientist program), and am hoping to have that finished by mid-November, and again start working on building up a writing portfolio.

Currently I’m thinking of going in the freelance/online/remote direction for work (namely because of the pandemic and not really wanting to figure out the whole headache of trying to move two animals, all of my stuff, and myself to a different state currently). So in that case, I’m also thinking of possibly rebranding the blog (I have a couple of different names bouncing around, a decision will be made probably early next year sometime).

I’m still working on developing an editorial calendar/to-be accomplished list hybrid that works for me. I’ve realized that I swing between two extremes: I get over-ambitious and try to cram way to stuff in everyday, or I don’t get anything really accomplished.

I’m trying to work on that by possibly going to larger bullet journals that I can paperclip in my to-be-accomplished lists (which would then be discarded once everything as accomplished) instead of having to write out the lists constantly.

I’m also working on a schedule that will let me bounce back and forth between different things. I just finished reading “ 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 will be posting a review on the book soon (hopefully this week)—but it was nice to see that I’m not the only one who has felt drawn in different directions and not having a clue how to handle things. I was pleased to find that I’m a mixed-style multipotentialite—someone who goes between having quite a few different projects going on at once to only having one or two projects going on at once.

So that has definitely been a major breakthrough during the last few weeks—now it is a matter of me fully embracing that aspect of myself and figuring how the best ways of working that way—without triggering massive anxiety attacks (stay tuned).

I also removed the “number” of workouts from my fitness goals—the main reason I was starting to get tired. Everyone needs a rest day, and I’ve shown myself that I can still push play on Monday morning even if I take the weekend off (as told by the workout schedule).

So I am slowly making progress on the first ~124 (or I guess 123) goals; the last twenty-odd goals still require the pandemic to be brought under control and for me then to be willing to slowly start leaving the house and going to places that will actually have other people present as well.

No Comments 101 GoalsBookscareerCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesodds and endsPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentRebootBreakReflectionsspiritualitytarot cardstravelUpdates

Photography Challenge Day 13: Ruby-throated hummingbird

So the winner of today’s photography challenge is the ruby-throated hummingbird.

I’ve always been intrigued by hummingbirds—they’re small, quick, and they beat their wings constantly.

Lately, I’ve also been trying to remember that when I was younger I felt a little like a hummingbird.

In that I could dive into a subject, immerse myself, learns as much as I could and then move on.

Ruby-throated hummingbird at the rose-of-Sharon

I did this for class projects: there was the paper over the Culture of India (and I covered everything from architecture to music to philosophy), to diving into the history of Peru (though I don’t think I ever wrote a paper over this—so that may be something to go back to) and medieval England.

I’ve always been fascinated with birds—I have quite a few bird encyclopedias in my storage unit, plus numerous articles that I had clipped out of the papers as I was growing up to make a scrap book on them.

So what does fascination with birds, culture and history of other countries, and everything else have to do with hummingbirds?

Ruby-throated hummingbird at another rose-of-Sharon

When I had taken the Clifton Strength Assessment test back in both 2017 and 2019, my top strength was learner.

This trait fits people who have a love of learning (though they have to be drawn to the topic), love digging into new things, love researching topics and ideas and gathering information.

These individual have been likened to hummingbirds in that they will deeply investigate on subject before moving on to another—similarly how hummingbirds will investigate flowers for their nectar before going to the next flower.

Until I took the test and saw the top strength as learner—I had almost forgotten how much I enjoyed learning, reading, investigating, and putting the information together in some format.

Getting my undergraduate degrees took awhile—because I was ‘bouncing’ between ‘flowers’ (aka different subjects)—but I did manage to get my two degrees and minor (though now looking back, I should have taken that last six hours of sociology to get that minor as well).

Graduate school, allowed me to dive deeply into a subject that was still fairly new and I was learning different techniques and systems. The first postdoc was where the love of learning started to dwindle—while the topic was slightly different from grad school—what I was being taught really wasn’t, and therefore I got bored (only realizing now, exactly why I was getting bored so early—if I had realized it then, things might have gone differently had I asked for either another project or figured out a way to strike up a collaboration with another lab).

The second postdoc allowed me to dive into another system and I learned quite a bit—though I didn’t like being told to read up on other things in my spare time. I learned in both staff positions—more so in the first (only because I was working with undergrads in several different labs on several different projects) than the second. It has taken about ten months of self-reflection to realize that one of the problems that I had with the last position—I was bored; while I had been told I could ‘collaborate’ with other labs on projects, the only labs I could think of would have required me doing experiments and those aren’t something that you can schedule to only take 1 to 2 hours a day.

As I now move forward—I have to remember that I’m like a hummingbird, where there needs to be ample ‘flowers’ around for me to sample; I may hang around one or two longer than others, but at least I won’t get bored.

This is something that I will keep in the forefront as I start looking towards either my industry transition or freelancing/working for myself–I need variety to keep busy–so for me (at least mentally) it is better to be both a jack-of-all-trades and a ‘specialist’.

Have you taken the Clifton Strength Assessment Test? What was your top strength?

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