Tag: mentalhealth

Progress on the 44 things to do before turning 44 project

Okay…I realized last night as I was working on the latest update to this ‘project’–I never got around to posting the original 44 things to do before turning 44, nor either of the previous two updates. The original post, and both previous updates I think I posted to Instagram, and I think LinkedIn.

I’ve posted the third update to Instagram this morning, and until LinkedIn allows me back onto my account–obviously I can’t post it there. So I’m posting it here, and will probably post it over to Facebook this afternoon sometime. So, this ’44 things to do before turning 44′ is an update/continuation to the previous ‘birthday’ challenge (43 things to do before turning 43) and the ‘goals’ have been taken from the new 101 goals in 1001-days challenge that I’d also started back the day after my 43rd birthday.

Today marks the third update (March 20), and the half-way point between my birthdays. Now, if it was a perfect world–I’d be halfway done with the goals (in theory knocking out 22 goals in six months)…but it isn’t a perfect world, and I’ll admit that I’d fallen into procrastination canyon for awhile last fall. I’m slowly getting better at getting things done, and who knows I may actually get a decent number of the goals totally completed by my birthday in six months.

So what is on the 44 things to do before turning 44?

Well these goals include:

The daily oracle/tarot card readings are an ‘365-day’ challenge…so obviously I’m not going to be checking this one off until basically my birthday in six months. I have been consistent at doing an oracle card drawing daily, and am even thinking of starting an new Instagram account for sharing those ‘readings’.

I’m learning about body confidence (I’ve read several books on the subject–so check out the list a little further down the challenge list). I’ve got an idea for creating a consistent exercise routine (hopefully by the next check-in, I can say that I’ve managed at least 30-days of consistent intentional movement).

The daily mediation goal is another one that I won’t be ‘checking’ off until basically my birthday in six months. I have been sitting ‘quietly’ for a few minutes every evening, and am still working on trying to introducing some ‘quiet’ (aka meditative) time in the morning. Getting into the best shape of my life will slowly start happening once I’ve developed that intentional movement plan that I will (hopefully) be able to stick with.

I have an idea for the name of a YouTube channel, and ideas for what I would be wanting to talk about…I just need to ‘record’ a practice video and see how it looks/sounds before actually ‘launching’ the channel. Then hopefully by the end of the summer I will have ‘launched’ it as a podcast as well–or at least have a outline/schedule for launching it as a podcast.

Working on the happiness plan, and slowly working on getting the debt down (starting to keep track [more or less] of purchases and such).

Again, the stretching daily won’t be ‘checked’ off until my birthday–and I’ve been stretching in the morning & before bed. The monthly editorial calendars have been getting made (and more or less followed). The others are still works in progress.

Okay…something checked off: My definition of success.

I’m defining success as any of the following:

I have my credit card debt paid off…and have canceled a credit card…and the others are paid off monthly

I have started saving money again, and adding to my retirement account

My yearly earnings are in the upper five figure to low six figures

My stress levels have ‘leveled’ out

I’m committed to a fitness routine that I’ve tailored to my likes and dislikes…I’m in the progress of getting into the best shape of my life

I’m meditating twice a day

I’m spending time out in nature

I’m writing and researching things of interest

I have two successful blogs….two successful freelance businesses

I have a podcast…a YouTube channel…that I do for fun…and to educate and entertain others…earning money from them is secondary…

I have an online store for selling my crafts…

I’ve developed an “working relationship” with my ‘imposter syndrome/inner critic’…

I have developed and embraced my vision of minimalism…

I am staying up-to date on world events…

I have created numerous online courses that not only cover science topics, but history, social sciences, and current events.

Basically…Success to me is being curious, constantly learning, creative, present, productive, and aware that not every day is going to be rainbows and unicorns…sometimes they’re thunderstorms and disasters…Success is more than money, influence, and power…it’s being a member of the global community, helping to improve society in whatever small way(s) I’m able to. It’s being comfortable with what I have, doing what I can with what I have, while striving to be a little better tomorrow than I was today. I’m only in ‘competition’ with the me I was yesterday.

The next step is to create a vision board based on the above statements.

I’m making progress on the non-fiction reading:

I’ve been averaging about five books every two months (so roughly two and a half books a month). While I’ve read more non-fiction books this time around compared to the list for the 43 before 43 challenge–I’m hoping to still ‘finish’ this challenge. That means I need to try to read at least one non-fiction book a week for the next six months. One thing I need to do–is to go back and write at least four to five mini-book reviews over various books that I’ve finished.

Okay two more things have been totally checked off, and I’m halfway done with the challenge of reading two banned books.

Both of the above series are romance series that are based around a group of siblings. The ‘Lost & Found’ series has aspects of suspense woven throughout all the books, while the ‘Cottonwood Cove’ series has various other ‘tropes’ (such as brother’s best-friend [though so does the ‘Lost & Found’], enemy-to-friends, and friends-to-lovers). I give both series five out of five stars, and am planning on going back and writing reviews for each of the series (haven’t decided if it will be five individual reviews or a combo-five reviews over the entire series).

The other goal checked off that page: Doodling/drawing, coloring & framing at least two original drawings. I decided that for this goal I was going to do large drawings/doodles instead of the smaller ones I’d been doing last spring/summer and early fall.

Here are the three that I’d completed last fall:

In addition last fall, I also finished up the first really large needlepoint project:

I’m currently working on a needlepoint project that is even larger than this one. Though I should possibly do a couple of small ones as well–just to make sure that I hit the goal of completing at least three needlepoint projects. I’m also thinking of launching an etsy store to sell abstract needlepoint projects, digital coloring books, downloadable prints of my colored doodles, and other crafts–so stay tuned to hear about when I decide to launch that project.

I may get several of the above goals finished over the next few days/weeks. I have numerous black and white doodles that I can use to create a coloring book. I just need to have really good pictures of them to upload into a program to then print off (or upload) as a pdf booklet. I’m thinking of possibly trying to complete the draw/doodle & paint goal this upcoming weekend along with starting to possibly play with some resin or make some charm bracelets & necklaces.

Okay. In terms of the photography challenge–I need to try to develop a plan–am I going to do various 30-day challenges, random times with the cell-phone camera or what. The last time I did a photography challenge was back in 2018/2019 and I managed about six to seven months before I called quits (mainly because I felt like I was constantly ‘repeating’ the subject matter).

In terms of new & full moon goals–I’ve only missed one so far, and that was setting full moon goals in Oct 2023. I wasn’t dealing with Oct very well (as that was the start of the ongoing genocide in Gaza), and the one thing that really fell by the wayside was the full moon goals at the end of the month.

I’ve finished three Udemy courses and two Skillshare courses so far:

I now have a couple of ideas of sites to use when trying to do SEO research for writing (both on this blog & the science, health, medical blog), and I have a better idea of what goes into a business plan.

I’ll be doing one of those exercises again that allows me to figure out my values at this stage of life, and then figure out how to combine those with my strengths to determine how to create my ‘dream career’. Time theming is something I’m attempting this week…and I’ve realized so far that I need to pair the ‘theming’ with other productivity ‘tools’ such as using a timer, logging out of social media sites, and so forth to ensure that I’m not getting overly distracted from what I’m wanting to get accomplished.

The final two goals:

The sudoku & crossword puzzle challenge is an way of keeping the brain active. I use to do the sudoku puzzle almost daily, but when things really started to go south late 2022…I quit doing them–now I’m going to try to get back into doing them. The crossword puzzles are just for fun, actually they both are. I don’t expect to ‘win’ at the sudoku puzzle every day–especially the harder levels towards the end of the week, and I’m pretty sure that I won’t be finishing every crossword puzzle either.

Learning basic sign language is another ‘refresher’ in a way. When I was younger I could sign the entire alphabet using sign language, but as with many things–since it wasn’t ‘related’ to school…I quit practicing and have forgotten most of what I’d learned. It similar with wanting to become fluent in Spanish–I took a year of Spanish in high school (my freshman year) before switching to German. I didn’t take any foreign languages in college–though, I did take a class that had a class trip to Honduras (so I brushed up on my Spanish a little). I want to become fluent in Spanish to where I could travel to Spain and hopefully not have to rely on a guidebook. I’m hoping to become proficient in Arabic…because why not?

But there you have it. If you’ve read this far (or scrolled) I’ve managed to complete 3 out of the 44 goals currently–that’s not quite 7% (it’s actually 6.8%) of the goals met. Some of the goals are just a matter of deciding that the evening craft time will be spent drawing, painting, playing with beads/charms, threads, or resin instead of knitting (which has been my major project for the past couple of weeks–trying to finish my latest afghan).

So what am I going to try to accomplish over the next two months?

I’m going to work on accomplishing the following:

  1. Create a vision board based on my definition(s) of success
  2. Launch a YouTube channel
  3. Complete at least two 30-day challenges
  4. Read at least another eight non-fiction books
  5. Read another ‘banned’ book & at least one ‘classic’
  6. Finish at least one small needlepoint project
  7. Draw/doodle & paint an original piece of art
  8. Create a workout plan
  9. Write a letter to my future self
  10. Complete another four Udemy courses
  11. Complete another five Skillshare courses

Have you ever made a list of goals based on how old you’re going to be the next year? If so–were you able to accomplish all the goals, or were there some goals that were left unaccomplished?

I’m hoping to put a little progress into all the goals–regardless of whether or not I land a remote position (I want to have at least applied to say half a dozen remote science/health/medical communications positions), as some goals are on-going (getting debt down, getting into the best shape of my life), while others can be marked as ‘done’ once the birthday rolls around (since they’re ‘on-going’ but only for this particular birthday year–currently).

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Combining the creative & the practical: making my own time/project management system

So, the moon is moving through the Pisces constellation and marking the third new moon of the year tonight. Just in time for us ‘springing’ forward. I thought it was bad luck back in 2020—when it was a full moon, Friday the 13th, and springing forward all on the same weekend. Here’s hoping that it won’t be quite as bad this year with it just being a new moon, no Friday the 13th, but still springing forward.

The world is still crumbling or combusting at a nice clip…things in West Asia are almost to a boiling point, where this conflict is going to spill over into a regional conflict within months if not weeks (or days). I noticed that last year I didn’t post anything for March in terms of goals or either new or full moon posts…last year wasn’t the greatest of years (and that is still a mild understatement).

I’ve started trying to plan out the each upcoming week on the weekend…write out the top long-term goals, the top yearly goals, quarterly, and monthly goals (while also referring back to the bingo cards for other goals). So…yeah, I’ve been trying to get better at both time and project management the past two weeks or so. Has it helped improve my time/project management—yes, and no. Yes, in terms of getting more things done…no, in terms of having spent time learning (i.e. watching a TedTalk, listening to a podcast, or working through an e-course). So—I need to figure out how to get those items into the the schedule (going to try using a timer—one that can be set for anything from 20 minutes (for watching a TedTalk) to upwards of an hour (listening to a podcast or starting to work through an e-course)).

If we wanted to focus on things that one could do during the Pisces new moon, according to “Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland, there are several things we can do, and they include:

  1. Dream
  2. Face your fears
  3. Follow your hunches/intution
  4. Heal–focus on working through emotional or spiritual issues
  5. ‘Surrender’–practice yoga, meditation–open yourself to the possibilities of the unvierse.

I’m dreaming…dreaming of having two successful blogs/websites that allow me to live life on my terms. Facing my fears? As I’d mentioned back in 2022—I’ve realized that several of my ‘fears’ are actually more of an ‘anxiety’ issue than an legit fear. This includes my ‘fear’ of public speaking..it’s more of an ‘anxiety’ issue—worrying that someone in the audience is going to ‘stop’ me in the middle of talking to ‘correct’ how I’m saying something…thank you to the damn teachers in elementary school for this ‘fear/anxiety’ issue that I’m still working through. I’d mentioned back in 2022—that I was thinking of launching a podcast or just starting to record myself talking about various topics—as a way of learning to ‘not hate how I sound/talk’. Actually—I’m thinking of launching a YouTube channel later this summer, and this was one of the reasons for it—to get accustomed to how my voice sounds ‘recorded’ and so forth.

Other problems that I need to address as they (or when they) crop up: speaking up for myself & asking for additional projects/work when I get bored (on the job—so this would be mainly if I manage to land a remote position within science/health/medical comms); and sticking up for myself (dealing with confrontations).

In addition I’m still focusing on my mental & spiritual health as well. While conventional religion really doesn’t work for me, I’m attempting to delve deeper into the spiritual side of things (meditation, oracle card readings, journaling, nature, and so forth). One of the biggest things I need to do is set up an dedicated altar that doesn’t also become a catchall for craft supplies. Yoga has been on the ‘to-do’ list for quite awhile…biggest problem currently is #apepthepuppy and I’m not sure how he’d take to me trying to do yoga in the living room.

In addition, Pisces is also moving through my 5th house—or my fun zone. So this is the area that is triggered by creativity, children, and romance. Now I’m good with the creativity portion—I don’t have kids (at least the ‘two-legged’ variety [I do have ‘furry’ children], and I’m not around them all that much), and truthfully right now I’m not in the market for romance (especially since I’m still trying to figure out my life and who knows when I’d possibly be moving).

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

  1. Take up belly dancing
  2. Making a toy for a child
  3. Starting to date
  4. Going on a trip with your significant other
  5. Doing something creative (writing, painting, so forth)
  6. Do something that typifies your idea of fun
  7. Throw a party

So…what would I be scratching off the list as not getting done? Well…I’m not going to start dating (see above for the reason why), taking a trip with one’s significant other (again—not in a relationship), and making a toy for a child (though I may try to make some stuff animals for donations?). Also—no throwing parties, because I’d rather meet up with a few friends for lunch, or a walk, or something other than a party.

I’ve been thinking of taking up belly dancing again (I’d had workout DVDs years ago)—I just need to find a decent YouTube channel to follow. It would also be something that could possibly help me get out of my rut of not doing much ‘physical activity’ during the day. I’ve been working on my large afghan for the past month or so…I’m hoping to have it finished by mid-April (maybe closer to late-April, depending on the size/width of the border pieces I will knit after I’m done with the third panel).

Fun…enjoyment…the balance to ‘work’…though I think one should be able to weave ‘fun’ activities in throughout the day to make ‘work’ more enjoyable. One of the many reasons, why I want to be my own boss..I can take a ‘fun’ break when I need one, to help refuel the creative juices needed to brainstorm the project, outline, or whatever.

Two years ago, I’d made goals such as indulging in more creative work during the day; mind-mapping different ideas (creative writing projects plus more science/health/med topics); trying to create an intentional movement board game; and evening meditation. This year the list of goals is going to include the following:

  1. Continuing to work on the afghan
  2. Determining which goals from the 44 things before 44 & 101 goals in 1001 days will be added to the second quarter BINGO card and/or listed out in the journal
  3. Brainstorming ideas for an intentional movement board game
  4. Brainstorming ideas for different writing projects (both creative & science/health/med related)
  5. Work at setting up an ‘dedicated’ Wiccan/pagan altar for mediation/oracle card reading that doesn’t become a catch-all for craft supplies (namely the threads for needlepoint projects).

In theory, there are two ‘totally finish-able’ goals listed above: working the afghan & setting up the dedicated wiccan/pagan altar. Possibly even the ‘list’ of goals from the 44 before 44 list & 101 goals in 1001 day list can be considered an ‘one-and-done’ goal. Brainstorming goals usually become an ‘ongoing’ goal…because I keep trying to add more and more…so I think I may also have to put a ‘time’ limit on each brainstorming session I have moving forward.

But these projects also have aspects of time/project management not to mention the creative/curious aspect as well. Life at times isn’t totally linear, but can circle back towards something we think we’ve worked through…only to realize that we’ve only learned part of the lesson that we needed to learn.

The other thing I’m going to keep reminding myself of: progress over perfection—since perfection is a myth, and everyone has a different idea of what it looks like.

What is one of your Pisces new moon goals?

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Unplugging at night…now to focus on time & project management tasks

Introduction

So, tonight is November’s new moon. I’m a day behind schedule on most things (as I’ve been this year), and before I look ahead to the Scorpio new moon—I need to look at the goals that I’d set for the Libra new moon and reflect on my progress.

I only set three goals for the Libra new moon. All of them could almost be considered continuous goals…though the first one is also one that could be considered ‘one and done’.  So, what goals did I set for the Libra new moon? Well they included:

  1. Unplugging at night
  2. Continuing my journey in regaining my identity and developing my personal/professional brand
  3. Facing a fear–getting the freelance/remote/contract science/health/medical communications/education business up and going

Three goals…or actually one ‘non-evolving’ goal and two continuously moving and evolving goals. The ‘non-evolving’ goal is unplugging at night. Turning off the computer, setting aside the phone and either working on a craft project, reflecting on the day, or reading (true I read on a kindle…but I don’t have social media apps installed). The other two are more of continuously moving and evolving goals.

So how did I do with each of them?

Unplugging at night:

So, how did I do? I did fairly well. For the most part I just check email, and quickly look at social media before working on a craft project. I’ve managed to finish two large doodles (and framed them) and several smaller black and white doodles. Currently I’m working on a larger one again, that is going to be a mix of black & white, plus color (dragon eyes). I will admit there are some nights that I get sucked into social media with the current shit-show that is going on in West Asia.

I’ve realized that while it is important to stay on top of global events…one also needs to disconnect every so often for the sake of one’s mental health. Therefore I’m going to keep trying to unplug at night—especially after say 7pm (with the exception of using the cell phone for the meditation app around 9pm)

Though I should also spend some time reflecting on the day, making adjustments to the schedule for the following day/week, and just doing some journaling in general.

The journey to regain my identity and the progress of developing my personal/professional brand:

This is an on-going continuous goal. Why is on-going…well depending on exactly what types of communications I decided to focus on for the science/health/medical freelance business—the tone/style and so forth could change if I pivot later. Regaining my identity is an on-going project as I work to unlearn bad habits/thought patterns and history and replace them with better habits, positive thought patterns, and somewhat complete history (filling in gaps that had been left out).

I’ve become more outspoken on the horrors that are happening in West Asia…and I know that there are people that don’t agree with me…and I know that there are one or two people who are offended that I unfriend, unconnected, and then limited their ability to comment on my social media feeds. I did that to help protect my mental health and sanity—because I’m tired of trying to rationalize and have civil debate with people who think that genocide, carpet bombing, and forcing people from their homes is a good idea (or who think that the oppressed are doing it to themselves). 

So..I know that I’m also going to be weaving social activism (at least on-line) into my personal/professional brand. Why mainly on-line? Well…I don’t drive—so until I move somewhere that is closer to places that have rallies for various things—my social activism is basically on-line.

I know that there are more horrors and atrocities going on outside of West Asia…there is the fighting in Sudan, Ethiopia, the Congo, the detention of Uyghur Muslims by the Chinese, and numerous other problems. Why haven’t I spoken out about those??? Well…in part to not having a broad network to learn more about what is going on…western news really doesn’t cover those problems, and if they do—the reports are usually slanted. Also, I haven’t spoken out much—because as an emphatic introvert—it drains me to see the suffering in the world, and know that the various powers to be are perfectly fine with the suffering of the masses.

So…I know that I will probably need to process emotions prior to publishing things, so that I can hopefully engage in civil discussions with people..though I will always reserve the right to delete any comments that I feel are gaslighting in regards to the topic (which I’ve done numerous times with quite a few of my posts on LinkedIn).

But still looking to figure out how to shorten the following description of myself:

‘I’m a freelance science/health/medical communications/education specialist, who also dabbles in blogging, crafts, gardening, photography, and is expanding my knowledge in the areas of not only mental health, microbiomes, marine biology and anthropology, but also within the area of social activism and history (working on unlearning/dismantling the western colonial mindset perceptive and looking at things from the other perceptive).’

Facing a Fear: Getting the freelance/remote/contract science/health/medical communications/education business up and going

I’m slowly working on getting the freelance business up and going. I have the website more or less ‘live’…two blog posts were published last month (an intro post and then a book review). I’m still in the process of working on pieces for the ‘portfolio’ part of the site. In addition I’m also planning out the YouTube channel (and possible podcast). The YouTube channel is going to be a multi-facet channel. It will cover science/health/medical topics, in addition to social sciences/history, talking about books, crafts, and mental health…in addition to whatever else I think up. I know that I may use various aspects of the past month or so for videos—such as one post that I did on LI that someone stated was ‘anti-semitic’ and ‘anti-Jewish’ (there is a difference between bashing languages/religions and bashing a government that has politicized both in order to get away with war crimes against another population).

The reason why I’m not further along with this project—depression and anger. While I know that anger doesn’t do me any good—it doesn’t stop me from feeling it towards a significant part of the global population that thinks that what is happening in Gaza is okay…I can understand not posting or making their opinion known due to fears of being fired and so forth—but still. The depression is due in part to the same problem—a significant part of the global population seemingly to either be for or indifferent towards what is happening in Gaza.

Conclusions:

So…I probably managed to hit about half the goals. I unplugged for the most part (at least eighty percent of the time)—so I consider that a win. The other two goals were more in line of being long-term goals than being short-and-sweet goals. In terms of my personal/professional brand development: I’m outspoken, snarky/sarcastic, have a passion for improving education globally—within both the science/health/medical realm along with the social sciences and humanities. I’m a avid reader (with an emphasis on romance, but trying to get back into also reading non-fiction and historical fiction), crafter, photographer, and blogger. 

I’m working ‘decolonizing’ my world views and relearning history of various parts of the world (as we all know that the history in the books is written by those in power), in addition to working on improving my own mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical health at the same time. We’re all a work in progress—if we admit to the fact that none of us are perfect, we all carry trauma, and in order for society to survive—we must decolonize our mindset and remember we’re all in this together.

I mentioned last month that I was going to have the mottos of ‘progress over perfection’ and ‘done is better than perfect, because perfect never gets done’ as my mottos for the last few months of the year. I’m going to try to stick with them…though truthfully the motto really should be ‘take things a day at a time, an hour at a time, or even a second at a time’. This is because of the horrors that are still going on in West Asia and the scary fact that we’re just a few steps away from another world war (and this time more than just one country has nuclear arms).

So to try and end on a slightly more upbeat note: What big Libra goal did you manage to get accomplished?

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It’s time for self-reflection, self-care, and planning for 2024: Libra New Moon Goals

Yesterday marked October’s new moon, and it was also a partial eclipse. Since I didn’t have the correct type of glasses—I didn’t even bother to try to get outside to view it. I’m a day late in posting (which truthfully—isn’t that bad, since earlier this year I’d gone ‘silent’ for months). 

We’re not quite halfway through October…which means that there 76 days left in 2023…and I’m so ready for this year to be over. 

With the moon moving through the Libra constellation over the next day or two, there are various things that we can look at or work on over the next few weeks and they include:

Look at how you’re relating to other people (are you’re helping more than asking).

Look into your partnerships (any issues that need addressing?)

Negotiate—try to bring things into balance if needed.

Look gorgeous—work on improving your self-image, and self-love.

Regain your identity—figure out how to resolve any unhealthy co-dependency issues if needed.

Looking at the above five items, I would have to say the following about each (if I numbered them one-to-five):

  1. Currently I’m back in a semi self-isolation mode (younger brother contracted COVID, and while I’m not showing symptoms—I’m trying to stay away from others just in case I’m asymptomatic). Plus, I’d gone ‘radio silent’ for a good part of the year…so I’m trying to get back into a routine in regards to giving more than asking (especially on LinkedIn).
  2. Well, still not in a relationship (I’ve got enough on my metaphoric plate, that I don’t need to add in a relationship). In terms of family—things are about as ‘normal’ as they can get, since we’re all still trying to find our new ‘normal’. I’m also currently trying to launch my freelance business—so there currently aren’t any business ‘relationships’ to be concerned about (yet). 
  3. Since I’m back into semi self-isolation, I can’t think of things with other people that need negotiating—I know that I probably need to negotiate quite a bit with myself.
  4. I’m starting to look more into the concept of body confidence and everything that goes along the topic.
  5. I’m also slowly working on trying to regain my identity—mainly from the negative thought patterns surrounding body image and my writing ability.

The Libra new moon is also moving through my 12th house—or my secret zone. This is the time/house when you really just want to retreat from the world and work things out for a while. In terms of self-care/self-love what are some of the things you could focus on during this time?

(1) Practice yoga

(2) Take a break from social media and/or numerous social obligations

(3) Start a dream journal

(4) Face one big fear

(5) Trust your intuition

(6) Buy a meditation CD & use it every day for a month

(7) Write poetry from the heart

(8) Share one of your secrets

I’ve been crossing one or two things off the list (usually due to self-isolating thanks to COVID, or just because they don’t ‘speak’ to me)—and the two things that I’m probably not going to get around to doing: Sharing one of my secrets; and using a meditation CD. The reason for the meditation CD—I make use of the app SoothingPod for my evening attempts at meditation.

I’m an introvert that can become slightly ‘extroverted’ under the right circumstances…and currently I have no idea when those circumstances are going to arise…with that said, what are my goals going to be for the Libra new moon?

I’m only setting three goals for the Libra new moon, and only one will be considered an ‘total’ success at the end of the new moon period. The other two goals are on-going goals, though the third goal could be considered ‘success or failure’ if I also added a few other points to it….but for now–I need to focus on getting the ‘backbone’ of the business set up.

So the goals are:

(1) Unplug at night. 

I’ve been getting pretty good at doing this. I will usually check my email after my evening shower, and then start working on a craft project. Currently I’m working on a large doodle that once I have it colored in, I’m going to frame it and hang it on my bedroom wall—as proof that I am an artist.

In addition to working on crafts, I can either read or reflect on the day and adjust my schedule for the next day….or also straighten up the bedroom.

(2) Continue my journey in terms of regaining my identity and developing my personal/professional brand. I’m still working on resolving my issues with food and movement, while at the same time trying to find the best combo of words/phrases to describe myself to others. It’s a mouthful to say: ‘I’m a freelance science/health/medical communication/education specialist, who also dabbles in blogging, crafts, gardening, and expanding my knowledge in the areas of mental health, microbiomes, marine biology, and anthropology’. 

(3) Facing a fear—I’m going to be continuing working at getting my freelance/remote/contract science/health/medical communications/education business up and running. The savings account has pretty well dwindled down to almost nothing—so unless I want to be stuck at the bench—I need to get this ‘dream’ up and running. I’m willing to do remote work within the arena—both to have a steady paycheck for awhile, and to also gain experience. One part of this business that I need to also plan out—a YouTube channel (and possibly podcast). It is something that I have in my ‘risk and die’ zones on my comfort diagram—I figured it is risky trying to set up a part-time business, and an anxiety inducing dilemma trying to set up a full-time business. I’m going to try—the worse that comes of it, I keep it part-time, the best that can come of it—I manage to double (if not triple) what I was earning in academia within the first year of doing freelance writing.

I stated last year that my motto for the last quarter (since the Libra new moon had happened in Sept) was ‘progress over perfection’. The mottos for the last 70 odd days of 2023—‘progress over perfection’ and ‘done is better than perfect, because perfect never gets done’. That has been one of the biggest hurdles this year: the imposter syndrome dragging out the ‘perfection’ comparison. I know that there is room to grow and learn (which means I’m capable of admitting that I’m not perfect), and I just need to keep reminding my inner critic of that—we’re entering another ‘learning’ phase of life—and it is perfectly fine not to know everything..

What is something you’ve always wanted to try to do, but haven’t done yet?

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Figuring out my optimal energy period: Reviewing Virgo Goals

So, we’re going to entering the Libra New Moon this weekend, and that means that I should review what goals I had set for the Virgo New Moon last month. It seems that the roller coaster that is this decade keeps adding one more raging dumpster fire to the line of raging dumpster fires. Needless to say—that is really all I’m going to say on the current events, other than I’m more than ready for this damn year/decade to be over.

Okay…now what were the goals that I had set for the Virgo New Moon? They included:

  1. Take inventory of various aspects of life (research/writing/editing, crafts/hobbies, fitness, and mental health/spirituality) and develop a working schedule that will help me increase my productivity throughout the week.
  2. Create a fitness schedule that includes weights, shadow boxing, and getting on the exercise bike.
  3. Continue with the evening meditations, oracle card readings and journaling.

.

Okay, I only set three goals for the Virgo new moon. How did I do with them?

Well….for full transparency—after posting the goals, things went semi-south again around here. So I really didn’t make any progress with the first two goals. In the evenings I usually combine my meditation with reading oracle cards; and then I journal for about five to ten minutes afterwards.

What went south? Well…we lost my dad’s cat on my birthday (she’d been acting normal up until about a day or two before hand), and then my younger brother somehow managed to contract COVID (and he still isn’t totally over it yet) a few days later. Oh, then my father managed to bruise the hell out his thigh bone—meaning that we now have two hyperactive dogs to deal with, I’m only able to take them for walks one at a time, (and when someone is around to watch the other one; duel leashes don’t work with these two currently).

I’m still trying to figure out when my ‘peak’ work/energy time is—that way I can get quite a bit of work done during that time; instead of possibly expending that energy on things such as reading or playing silly match-3 games.

The other problem—is that damn pesky and sneaky imposter syndrome/inner critic that keeps coming out to try to throw their two cents around. I know that I’m capable of becoming a kick-ass writer, crafter, blogger, science/health/medical communicator—I just need to quit listening (or figure out how to work with) that pesky voice.

So…I’m also finished with my large needlepoint project that I’ve been working on since about June; I’m reading nonfiction (a little more often), and I’m trying to steer clear of the news currently…so I possibly (maybe) hit about forty percent goal wise. I’d been aiming for more like two-thirds, but forty percent is better than zero.

That is the takeaway message—progress, even if it feels minuscule is still progress. It stops becoming progress when you stop trying and attempting to make progress towards your goals. The one thing that I’m still going to work on even as we head into the Libra New Moon—prioritizing my mental health, and working on devising a ‘plan’ one could say to start healing my own trauma…one way I’m prioritizing my mental health—staying away (for the most part) from the news. I know what is going on in the Middle East…it sucks for all civilians involved; the political leaders on both sides need to be held accountable for their actions that led to the current shit show (not to mention other world leaders, both past and present)….it does seem that if we don’t learn from history we’re going to be doomed to repeat it.

Anyway…didn’t mean to end on that slightly morbid note—but that seems to be the theme for 2023—morbidity.

So, to end on a slightly ‘lighter’ note—how do you do with meeting your Virgo New Moon goals?

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Review of Pisces Goals: Procrastination Habits Acknowledged & Progress on Projects

So the moon will be entering its full moon for September tomorrow night, which means I should look back at the goals that I set for the August Super Blue Moon (since it had two). This also means that we’re basically down to the last quarter of 2023.

So what goals did I make for the Pisces Super Blue Moon? They included:

  1. Troubleshooting my weekly ‘schedule’—making notes of what blocks of periods work, what doesn’t work; am I trying to cram too much stuff in on any particular day; are there days that may be better served as ‘brainstorming’/‘learning’ days?
  2. Spend at least fifteen to thirty minutes a day on some type of craft project
  3. Working on both blogs—getting the second blog up and ‘running’ (having the home page & about me pages written, and having the ‘blog’ portion live with at least one post by the end of September); working on editorial calendars, and so forth.
  4. Work through at least part of one personal/professional e-course.

So how did I do with each of them?

Troubleshooting my weekly schedule:

I had hopes that I would be done ‘troubleshooting’ my weekly schedule this week and could commit to a schedule come October. Well—what I’ve found is that my evening block is best spent doing crafts and relaxing, and I’d rather flip and move around times for doing chores and cooking instead of blocking those off in the late afternoon.

I also think that on Wednesdays, I will be dedicating more time to brainstorming and/or e-courses in addition to the chores for the day. I also need to get better at actually doing things on the weekends. Usually I’ve managed to get about sixty percent of things I want done during the week done…goal for the last quarter is to get that percentage up to eighty percent.

Spending at least fifteen minutes to a half hour on crafts:

I’m starting to spend more time in the evenings working on my large needlepoint project (and hopefully will have it done by Thanksgiving weekend if not by Halloween). One thing I’d realized over the past week, is that unless I’m doing crafts (and taking progress photos) there isn’t a lot of new photographs to share (since I was going to try to do a 365-day photography challenge). But that is something again to work on during the fourth quarter of the year.

Working on both blogs:

Well, I have the second blog/website (the science/health/medical) up and ‘running’. Basically other than the blog and portfolio pages, the rest are all visible. I had planned on getting a blog post up last week, but stuff happened (we unexpectedly lost one of our cats) and that blog post never happened. But it is on the schedule for October. 

I have also posted at least four times to this blog, while I had a bigger goal in mind (say weekly)—I’ll take being at least consistent in being sporadic in posting. Again, becoming more consistent is on the schedule for October.

Working through another e-course:

I worked through/watched ‘The Ten Steps for Getting Your Point Across in Writing’ on Udemy. The main thing I got from this course—I don’t spend enough time on the planning and editing stages of writing. That will change (especially for the science/health/medical site) moving forward.

Progress is being made in terms of both time and project management. The fourth goal (which was the only ‘yes/no’ in terms of total completion) was completed, and progress on the other three were made. Scheduling (or time blocking) is the aspect of time/project management that I need to get better at during the next few months. 

I know that I switch things up at the last minute because I feel I will either get bored or not get the task completed to my ‘liking’ (aka fear of failure and my inner critic is rearing it’s ugly head again). How will I work with my inner critic? Well, I could offer it an unlimited supply of cookies and brownies…which means focusing more on baking than content creation. So—maybe (at least every so often). Basically, I need to dedicate a good chunk of time to the planning stage of projects (outlines, determining what style(s) of communication I can get out of said outline; and then making (and sticking) with a reasonable deadline schedule). This means that to begin with I may only have a blog post monthly on the new site, and once I get enough outlines/mind maps made it could move to biweekly, and then weekly.

It is better to start at a slow jog, than to try to sprint my way to a ‘finish’ line that may or may not be the one for me.

The two phrases I need to keep in mind as I move forward with various endeavors: ‘progress over perfection’ and ‘done is better than perfect, because perfect never gets done’.

As the moon moves into Aries, it is time to take a look at things and figure out where I’ve been stalling in goals…and that is the subject of the next Full Moon Goals post.

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Scorpio Goals in Review: slow, steady, & continuous progress on all fronts

So the moon is going to be transitioning through the Sagittarius constellation in a day or two—which means it’s time to look back at the goals that I set for the Scorpio new moon and to see how I did with each of them.

The goals that I had set for the Scorpio new moon included:

  1. Working on healing my relationship with food and movement. This includes having random dance parties in the living room on a 15-minute break between task, or getting out of the house with my dog for a quick 20-minute walk through the neighborhood.
  2. Work on getting the second website up and going (focusing on science/medical/health communications), in addition to also focusing on trying to get a remote communications position as well.
  3. Start working through various finance e-courses that I’ve bought over the years
  4. Continue to unplug at night (putting the computer to ‘sleep’ by 8pm)
  5. Continue figuring out my personal/professional brand

So how did I do with each of them?

Healing my relationship with food and movement:

Well, healing one’s relationship with food and movement is an ongoing process. Since colder weather is slowly settling in—I’m mixing up breakfast by also having oatmeal (with fruit) or waffles (not the healthiest—but hey, progress); and I’m thinking it could be more solo random dance parties in the living room this winter than walks…

I’ve always been more of a fair weather person—though I will go for nature walks in the winter with my camera (to try to get pictures the winter birds that are around), so I do find it difficult at times to get in a workout in the winter. Though there is always yard work that needs to be done—though we’re going to be leaving more of the leaves on the ground this year instead of mulching them (mainly because we’re in the middle of a drought—so currently no reason to try to put down grass or clover seeds).

I’m trying to find that ‘sweet point’ between not working out and overdoing the workout. I find I do sleep better after doing some type of workout—but if I overdo it, my sleep cycle is crap…so yeah—I’m still working on this as well…

Working on getting the second website up and going:

I’m still working on the second blog/website. For whatever reason—my inner critic/imposter syndrome has been derailing me (especially when it comes to writing the about me page)…but I managed to write my functional resume two weeks ago—so I’ll be using my professional summary as a jumping off point for the about me page.

Working through various finance e-courses:

I still need to start some of the finance courses that I’ve bought over the years—currently I’m focusing on the writing courses that I’ve bought.

‘Unplugging’ at night (by 8pm):

I’ve been fairly consistent at putting the computer to ‘sleep’ by 8pm—and usually it’s by 7 or 7:30pm. There may be one or two nights when I put it to ‘sleep’ past 8pm.

Figuring out my personal/professional brand:

In terms of the personal/professional brand—I’m still working on this as well.

I’ve been told that I shouldn’t be too much of a generalist, as I won’t get as much organic traffic to the blog(s), so I’m still working on figuring out both the ‘niche’ and the ‘generalized’ topic(s) that I want each blog to focus on. Then I need to work on posting to both sites (and other social sites) in a more consistent manner.

Then I will need to figure out my logo, fonts, colors, and all those other fun things.

The temperatures are bouncing all over the place—last week we were in the 30s, and this week we’re going to be in the 50s/60s—which means I can try to get outside to do something (aiming for at least a partial walk at Boomer Lake this week), without having to bundle up due to the weather.

I did okay with these open-ended goals…while I didn’t start a finance related e-course—I did start watching a business writing/editing one. Progress currently is coming down to trying to silence my inner critic/imposter syndrome daily so that I can get some work done.

There is less than 40 days now in 2022—which means I also need to start looking ahead to 2023 (and beyond) and figuring out the different personal/professional goals that I would like to accomplish over the next 365+ days.

Slow and steady wins more races than pushing to the point of burning out.

Curious question for the week—are you a fall or winter person?

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Managed craft time–now to work on time management

So the moon will be entering its next full moon stage this weekend…which means I should look back at the goals I set for the Pisces full moon before looking ahead to the Aries (or October) full moon.

The past two months or so have not been the greatest (and that is putting it extremely mild how bad its been), so I truthfully have no idea on well I met the goals for the Pisces full moon.

The goals that I had set for last month’s full moon were:

  1. Work on developing a ‘workable’ schedule for the day/week/month. I know that part of my problem is that I’m consistent in being inconsistent. If I really want to make freelance work—I need to improve my time/project management skills.
  2.  Make sure that I’m making time for crafts/hobbies and not just falling back into the ‘bad routine’ of work, work, and more work.
  3. Continue working on both blogs (coming up with editorial calendars, getting the copy written for various pages on both, and making sure that I have at least four to five blog posts written for the science/medical/health communications blog).
  4. Work through at least part of one personal/professional e-course.

So, I only set four goals for the Pisces full moon. So how did I do with each of them?

Personal/professional development e-course (#4):

I will be totally truthful in the fact that I really haven’t looked at any of the personal/professional development e-courses that I’ve bought over the past few years. They’re there—I just haven’t felt like picking one and starting to work through it, though I have I think three (or maybe four) e-courses on my ’43 things to do before turning 43’ list…so maybe I should start trying to work through one of those.

Craft time (#2):

I can say that I have been making time for crafts—as I’ve been spending time on Canva weekly designing graphics/images for different posts for LinkedIn, and there has been some coloring and photography thrown in there as well.

In addition, I’m starting another cross-stitch project.

Working on both blogs (#3):

I haven’t managed to make much progress on the new blog/website—mainly due to being in the middle of ‘writers’ block—at least for that site. I need to develop a editorial calendar for each blog and get the copy written for both sites as well. Writing the blog posts should be a little easier (at least for the creative/reflective/hobby blog) once I have at least the editorial calendar created.

Developing a ‘flexible’ but ‘workable’ daily/weekly/monthly schedule (#1):

In terms of the ‘workable’ schedule—I’m still consistent in being inconsistent. I know that I have to find a new normal—and truthfully, I think I’m putting that off—because once I totally acknowledge the fact that my ‘new’ routine will be totally different from my previous—it means I’m acknowledging the fact that either a) the family member in the hospital isn’t coming home; or b) they’ll be coming home but with potentially severe restrictions (and in need of a lot of care).

So I guess you can say I managed to get a quarter of the goals accomplished–which some would say isn’t great–but considering the month I had (and how bad I can see the upcoming months being)–I’ll take it as a major win.

I know that things aren’t going to be easy for the next couple of months (or even years)—but it’s time to slowly start stepping out into that unknown territory and carving my own path.

I’m still working on addressing the bits and pieces form previous chapters of my life: imposter syndrome, inner critic, negative self-talk, and feelings of inadequacy.

It will take time to work through these issues—though acknowledging that they’re there and offering them ‘space’, is a step in the right direction of self-care/self-acceptance, mindfulness/self-awareness and healing.

I already decided that the quote for the last quarter of 2022 was going to be ‘Progress Over Perfection’.

The new goal—trying to show up each day, and possibly getting one or two small things accomplished—, which will fulfill the quote of progress over perfection.

With that said—what are some of your favorite fall craft hobbies?

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My birthday goal challenge: 43-things to do before turning 43

So my birthday was a couple of days ago, and I’ve been slowly reworking various goal and bucket lists.

Reworking the bucket lists—because I need to be totally honest about how much travel I will probably be doing over the next few decades (especially international).

Reworking the 101 goals in 1001-days list—because there are few things that just haven’t happened and I’m not sure if they’re goals I was putting down for myself or things I thought were needed.

But, one thing I’ve done—I’ve created a list of 43 things I want to do before I turn 43. Some of things I’m already doing (such as meditating, daily oracle cards, and monthly new/full moon goals), but there are others that I attempt and never make that much traction with—I’m hoping that this is the extra little push I need to accomplish those items.

My 43 things to do before turning 43 list

The list contains goals such as researching the origins of my last name. Which is a semi-easy goal—since my grandfather did a good amount of the research back in the 1980s when he was composing a family tree.

But it also contains goals such as defining my vision of success, learning about body confidence, and creating a happiness plan.

Then there are goals associated with finishing certain courses that I’ve bought over the years—such as the project management consortium, management consulting firm, and business development federation courses offered by Cheeky Scientist.

The goal is that by my 43rd birthday I will have accomplished at least eighty percent of the goals (a minimum of 34.4—or 34 goals). I’ll be keeping track of some of the goals in spreadsheets (such as the 365-day photography and writing challenges; what books I’ve read).

Time to start pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone, and expanding the bounce zone while shrinking the risk and stretch zones—I’ll be giving updates throughout the year, just haven’t figured out the approximate time frame.

Within the next week or two, I will also be posting an updated 101 goals in 1001-day challenge as well.

Have you done a birthday year inspired goal challenge before? If so–how did it turn out?

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Virgo Season: Time to start planning the goals

So, we’re going to be heading into another ‘new moon’ phase this weekend (and I’m probably going to be a day late in posting).

We’re entering Virgo season…I should be counting down the days until my birthday—but I’m not (and that’s another story for another day)…

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

  1. Take an inventory of your life. Figure out what is working and what isn’t and then figure out what needs to change for the things that aren’t working.
  2. Be of service—help out more at work (if able), do the little things that can help make someone else’s day a little more bearable.
  3. Be healthy—see what is and isn’t working in your health and fitness routines and then figure out what to fix—what new habits to start working on.
  4. Avoid nitpicking—this is where the motto “progress over perfection” really comes into play
  5. Get organized—pay bills, figure out the monthly schedule (workout, eating, so forth)—things that can make life a little more bearable going forward

While most would think that the new moon would be moving through my first house (since my star sign is Virgo), it actually moving through my 11th house (or friends’ zone), since I’ve been going with my rising sign (which is Scorpio).

Looking back at what I wrote over the past two years—my ‘new normal’ is still social distancing (with a some exceptions), wearing a mask, and really just being considerate of others…

Some of the things one can do in regards to their 11th house include:

  1. Sign up for an evening class in something you’ve always wanted to do
  2. Ask your friends to introduce to friends of theirs you’ve never met
  3. Wish on a star every night for a month
  4. Introduce a childhood pal to a friend from your life now
  5. Say ‘Hi’ to someone you see nearly every day but never talk to
  6. Thank your best friend for being there for you

Well, besides the fact that we’re still in the middle of a pandemic/epidemic—I’m not getting out that much still. Therefore, there are still several things that I probably won’t be doing in regards to my 11th house.

I’d say that there are probably only two things that I could do in regards to my 11th house: wish on a star every night for a month, or thank my best friend for being around still. I am starting to do more virtual ‘coffee/water’ chats as well.

I had lunch with a college classmate a few weeks ago, and may try to get together again sometime in September (but it depends on a whole slew of other things).

So, since I’m still in semi self-isolation, my goals for the Virgo New Moon period will include:

  1. Take inventory of various aspects of life (research/writing/editing, crafts/hobbies, fitness, and mental health/spirituality) and try to develop a working schedule that will allow me be both productive, but at the same time enjoying time outside as well.
  2. Continue with daily workouts (alternate between weight lifting and shadow-boxing).
  3. In combination with #1—organize the schedule, and block out periods of time (or set certain days to certain tasks) and see if that helps improve my productivity
  4. Work on the outlines/drafts for the following items:
    •  My LinkedIn oncology post series
    • The follow-up(s) to my LinkedIn molecular cloning series: Introduction to biofuels, Introduction to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), and Introduction to vaccine development
    • Digestion, absorption of nutrients, and the nucleic acid biosynthesis pathways
    • Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Cells: Similarities and Differences
    • Antibiotics and the rise of Antibiotic Resistant Microbes
  5. Continue with the evening meditations

Since the next few months are going to be extremely crazy (and that’s putting things nicely)…my motto is going to be ‘progress over perfection’…which means I need to spend a little time each week working on my other blog, doing research and starting to write on various topics (see fourth goal above).  I also am not going to let the opinions of others deter me from the path that I’m starting on, as I know it will be a windy and bumpy road.

How do you handle things when everything seems to be going to hell?

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