Category: Lifestyle Challenges

Update on Reboot Break

So I’m about a month into my reboot break, and am still trying to figure out the best routine. One thing I’ve noticed after going through notes that I’ve taken over the past couple of years—I need to try to find (or actually rediscover) my “voice” or who I am. I’ve realized that I’ve spent the past couple of years just drifting along, and when it comes to trying to answer personal/professional development questions such as “who are you” or “what is the difference between you and someone else for this role”—I can almost generically answer the first one, but can’t come up with answers of what makes me unique for roles. I realize that I’ve spent years blending in with my surroundings and trying to stay in the background unnoticed. This all comes from childhood and being a victim of bullying—not of which was physical, and I learned it was better to pretend to be invisible and blend into the background than draw attention to the situation.

While it is nice that I’ve identified the problem (my unconscious moves to blend into the background), now I need to work on breaking those patterns. I need to rediscover things that I enjoy doing (things that make me uniquely me), and then determine the best ways of weaving those hobbies into “transferable skills” for job interviews. I would say that I’m fairly confident that I should move R&D scientist down the list on interesting job titles (as it is more or less my comfort zone), and start trying to step outside of what I’m use to doing to see what grabs my interest in terms of the other possible job titles.

I’m thinking that the list is going to now look something like this:

            Health Economist

            Market Research Analyst

            Scientific/Medical Writer

            Market Communications Specialist

            Clinical Data Analyst/Manager

            Quantitative Analyst

            Patent Analyst

            R&D scientist (up to R&D manager)

Though the top seven are more or less fluid (I just rearranged a few from how I’ve previously listed them).

So this week is going to be spent getting back into a workout routine, spending some time practicing photography, puppy training (I adopted a puppy just before Christmas), reading, working a rough draft of everything that I would like to accomplish this year, and looking more into the above roles.

Once I remember (or better yet remind myself) of things I like to do, that aren’t related to work, I will be that much further on my path to finding the optimal industry position to transition into this year.

No Comments 101 Goalscareerjob searchingLifestyle Challengesno spend challengesPersonal DevelopmentPetsPhotographyprofessional developmentRebootBreakReflections

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

Take Three of the 101 goals in 1001 days

So in one of my many self reflection periods this past month, I realized that I hadn’t been looking at my 101 goal list and seeing how close I was to any of the goals (with the exception of my step goal). I also realized looking at the list, it was all jumbled together and that made it hard to see which goals could “feed” off of each other in terms of the daily/weekly/monthly goals that I should be setting to reach them.

Therefore, I took the time and rewrote my list—this time grouping things into different categories. I’m going to be hitting restart on the time, to where if I start on November 2, 2019—I should then be finishing up around July 29, 2022.

So below are my goals—but broken up into different categories (such as professional development/career, personal development, both personal/professional development, travel, health & fitness to name a few categories).

Professional development and career:

            1. Transition into an industry position (tied to latest self reflections post); there will be several posts on this goal

            2. Learn a programming language

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

                        4. Dream Job Hack

                        5. Medical Writers Organization

            6. More interacting on Linkedin

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

                        8. Commenting on posts

                        9. Giving/Asking for recommendations

            10. Creating monthly/weekly/daily calendars for above goals

            11. Go to at least 1 scientific conference

                        12. Present at a scientific conference

            13. Go to at least 2 professional networking events

            14. Renew professional memberships

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

Both Personal and Professional Development

            16. Become fluent in Spanish

            17. Become fluent in German (or maybe French)

            18. Read at least 100 personal/professional development books

            19. Finish the books on scientific writing

Personal development and hobbies

            20. Paint and frame at least one original painting

            21. More photography

                        22. 365-Day Challenge (aim for 365 different pictures)

                        23. Update photography pages on blog

            24. Make my own jewelry

            25. Learn to cross-stitch

            26. Finish my latest afghan

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

            28. Start writing a book

            29. Learn Photoshop

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

            31. Create my own coffee-table photography book

            32. Learn basic sign language

Finances

            33. Create monthly budgets

            34. Credit card debts down and hopefully paid off monthly

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

            36. Savings account up another 20K (hopefully)

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

Travel

            38. Visit at least 3 new countries

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

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

            41. Visit at least one new zoo

            42. Visit at least one new aquarium

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

            44. Visit at least one new city

            45. Visit at least one new state

            46. See the northern lights

            47. Attend at least one blogging conference

            48. Attend at least one author-reader conference

            49. Attend Beachbody Coach Summit 2020

Fitness & Health

            50. Get into the best shape of my life

            51. Multivitamin and supplements daily

            52. Manage at least 250 days of Beachbody workouts

            53. Manage 5 push-ups on my toes

            54. Manage 10 push-ups on my toes

            55.  Hold a two-minute forearm plank

            56.  Hold a 90 second plank

            57.  Meditate nightly

            58.  30-day Zumba challenge

            59.  60-80 oz of water a day

            60.  Stretch daily

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

            62. Get at least 14,014,000 steps (breaks down to 14K/day)

Blog and Social Media

            63.  Finish YouTube for bosses course

            64.  Finish YouTube course creation for bosses course

            65.  Finish blog to biz course

            66.  Launch a YouTube channel

            67. Launch an online course

            68. Get blog traffic to 500+ views a day

            69. Rebrand myself (?)

            70. Get Instagram followers to constant 800+

            71. Get pintrest followers to constant 400+

            72. Get twitter followers to constant 1000+

            73. Publish at least two blog series

            74.  Editorial calendars (monthly/weekly/daily)

                        75. Blog

                        76. Instagram

                        77. Facebook pages

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

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

            80. Various top 10 author lists

            81. Various top 10 book series lists

Spirituality

            82. Full/New Moon Goals

            83.  Create my own altar (wicca/pagan)

            84. Weekly tarot/oracle card readings

Others

            85. Keep at least 3 plants alive

            86. Design a science based board game

            87. Create and update a digital vision board

            88. Re-pierce my ears

            89. Reorganize my storage unit

Once I move:

            90. Get a new sewing machine

                        91. Make a new quilt

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

            93. New couch & chair for living room

            94. New dresser for bedroom

            95. New mattress & box spring for bed

            96. New TV & stand

TV shows to binge watch

            97. Hawaii 5-0 (latest remake)

            98. Grimm

            99. The Librarians

            100. Once Upon A Time

            101. Blacklist

So that is my update and “organized” 101 goals in 1001 days. This time I’m trying to balance things out—personal and professional development, career and then just odds and ends. Hopefully with it being organized, I will be better at tracking how close I am to completing certain items and which items when completed will flow into another one being started.

No Comments 101 GoalsCraftsfinancesFitness ChallengesFull Moon GoalsHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesNew Moon Goalsno spend challengesPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentspiritualitytarot cardstravelZoos/Aquariums

October in Review

Well October is officially over, and there are only 61 days left in the year. As I’m writing this I realize that my reboot break is going to be starting in a few weeks, and that I’m a month into my last year of my thirties—so I should really try to figure out what the hell I’m doing with the second half of my life. In addition I realized that I only met one goal (in total) for the month of October.

We’re officially a third of the way through the fourth quarter of the year, and I’m thinking that is where some of the change is going to take place, and the seeds for change in 2020 will be planted.

I didn’t really change my October goals that much, so they were basically the same goals that I’ve had for the past few months, including the goal of working on my “reboot break” plan.

October was a difficult month in general—as it marked the one-year anniversary of losing both Chewi and Piranha.  

The goals for October included:

At least 434,000 steps

Photography challenge (if there has to be a recap session to make up for a few days—oh, well—I’m only human)

Read at least 2 non-fiction books

Continue working on my reboot break & start reworking my transition plan

Aim for one week no spend

Continue working out (hybrid LIIFT4/Country Heat/Yoga Booty Ballet)

Set up the monthly calendar (can start with November as a trial run)

So how did I do with each goal?

At least 434,000 steps

            This was basically the only goal that I was able to reach this month, even with a few days below the target of 14,000 steps. I managed to get 487,754 of steps, which was 53,754 over the goal of 434,000 steps. This has me at a yearly total so far of 4,535,054 and that means to reach exactly 5 million steps, I only need to reach 7,623 per day for the rest of the year. This is nice to know that I can have several days that I don’t reach my total—but even with the reboot break coming up—if I walk around Boomer Lake every day, that will get me to at least 10,000 steps. So unless it is raining or snowing—I’m going to be getting a daily walk in on my reboot break.

Photography challenge (if there has to be a recap session to make up for a few days—oh, well—I’m only human)

            Well this didn’t really happen. I have been taking pictures on the weekend—but currently the area of my photography shots is Boomer Lake. I feel like I’m sharing the same theme over and over again—though they’re all slightly different. So I’m in the process of trying to develop a nice long list of photography topics, so that I can start the challenge over once more. Though this time around I did make it a little over 200 days before falling behind.

Read at least 2 non-fiction books

            I don’t think that I managed to finish any non-fiction book this month. One thing that I’ve noticed is that there are numerous books that I’ve started at some point, but then started reading another and never went back and actually finished. So, therefore moving forward I’m not going to jump between books—but pick one and finish it before going to the next non-fiction book. I will probably go between that non-fiction book and my fiction books.

Continue working on my reboot break & start reworking my transition plan

            I’m slowly working on both plans, and actually made a little headway this month by “naming” one of my biggest hurdles—movement paralysis. The first week of my reboot break is probably going to be spent just relaxing and decompressing, especially since it is also going to be a holiday week (Thanksgiving). The major work is going to start during the first week of December.

            I have several different areas/titles that sound interesting picked out—I just need to fully determine what type of professional lifestyle I want, and which would fit it the best. I know that I will need to make a choice and therefore a plan of action for the early part of 2020—but hopefully I can narrow down the choices before than and not feel totally overwhelmed.

Aim for one week no spend

            This didn’t happen—I spent money on campus more or less daily during the month of October. The only good thing is that towards the end of the month it may have only been once a day. I figured that once I’m on my reboot break, that will be the easiest time to curb the spending—I won’t be on campus, and I’m going to more or less shut down the WiFi connection on the kindle (with exceptions)—that way I will save money two ways—no buying snacks on campus daily, and no mindlessly buying e-books on the kindle.

Continue working out (hybrid LIIFT4/Country Heat/Yoga Booty Ballet)

            Well I managed to start the hybrid calendar, but that has been about it. I’ve realized that even though I’ve had a couple of months to figure out the getting home after 5 schedule—I still haven’t; I get home, do the few chores and then I sit and relax for awhile. If I was prompt—I would then change into my workout clothes and get my workout done before dinner, but that isn’t what I end up doing—I sit and relax until dinner. Then after dinner I have my evening routine (and I don’t like working out on an semi-full stomach either—I’d rather workout on a semi-empty stomach), and I have so far only fit in stretching and meditation.

            So this is a workout calendar that I’m hopefully going to follow much better once I start on my reboot break (I really won’t have any excuses not to follow it).

Set up the monthly calendar (can start with November as a trial run)

            Well, this semi-happened—at least workout wise, but I haven’t followed it that well. I’m going to be setting up another calendar, hopefully this weekend for the rest of November (as I’d only be missing one or two days) that I will hopefully then follow. I’ve realized that when it comes to trying to figure out my life—I need to do in such a way that the anxiety and depression don’t realize that I’m trying to move out of the do nothing zone and into the positive and constructive zone.

So not that much progress on most of the goals for the month of October—though admitting that there were problems is progress in and of its self. There are two months left in 2019, and there can still be quite a bit of progress in those last sixty-one days—I just have to play mind games with myself.

So what are my goals for November going to be?

At least 420,000 steps

Making a nice long list of possible photography topics

Slowly start the hybrid LIIFT4/Country Heat/Yoga Booty Ballet workout calendar

Reading two non-fiction books

Making my November monthly calendar

Working on my reboot break plan & transition plan (revamping this one)

Keep reminding myself: Progress over perfection, and that I shouldn’t fear failure, but fear being in the same place next year as I am today.

No Comments Lifestyle ChallengesMonth in ReviewPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentRebootBreak

August: Month in Review

Well August is officially over, and there are only 122 days left in the year. I’m also a day late in posting this as well. As I’m writing this I realize that my birthday is now in less than three weeks, and then I will be looking down my last year of my thirties. I also realized that I fell short on some of the goals for August.

There is only a month left in the third quarter of the year, and while that is scary, depressing, and slightly invigorating—I’ve realized that is just how time goes now—in an instant. Though there is still the fourth quarter of the year, and I’m thinking that is where some of the change is going to take place, and the seeds for change in 2020 will be planted.

August goals were basically the same goals that I’ve had for the past few months, including the goal of working on my “reboot break” plan.

The goals for August included:

At least 434,000 steps

Continuing with the photography challenge

Reading (or finishing) at least 3 non-fiction books

Working on my “reboot break”

Aim for two weeks of no spending (keeping a money log)

Get back into a workout schedule (either a full program or a hybrid program between two different programs).

Work on creating more content for the blog (and potentially posts for linkedin).

Work on getting in a routine of reading business & scientific articles.

So how did I do with each one?

At least 434,000 steps

            I was down less than 9,000 steps for the month of August—my final total was 425,266 steps. This was mainly due to the hot temperatures on the weekends, and me not getting my steps in on those days (plus one or two days during the week, when I fell short as well). Though for the year I’m at 3,579,549 steps, which means that to get to 5 million—I only need to aim for a little over 11,500 steps a day. So, I think it is safe to say that I’m going to make the goal of 5 million steps. It is nice to see that by the time I take my reboot break, I don’t necessarily have to aim for 14,000 steps a day (though I probably will—just so I’m not constantly sitting on my butt).

Continuing with the photography challenge

            I took a week off from the photography challenge this month. This was partially due to the heat and not having done a walk for a week or two (therefore I felt like I was running low on photographs to share), and partially due to my mood—I just wasn’t in a good mind space that week.

Reading (or finishing) at least 3 non-fiction books

            I managed to finish one book this month and it was “The Self-Care Prescription: Powerful solutions to manage stress, reduce anxiety, and increase well-being” by Robyn Gobin.

            One thing that I have realized is that while having a kindle is nice—all your books are at your fingertips, at the same time it can be detrimental if you bounce between books a lot (like I do at times). There are numerous books that I’ve started to read in terms of personal/professional development and then I decided I wanted to read something else. So now I’m actually going to go back to some of those books and start from the beginning, as it’s been at least six weeks (if not longer) since I read anything from that particular book.

Working on my “reboot break”

            I have an idea of how the first few weeks will go—as those are the weeks that I’m going to dedicate to getting my storage unit in order and starting to try to get rid of things (either selling or donating).

            As I had posted earlier, I’m thinking that the first week (and it will probably be the week of Thanksgiving) will look a little like this:

                        Get up, have a cup of coffee (or tea), and feed the dogs

                        Go for a morning walk at Boomer Lake (morning zen time and photography time)

                        Breakfast, shower (probably), then to the storage unit to rearrange and/or repack boxes

                        Home for lunch

                        Computer time: **Make use of apps that allow blocking of certain sites for a certain time frame (remove social media temptation—mainly facebook & instagram).

                                    At least one e-course (I have numerous ones bought covering a wide range of topics)

                                    Read/share at least two articles from a biotech/biopharma news site on Linkedin and twitter

                                    Spend at least forty minutes responding to messages and/or sending out connection requests on linkedin

                                    Spend at least thirty minutes reading through other people’s posts on linkedin, and hopefully commenting on at least two or three of them.

                                    Read for an hour (personal/professional development) and journal for an hour (answering questions from personal/professional development book)

                                    Workout

                                    Feed the animals

                                    Dinner and evening routine

            Then after getting my storage unit in order, and other things taken care of I can use that time for other things (such as craft time, or more reading/journaling time). This is one thing I’m hoping to improve upon during my reboot break—time management and spending time doing things that I enjoy and things I need to do.

            I’ve realized that I’m not aiming for “balance” per say—just having the ability to say today is a day that I need more “me” time or today is a day that will be heavy workwise, therefore after work this is going to be my recharge plan. It has taken me almost thirty-nine years to realize that I really never have had that type of “balance”—I go all out one way or the other, and therefore it isn’t surprising that I’m basically burnt out on life.

Aim for two weeks of no spending (keeping a money log)

            I think I managed about one day a week of not spending money on campus. I’ve gotten into the bad habit again of going to the student union at lunch and grabbing candy (my excuse is that it’s a walk to help me get in my steps). Hopefully other than a few scheduled purchases (such as pre-ordered books, one lunch out with friends, and one order from Amazon), I can avoid spending money this month.

            I don’t see spending money as bad—but considering what I’m currently buying (namely candy)—I think that I should try to cut back on that spending. Now if I end up buying some fruit or veggies to snack on while on campus—I will make note, but still try to avoid “careless” spending (i.e. spending money on things that I could very well bring from home).

Get back into a workout schedule (either a full program or a hybrid program between two different programs).

            This is one thing that I’m struggling with currently. There have been new “hours” required at work (they’re not really new, but they’re very concrete—can’t leave until basically 5 pm on the dot), which has messed up my evening routine and I have yet to get into the groove of a new one. Hopefully this is something that I can get straightened out over the next few months.

Work on creating more content for the blog (and potentially posts for linkedin).

            Well, other than the photography challenge (and I took a week off from that), and a few other posts—I didn’t get that much content created for the blog, and none that would be shared via linkedin.

            I realize that sharing things via linkedin, they’ll be more of the scientific posts (and I don’t have that many of those done), plus I haven’t decided on the niche/area I would like to focus on. Though to be truthful, for the blog I can be a little more of a jack-of-all-trades, but they would need a central theme.

Work on getting in a routine of reading business & scientific articles.

            I have read several articles on biotech/biopharma business pages, and even shared them on linkedin and twitter. It isn’t totally consistent—but it is a start. I’m still trying to figure out my niche, as everything/one has said that it is better to be an expert than a jack-of-all-trades (which is what I currently consider myself).

            This is currently one of the problems I’m having with my transition plan—trying to narrow down what it is I want to do with my life. One thing I’ve realized over the years—once I master a skill, I start to get bored. Therefore I’m going to need to choose an area, where I will be challenged consistently, and that could even mean working my way up the ladder—more responsibility, more challenges. Or, I may need to look towards smaller companies, where I may wear more than one “hat” in terms of responsibilities.

Therefore the goals for September will include:

At least 420,000 steps

Continue with the photography challenge

Determine some type of workout routine (hopefully more than just walking)

Aim for two weeks of no spending (keep money log)

Read 3 non-fiction books

Continue working on the reboot/pause plan

Try to set up a monthly calendar (getting organize) for various things

Continue reading on various industry websites and sharing interesting articles via linkedin/twitter. Plus notes for weekly recap on the blog

Keep reminding myself: Progress over perfection, and that I shouldn’t fear failure, but fear being in the same place next year as I am today.

No Comments Lifestyle ChallengesMonth in Reviewno spend challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Aquarius Full Moon Goals, a few days late…..

So the moon has transitioned into its full moon stage (either last night or the night before last—depending on where you live in the world). This means that we’re half way through August, and pretty soon we’re going to be entering the last few months of the year. I’ll be happy when the temperatures cool down—I’m getting tired of the triple digits combined with the high humidity.

So the moon has transitioned into Aquarius, and there are questions that one can ask themselves during this time (again, all questions come from “Moonology: Working with the magic of lunar cycles by Yasmin Boland).

Have I been pragmatic to the point of losing the romance of life?

Have I been living too much in my head and not enough in my heart?

Have I been trying to do things my way, just for the sake of it?

Have I been trying too hard to befriend people, and for the wrong reasons?

Have I allowed myself to move forwards this month?

So if I were to number the above questions 1-5, I think that my answers would be as follows:

  1. Have I been too down to earth or rational lately? It depends on what one is talking about—how I see the world? Yes, I’m way to pragmatic in seeing that the world is going to hell in a hand basket right now. I’m sure that there are people who say that I’m not being rational in how I’m handling my career transition (taking a reboot break), especially since there are signs that a recession could be coming. But I’ve always been a rational person, who likes to have an idea of any and all outcomes before deciding on doing something (hence why I’m still at home and working at my alma mater—I overthink and become paralyzed and stuck).
  2. This is a toss up—I’m usually over cautious (being in my head), but at the same time I’m trying to do more things that I enjoy (and that currently don’t pay the bills—photography, reading, being outdoors).
  3. This depends again on context—what are we talking about. With my job—I do things as written in the protocols. With my life—everything is up in the air, and it’s hard to do something a certain way if you have no idea of what you’re doing.
  4. I’m not someone who makes friends quickly, so I can safely say that I haven’t been trying to befriend people for any reason lately. I know that networking is an important part of job searching and career advancement. While I have an extensive network, I know that I need to actually start putting the work into those relationships—and this something that I’m going to focus on during my reboot break (though I will start doing a little more daily beforehand).
  5. I am slowly making progress on planning my reboot break, and am proud that I’m sticking firm with stating that I’m not signing an extension contract for my current position. I know that there is something more out there, I just have to be willing to move forward to find it—and the best way to move forward is to intentionally “close” a door—that way you have no choice but to move forward.

The Aquarius full moon is a time to find balance between having a few real relationships and being the super person of the month. It is also the time to reflect on things, and figure out how to let go of the things that are no longer helpful or nurturing.

In addition to being within Aquarius, it is also important to see what house the moon is passing through as well. Currently it is moving though my sixth house, or my daily work and health zone. Again, it will be time to reflect on things and figure out how to strike a balance that will bring some peace to one’s life.

Things that one can contemplate during this time:

            Giving up bad habits.

            Restarting an exercise routine.

            Going slow and steady at work.

            Fix the habits/routines that are no longer working for you.

            Start meditating.

            Take up yoga.

So it is fitting that I’m passing through the daily work and health zone—I know that I’ve let my fitness and health routine fall short a lot (I know I’m eating way to many sweets), and I know that there are a million other things I need to be working on as well. If I were to make a small list of goals for the Aquarius full moon they would include:

            Evening meditations—I’ve been good at managing at least two to three minutes. I’d like to work back up to doing five to ten minutes. Also I should try to figure out a way of meditating during the day (instead of going for a walk to buy chocolate, I should try to find a quiet spot to just sit and be for awhile).

            Getting back into a workout routine. While I may not be able to manage a daily workout—I’ll aim for trying to workout two or three days a week, and work up to doing a daily workout.

            Work on my reboot break and transition plans—journal any and all ideas. I have to remember that this is my path to walk, and what may seem strange to others may just work out perfectly for me.

No Comments AstrologyFitness ChallengesFull Moon GoalsLifestyle ChallengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentspirituality

Photography Challenge Day 170: A Book Review: Outer Order, Inner Calm by Gretchen Rubin

The winner of today’s photography challenge—is the following book that I managed to finish about two weeks ago: “Outer Order, Inner Calm: Declutter & Organize to make more room for happiness” by Gretchen Rubin. This is the second book by Gretchen Rubin that I’ve read over the past year (the other was The Four Tendencies).

Kindle books are great; this was one of the two books I finished during July.

This particular book deals with the issue of getting rid of excess belongings and organizing what you keep in a manner that makes you happy (and others living with you). Society as a whole owns way to much stuff—and there are people who rent storage units to store the excess that they can’t fit in their houses. Now I’m currently renting a storage unit, but that is because when I moved home—my room had been converted into a guest room (and I had only planned on being a guest for a few years tops). So my bed, a large bookcase, some other furniture and other belongings (dishes and such) have been sitting in a storage unit for six years.

I’d realized out in Boston that I had too much stuff, and got rid of some of it before moving back (in hopes of savings some money), but I still have too much stuff—especially if I add in what is in my bedroom to what I have in my storage unit. I’m going to slowly be going through things and paring down on what I have (as I realize I probably don’t need forty different t-shirts). That way if I do head back to Boston and have a smallish apartment—I can fit everything into it, without being overwhelmed.

So the book has five chapters, each covering a specific point/topic in the path of creating outer order, and hopefully inner calm.

The first chapter basically lays out the facts that you have to make choices on what you’re going to keep and what you’re going to be getting rid of; also when you’re getting rid of something you shouldn’t feel guilty about the fact that the item no longer has a place in your home (as the author points out—you can out grow things, or just decide that it isn’t necessary to keep a gift just to keep someone happy (who may or may not remember giving it to you).

The second chapter talks about creating order, and just lays out some simple guidelines that once can follow: such as if you can’t retrieve an item you probably won’t use it—which makes sense, we have one cupboard over the fridge that I forget what is stored in it (obviously we aren’t using the items, and it probably wouldn’t hurt to get rid of the items). Another guideline is to avoid buying souvenirs, or if you are going to buy souvenirs one should go with ones that are small and easy to display.

This is one area I will have to deal with once I’m settled (as I don’t plan on really unpacking all the boxes in my storage unit & repacking them)—I have a lot of little knickknacks that I’d bought over the years; I do have a small number that I’ve bought since I’ve moved home—but for the most part they’re packed in my storage unit.

I think I’ve come up with an idea on how to display them nicely—making use of my large bookcase, but at the same time I will probably try to sell some of them depending on how I can display them. Having little things showing your personality is good—you just need to be able to take care of them (such as dusting)—and if you have too many of them, you might fall down on that task.

The third chapter talks about knowing yourself and others. Basically—know what you consider to be clutter, what others consider to be clutter and if they don’t agree find some type of middle ground. The fourth chapter talks about cultivating helpful habits (such as tossing junk mail right away, making your bed in the morning, putting dirty dishes into the dishwasher, and so forth) to help keep the clutter down to a minimum.

The fifth chapter talks about adding beauty to the spaces. This can include adding a signature color (or pattern) to the rooms, arranging the displays on a tray, having a theme for the picture frames and so forth.

Basically the book walks you through the steps/thoughts of starting to declutter your home and/or workspace. Decluttering isn’t for everyone—you actually want to be doing it, or if you start you might find yourself with even more stuff (as you feel guilty for getting rid of things, you end up bringing in more to make up for it); also it doesn’t have to happen overnight. I’ve been slowly (and I stress the word slowly) working decluttering my life for the past year—I’ve gotten rid of some stuff, but I also know that I have a lot more that I can get rid of and still be happy. How I’m going about it: I’m asking myself—does this have more than one use? If I find myself in an studio apartment—things will need to be multi-functional (and maybe even multi-storage). Having multiple collections as a teenager or young adult is fine—but now I have to ask the question: do they have a place in the life/home of someone who will be hitting their fourth decade next year?

I highly recommend this book for anyone who is thinking of embarking on the journey of decluttering.

No Comments Book ReviewsLifestyle ChallengesPersonal DevelopmentPhotography

July’s second new moon: goals for the Leo New Moon

So the moon is making its transition into Leo (either today or tomorrow depending on where you live). The transition today will make it the second new moon in July (and a super black moon at that). This also means that the month is over, and there are only five months left in the year. I’m getting better at not asking where the time is going, and I’m trying to get better at time management.

So what are some of things that one can do during the Leo New Moon?

            Show off—celebrate life.

            Flirt.

            Be creative.

            Love thyself—self-love, work on confidence, and leadership skills.

            Spoil thyself.

These are all good for being within the Leo constellation, but one should also look to see what house/zone the moon & Leo are progressing through as well. For me, that means that Leo is going through my 10th house, or my career zone. This is about my career & reputation (professional brand).

So what are some of the things that one can do during this time in regards to the career zone?

            Speak to your boss about how you’re doing.

            Help a colleague out of a rut.

            Check that you’ve not become status mad.

            Start a new business as close to the new moon as you can.

            Apply for new jobs with confidence.

            When you’ve earned it, take the credit.

            Plot your next best career move.

I finding it reassuring that the career zone and new moon are falling within this period again this year. It seems like the universe is nudging me to leave my current position—when I need something ordered for my job, the item is on backorder for months (and now there are two items). Last year, it was a computer issue—this year it is a technical issue. I am currently plotting my next move—it’s going to be a reboot break/pause. This way I can figure out what the hell I want to do with the second half of my life (as I’m looking at entering the last year of my thirties pretty soon).

So looking at these two lists, my goals for the Leo New Moon will include the following:

  1. Continue planning/outlining my reboot break/pause time.
  2. In part with #1—plan at least one trip (either total mental break or a combination mental break/networking/job searching).
  3. Work on creating more content for the blog and getting back into creative writing.
  4. Continuing with the photography challenge
  5. Work on my daily meditation practice (try to get back to meditating 5-10 minutes a night).

As always my current motto is: Progress over perfection. Right now slow is the pace I need to be going, as I try to focus on both my health and moving my career forward.

No Comments job searchingLifestyle ChallengesNew Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional development

Cancer New Moon Goals: Review

So tomorrow, the moon will be entering another new moon phase, and it will be the second one for the month of July (and is also considered a black super moon—aka the second new moon in a month), though for some it will actually fall on August 1st. This means that July is basically over, and there are only a little over 150 days left in the year. It also means that it’s time to look back at the goals that were set for the Cancer new moon, and see how I did with them.

So what were my goals for the Cancer new moon?

1) Review, edit, and update my 12-month goals/plans for the different areas that I set out back under the Aries new moon.

2) Meditate nightly (even if it’s only for a couple of minutes).

3) Do a daily tarot/oracle card reading (even if I don’t share on social media right away).

4) Read at least one more non-fiction book (two-three would be great)

5) Start working through some of the different e-courses that I’ve bought over the past two years.

So how did I do with each one?

  1. I’m still reviewing, editing, and updating my 12-month goals/plans especially since I’m going to be starting a reboot break/pause towards the end of the year. I’m slowly figuring out what I want to do in life (I have several ideas brewing), and I know that the goals that I set out a few moons ago are in need of constant adjustment.
  2. I’ve managed to do this, even if it’s only for a few minutes. I’d like to be able to get back to where I was meditating for five minutes or more, but I know that I can get there—it will just take daily/evening work to get there.
  3. I have been doing daily oracle/tarot card readings, but I’ve only been sharing maybe once a week on social media. This is because I feel like some of the readings are a little too personal for social media (or at least the messages seem that way). I will try to share at least twice a week (if not more often).
  4. I managed to finish two books during the new moon period. One was about decluttering and the other was about pausing (taking a break) to help figure out one’s life.
  5. I’ve tried to start some of the e-courses, but only manage about ten minutes here or there. I know that I should schedule time for doing them (and I may try to do it the last hour or so of the workday).

So I managed to do pretty well with the goals for the Cancer new moon period, though I might not have gotten as much done with a few as I would have liked—a little progress is better than none. Also in terms of the e-courses, while I have numerous ones—I may start with the ones that I feel could be the most beneficial at this time, work through those and then move on to the next set of courses. It has only taken me almost thirty-nine years to realize that I really haven’t been steering my ship, I’ve been adrift on the current but now I’m slowly starting to readjust the course of the ship.

No Comments AstrologyLifestyle ChallengesNew Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional development