Tag: careertransition

Using the comfort diagram to expand one of the niches

It’s been roughly nine months since I was ‘assigned’ my first comfort diagram to draw.

Original Comfort Diagram

Over the past nine months (and truthfully, longer than that–I’d say the past five to six years), I’ve been doing quite a bit of personal reflection/self-assessment to try to figure out what it is I want to be doing with my life.

Research at the bench will always hold a special place–it was my longest ‘running’ job: undergraduate lab tech, graduate student, two-postdoctoral positions, and two staff scientist positions.

It just isn’t want I want to be doing with the rest of my life–maybe due to burnout, boredom, growing tired of funding issues, or a combination of all of the above.

The past year and half since the pandemic start has been a reflection and recovery period.

Latest Comfort Diagram

I’m slowly rediscovering my love of learning, doing crafts, thinking outside the box, and not rushing around constantly.

The second comfort diagram has come a long way from the first.

The bounce zone was added, things have been moved around, other things have been added (intuitive eating and interior design for example), and the comfort, bounce, and stretch zones have all grown–while the risk zone is slowly shrinking.

I’ve explored several different job directions over the past year (medical writing, data analysis, clinical research, and intellectual property), and while all are interesting–I also realize that I need to select one (or two) directions to focus on to begin with.

I’ve decided to focus on science/medical writing/communication to begin with, knowing that it can cover clinical research (and possibly even intellectual property), and I can always add in data analysis at some point.

I also know that I should be trying to focus on one or two areas in terms of my ‘expertise’ in science/medical writing/communications. Truth, be told–I’m finding it more difficult to decide on these two areas, than I did on trying to narrow down what type of industry positions I wanted to initially investigate.

Mind-mapping is a wonderful tool, especially when trying to see how things fit together.

My ‘what interests’ me in science mind-map

As I was drawing the mind map, I felt like most items could branch off of either molecular biology or cellular biology. I also felt like those two areas were connected by the ‘central dogma of biology’.

I have expertise in several areas of molecular biology: molecular cloning, recombinant protein expression and purification, sequencing, and construction of libraries for high-throughput sequencing.

Luckily, I know that I can add or switch my ‘focus’ area as I progress as a science/medical writer–meaning I don’t have to strictly write about microbiology or botany forever.

Therefore, I will probably start with the ‘expertise’ areas (if nothing else–I’m thinking of creating longer posts or a self-published short e-book giving troubleshooting tips for one or more of the topics), and possibly pick areas of oncology and neuroscience to begin with.

These two subject areas will still allow me to look at the cell cycle, signal transduction pathways, epigenetics, metabolism, and even the ‘program’ cell death pathways as well.

Though within oncology, I may need to narrow the field and decide which cancer(s) I’m going to focus on (since there are literally over fifty different ‘types’ of cancers). Neuroscience and its related diseases are smaller in number compared to cancer.

What question(s) do you have in regards to oncology (the study of cancers) or neuroscience, that you would like me to answer in a future post?

No Comments careerHealthLifestyle ChallengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflectionsspiritualityUpdates

Balancing the coin between personal and professional development goals

So the moon entered its latest full moon stage last night (November 19; I’m a day or so behind in my writings). This means that there are only ten days left in November, and forty-one days left in 2021. Hopefully 2022 will be a slightly mellower than 2021 has been.

Since we’re into fall (or early winter), I will hopefully be getting a walk in this weekend—but remembering all camera gear, that way if I need the longer lens for the ducks in the middle of the lake, I’ll have them.

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?

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

  1. Yes, I have been slightly lazy and self indulgent this month, so far. I need to get back into a fitness routine, which means having the dogs and cats out of the room by no later than quarter after eight so I can do a twenty to thirty minute workout. I also need to quit spending money on the silly game I’ve been playing for the past couple of weeks as well. November is shaping up like March in terms of splurging.
  2. Looking back at last year’s answer: I’ve never really been one for status symbols. I’m not obsessed with money—though I’m now really thinking more on the direction(s) for my transition, since I’ve managed to run through a good amount of my savings during the past two years.
  3. Any and everyone would tell you that I’m stubborn. I freely admit to being stubborn—I think it is the one thing that got me through grad school (and all four positions afterwards as well). Last year I mentioned how I was only slightly jealous of countries that were handling the pandemic decently—and those are the ones I’m still slightly jealous of. The only thing I’m becoming slightly possessive over is my ‘me time’ or my quiet time—time where I’m really not having to deal with other people, and its one of the reasons I’m really leaning in the remote/contract/freelance direction—I can have my waking up time in the mornings.
  4. This is a yes/no question. No, in the sense I don’t like the phrase ‘comfort eating’. Food is meant to comfort and fuel us–calling it ‘comfort food’ can have a ‘negative’ feel to those who are trying to heal their relationship with food. Yes, in the sense that I’m eating foods that ‘comfort’ me–some may have a little more nutritional value than others.
  5. We finally got our Wi-Fi problem corrected. This means that I should be able to stream workouts, without there being constant buffering. I will probably start my second round of morning meltdown 100 on Monday.

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

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

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

This has been another weird year (we’re still in the grasp of the pandemic, even though vaccines are available for everyone over the age of five; we have competent people in the White House, but the world is still tumbling in a downwards spiral), and I acknowledge that I’m still trying to do the best that I can—even if it looks like I’m moving backwards in some areas.

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

  1. Start another round of Morning Meltdown 100
  2. Continue mending my relationship with food (start eating yogurt/fruits/nuts again for breakfast at least two days a week)
  3. Continue working on updating the blog/website to focus on the slight ‘swerve’ towards adding in more science/edical, health/wellness, and personal/professional development writing pieces
  4. Work on updating my LinkedIn profile to showcase my interest in moving towards more of a writing career (key words, companies to follow, and building up my network in those areas)
  5. Get back into a nightly meditation routine

In order to try to finish 2021 on the ‘right’ note—there is quite a bit of computer work to be done, and I know that if I start again with fitness (and getting in more protein), I will be able to get my anxiety and stress under control.

How have you been managing your stress and/or anxiety over the past year and a half?

No Comments AstrologycareerfinancesfitnessFull Moon GoalsHealthPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Limited-spending Challenge Check-in #7: still splurging on the e-books

So, it’s that time again–checking in on my yearlong limited spending challenge.

A brief recap for those who are new to the blog–I decided at the end of 2020 that instead of trying to do ‘no-spend’ months (and totally splurging), I would do ‘limited’ spending months, and items would fall into one of two categories: needed or splurges.

I did really well with the challenge in January, and then started slipping a little each month since (I think I got a little too proud of myself and the inner critic/imposter syndrome has been slowly derailing me since). Last month (June) I planned on doing a ‘rebound’ and really honoring the challenge, but still ended up splurging a little. Though if you don’t count the books (I am a total impulsive book buyer, especially in terms of e-books), I did okay.

So how did I do for July?

Well, there were still purchases, and a few splurges.

I bought myself an early birthday present of two new pairs of workout leggings (also to be worn throughout the year).

I bought a few ‘physical’ books–but they’re to serve as ‘references’ as I move forward in science communications/education:

  1. Medical writing: A guide for clinicians, educators, and researchers by Robert Taylor
  2. Molecular and Cellular Biology of Viruses by Phobe Lostroh
  3. AMA Manual of Style, 11th Edition by the JAMA Network Editors

Then there were the e-books:

  1. A Tainted Mind (Windsor Series #1) by Tamsen Shultz
  2. What if it does work out? How a Side Hustle can Change Your Life by Susie Moore
  3. Wiretaps and Whiskers (The Faerie Files #1) by Emigh Cannaday
  4. The Misters: Seven book box set by JA Huss
  5. The Varsity Dad Dilemma by Lex Martin
  6. African Goddess Initiation: Sacred Rituals for self-love, prosperity, and joy by Abiola Abrams
  7. The Dark Emeralds Series (#1-3) by Jerry Lambert
  8. The Mixed Six-Pack (#1-3) by Danika Bloom
  9. Forever & Storm (the last two Linear Tactical books that I was missing) by Janie Crouch
  10. Absolution (Anderson & Costello #1) by Caro Ramsay
  11. The Girl in the Motel (Joe Court #1) by Chris Culver
  12. Shadow Forces by Camilla Black and Kimberly Griggs
  13. The Perfect Death (Brannon House #1) by Stacy Clafin
  14. Cunning Devil (Lost Falls #1) by Chris Underwood
  15. More of Us to the West (The Adrift #1) by Trinity Dunn

In addition to the dozen or so that I got for ‘free’ through various promotions last month. I’ve realized that the biggest problem–seeing all the ads on Facebook for the various books. I think that is how I found basically all of the e-books, was through those ads. I need to start using the time management app Self Control again, and then only be on Facebook in the evenings for specific reasons (that way hopefully limit the possible splurges and new author buys).

The cost of the three physical books was probably equal to the cost of the e-books for the past month or so (and I won’t even add in the cost of the ‘physical’ books that I bought back in June), since the larger the book (and/or hardback), the pricier the book. I know that I could have gotten the ‘physical’ books as e-books, but in terms of ‘reference’ books, for the most part I prefer to have the physcial book.

I did add another e-course to the list: How to write Patient Materials offered by Health Writer Hub. This is a three-week course, which is self-paced, with lifetime access (which is nice, since I’m way behind schedule on completing it).

While I added the above course to the list of things to work through, I did decide against adding in others (including learning how to set up a freelance writing business, and a personal development/health course). The goal now for the last five months of the year is to work through several of the large courses that I bought, read more of the books I bought (though I still have a list of books that have been preordered throughout the rest of the year), possibly only buy another three to four ‘reference’ books, and ‘honor the limited spending challenge’.

I’m hoping that for the last five months, the main purchases will be health/beauty items, dog treats, and the possible three or four other ‘reference’ books that I may find beneficial to have (such as biostatistics for dummies, and statistics for dummies).

Curious–how many fiction books do you read a year, and who are some of your automatic-buy authors you follow?

No Comments BooksfinancesLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesReflections

The ‘dog days of summer’ hindered some goals

So the year is officially over halfway over–there are only 153 days left in 2021. While it seems things are still speeding up (I swear that yesterday was May 31st), I have a bad feeling that we’re possibly heading to another lock down (or at least a emergency declaration) within the next few months. The number of people getting vaccinated is starting to decline, and the main variant of the virus (the delta variant) is said to be as contagious as chickenpox. While the vaccine will prevent you from dying (unless you have numerous other underlying issues), you can still spread the virus–so please, get vaccinated, wear a mask, and still practice social distancing. It would be nice if we could end the pandemic before the start of a new decade.

I’m truthfully trying to stay away from the news right now (I’m tired of all the irritating/disturbing news), and I’m fully aware that by doing that I’m exercising my ‘white privilege’. While a good portion of the US population has gotten (or is getting) their vaccine, our total number of cases currently is now slowly going up. When I published ‘June in Review’, I noted that the US was at a little over 34.5 million cases, and now the US is at a little over 35.7 million (So there was an increase of a little over 1.2 million cases for the month). So, the numbers are going back up (June only had ~500K new cases), it’s going to be scary to see what the numbers are in a couple of weeks when various schools (both public and colleges) start up again.

Therefore, I’m going to continue to self-isolate, wear a mask when I have to go out, and even cut back on the frequency of walks at Boomer Lake (or perhaps go a little earlier in the mornings).

Before looking ahead to August (midway through the third quarter, and a new set of goals, plus the plans of become slightly more productive), I should look at the goals I set for July and see how I did with each of them

The goals for July included:

  1. 135-150,000 steps, these will hopefully include at least one walk at Boomer Lake and then I will have to figure out how I’m going to get the rest in–due to the fact we’re going to be heading into the ‘dog days of summer’
  2. Finishing up LIIFT4 and starting the second round of Morning Meltdown 100
  3. Read one to two non-fiction books (and write small reviews)
  4. Read two to three fiction books (and write small reviews)
  5. Finish the writing/editing assignments for MWO, the MWO course, and work through the first module of the Regulatory Affairs Council program
  6. No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month
  7. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude entries
  8. Craft time (start the cross-stitch project, and possibly create at least one necklace)
  9. Work through at least one other personal/professional development e-course
  10. Start back at refreshing Spanish (30-45 minutes a day, two-to-three days a week)

So how did I do with each of them?

135-150,000 steps–I managed to reach the minimum number of steps (and actually slightly surpassed with a a total of 140,686 steps), since I was able to do two walks at Boomer Lake earlier in the month. I know that I can put movies on and march in place/circles to get in the steps (I’ve done it in the past)–I just didn’t feel like watching TV this past month.

Finishing LIIFT4 and starting MM100

I was actually almost finished with LIIFT4 (the lifting portion), when I semi-sprained my wrist mid-month. I had been doing some yard work and tried to cut a thick branch with the pruners and placed a little too much pressure on my wrist. I then decided I would focus on ‘intentional’ movement again while waiting for my wrist to heal. Even though there is some slight discomfort (every so often), I will be restarting LIIFT4 (possibly going light for awhile) on Monday, and then starting my second round of MM100 in September (finishing up 2021 with the program).

Read one to two non-fiction books (and hopefully write small review)

I’m currently a little over a third of the way through ‘The More of Less’ by Josh Becker. July was more fiction reading than non-fiction reading (in part due to the frequent mild anxiety attacks I’d been having).

Read two to three fiction books (and hopefully write small reviews)

The fiction books I managed to read this month included:

The Scent of Magick (McKendrick Warlocks #3) by Rhyannon Byrd

Come Together (Butler, VT #7) by Marie Force

Inked Obsession (Montgomery Ink: Fort Collins #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan

In addition to binge reading the Green Mountain series and the first six books in the Butler VT series by Marie Force (to be able to red book seven).

So far, Inked Obsession is the only one that has a review up on the blog currently. I’m working on the other two (A Scent of Magick and Come Together), and they should be getting posted sometime during August.

Finishing up the writing/editing assignments for MWO, the MWO course, and working through the first module of the Regulatory Affairs Council program

I have my first ‘drafts’ of the editing assignments finished (I may go back and try to re-edit one or two of the assignments [see if I can get the word count down a little more for one of them]), and am slowly working on the writing assignments.

I didn’t watch any of the videos from the Regulatory Affairs Council program.

No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month

While this will be covered in a little more depth in my limited spending check-in post, I will say that I did spend a little more this month than I had originally planned on.

Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude entries

Well, we’re in the dog days of summer—so if I was outside it was usually sitting in front of the fan (though I did manage to get two walks in at Boomer Lake this past month). I’ve been good at doing my evening meditation/sitting quietly for a few minutes before bed.

In terms of the daily gratitude entries, I’d been pretty good at doing those up until the past week or so. Goal for August—gratitude entry before other work in the evening.

Craft time (start the cross-stitch project and possibly create a necklace)

I have started a cross-stitch project. I haven’t gotten very far with it, but it is going to be an abstract design (actually really—no design, but trying to use each color of thread at least once), that I hope to finish by the end of September.

Work through at least one other personal/professional development e-course

I started working through the one program ’15 errors in scientific writing and how to fix them’ last week (I’ve managed to watch at least five videos, and am about a quarter of the way through the course).

Start back at refreshing Spanish (30-45 minutes a day, two-to-three days a week)

Nope, this still hasn’t happened. I think the main reason is that I’m trying to put too much stuff on the ‘plate’ each day, and if something has to be ‘left’ behind (as in not finished or started), it is usually this—refreshing Spanish.

While there were a few goals that I didn’t meet (refreshing Spanish, working through various e-courses, and having a ‘good’ limited spending month), I did manage to get a few other things accomplished.

I applied for, and was accepted as a volunteer medical content writer. While it isn’t a paid position—I’m gaining experience in medical content writing, and a company I can use as a reference at some point in the future. It is also helping me focus on topics that may not be of total ‘interest’ to me, but of interest to others.

Therefore, going forward I’m going to have to try to get better at time/project management—so that I can get things checked off the to-do list, but also generate content for others (currently just the medical content company).

I’m also working on trying to add more science and health posts and pages to the blog as well, with the goal of having at least one to two new pages a month, in addition to one to three new posts a month.

I’m keeping my goals fairly consistent—as that is how they become habits. Since I still slightly struggle with a few of them (limited spending, working through e-courses, and so forth), that means they’re not habits yet, and even when they become habits—they will still have a spot in the tracker journal.

As we move into the last five months of 2021—we may be facing another ‘shelter in place’ order (depending on how bad the delta variant of the SARS-CoV2 virus continues to spread), which means focusing on my mental health may take priority again this fall. The past couple of days, I’ve felt my anxiety spike just over the thought of picking a new template for the blog, rearranging the order of pages (possibly combining some and removing others), adding new pages and ‘rewriting’ my home and work with me pages.

While, I don’t like the semi out of control feelings that the anxiety attacks produce—I’m acknowledging the sensations and working through the feelings. The redesign of the blog may take a few weeks (or possibly even a few months), but I’ll get it done. When the anxious feelings really spike—that will be when the computer is shut down, and I pick up the cross-stitch project and stab the cloth over and over again (it actually helps).

So, the first seven months of 2021 are over, who knows how the last five months are going to go (especially in terms of the pandemic)—but I know that I will keep showing up daily, working on laying the foundation to an online career and presence. That career and presence will be multi-facet, mainly so that I don’t lose interest as I move forward.

Therefore the goals for August will include:

  1. 135-155,000 steps; I will probably need to put a movie (or three) on to get the steps in this month. We’re in the middle of the ‘dog days of summer’, and the delta variant is surging both in town and the state–this means I’m going to have to start limiting both the number of walks and the time spent up at Boomer Lake.
  2. Restart LIIFT4 (following the lifting schedule, not necessarily streaming the program)
  3. Finish up the writing/editing assignments for MWO, the MWO program, and roll the dice to figure out the next advanced cheeky scientist program to start
  4. Finish reading two to three of the four non-fiction books I’ve started over the past two months
  5. Read two to four fiction books (write small reviews for at least one of them)
  6. No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month
  7. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, and daily gratitude entries in the journal
  8. Craft time (continue working on the cross-stitch project)
  9. Work through at least one other personal/professional development e-course

The goals are similar to last month; I just decided I’d leave off refreshing Spanish currently (since I have enough on the plate, when I also add in the weekly content I need to write for my volunteer position).

If another ‘shelter in place’ order is given this fall, I will probably have to go through various social media accounts and limit the number of political things I see (I’m totally pro-vaccine, pro-mask, and pro-social distancing; I just get tired of seeing all the stuff in regards to those who aren’t following the guidelines).

The blog/website will be getting a ‘new look’ over the coming weeks/months as I try to streamline how things look, and what type of ‘work’ I’ll be offering (writing/photo stock/project management and so forth). The domain name won’t be changing for a while (possibly late fall or early next year), depending on how things work out.

I’m going to share the words I chose for 2021 again— growth, creativity, curiosity, happiness, and prosperity.

What type of post would you like to see more of: science/educational, personal/professional development, hobbies/crafts, book reviews, or thoughts on different career paths?

No Comments Book ReviewsBookscareerCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesMonth in Reviewno spend challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflectionsspiritualityUpdates

Oracle of the Shapeshifters: Days 21-25 of Challenge

Today marks the twenty-fifth day of the oracle card challenge. While I have taken a day or two off, here or there—I’m pledging to share an oracle card a day on Instagram for a year (decided to expand past the original 120 days, but not do the full 578 days). Therefore, the challenge will last roughly through the first week of July 2022 (depending on how many more days I may take off from the challenge).

So, days twenty-one to thirty are going to be from the Oracle of the Shapeshifter deck by Lucy Cavendish. I have several decks by Lucy, and I love the stories that one can spin from any of the cards, and lately I’ve been flipping though the cards until I come to one that really speaks to me for the day.

The card drawn for day twenty-one was the beautiful little worm. This is a card of ‘rest’, and the encouragement to slow down if only for a day or two to regroup one’s energy.

Take the time to breath, and rest if necessary

It is slightly funny that I drew this card on a Monday, and after spending time attempting to create an editorial calendar for the next few months (I have most of the creative/reflective pieces put in—now the work is to decide on the more ‘in-depth’ pieces and how many do I want per month).

The worm is here to remind us to rest, be kind to ourselves, exercise regularly but gently, and to organize our space enough that we have a place to escape and relax when needed.

These are things I’ve been working on daily for the past few months—self-compassion, rest, intentional movements, and intuitive eating are things that hopefully may come more ‘naturally’ as I practice them. While I have no desire to return to the ‘old normal’, I realize that finding my ‘new normal’ will still take awhile.

The card drawn for day twenty-two was the ‘mermaid in a koi pond’ card.

Rediscover who you are…become the dragon.

She is here to remind us that having a safe haven is nice and needed from time to time, but if we stay too long—we tend to outgrow the haven.

I’m working on expanding my ‘safe haven’, since we’re still in the middle of the pandemic, I’m not keen on doing anything extremely rash.

I am also working on moving ‘upstream’ as well—currently the biggest ‘obstacles’-having too many ideas bouncing around in my head, and semi-horrible time management skills.

I’m working on both—I have (more or less) basically all creative/reflective ideas written out on a calendar, now it to figure out what ‘in-depth’ topics I want to add, the length and the depth of the topic, and when I would like to ‘publish’ the small/medium/large articles.

Science communication is vital these days, and while I could just jump in—I’m trying to ensure that what I share is written in a way that everyone can understand it (not just us science nerds), and that is the difficult part—but can only get better with constant practice in writing, publishing, and getting feedback from others.

The card drawn for day twenty-three was the ‘you are unlike anyone else’ card.

Embrace what makes you unique and complex

A reminder that we are all unique individuals and shouldn’t try to blend into the crowd—that is something I’m slowly working on, figuring out how to stand out in the crowd.

During this career change/transition, I’ve realized where I need to focus: writing (all styles—with focus more on scientific/technical plus creative), time and project management, in addition to possibly learning some coding on the side.

I’m going to ‘reinvent’ myself from a bench scientist to a scientific journalist/project manager who also takes time to focus on crafts and hobbies.

What to share on various sites are still up in the air (especially on Instagram), but I know that I will get there—it just requires baby steps and the willingness to stop, take a breath and keep moving forward when the inner critic/imposter syndrome wants me to move back into the shadows.

The card drawn for day twenty-four was ‘Poe’s Brave Flight’.

Move forward, even if you are afraid

A reminder that when we constantly play it safe and work to avoid things that could ‘hurt’, we end up shrinking ourselves daily.

I will admit to ‘playing it safe’ in terms of my career, I gave academia years long than I should have—because I was ‘scared’ to make a change. I was ‘scared’ to possibly choose wrong and end up in another ‘situation from hell’.

Well, I’m slowly stepping out from my safe zone. I took a volunteer writing position to gain experience in medical content writing, I’m trying to consistently share science news on LinkedIn, and trying to publish creative/reflective pieces somewhat consistently on the blog. In terms of science communications/writing—I’m going to list all sort of topics that interest me (in addition to looking back at news stories) and randomly pick things to look into, write on, and share on various sites.

The card drawn for today, day twenty-five was card seven: bats in the belfry.

Move forward with a little help from those who ‘can’ see in the dark

The bats are a reminder that one can achieve great things (even if they look strange to others). They can show one how to find their way, even if the path is currently ‘hidden’.

To move ahead in life, it may seem like things are upside down and going against what others may think is best for you—but that is when one needs to have even more courage, imagination, and boldness to move towards their dreams.

I’m slowly moving forward with more imagination, and little more boldness and courage. This weekend is going to be partial spent determining other sites/online magazines/forums that I could possibly submit articles to, brainstorming ideas for crafts (such as photography and maybe jewelry), and others ideas to start diversify things.

One thing I will need to work on–balancing writing the creative/reflective pieces with the more in-depth ‘research’ pieces. Though I think it is almost safe to say that I’m going to focus on creating a freelance/online/remote/contract career that is focused on writing, data analysis, project management, and crafts.

No Comments HealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesoracle cardsPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentReflectionsspirituality

Nature’s Whispers: Days Eleven to Fifteen of Oracle Card Challenge

So today marks day fifteen of the oracle card challenge, and that means there are only 105 (or 563) days left in the challenge. Today also marks the halfway point for the second deck of cards chosen: Nature’s Whispers by Angela Hartfield.

Day Eleven Oracle Card Draw

The card chosen for the eleventh day was ‘be in service’. It is a reminder to give back to the world, and while life is give and take—harmony is achieved when they’re balanced.

A kind word, holding a door, or even an email inquiring how things are going are all simple acts of being in service.

I’ve been bouncing ideas around on how to use my degree/education more and ‘be in service’ and have touched on the topic of science communication. There is a deep rift between how science is communicated between scientists and how they communicate it to the rest of the world—I want to help bridge that rift.

Day Twelve Oracle Card

The card chosen for the twelfth day was ‘higher ground’. It is a reminder that if things seem out of balance, or not going your way—all you may need is to look at it from ‘higher ground’. Sometimes we miss ‘the forest’ because we’re focused on ‘the trees’ and vice versa.

For years I’d been focused on ‘research at the bench’, that I had ‘forgotten’ that research doesn’t have to be just at the bench, but it can be done away from the bench and therefore take on various forms. I’m slowly ‘embracing’ research away from the bench, and looking for the ‘topics’ that I find interesting and enjoy.

Day Thirteen Oracle Card

The card chosen for the thirteenth day was ‘illumination’. It is a reminder that while we all have ‘guardian angels’ willing to help—we still need to believe in ourselves as well. Knowing that we are capable of achieving dreams (old or new) as long as we are willing to put in the work and believe that it is possible.

We also shouldn’t compare our journey to others—everyone has their own path to walk, and some may be ahead, some may be behind, and others may look like they’re walking along side.

While worry and fear have their places in life—one should try not to let them overwhelm. That has been a problem in the past; I’ve let worry and fear overrun my life too many times to count. Now, I simply try to acknowledge their presence, give them space and work through the emotions and the ‘blocks’.

I realize that I will be harboring these emotions frequently as I try to edge my way into a new career—one that may become full-time, or may only become part-time. While acknowledging their presence, I’m also going to work at ensuring they don’t keep me tethered to my comfort zone.

Day Fourteen Oracle Card

The card chosen for the fourteenth day was ‘make a decision’. There are times when it would be nice to turn the clock back to where the biggest decision one had to make was cereal or waffles for breakfast. It becomes difficult at times to see the variety of choices one has once that ‘degree’ is chosen in college, or when the program is decided on for graduate school.

I’ve realized one reason why I’d been a somewhat ‘passive’ player in my career—the ‘goals’ had somewhat already been mapped. Deviating from that course, now means I need to figure out what the goals, benchmarks, and milestones moving forward and that can be somewhat scary.

But I do have the wisdom to create a ‘new’ path, without totally ‘destroying’ the old—but it will take a little more time to figure out the goals, benchmarks, milestones moving forward will be, but that is also part of the fun. Creating something new, melding it with the old, and making it my own.

Day Fifteen Oracle Card

The card chosen for the fifteenth day was the ‘empowerment’ card. It is a reminder that while we can handle things as they come—sometimes it is nice to have the guidance and support of others (especially in our careers).

As we move through life (especially in our careers), we at times have to go looking for the guidance and support of others, while at other times both are always there.

Everyone says one should have mentors—both ones that you talk to (either via phone, email, or zoom), and others that you end up finding online and following their online presence.

For an introvert (with anxiety)—finding mentors that you talk to is semi-difficult, especially when you’re still trying to determine the direction that you want to go in. Finding the ‘virtual’ ones is easy, though I’m starting to go back through and ask myself ‘am I following this person because I truly find them inspiring, or am I following them because they’re the ‘person’ to follow?

This is yet another puzzle piece that I am working on figuring out the shape of, slow but steady.

These cards are slightly different from the enchanted map and others in that they ‘don’t’ tell a story, per say. What I mean by ‘story’ is that card’s meaning is general—so depending on your ‘question’ or situation the ‘story’ or outlook may differ from reading to reading.

These cards are still helping me move forward with the goal of freelance work—they’re reminding me of things that I need to work on (such as finding mentors, not letting fear and anxiety run the show, and asking for (and accepting) help when needed).

Here’s to the next five days of the Nature’s Whispers Oracle deck challenge.

I asked this question on both LinkedIn and Instagram, and only received a single answer (climate change)—so I’ll ask it here as well: what science topic do you wish was communicated better? Also who are some of your favorite people to follow (and why)?

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Recapping days six to ten of Instagram Oracle Card Challenge

So, today marks the second installment in my oracle card challenge, with a summary of days six to ten using the Enchanted Map Oracle Deck. Starting tomorrow I will be using Nature’s Whispers Oracle Deck by Angela Hartfield for the next ten days. It is hard to believe that it has already been ten days into the challenge—and only another 110 (or possibly 568) more days left.

Card thirty for the enchanted map oracle deck: making a choice
Card drawn on day six of oracle card reading challenge

The card for day six was making a choice (card thirty in the upright position). It is a reminder that we have a choice to be either an active player in our own lives or passive players allowing others to make the choices and just going with the flow (either intentionally or unintentionally). I’ve been a somewhat passive player in my own career fluttering from position to position without really asking myself if this is something that will make me happy in the long run.

I am at the ‘proverbial’ fork in the road, and am taking the route of using my education in a different manner/direction. While the bench will always be there, now is the time to edge away and find the enjoyment again in writing, looking at data, picking up the camera, and all the other ideas that are bouncing around in my head.

It will take awhile to get everything lined up—but I’m going slowly down the path (knowing that I can jump over to the bench, or even some other ‘physical’ job if needed).

Cleaning house card drawn on day seven of challenge
Card drawn on day seven of challenge

The card for day seven was cleaning house (card thirty-seven in the upright position). I found it slightly funny pulling this card the other night, as I’m also reading a book on minimalism (More of Less by Joshua Becker) right now as well. This is something that I’ve slowly been working on for quite a while, as I’ve realized that once I do have things in place career wise and then start thinking of moving—I have way more stuff than I really need.

I’m slowly ‘cleaning house’, mainly because most of my stuff is still in storage. What am I doing—downsizing the number of items that I currently have around me daily. I know the areas that I can go ‘minimalistic’ in, and I also know the areas that I won’t be going ‘minimalistic’ in as well—it is all about balance.

The mental decluttering will take a little longer (namely the negative stories, self-doubts, and those things), but it is something that I’m working on.

Card forty seven of enchanted map deck: the sacred pool
Card drawn on day eight of challenge: the sacred pool

The card for day eight was the sacred pool (card forty-seven in the upright position). It asks of us to do a detached self-examination that is made with rigorous honesty, but also acknowledges how far we’ve come through the years. It is time to focus on self-love and self-esteem.

These are areas that I work on daily—I’ve always been proud of what I’ve managed to accomplish, but there are times when my self-esteem hits rock bottom. It is never easy to change paths, directions, or callings and is even harder when you’re an introvert with social anxiety. The though of reaching out to others is nerve wracking (and brings about all those negative self-esteem thoughts).

This is something I’m working on changing. I’m slowly developing several ideas I have for articles/posts for the blog, LinkedIn, and possibly other sites as well. Improving one’s self-love and self-esteem should always be daily goals in this day and age.

Card drawn on day nine: the dry desert

The card for day nine was the dry desert (card thirty-one in the upright position). This is a card that I feel has the same message no matter the direction you draw it (upright or reverse). It is reminding us that we can survive what life throws at us—we’re resilient and adaptable. Self-reflection helps in any situation (regardless of how the situation turns out).

Looking inward, remembering childhood dreams, and such are several ways to help reconnect with things we enjoyed doing at one point but may have forgotten about them, as we got older.

Self-reflection is almost a daily habit, and I’ve remembered things that I had enjoyed doing at one point—learning, writing, reading, and doing research. Research doesn’t have to always be done at the bench—it can also come from a book, a paper, or elsewhere. All of these things can be merged into an online (or in-person) career, I just need to place the pieces of the puzzle or perhaps find those last few missing pieces.

The gentle gardener

Today’s card was the gentle gardener (card two in the upright position). She is a reminder that our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs help to create our reality. All feelings are valid and should be acknowledge. Give them room, sit with them, work through the emotions, and try to find the sliver lining in the situation.

I have the tendency to let my thoughts spiral out of control, and at times jump to the worse case scenario, both of which spend my anxiety spiking, my stomach rolling and has me questioning what I’m doing with my life. All of which makes it harder to see the ‘rainbows’ through the storm clouds.

I’m getting better at not going down those dark ‘rabbit holes’. I realize that I’m not going to be pleasing everyone in terms of what I write, how I write, or even what I decide to write about. Which is fine—I think that it is time that I start living my life for myself and not for other people.

One of the many mental health goals moving forward is to tend my mental garden and nourish the thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that will help me move forward and gently remove the ones that are keeping me stagnant.

So, today marks the ‘end’ of the first ten days of the challenge and using the enchanted map oracle deck. The past ten days have shown me that I do need to make a choice in terms of life and career—being an active participant over a passive participant. In choosing to do an online career shift, I need to start slow—build a good foundation before trying to go in several different directions at once. Writing will probably be that base—with a good chunk being science communication and education. The rest of the base will go between personal/professional development and hobbies, with a touch of other educational subjects as well.

What is one science topic that you wished was written in a way that the general public could understand it better?

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Taurus New Moon Goals: making career, financial, & life plans

So the moon will be transitioning through the Taurus constellation today–bringing us to our fifth new moon for the year. Somehow we’re a little over a third of the way through 2021, it seems that time just crawled by last year and now is speeding up to ‘catch’ up (if that makes any sense).

While writing the post, I realized that I didn’t set any goals last year for the Taurus new moon. I spent most of April and May of 2020 in an angry haze at how the world was dealing with the emerging SARS-CoV2 pandemic. Since I wasn’t in a good place mentally last year–I spent more time ‘lurking’ than ‘engaging’ and offline whenever possible. Things are slowly starting to look up though (and I know it depends on the criteria–and currently my criteria is that there are component people in the White House that are actually listening to the scientists, and we’re no longer seeing over 100K new cases a day in the US).

Looking to the book ‘Moonology’, there are several things that one can focus on during the Taurus new moon and they include:

  1. Making a financial plan
  2. Checking in with yourself and seeing if you’re living your life in a way that allows you to honor your values. Values may change over time, so it is important to take the time every so often and ask yourself ‘what are your values’
  3. Be sensual; ask yourself “what would make my life better?”
  4. Character check; ask yourself “am I being too stubborn or too lazy?”
  5. Persevere–remember that life is more than just an ‘end goal’, one should also be enjoying the journey to reaching any goals set.

So if I were to look at my core values for 2021, they include: Vitality; Creativity/Curiosity; Spirituality/Inner Harmony/Peace; and Transformation/Evolution/Growth

I am trying to live my life in a way that is allowing me to honor my health and fitness (vitality), find the inner harmony/peace that is difficult to maintain when dealing with high levels of anxiety, and grow/evolve as a scientific industry professional/potential online entrepreneur, while maintaining my creativity and curiosity in the world around me.

In addition, the new moon in Taurus is also moving through my seventh house, or my ‘love zone’. This zone can also be referred to as the relationship zone as well. So what are some of the things that one can do during this time in regards to their seventh house?

  1. Go through old love letters and get rid of at least some of them.
  2. If you’re single and feeling brave, try online dating.
  3. Ask your parents about their ideas on how to make love (aka a relationship) work.
  4. Recommit to your partner
  5. If you hurt a past lover, admit you were wrong and apologize to them
  6. Make a list of the qualities you look for in a partner
  7. If you’re already attached, play matchmaker for a friend

Since we’re still in the middle of a pandemic, I’m going to focus more on the financial/personal development aspects of things. While most would say that it isn’t good to totally ignore the current house–I’m not ignoring it per say–I’m just not putting all my focus on it.

Yes, there is online dating, but that isn’t something that I want to focus on right now. That isn’t to say that I’m ‘afraid’ of online dating–I just don’t want to weed through the incompatible to find someone who may be compatible. As I stated on my 2019 Taurus new moon goals–I seem to be one of the odd ones that doesn’t mind being alone and unattached, plus I know that I still have other things to work out on my own before even attempting to stick my toes into the dating pool.

Therefore my goals for the Taurus new moon will include:

  1. Making a financial plan. I’ve been on a reboot break for a little over a year, and really should start thinking of ideas on how to start replenishing the savings account.
  2. Continue investigating the different potential directions that I’ve come up with in terms of transitioning away from academia.
  3. Try and finish the following books: Career Rehab: Rebuild Your Personal Brand and Rethink the Way You Work by Kanika Tolver; Creativity Rules: Get Ideas Out of Your Head and Into the World by Tina Seelig; and Percolate: Let Your Best Self Filter Through by Elizabeth Hamilton-Guanino
  4. Continue going through clothes and boxing (or bagging) up the clothes that no longer fit well for donation (or selling online)
  5. Continue with daily intentional movements and meditation.

While the goals seem to be on a repetitive loop from year to year–there is progress that is being made, but the steps are so small they may not be noticeable to the stranger’s eye. When I started this blog almost four years ago, it was with the intention of self-accountability on this journey of rediscovery–so while other may not notice the progress, trust me when I say that progress has been made.

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Weekly Update on Job Transition Plan

So I’m currently in the process of trying to move my job transition into industry into a higher gear than what I’ve been doing for the past year. I’ve realized that I’ve allowed having a job to give me a little too much breathing room, and that I need to start acting like the job is going to be ending and kick things into high gear.

So one thing I’m going to be trying to do is write at least one weekly summary of some of the things I’ve been doing over the week in pushing the transition forward. Read More

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