Category: Health

Aries New Moon Goals

So I’m a couple of days late with posting my goals for the Aries new moon. This is in part to the craziness that we’re dealing with now (the novel coronavirus pandemic; where the total numbers in the US have topped 100K), and as I’ve told several people—my two goals are to 1) not catch the virus; and 2) get through the insanity with my sanity intact. That said—posts are probably going to be sporadic again for the next couple of months.

So the moon moved through the Aries constellation earlier this week, and with it started a new astrological calendar (as Aries is the first zodiac sign)—therefore in a way we can try to start things over again, or start anew depending on your views.

So what are some things that one can work on during the Aries new moon (and actually in general since a good portion of the world is still under quarantine)?

Those things include:

            Taking action on dreams and plans.

            Make a 12-month plan

            Be courageous in moving towards achieving your goals.

            Have some fun

            Focus on you

Then if one looks to see what house Aries is passing through—for me it’s passing through my 6th house or my daily work and health zone. So for me that means I actually should sit down and try to develop a daily schedule that will allow me to focus on both aspects of my life currently: fitness/health and personal/professional development (and job searching).

So what are some of the things that one can do during this time to improve things in their sixth house?

            Recommit to some type of exercise program

            Think about (correct if need be) your eating habits

            Help someone out this month           

            Talk to your boss about any work concerns you might have

            Read a book on positive thinking

            Eat healthy lunches or dinners for one month—no exceptions

            Learn to meditate

So I always find it a little uncanny at times how accurate the moons transition is through the houses (especially when I know there are certain things I should be focusing on). This is again one of the areas (namely the nutrition; though working on my transition plan is still high on the list as well). I am happy to say that I’ve been sticking with a workout program (I’ve only missed three days out of the last five weeks—two days last week and today).

So which things am I going to try to focus on over the next few weeks?

            Making a 12-month plan. I tried last year and probably went too far into detail in some areas and totally overwhelmed myself.

            Continuing with Morning Meltdown 100 (should finish it up in early June)

            Work on my eating habits (try to start getting a few more servings of fruits and veggies in)

            Read a book on positive thinking (or at least on positive psychology)

            Continue to meditate nightly

And as the insanity continues to run wildly around—remember: Progress, not Perfection

No Comments AstrologycareerfitnessHealthNew Moon GoalsPandemic2020Personal Developmentprofessional development

Review of Pisces new moon goals

So the moon is going to be moving into the Aries constellation over the next day or so, and transitioning through a new moon phase—and it will be the start of a new astrological year. So before I get into trying to set goals for the Aries new moon, I should look back on the goals that I set for the Pisces new moon and see how I did with each of them.

So what were the goals for the Pisces new moon?

            Get back into a meditation routine—preferably at night, but may try morning as well.

            Start doodling again, and possibly turn one of the doodles into a cross-stitch pattern (and teach myself how to cross-stitch).

            Daily workout (Beachbody or possibly see if I can find a free online belly dancing workout)

In terms of meditation—I’m still trying to figure out the best routine at night. I’ve bought a meditation pillow (though it is smaller than it looked in the pictures), and am trying to figure out the best time that works for me. Currently I usually try to meditate at night before going to bed. Since I’ve been having problems with the time—I’m going to try to set aside fifteen minutes (probably before brushing my teeth) for meditation at night.

In terms of doodling—this didn’t happen. I’ve been a little too irritated with the world (mainly because of the mishandling of the pandemic response) to try to draw (or even color).

In terms of working out—this I have managed to do. I started doing Morning Meltdown 100 on beachbodyondemand. I have only taken two days off (brother & his dog were in town, and needed to help keep the peace). But I’m liking the program—and currently I’m more focused on toning and losing inches than I am on losing weight—that would be great, but I’m not going to go out of my mind trying to micromanage what I’m eating.

I know that nutrition plays a large part in losing weight—but with the current atmosphere (global pandemic) I’m more concerned with trying to keep my anxiety and stress under control than I am about having my nutrition totally under control.

And I am remembering: Progress not Perfection

No Comments AstrologyfitnessHealthNew Moon GoalsReflections

Virgo Full Moon Goals

So the moon should be hitting its full stage by Monday night as it enters the Virgo constellation. That is making this week a really fun week in the US—we’re starting it by setting the clocks an hour ahead, then the full moon, and we end it with Friday the 13th. If I were a superstitious sort—I’d be planning on staying in bed all week. J

If you’re one who tries to understand how your mood changes or is affected by the moon—the Virgo full moon usually has people feeling finicky and anxious. Personally—I don’t need any extra anxiety in my life; I manifest plenty on my own. Though no matter what sign I go with (star, rising, or moon)—all three are able to handle the Virgo energy.

So what are some questions that one can ask during this full moon?

Have I been too picky, pedantic, or critical of myself or anyone else?

            Have I been humble to the point of underrating myself?

            Have I been of service to others enough this month?

            Have I been worrying and complaining too much, and thus attracting negativity?

            Have I paid enough attention to the details that I need to this month?

So if I were to number the above questions 1 to 5, my answers would look like this:

  1. I don’t think that I’ve been too picky, pedantic, or critical of others currently (though I have harbored critical thoughts of the world—but with the current political, health, and environmental issues going on—that isn’t too surprising). I will admit that I possibly have been a little too critical of myself lately—but it has allowed me to notice (and admit) certain habits and mindsets that really aren’t beneficial to me currently. Those habits and mindsets will slowly be getting corrected over the next couple of weeks.
  2. I probably have been a little too humble when it comes to thinking of what type of transferable skills I have for moving into an industry position. I’ve never really been one to toot my own horn on anything—as I really don’t like drawing attention to myself. But I do know that if I want to get a job in industry and then make it up the ladder—I will have to start tooting my own horn, as there isn’t anyone else who will do it for me.
  3. I’ve been helping out around the house a little more, and depending on how things go (namely how bad the coronavirus spreads over the next few months), I might try to volunteer at the library or find a part-time job or internship somewhere learning something new, but at the same being of help to others.
  4. I’m actually trying not to worry too much about things that I can’t control. I’m trying to catch any negative thoughts that I have and then slowly rephrase them in a more positive manner.
  5. So this one thing that I noticed that I’ve been doing—focusing too much attention on a certain task to the determent of everything else I had on my daily to-do list. Currently, it has been too much time trying to find companies and people to reach out to at those companies, and ignoring spending time on crafts, and meditation at night. This is something that I’m going to start correcting this week—to where I only spend thirty minutes to an hour at a time focused on anything related to my transition into industry, and then spend “X” amount of time doing something else (knitting, drawing, journaling/reading, walking the dog, going for a walk to practice my photography).

So one other thing people should look at is what house the moon is moving through as well. For me, the Virgo full moon also correlates to my 11th house or my friend zone. This is the time to try to focus on the other people in your life, and is also a good month for networking as well (so the universe is still trying to help nudge me along the path to a job in industry).

            Networking is something I have been trying to do more of over the past few weeks (there are actually a couple of webinars I need to go back, watch again, and take more notes on how to effectively network), and something that I need to keep doing basically until I decide what day/year I’m going to retire from whatever job I have—and then I will probably still be networking, just not as extensively.

So what are some things that I can and work on during the next month?

            Meditating nightly, and trying to reframe all negative thoughts to more positive thoughts.

            Setting up the best time schedule to where I’m spending time on different areas of my life (personal & professional development, health/fitness, crafts, spirituality) instead of being narrowly focused on one area.

            Have good notes for reaching out and networking more effectively.

Also remembering: Progress and not Perfection; Don’t fear failure, fear being in the exact same spot next year; and work hard in silence, let your success be your noise.

No Comments AstrologyfitnessFull Moon GoalsHealthPersonal Developmentprofessional development

Leo Full Moon Goals: A Review

So in a day or two there will be another full moon—this time it will be going through the Virgo constellation. This means that I need to reflect back on the goals that I set for the last full moon and had aimed to work on during the month of February. In addition acknowledging my current mindset and coming up with ideas on how to switch it to being a more productive mindset.

So what were my goals for the Leo Full Moon?

  1. Getting back into a workout routine
  2. Working on my transition plan for moving into industry from academia
  3. Spend time working on crafts (knitting, photography, and doodling)
  4. Meditate, tarot/oracle readings—getting back on track with my spirituality.

So how did I do with each one goal?

In terms of getting back into a workout routine—I’m happy to say that today I finished day fourteen of Morning Meltdown 100—which is a hundred day workout program that launched on Beachbody-on-demand late last year.

I think that this is going to be the program that helps get me out of my depression/funk that I’ve been in for quite a while. I truthfully didn’t think I was that depressed last year, but looking at the stats on the total number of workouts I’ve done over the past not quite two years—yeah, I barely worked out (at least using Beachbody-on-demand).

My goal is to continue with Morning Meltdown 100, and the program will see me through until the beginning of June.

In terms of working on my transition plan for moving into industry from academia—it is slow going. I actually joined an accountability group to help an extra little push, and while it is uncomfortable at times trying to push out of my fear zone and into my learning zone—I’m slowly getting there. While I’m going to be going at my pace, I know have ideas on how to connect to others, adding value, inquiring on informational interviews, and so forth.

In terms of working on crafts—I managed only a couple of walks up at Boomer for doing some nature photography, and I’ve done a little backyard birding as well. I’m actually going to schedule in more time for crafts over the next couple of weeks.

This was something that I really didn’t do that well on—I really haven’t meditated nightly, and I’ve only done one or two oracle/tarot card readings over the past month. Again, this is something that I’m going to schedule more time for over the next few weeks.

One thing I’ve noticed over the past few weeks is that I’ve fallen back into the mindset of focusing on just one thing and ignoring everything else. That one thing I’d been focusing on is building my job search spreadsheet—so I’ve been spending literally days looking at companies on linkedin, glassdoor, their own websites to determine which companies I wanted to add to the list. I would take breaks for eating, an occasional walk at Boomer Lake, or just go sit outside in the backyard and watch the birds.

This isn’t a beneficial mindset to be moving forward with—but it is the automatic response of how I handled school from public up through getting my graduate degree and to an extent how I handled all the jobs since graduating (to an extent). But I’ve decided that mindset needs an overhaul—so I’m going to actually try to plan out my days somewhat. They’re going to be fluid in terms of the fact I’m not always certain when I’m going to do a walk at Boomer Lake or when I’m going to take my pup for his walk through the neighborhoods.

So while I seemed to be only about fifty-fifty on hitting the goals—I made a lot more forward movement on mental health side—so for fourteen straight days of exercising, and admitting that the current mindset needs to change and will start implementing those changes over the next few days/weeks.

I’ve also been reminding myself of this quote on a basically daily basis: “Progress over Perfection”

No Comments fitnessFull Moon GoalsHealthPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Pisces New Moon Goals and acknowledging fears

So I’m a few days late in posting—but over the weekend the moon moved through it’s second new moon transition for the year and it was through the Pisces constellation. I’ve realized one thing so far on my reboot break—I’m falling into the old habit of concentrating on one thing to the determent of everything else. While I did need to decompress after my job ended—I barely did anything else. I know that I need to start listening to my inner voice—but I’m truthfully finding that more difficult than I thought. This is due in part to letting all the other voices (you know the ones—your parents, family, teachers, bosses, even close friends) have more of a say in your life than you do.

So what does that have to do with the Pisces new moon and making goals? Pisces is about-facing both your dreams and your fears—and this is something that truthfully I haven’t been good at in recent years (facing either of them). It is hard to try to rewrite a dream, when you realize that the one you’ve held on to for years isn’t going to come about (say becoming a professor and having a marine biology/molecular biology/developmental biology research project going), and having to figure out what else you can do with your life.

Fears have been a little easier to acknowledge—at least my two biggest ones (and actually those are anxiety based issues than actual fears)—one is talking, both in front of large groups of people, and then just one-on-one with someone new. Why do I have the fear/anxiety issue—I’m “afraid” that they (if it is one-on-one) or someone in the audience is going to correct either my sentence structure or the pronunciation of the word(s)—and this stems from childhood. When I was just starting kindergarten, we moved from Massachusetts to Oklahoma, where I was enrolled in a new kindergarten class. Then the following issues arose—my speech (I learned to talk out in Massachusetts, and had a northeastern accent—where I didn’t pronounce my “r”. Now this would have taken care of itself over the years as I settled into things and the school—but the teachers and others thought it would be better if I was put in speech therapy to speed up the process. So I spent most of my elementary school career having to have speech therapy two to three days a week just to learn how to pronounce a single letter of the alphabet. On top of that, my kindergarten teacher would always correct my speech, to a point that I didn’t feel comfortable talking. I thought was the point if someone was going to just repeat it anyway—so I started just writing out what I wanted to say, and it was either passed around to everyone or the teacher would read it out loud.

            So needless to say—I don’t have that many fond memories of being in public schools (from speech therapy to being bullied and ridiculed—I was very happy to graduate), and while I managed to work on the issue a little through college, it is still something that crops up from time to time as something I don’t like to do, but I know that I need to—so I’m going to be looking in finding different ways of coping with stress and anxiety of talking to others.

The other fear/anxiety that I have is actually being behind the wheel of a car—aka driving. I don’t mind being a passenger, for the most part I’ve gotten over the severe carsickness that I had as a child—it is now just a mild to moderate problem. Where did the anxiety of being behind the wheel come from? The answer simple answer is childhood—the more complex answer is an older sibling who decided it would be “cute” that when picking me up from the movies and driving home to remove their hands from the steering wheel and telling me either to steer the car, or that we’d swerve into the oncoming traffic. Looking back, I can see how they thought it would be “cute” and possibly instill wanting to be my own chaperone/driver in me, so that I would jump at the chance for signing up for drivers’ education, get my license, and never bug other people for a ride. But that isn’t what happened—instead it instilled a deep anxiety in me, that possibly someone is going to grab the wheel, or something will happen and I have no control over it. I’ve tried over the years to take lessons—but the fear is deep, and not something that one gets over quickly. So for now, I am more than willing to rely on public transportation, my bike, my feet, and occasionally asking someone for a ride somewhere. Also with the way the world is going—who knows how long vehicles are going to be around anyway.

So other than focus on your dreams and fears, what else can one focus on during the Pisces new moon?

            Following your hunches/intuition—now this is something that I need to work on, as I’ve ignored my own gut instincts too often over the past several years.

            Heal—focus on working though emotional or spiritual issues.

            “Surrender”—practice yoga, meditation—and open yourself to the possibilities of the universe.

In addition, Pisces is also moving through my 5th house—or my fun zone. So this is the area that is triggered by creativity, children, and romance. Now I’m good with the creativity portion—I don’t have kids (and I’m not around them all that much), and truthfully right now I’m not in the market for romance (especially since I’m still trying to figure out my life and where I want to be working/living within the next year).

So there are several different things that one can do during this sums up the 5th house (or fun zone):

            Taking up belly dancing.

            Making a toy for a child.

            Starting to date

            Going on a trip with your significant other

            Doing something creative (writing, painting, so forth)

            Do something that typifies your idea of fun

            Throw a party

So there are few things on the list that I can basically scratch off as not doing—starting to date, going on a trip with your significant other, making a toy for a child, and throwing a party. These are only crossed off the list because 1) I’m again not looking for a relationship, 2) I’d rather meet up with people for lunch or an afternoon walk than throw a party; and 3) I don’t have the accessories to make a toy for a child (as I would be leaning towards making stuff animals for children).

I’ve tried to belly dance in the past (had actually bought some workout DVDs), and I may actually try to find a free program to follow on-line. I found it fun and challenging (especially since I currently don’t have the coordination for it—not that I had the coordination in the past either).

So if I were to make goals for the next few weeks, they would be the following:

            Get back into a meditation routine—preferably at night, but may try morning as well.

            Start doodling again, and possibly turn one of the doodles into a cross-stitch pattern (and teach myself how to cross-stitch).

            Daily workout (Beachbody or possibly see if I can find a free online belly dancing workout)

But overall remember: Progress not Perfection

No Comments AstrologyHealthNew Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentspirituality

January 2020 in review: Start of a new year and a new decade

Well January is over, and we survived the month—and I’m like three days late in posting my monthly review. It’s a sad time when the phrase WW3 is trending on social media by the third day of the month. I haven’t been regular in posting to the site—I haven’t started the photography challenge (but I started it late last year as well), and when it comes to creating content—I realized that I have about five or six different drafts of things in regards to my career transition.

It has been not quite two months (which will be next Friday) since I’ve started my “reboot break”—and I think I’m still in the progress of trying to get my health and fitness under control.  We’ve had a couple of “snow” days this month, and I think I’ve managed to make a couple of walks around Boomer Lake.

The goals for January included:

At least 434,000 steps

Reading at least 3 non-fiction books

Working out daily (Barre Blend starting January 6)

Personal/Professional development (listening to podcasts, working through e-courses, working through other course bundles bought)

Money log/weekly-check ins/No spend days

So how did I do with each goal?

At least 434,000 steps—I fell behind on this goal this month. I think that there have only been about five or six days that I actually hit (or surpassed) the daily step goal of 14,000 steps. I managed to get a little over 230,000 steps; so I managed a little over 50% of the monthly steps.

I need to try to kick it up a notch or two for the rest of the year, if I’m going to hit my yearly goal of 5 million steps (so to hit that goal, I’ll need to kick it up to a little over 14K a day (~14,230/day).

Reading at least 3 non-fiction books

I managed to finish (in total) two books this month. Though in truth, the first book was actually started at the end of 2019, and finished within the first few days of 2020.

So the two books that I’ve finished:

            Like She Owns the Place by Cara Alwill Leyba

            Choose Your Best Life by Gary Williams

The book that I’m currently reading and will finish in February:

            The 12 week year: get more done in 12 weeks than others do in 12 months, by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington.

Working out daily (Barre Blend starting January 6)

It has taken me a little longer to try to get into some type of workout routine. One thing is that I’m going to be doing the workout probably in the evenings—the puppy (Chaos) would rather get me to play than just lie there and sleep while I’m doing my workout.

I restarted the program at the end of the month. I’ve decided that I’m going to be doing my own calendar and that is going to be going between a couple of different programs—Barre Blend, LIIFT4, and possible Morning Meltdown 100. I’m thinking that going between two or three different programs is going to be the best way for me to get back into a routine.

Personal/Professional development (listening to podcasts, working through e-courses, working through other course bundles bought)

So I have been listening to podcasts most nights (there have been a few nights that I haven’t listened to them). The two main podcasts have been the Team Beachbody Coach Call-replay and Onward Creatives.

The first podcast is just listening in to the different Monday morning wakeup calls with Beachbody and various coaches each week. I’m still working on getting back on track with my fitness and health, so listening to the podcast is a way of keeping a toe in the whole “coaching” business—since Beachbody does have the disclaimer that they don’t guarantee any monetary gain for anyone as a coach. Currently I’m bouncing around with the idea of possibly quitting coaching (that while I do have a handful of “clients”, they aren’t really ordering, and therefore I don’t have that much to “lose”).

The second podcast is one that focuses on being in business for your self—as they say bridging the gap between being creative and the business side. I enjoy listening to the podcast, even if I’m not going into business for myself quite yet. I’ve been getting some ideas and just enjoy listening to someone else’s perspective on things.

I’ve also slowly been trying to work through various e-courses, but haven’t quite figured out the best method/order for working through the courses—do I alternate between personal and professional courses or do I try to alternate between topics within one of the areas? So this is something that I’m going to be working on during the early part of February so that I can plan things out for the next few months.

Money log/weekly-check ins/No spend days

I managed for about half the month to keep a log of money spent, and managed about half the month in weekly check-ins as well. In terms of no spend days I think I had probably about fifteen to twenty days. A goal going forward is that other than a few choice spending days, pre-ordered books, and bills I don’t spend any money for the month. I’m thinking that this may be more in March than in February due to the fact that I’m going to be taking Chaos in for a check-up at the vet’s and I’m not sure how much it is going to be running. Though I may try to make February a low spend month as well.

So I managed to get started this year with various areas, I made strides in certain areas (managing to read two and a half books, working out the last week of the month, and starting to keep track of what I’m spending my money on), but there were also areas that I fell short on—namely getting my steps in. So there is areas for improvement, and areas that I can add to or build off of.

And for January the phrase: “Progress over Perfection”—so I did mange to embody this phrase for the month of January.

The goals for February will include:

At least 413,000 steps (a little over the 14,230 steps/day—but it is a nice round number)

Reading at least 3 non-fiction books

Working out daily (alternating between Barre Blend, LIIFT4, and possibly Morning Meltdown 100)

Personal/Professional development (listening to podcasts, working through various e-courses and other course bundles, networking, and interacting more on linkedin)


Money log/weekly-check ins/No spend days—work up to no spend weeks

Work on editorial calendar(s)—blog, personal/professional development/fitness & health/mental health—determine the direction(s) that the blog is going to be going in for 2020 and beyond

And for February the phrases: “Progress over Perfection” and “Don’t fear failure. Fear being in the same place next year”

No Comments careerfitnessHealthMonth in ReviewPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentRebootBreakReflections

Admitting that I’m a procrastinator and how I’m going to deal with it in 2020

So, I’m a little over a month into my reboot break. I’ve done a little soul searching, some reading, adopted a puppy from the local animal shelter, a few walks around Boomer Lake, tried to get back into a fitness routine, and so far have put off trying to draft a master plan/outline for the year.

One thing I will admit to is that I’m a procrastinator—if I don’t want to do something I will either find something else to do, or I will keep saying that I’ll do the task tomorrow (and depending on the task—keep saying tomorrow).  I’ve realized that the procrastination wasn’t that bad while growing up—there were deadlines for homework and things like that (and as a child—at least I couldn’t get away that much with the procrastination), but it started to develop once I hit college, and has gotten slightly out of hand since.

When it was time to think about going to college, I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to major it (I enjoyed numerous subjects in school), and I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go. I had an average grade point and had an okay score on the ACT—neither of which were going to get me very far if I wanted to go to school out of state. I already had the mindset that I wasn’t going to take out a loan for school (even if I was eligible for any that were halfway decent), therefore that meant going to the state college in town.

I had decided to go the science route (as at that time everyone was saying something along the lines of “major in what will pay the bills, and minor in what you enjoy”). I could have gone into business—but the thought of sitting behind a desk all day bored me, so I went the science route. I started off thinking wildlife ecology & management, but once I found out that the lab exams for one of the courses was out in the field looking at plants (that wasn’t so bad)—but you had to identify them by their scientific name (my spelling is bad at the best of times—I’m glad that there is spell check), I decided to switch to biochemistry and molecular biology.

I still took classes that I found interesting, and this resulted in me taking seven years to finish my undergrad—but I got two bachelors’ degrees (biochemistry & molecular biology, and biology), plus a minor in history (I was two classes shy of a sociology minor by the time I graduated). Throughout these seven years, I learned several things about myself—first and foremost the testing anxiety was still front and center. I did well in the humanity and social science classes, but the other sciences (where my majors were)—those were a struggle at times when it came time for the tests.

I’d found that certain areas of both degrees were more interesting than others—for example I enjoyed learning cell and molecular biology more than I did organic chemistry and physics. I also found that I could pull historical facts forward faster than I could pull the method and byproducts for an organic chemical reaction.

I remember that I was probably a year or so away from graduation and wasn’t sure if this was the direction I wanted to go—but was also unsure of which direction to go in. I therefore push onward, took the GRE (got an okay score—not great—remember I have huge test anxiety issues, especially if the test is all computerized—which the GRE was at that point), and applied for different graduate programs.

I decided that I should try to stretch my wings and I applied for several different programs that were out of state (plus at the last minute, decided that I would also apply to my alma mater as well—as the ultimate fall back). So I applied to four different programs out of state, and while I managed to get an on campus interview for one of the programs—none of them panned out. Either my grades weren’t high enough, or they didn’t think I could handle the PhD program and suggested that I should apply for the masters program instead (PhD programs pay you to learn, masters programs for the most part don’t)—so I was lucky in that I was able to get into my alma mater for grad school.

This wasn’t my first choice, but I was going to make it work. I spent a year in a structural biology lab, before I realized that wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life. I then switched to a plant molecular biology lab, where I was actually being challenged in learning. I hadn’t worked with plants that much before joining the lab hadn’t done any RNA work, and I found things enjoyable for the first time in a few months in grad school. Also it was nice to be told that within four years I should have learned as much as possible and it would be time to move on. The only drawbacks for those years in grad school—there was no real mentoring in how to “properly” write a scientific paper or proposal, and there was no real career mentoring.

After graduation I managed to land a post-doctoral position at one of the many universities in the Greater Boston area. While I enjoyed the time out in the area, I had ignored some red flags that I shouldn’t have and struggling since to figure out exactly what I want to do with my life and career. I’ve realized that one should never really take a position in a newly started lab unless they are willing to put in fifteen or sixteen hour days six days a week. I only learned a few new things, and started to slowly realize that I probably wasn’t cut out for academic life.

Coming back home, and bouncing around at my alma mater (first a postdoctoral position, and then two staff positions), has only highlighted the fact—I still haven’t found that position/job/title/occupation that is my “calling”. There have been things that I’ve enjoyed over the past seven years, but there have also been things that I really disliked over the past seven years as well.

So how does all this tie into my admitting that I’m procrastinator?

Going to sidetrack a little and give a little background on procrastination (see how I’m procrastinating?).  For years, it has been said that procrastination is a time management issue—and that definition is easy enough to see—we do something else to avoid doing what we originally needed to do. Now it is being toted as an emotion management problem (https://www.fastcompany.com/90357248/procrastination-is-an-emotional-problem). Basically, we procrastinate or put things off that we may (or may not) have attached negative emotions to.

So, I’ve admitted that I’m a procrastinator—which means that I’m admitting to having negative emotions attached to certain ideas or tasks. So which tasks/ideas/goals have I either consciously or subconsciously attached negative emotions to?

            Getting back into shape—I’ve been out of shape majority of my life (never was really big on sports growing up nor being all girly and dressing up/wearing makeup). I had managed to lose a good amount of weight twice in my life—first time was out in Boston (I was walking my dog at least twice a day, and cooking for one—though most of the time weekday dinners were a peanut butter sandwich), and then again about six months or so after moving home. At that point I joined an accountability group on Facebook that was being run by a old high school classmate—I lost probably about twenty pounds or so, but then after a bike accident (where I royally bruised my lower left leg) and job issues—I’ve put the weight back on (with added interest—I’m probably at my heaviest since college). Why do I have negative emotion attached to getting into shape? In part—I was picked on throughout school (or at least up to going to college) about my appearance and weight. So there are still those issues that I need to work through—basically I need to remind myself on a daily basis that I’m losing weight to live my best possible life—not someone else, and I’m not losing the weight to make anyone else happy either.

            Transitioning into an industry position—this is more tied into my anxiety, and the worry that I’m going to make another wrong turn (like I did with my first postdoctoral position). For the most part, I like to have a good idea of how things are suppose to go—I knew that with the postdoctoral positions, I had to work hard (though I did limit the hours to more or less “normal forty hour weeks”) and I would have to read a lot to brush up on the subject matter (as both were new to me areas). Going into industry—there are numerous different directions that one can go in, the job may or may not be totally steady (depending on if the company is bought out, merged with another, or if it somehow goes bankrupt), and about a hundred different other issues. Also it comes down to whom you know, and who is willing to put in a good word for you—and this is totally tied in with my anxiety.

            At times I have problems with trying to do small talk, and networking—it isn’t that I don’t want to meet new people and expand my network—I do, but I have this underlying fear from childhood that people are going to be interrupting me and correcting my speech. This comes from the fact that when we moved to OK from MA, I ended up in speech therapy for years because of the fact that I learned how to talk in MA. In case you didn’t know people in MA have a tendency to drop the “r” in words—so since I learned how to talk in MA, I had a northern accent. The teachers and school officials decided that I needed speech therapy to learn how to pronounce my “r”—I spent five years in speech therapy, plus had teachers correcting my speech in class. I then got into the habit of not really talking in public settings—and this is something that I’m trying to work on. I know it is a slightly irrational fear, but it is still there lurking in the back of my mind.

            Choices—there are so many different choices for what one can do in industry, it is almost like being a kid in a candy store. While I have several different options listed out about what I’m curious about—I have a fear that the one I may chose could be the wrong path. Though as I’m told—I won’t know if I like, unless I try it. This is also tied into the networking problem—I don’t want to feel like I’m wasting people’s time if I decide that their path isn’t the same one that I actually decide to go down.

            Needing to have everything planned out. I will admit that I do like to have an idea of all the steps, and any and all possible results and endings before starting something. I mean instead of picking just one area of Indian art for my paper for art history in high school, I wrote basically a thirty-page paper covering everything that could fall under the umbrella of Indian art.

            This is also coming from again my first postdoctoral position—I thought I had everything planned out, but then the rug was metaphorically pulled out from underneath me. It isn’t fun realizing that one needs to move back in with one’s parents in order to get out from the mountain of debt that one finds themselves in. So now I’m trying to figure out how to plan out every single step of everything and finding myself in motion paralysis.

So now that I’ve admitted to being a procrastinator and the two main areas (health/fitness and career) that I’m procrastinating in, how will I go about getting past the procrastination and making progress on each area?

As I was reading some different pages on procrastination and emotions I found the following three sentences to be profound:

            “Viewing the whole task (e.g. project or paper) all at once will only frustrate you if you have unrealistic expectations. Realize you must break the task into smaller pieces and you cannot do them all at once. The next key is just start whether you feel like it or not.” (https://socialanxietyinstitute.org/procrastination-wasting-our-time-and-increasing-our-anxiety).

Then I found the following ideas that had to deal with procrastination along with social anxiety:

            Make a list of tasks and prioritize what needs to be done

            Reward yourself for completing difficult tasks

            Use relaxation strategies to deal with anxiety about completing tasks

                        Some of the techniques include: deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, autogenic training, and guided imagery.

(https://www.verywellmind.com/procrastination-and-social-anxiety-disorder-3973931).

So now I’m going to name the two big tasks (relating to fitness/health and job transition). Then I’m going to brainstorm how to break those two big tasks into easier to handle tasks. In addition I’m going to brainstorm an award system for each big task. Finally I’m going to break down the tasks into monthly/weekly/daily goals—with the rewards being based on hitting the larger (weekly or monthly) goals. In other words—I’m going to be working on my long term plan (other wise known as five year (or ten, twenty year) plan.

Sites with their links have been included that I found interesting and used in the post.

No Comments careerfitnessHealthjob searchingPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Decade in Review: 2010 to 2019

So most people were doing the decade comparison in pictures over various social media sites—I’m not going to do that, mainly because I let my health and fitness slide enough that I’m back to basically the same weight. But I can try to summarize the past decade and maybe that will allow me to try actually projecting ahead a few years (so that I can actually push myself out of the “weeds” or “quicksand” that I feel like I’ve been stuck in for the past few years).

I started out the decade by finally finishing graduate school. I had promised myself that I would be done with school by the time I hit my 30th birthday and I was (more or less). I managed to finish two out of the three requirements (the third was what held up my diploma another five months). But I walked across the stage and accepted the diploma holder for my PhD in May, I presented and defended my dissertation in July, and then dealt with rewrites of my dissertation that finally earned me my diploma in December of 2010.

I took a post-doctoral position out in the Boston area in July of 2010. This required me finding an apartment that was close to public transportation (since that was how I was going to be getting to work every day). I managed that, but then hired the worst possible company to move my stuff out there (luckily they’re now out of business)—to the point that I slept on an air mattress for a month before my furniture and things showed up. I also hired pet movers to move my dog (Chewi) and cat (Pancakes) out there, and I will use them again when I move for my next position (as I also hired them to move Chewi and Pancakes back home when the job folded under me and I had to move back home in 2012).

So from August 2010 to December 2012 (with a short visit back for Christmas in 2011) I was on the east coast. I did manage to visit Maine, NYC, and Connecticut; with drive-troughs of New Hampshire and Rhode Island (to get to Maine [New Hampshire—though I think it was also a brief stop] and then Connecticut & NYC [Rhode Island]). I didn’t do as much traveling in the area as I would have liked, due to 1) not having that much money—postdocs aren’t paid great, even in large cities [they don’t take cost of living into consideration], and 2) I didn’t feel comfortable always hiring a pet sitter (did that once for the trip back home for Christmas 2011).

But I did visit Salem and Rockport, in addition to wandering around Boston. The trips out of state to visit friends and family allowed me to see a little bit of other states—though if I move back there I would like to spend more than 24 hours in NYC playing tourist.

Being out in the Boston area was fun—I made numerous friends and enjoyed exploring the area. It wasn’t the greatest decision career wise though—I only learned a few new techniques, and the position ended on a sour note between my advisor and me. One thing I learned is that I should always try to listen to that voice that warns that there could be issues with the job—I ignored it, and found out that yeah, there were issues with the job.

Christmas 2012 saw me moving back home from Boston. While I could have tried to find something in the Boston area, truthfully at this point I was pretty well financially broke, and emotionally burnt out. I decided that it might be best to regroup, where I knew that I could save money, and maybe figure out what I was doing with my life. But of course, I wasn’t sure what I was going to be doing—I just knew that I really needed to find some job so that I could start paying off all the credit card debt that I built up living in Boston (see above note about how postdocs are paid).

2011 also saw my parents bringing another dog into the family—a Great Pyrenees/Bearded Collie mix that we named Boozer (she was fascinated by the sounds of cans opening when she first came into the house). She was also served as a transition dog for my dad, as we weren’t sure how much longer the St. Bernard had (though she lasted another three and a half years).

I managed to get another postdoctoral position within my alma mater department working with yeast. This meant that I was learning a new biological system (previously I’d work with plants, bacteria, insects, and cell cultures), and new techniques. Alas, the money for that position only lasted a little over a year (and the fellowship I tried for I didn’t get [in part due to being back at my alma mater and not asking my first postdoc advisor for a letter of recommendation]), 

Luckily I managed to find a one-month teaching position that paid well. It kept me busy during part of summer, and reminded me that I did enjoy working with students. I spent the next few months putting out job applications—I luckily managed to get another position within the department this time working directly with undergraduate students. I had to write my own job description after being hired as no one knew exactly what the position was suppose to entail. I coined the job title “senior research specialist/undergraduate research techniques instructor” as I was doing both—research and trying to teach students the basic techniques they would need to know for doing research in a lab.

This was a job that I really enjoyed for the most part—working with students, working on different projects and just generally not being bored (again for the most part). The only drawbacks were working with certain people (and you can have personality conflicts no matter where you go). So this position lasted from basically mid-September 2014 through July of 2017; it was terminated due to funding issues and I became unemployed for the third time. This unemployment period lasted longer than the other two (probably could be considered a sum of the other two), but again I managed to get another staff position within the department just after Thanksgiving in 2017.

2015 was also a slightly off year as it was the year that we had to say goodbye to our St. Bernard Speedbump. She was a loving goof ball that got along with all dogs, and was a cuddle bug.

Now this position taught me a few more things, and it was a paycheck. It was a yearly position that would be renewed if there was funding available for it—so always fun working and wondering if there would be another contract to sign or if you were going to be told sorry only ‘x’ months left. So after signing another contract in November of 2018 I decided that no matter what, this would be basically the last year at my alma mater.

2018 was also another off year as we lost three more dogs—we lost Spelunkers in February due to cancer, and then we lost two other dogs in October (within a span of four days) due to both old age and other health issues (heart problems and cancer). So to say that I was more than happy to see the tail end of 2018 was an understatement.

2019 was an okay year—we adopted two more puppies (my mom got her puppy in May—a boxer mix that we named Rolex (so she could say that she had her watchdog), and then I adopted a puppy about a week before Christmas (a male blue heeler/border collie/aussie mix that I named Chaos—because bring another dog into the house right before the holidays was to introduce Chaos). So yes, two new puppies with names that make a play on words.

This was also the year that I decided that I would quit my job and take a “reboot break”. Since I realized that I could truthfully say that I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, I needed to take a break, regroup, and then focus on my career—I don’t want to say that going through college and earning a PhD was for no reason—I’m going to dedicate time to figure out what the best path for me is in terms of a career change that still will allow me to make use of the skills that I picked up over the past twenty plus years (yes, I figured out that my academic career reached the legal drinking age awhile ago—and since I wasn’t totally happy within that arena it is time to figure out what arena I want to be in).

Here is to 2020—the start of a new year, and a new decade. It is a blank slate and I am capable of writing whatever narrative I want for my life. I control the direction that my life goes—all I need to do is fix the oars, patch the leaks, and look up to the stars. I open myself up to what the universe will send my way.

No Comments careerfinancesfitnessHealthjob searchingLifestyle ChallengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

2019: A Year in Review

So 2019 has come to a close, and now it’s time to reflect back on the year (with its ups and downs, hills and valleys).

This was the year that I decided that I needed to do some type of major shakeup career wise—this wasn’t to say that I was totally unhappy with my job—something needed to change though. I had decided that I would hopefully either transition into an industry position, or I would resign my position, take some time off to re-center myself and then refocus on my job search. I ended up going with option number two—my “reboot break” started shortly after the Thanksgiving holiday.

I’ve realized over the past few months that I’ve more or less been in a “coasting” mode for the past couple of years—never really thinking of where I want to be in five or ten years, just focusing on trying to get through the day and the week to the weekend. It’s hard to figure out the next direction to go in, when you’re stuck in the weeds with nothing but a slightly broken oar to propel yourself—you don’t get very far.

I’ve also realized that I’ve been trying to focus on too many different areas at once (health/fitness, finances, moving my career forward, and trying to find time to do crafts to balance things out), that I’m going to try to focus on just two to four areas (health/fitness and moving my career forward are tied for number one, and then it will probably be personal/professional development (tied for number two, and tied into both areas at number one), and then some time for crafts.

This was I can probably set up an monthly calendar easier with just those “three” areas instead of considering them four to five different areas. This should also mean that I have more ideas for blog topics throughout 2020 as well (which is one area that I felt that I didn’t push forward enough throughout the year).

In terms of health and fitness—I’m slowly making my way back to a routine that works for me. I will probably stick with the workouts provided by Beachbody, but figure out the best nutrition plan on my own. I know that I have a major sweet tooth, and instead of depriving myself (and ending up binge eating sweets), I allow myself some sweets and try to balance it out with more fruits and vegetables throughout the day. I’m pretty sure that there will be more posts on nutrition and fitness throughout 2020 as well, as I work to get into the best shape of my life (I’m thinking of some trip later in the year that would require me to be in better physical condition than I am currently).

We also adopted a puppy back in May shortly after mother’s day. My mom decided that it had been long enough since losing her dog, that she was willing to get a puppy. So we adopted a boxer mix, renamed her Rolex and it’s been a crazy ride ever since. Then basically a week before Christmas, I decided that I really wanted a puppy (I know that I will never be able to replace Chewi), so I went with my brother to the animal shelter and adopted a blue heeler/collie/shepherd mix. Now we have a period of adjustment—Rolex is a little jealous of the puppy (mainly the amount of attention that I’m giving him)—but I chose the right name for him—Chaos (since I was getting him right before the holidays—I knew that I was going to be bring chaos into the house). Now, as I start looking forward again on my job search—the position/location will also need to be puppy friendly (nearby parks and so forth).

In terms of personal development I managed to read nineteen different books (though several of them were challenge books—where you pick a topic and try to work on it for a month or so). Several of the books related to finances (mine are okay—which is why I’m able to do the reboot break right now), decluttering (something that I really need to do—both for myself and ease my parents into it as well), and then just some good old fashion self-care (reboot break, and being reminded that I shouldn’t be waiting for others to give me a ‘permission slip’ to live my life). I’m hoping that in 2020, I double the number of books that read in terms of both personal and professional development.

I had gotten back into doing oracle/tarot card readings for a good portion of the year (quit doing them the last few months), and realized yet again my pulling back was due in part to me trying to fit in to molds that I don’t belong (worry about what prospective employers might think if they come across my instagram account). But I was reminded with reading a couple of books last month that I shouldn’t be waiting on a ‘permission slip’ from others—it’s my life and I doubt that I would be wanting to work for any company that doesn’t value everyone’s spirituality.

I had wanted to travel a little during 2019, but those plans never came to fruition—either due to not having enough vacation time earned, the weather (one major “fear” earlier this year was being stranded somewhere due to the weather and losing money since I wouldn’t be working & would have used up all my vacation time), or just not being able to decide where I wanted to go.

Hopefully in 2020 there will be more travel—both for mental health (since I’ve realized it has been over a year since I’ve taken a vacation) and networking/job search/hopeful job interviews, or a combination of the two types.

So while there was some change in 2019—there wasn’t as much as I’d hoped for—but I did manage to plant the seeds for change (namely in quitting my job) to occur in 2020. As we head into a new year and decade I need to remember that for 2020 I’m going to focus on “grow (th)”, “change”, “achievement(s)”, and “success”.

And remember: Progress over perfection. I’m also going to remember to “evaluate the people in [my] life; then promote, demote, or terminate. [I’m] the CEO of my life”.

No Comments careerHealthjob searchingLifestyle ChallengesPersonal DevelopmentPetsprofessional developmentYear in Review

Taurus Full Moon Goals—a few days late

 So the moon has transitioned into it’s latest full moon phase and was going through the Taurus constellation; and I am going to be several days late in posting this as well. We’re somehow down to the last approximate seven weeks of 2019 and then we’re into 2020. My reboot break is starting in about a week and a half (more on that later). The weather is now bouncing between late spring, mid-fall, and winter temperatures and I have a feeling it will be doing that up until the official start of winter and then we’re into the cold temperatures.

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 haven’t been overly self indulgent this month—but I will admit to being somewhat lazy. I manage to usually get all of my steps in during the day (and that usually correlates to at least 25 minutes of moderate walking throughout the day), and then two long walks on the weekend. I know that I need to get more stuff done and everything—but currently I’m battling the procrastination bug (and it’s slightly winning).
  2. No I haven’t been obsessed with status symbols, or overly obsessed with money. Currently I’m just trying to make sure that I have enough money to cover everything while I’m on my reboot break and reestablishing my job search.
  3. No I haven’t been possessive, jealous, or overly stubborn (I can’t rule out being a little stubborn—because that is how I always am). The only thing that I may be a little possessive over is my sleep—I would rather have things linger on the to-do list than stay up later than I normally would to finish something.
  4. Yes, I have been doing way too much comfort eating. This is one thing that I need to work on—when I’m stressed, depressed, having an anxiety attack, or just feeling off I usually will go for the high carb, high fat, really tasty (but “empty” calorie) foods. I’m pretty sure that once I’m on my reboot break, I will be getting my nutrition back under control.
  5. No, I haven’t been exercising enough lately. As I stated in question one (in terms of being lazy)—I usually try to get my steps in during the day (aiming for ~14,000/day) and usually call that good since it also usually correlates to at least 2 13 minute walks a day (but usually more). I know that I also need to start working out again, and I’m thinking that once I’m on my reboot break (I’ve lost the excuse that I’m tired after getting home from work), that I should be able to hopefully get back into some type of workout schedule and routine.

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), so that means focusing on other relationships (work and friends).

Work wise, it will be trying to finish up what I need to over the next week or so, and to make sure that I have things written down for the next person who comes in. I’m also possibly staying on a little longer as there is someone out currently with family issues (and it could possibly overlap with my exit date). I’m also hoping to leave work without losing my cool with anyone, but remain cool and professional.

When it comes to spending time with friends, this is usually at times a spur of the moment depending on other people’s schedules—but I am going to try to be better at getting together with people.

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

            Meditating nightly (yes, this is focusing on me a little—but if I keep myself in the right mindset, I’m more polite and easier to be around other people).

            Reaching out to friends on-line (it’s a small step to start with, especially since there are only a few people within town that I probably still talk to, and I think better to start slow).

            Figure out when exactly my reboot break is going to start—that way I have an idea of when I can refocus on my nutrition and fitness.

Above all remember: progress over perfection.

No Comments AstrologyfitnessFull Moon GoalsHealthRebootBreak