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Decade in Review: 2010 to 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Happy New Years and some updates

So Happy New Years (a day late)!! I’ve realized that I forgot to save several documents as I was writing them (so I’m going to be in the writing cave for awhile), but the next few days will see update posts (Dec 2019 in review, a review of 2019, possibly a review of 2010-2019, and maybe an updated Level 10 life and goals). I’ve decided that one way that I’m going to try to work my photography into blog more is to make use of my photos and inspirational quotes to make my own memes. In addition I’m going to work them into the cover photo for the blog topic as well.

I’ve realized the major reason why I had trouble posting towards the end of last year, I was totally and completed frustrated with where I was in currently in life—I didn’t hate my job, but knew that I needed to finish out the contract (which went two weeks longer due to other circumstances), so I spending a lot of my energy just trying to get through the work day. I wasn’t happy with the fact that I let my health slide again (I’m currently at my heaviest again since college), and I’m still battling with writers and creativity block.

Well I’m now on my reboot break, and I’ve decided that instead of just one word to describe the year (last year I chose the word change), I’m going to have four words and two phrases. The four words are “grow”, “change”, “achieve”, and “succeed”; my phrases for 2020 are going to be “progress over perfection” and “evaluate the people in your life; then promote, demote, or terminate. You’re the CEO of your life”.

The four words are to continuously remind me that in order to transition out of academia and into industry I need to start cultivating and keeping a growth mindset—start taking baby steps to reclaim control of my life (control I had been unconsciously been giving away), and the phrases are to remind me that it is both okay to stumble, and that some friendships are meant to end and new ones formed as we move through our lives.

I may get back into doing a daily photography challenge, and those photos may or may not have a lengthy text post accompanying them (which was one of my hurdles with the photography challenge last year; that and feeling like I was posting the same thing over and over again).

I have a good feeling that this is going the be the year that I manage to shed my “old skin” and transform into who I have always wanted (and have been meant) to be. Here is to a new year, a new decade, and new adventures and stories.

So stay tuned for more posts, and I do intend to try to make sure that I’m posting at least three days a week.

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Reboot Break Update I

So I’ve managed to decide on a start date for my reboot break—it will start roughly right around the Thanksgiving holiday. Many may think the timing is bad, but when you start a job right after the holidays, the contract usually ends right before it the following year. I more or less gave four months notice two weeks ago, so now I’m on a countdown clock.  I just haven’t decided on a end date for the reboot break—I know that it will at least stretch into the early part of 2020.

I’ve also decided that this is going to be a three-prong reboot break: course-correction/career reinvention, emotional/mental healing, and life enhancement. Currently I see all three as interconnecting—if I can get back on a even keel in terms of mental/physical health, I will be able to readjust my career trajectory and enhance my life at the same time.

I’m planning on spending a good part of early December trying to get my storage unit in better order; I started it last year right after the Fourth of July holiday, but haven’t had the time to repack anything that needs it. I’m hoping that in addition to repacking the boxes that have fallen apart, I will go through others and start paring down my belongings.

I’ve realized that I will probably always be living in an apartment (or condo)—I don’t really see myself trying to buy a house anytime soon. Therefore, I need to make sure that I’m not taking a lot of stuff with me that will just clutter up the space.

I’m also planning on working on my mental and physical health as well. By the time the reboot break starts, I will hopefully have finished a second round of Country Heat, the first round of Yoga Booty Ballet: Abs and Butt, and maybe be working through a second round of LIIFT4. In addition, I will start meditating twice a day (morning and evening), and writing more in my journal. By removing myself from a semi-toxic work environment, hopefully within a few weeks some of the mental cobwebs will be gone.

My traveling will probably be done during the springtime—at least one trip somewhere for enjoyment, and then one or two for networking/job hunting. I have a couple of ideas percolating for the networking trips—which one(s) I go with, will depend on the time of year, and how much groundwork I’ve done via online networking.

In addition, I have so many different e-courses that I’ve bought over the past few years, that I will finally have the time to sit down and actually go through and learn something that I can possibly use moving forward. I won’t feel guilty listening to videos taking notes on things unrelated to my current position. If I can also relearn a foreign language (such as Spanish or German)—it will allow me to travel more with a little more confidence.

So a recap:

Reboot break is starting end of November 2019. During the month of December I plan on getting my storage unit in order, starting to work through more of the e-courses, declutter things in my bedroom, and hopefully settled into a exercise/meditation routine as well (getting my mental and physical health back on track).

I will also then be planning out what I hope to accomplish during the first few months of 2020 as well. Those plans will be posted in an update, once I’ve posted pictures of the cleaned/organized storage unit and decluttered bedroom.

No Comments financesfitnessHealthLifestyle ChallengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentRebootBreak