Hiatus almost over

Well I’ve realized that it’s been probably a month since I’ve published anything on the blog. In large part due to trying to finish things up at work (and that stretched an extra two weeks), and then trying to figure out the best way of possibly restarting the photography challenge.

I’ve found that doing photography on the weekends relaxes me. I’m focusing on really nothing but trying to find another great nature shot–my only goal on the walk is to get at least fifteen to twenty good pictures out of the possible eighty to ninety pictures that I take. But I’ve noticed that with just walking at Boomer Lake, the poses of the birds change–but object of the picture doesn’t change that much. So now I’m trying to look for more song birds (and in the spring, summer, and fall–I’ll be looking for other things as well).

In other words–I’m trying to find more variety in the nature photography that I’ve been doing. One nice thing with starting my reboot break–I will have the time to try to do that (since I’m going to try to do a walk daily, though it may not always be in the morning). I’m also going to try to structure my time more so I can actually sit down and write more–blog posts (need to start drafting lists of different topics–have an idea (or possible request)–drop it in the comments), short stories, and then articles for linkedin.

2019 is going to be coming to an end soon (and where has the year gone?), and it will be the start of a new decade. I’m determined that this coming decade is going to contain better chapters of my life than the last decade has (yes I got my degree–but the career path has been bumpy to say the least). So here’s to making the goals and then breaking them down to a monthly/weekly/day plan to ensure that they’re achieved.

No Comments careerPersonal Development

Taurus Full Moon Goals—a few days late

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

In terms of some self-reflection during this time, there are some questions one can ask themselves (taken from “Moonology: working with the magic of the lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland), and they are:

            Have I been lazy or overly self indulgent this month?

            Have I been too obsessed with money or status symbols?

            Have I been stubborn, jealous, or possessive?

            Have I been doing too much comfort eating?

            Have I done enough exercise?

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

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

Then I should also look to see what house it is passing through as well—and for me, Taurus passes through my seventh house—or my “love zone”. This is the time that we spend a little energy on other people, instead of making everything about ourselves. For me, currently there are no romantic relationships (I’m still trying to get my life in some semblance of order), so that means focusing on other relationships (work and friends).

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

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

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

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

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

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

Above all remember: progress over perfection.

No Comments AstrologyfitnessFull Moon GoalsHealthRebootBreak

Review of Aries Full Moon Goals

So the moon is going to be entering the second to last full moon phase for 2019 either tonight or tomorrow (depending on where one is at), so that means that it’s time to review the goals I had set for the Aries full moon. Somehow we’re a little over a third of the way through November (Friday will mark the halfway point of the month), and that means there are now less than fifty days left in the year—and I start my reboot break in two weeks.

But what were the goals that I had set for the Aries full moon?

            Working on my reboot break/transition plan. This may include working through some of the personal development courses or starting to read some of the personal development books (particularly the ones that have numerous journal prompts).

            Trying to back into meditating nightly—this has been an on and off endeavor the past couple of weeks. I know that when I manage to do it for at least a couple of minutes—I do sleep a little better at night.

            Not touching my phone after I turn off the lights and start reading (I have the light dimmed on the e-reader, but haven’t figured out how to dim the light on the phone). Try to be meditating by no later than nine, and reading no later than twenty after nine.

            Continue trying to plan out the next couple of months, and look into different programs that allow you to block certain apps/web pages to help increase my productivity and work on my time management skills.

And always remember: Progress over Perfection.

So how did I do with each goal?

In terms of my reboot break/transition plan—I’m working through a couple of different e-courses, and have realized in terms of planning things out—I prefer pen and paper over trying to do it digitally. I have a couple of brand new journals and I’ve decided that I’m going to set it up as a semi bullet journal—there will be to-do lists, but I’m also to write down two to four journal prompts (or self reflection questions) each night for me to think about and answer in the morning. In addition the to-do lists will be fairly short, but plenty of room for journaling and self-reflection.

Once I start working on e-courses that may actually require more room for note taking, I have several notebooks that I have bought for just that purpose—and I have sticky notes and tape so I can even semi-color code the pages to keep the various courses straight.

I’ve also realized with my transition plan—it has been almost an abstract idea—I want to get out of academia, but other than that, I haven’t made anything absolute. I need to get my possible career list down to three or four from the seven or eight it is currently at, and then I need to determine the type of company I want to work for and go from there—I just can’t state that I want to be a research scientist in industry by 2022—I need to be able to state that I want to be market communications specialist for ginkgo bioworks by 2022 (as an example).

In terms of trying to get back into meditating at night daily, I only missed one or two nights during the past few weeks and that was usually due to either the time change (which was last week and I’m still not adjusted one hundred percent), or something else irritated me and I decided just to read instead. But I am getting better at sitting (or lying) and focusing on my breathing for a couple minutes at time—continued practice and it will become even a better habit.

I only looked at my phone once or twice after going to bed during the past month (and one of those times was actually last night). The few times that I’ve done it was mainly to check to see what the temperature was either falling to or to sync my fitbit before heading off to bed (since I may not always remember to try to sync it before lights are turned off). But I am more adapt at just not getting on the phone after lights have been totally turned off, and I think I’m starting to sleep a little better because of it.

In terms of trying to plan out the next couple of months—I have a rough idea of what I want to get accomplished, but I haven’t written it all down on paper yet. This is due in part to the fact that I try to plan everything out—but I’ve realized that I need to focus on just a few areas—list the major (and long term) goals, and then break those down to monthly, weekly, and then daily goals. I also shouldn’t be making all the goals super complex either—true I’m not positive which direction I’m going in terms of my career transition, so I should have a mini list for each and as I narrow down the direction(s) those lists can grow.

So I’ve managed more self-reflection than anything this past month. I really can be (and have been) my own worse enemy when it comes to things. I blame part of it on the scientist in me that wants a detailed plan of action before starting anything—that has probably been one of my biggest hang-ups over the past year or so—trying to figure out the detailed plan of action before acting. Now I’ve decided that I’m going to do a reboot break, and while some things are semi-planned out—I don’t have them set out on paper yet. That is going to be the something I work on over the next few weekends—planning out the journal/notebook(s) that is going to see me through my reboot break and job transition.

No Comments AstrologyFull Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional development

Take Three of the 101 goals in 1001 days

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

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

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

Professional development and career:

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

            2. Learn a programming language

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

                        4. Dream Job Hack

                        5. Medical Writers Organization

            6. More interacting on Linkedin

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

                        8. Commenting on posts

                        9. Giving/Asking for recommendations

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

            11. Go to at least 1 scientific conference

                        12. Present at a scientific conference

            13. Go to at least 2 professional networking events

            14. Renew professional memberships

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

Both Personal and Professional Development

            16. Become fluent in Spanish

            17. Become fluent in German (or maybe French)

            18. Read at least 100 personal/professional development books

            19. Finish the books on scientific writing

Personal development and hobbies

            20. Paint and frame at least one original painting

            21. More photography

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

                        23. Update photography pages on blog

            24. Make my own jewelry

            25. Learn to cross-stitch

            26. Finish my latest afghan

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

            28. Start writing a book

            29. Learn Photoshop

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

            31. Create my own coffee-table photography book

            32. Learn basic sign language

Finances

            33. Create monthly budgets

            34. Credit card debts down and hopefully paid off monthly

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

            36. Savings account up another 20K (hopefully)

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

Travel

            38. Visit at least 3 new countries

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

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

            41. Visit at least one new zoo

            42. Visit at least one new aquarium

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

            44. Visit at least one new city

            45. Visit at least one new state

            46. See the northern lights

            47. Attend at least one blogging conference

            48. Attend at least one author-reader conference

            49. Attend Beachbody Coach Summit 2020

Fitness & Health

            50. Get into the best shape of my life

            51. Multivitamin and supplements daily

            52. Manage at least 250 days of Beachbody workouts

            53. Manage 5 push-ups on my toes

            54. Manage 10 push-ups on my toes

            55.  Hold a two-minute forearm plank

            56.  Hold a 90 second plank

            57.  Meditate nightly

            58.  30-day Zumba challenge

            59.  60-80 oz of water a day

            60.  Stretch daily

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

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

Blog and Social Media

            63.  Finish YouTube for bosses course

            64.  Finish YouTube course creation for bosses course

            65.  Finish blog to biz course

            66.  Launch a YouTube channel

            67. Launch an online course

            68. Get blog traffic to 500+ views a day

            69. Rebrand myself (?)

            70. Get Instagram followers to constant 800+

            71. Get pintrest followers to constant 400+

            72. Get twitter followers to constant 1000+

            73. Publish at least two blog series

            74.  Editorial calendars (monthly/weekly/daily)

                        75. Blog

                        76. Instagram

                        77. Facebook pages

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

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

            80. Various top 10 author lists

            81. Various top 10 book series lists

Spirituality

            82. Full/New Moon Goals

            83.  Create my own altar (wicca/pagan)

            84. Weekly tarot/oracle card readings

Others

            85. Keep at least 3 plants alive

            86. Design a science based board game

            87. Create and update a digital vision board

            88. Re-pierce my ears

            89. Reorganize my storage unit

Once I move:

            90. Get a new sewing machine

                        91. Make a new quilt

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

            93. New couch & chair for living room

            94. New dresser for bedroom

            95. New mattress & box spring for bed

            96. New TV & stand

TV shows to binge watch

            97. Hawaii 5-0 (latest remake)

            98. Grimm

            99. The Librarians

            100. Once Upon A Time

            101. Blacklist

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

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

October in Review

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

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

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

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

The goals for October included:

At least 434,000 steps

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

Read at least 2 non-fiction books

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

Aim for one week no spend

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

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

So how did I do with each goal?

At least 434,000 steps

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

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

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

Read at least 2 non-fiction books

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

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

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

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

Aim for one week no spend

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what are my goals for November going to be?

At least 420,000 steps

Making a nice long list of possible photography topics

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

Reading two non-fiction books

Making my November monthly calendar

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

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

No Comments Lifestyle ChallengesMonth in ReviewPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentRebootBreak

October New Moon Goals (several days late)…….it seems to be a trend

So the moon is going to be transitioning through it’s new phase over the next two or three days (I’m also going to be two or three days late in posting this as well), and moving through the Scorpio constellation. We’re down to the last few days of October, and then there are only sixty-one days left in 2019. I’m down to four weeks with my current position, and have realized that while I need to take the break to figure out what I want to do with my life—the inner, control-freak voices are starting to freak out (but that’s a topic for another post).

So as the moon moves through Scorpio, there are several things that one can do during this time (according to “Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland), and they are:

            Get sexy.

            Invest wisely.

            Make inner peace.

            B-r-e-a-t-h-e

            Drop grudges

This moon is also moving through my first house or my image zone (how one presents themselves to the world). While Aries is the start of the zodiac calendar—when the moon (either full or new) passes through your first house, it can also seem as the start of a “new year” (we can have a “new start” twice a year if necessary). It is also fitting to be at the image zone, after having done the free health screening last week.

So what are some of the things that one can do during this time?

            Surprise friends with the ‘new you’

            Throw out all your old make-up and start again

            Get married or meet someone new

            Good time to move

            Splurge on something in a vibrant color

            Have a facial

            Get your sight checked

For me, this particular new moon period is guiding me to focus on myself, and remind myself that I’m worth whatever work I put into my future—in other words no one else is going to do the work for me. A new future is going to be made—and I’m the only one that can make it what I want, if I do nothing—others decide my future.

Looking at the above two lists there are few things that are crossed off (getting sexy, throwing out make-up, getting married or meeting someone new, and currently moving). These are only crossed off because 1) I currently don’t wear makeup; 2) I’m not in a relationship or looking to be in a relationship; and 3) in order to move I have to have an idea of where to move to—and that is up in the air.

But if I were to make a short list of goals for the Scorpio New Moon they’d include:

            Meditating nightly—this is something that I’ve been working on for the past couple of months, and hopefully by making use of some nature CDs—I can get past the one or two minute mark. My goal is to get up to ten to fifteen minutes of nightly mediation, and then start working on meditating for about five minutes during the day—mainly when I feel like I’m going to have an anxiety attack. This is also an way to make inner peace with myself as well.

            I really should make an eye appointment over the next couple of weeks—that way I can get my eyes checked before I lose my really good eye insurance.

            Work on my reboot break plan and my transition plan—both plans are essential for the coming months—the reboot break is going to focus on re-centering myself (putting myself first for once, especially in the case of mental and physical health), and actually figuring out what I want to do with my life. The transition plan will then help me transition that dream into reality.

Only a few goals this month, but a few are better than none, and I also to remember—Progress over Perfection.

No Comments AstrologyNew Moon GoalsPersonal Development

Self reflection time: naming my “roadblocks”

As I’ve been doing quite a bit of personal development/reflections over the past few weeks—I’ve realized that when it comes to my two or three biggest obstacles in trying to transition from academia to industry, they all have one thing in common—they’re all mental and I need to do the following to get past them:

            Acknowledge that there are obstacle/blocks to getting to my goals.

            Devise a workable plan for dealing with said obstacles (without hopefully adding more anxiety or obstacles to the path)

            Work daily to make small strides towards getting to stated goals.

            But remember that the goals may be fluid and change as I move forward.

So what are these obstacles or blocks that I’ve recognized over the past few weeks?

The first one is actually the major one—movement paralysis. What I mean by this is that I’ve overthought things so much, that I’m basically afraid to move in any direction, due to the (almost totally irrational) fear that I’m going to be making another large mistake. This is actually a three part paralysis problem–as described below.

This is due in part to how my first post-doctoral position ended—not well. In hindsight I probably shouldn’t have taken that position—I only learned a few new techniques, made quite a few new friends—but I didn’t end up having a very good working relationship with my mentor. When the position ended, I was financially in the hole and felt like I was pretty much emotionally in the hole as well (due mainly to stress).

I came back home to get my financial feet steady again, and to see if I could still find enjoyment in academic research. So—I do have my financial feet steady (for the most part), and while I do enjoy the freedom of academic research—I’m so far off the path from a faculty position, it isn’t funny. If I were to stay in academic research—it would have to be in a support position, and if I was paid a decent salary I’d almost consider staying in academia—but I know I won’t be, and therefore it’s time to move on.

Switching from academia to industry is going to be a complete culture shock, and I know this—also this is where the movement paralysis comes in—what direction do I want to go in?

            There is research at the bench, research away from the bench, marketing, sales, writing, data analysis, clinical, law, ethics, and everything in between. There is also the fact that companies want to hire people focused on a couple of things, and not jack-of-all-trades (and that is how I currently feel—like I’m more of a jack of all trades than a specialist).

So that is the first part of my movement paralysis—determining which direction(s) do I try to go in? Which then leads to the second part of my movement paralysis–what do I feel like “specializing” in, and what do I feel like being a “jack-of-all-trades” in?

I’ve always enjoyed learning new things, and at times I tend to get bored and let my mind wander if I have to do the same thing over and over again—though I have tried to get better at this with my most current position. I also know that there are probably quite a few techniques that I’m lacking knowledge on for certain positions. I know that I can pick up the techniques fairly quickly, so that isn’t the major problem (though it is tied with the second issue—which I’ll get to possibly in the next post)—but I’m worried that I’ll get bored with what I’m doing and that there may not be that much to learn with the position.

So this means that I need to look through my diverse scientific background, and list out basically everything I’ve done and decide which two or three things (or areas), are the ones that I’d be willing to spend forty to say sixty hours a week of my life working on for the next thirty to thirty-five years. I know that most of the areas have a numerous papers published monthly, and that it would take quite awhile to feel like I’m an “expert” in those areas—getting back into reading scientific papers is something else I know I need to work on (I lost the little bit of enjoyment I had for that during my postdoctoral years).

This then brings me to the third point of my “movement paralysis”—determining which companies to work for, and brings the triangle of my “movement paralysis” to a close. This point is tied in even more closely with the first point (which direction), than the second one is. There are numerous companies, of different sizes (small start-ups up to large multi-national companies), and they all have their own different culture, ideas, pursuits, and so forth.

So once I have an idea of the two or three directions I’m wanting to go in, then I will also start looking at the different companies that are in those areas and work from there. One way of pursuing this—figure out a way that the different directions could almost go together and therefore make it easy for determining which company (or companies) I want to work for and which biotech hubs I want to be working/living in as well.

So those are my three areas of “movement paralysis”:

            Determining which direction to go,

            Determining what to be an “expert” in and what to be a “jack-of-all-trades” in, and then finally,

            Determining which companies to start looking into, and what biotech hubs to also look into.

Now how am I going to address each area of “paralysis” and move forward?

In terms of which direction to go in—I have several different ideas, but the main “issue” would be trying to figure out how I could go from research at the bench to doing marketing research behind the scenes for example—I know it has been done, but my thought would be can it be done after being in industry (say a second job transition from the bench to behind the scenes).

I have a list of different basic job “titles” or areas that peaked my interest (though one of them is basically my “comfort zone”), and they are:

Other than the R&D Scientist/Manager–which still will have a learning curve mainly for techniques, the other positions are all outside my comfort zone for numerous reasons including:

Not being at the bench–with my current position I do miss being at the bench, but I can’t say for certain if I miss it because I love it, or if I miss it because it is where I’m most comfortable at.

Writing heavy positions. This isn’t to say that I don’t like writing–but grad school and my first (and to a smaller extent my second) post doctoral position dulled my enthusiasm for writing. This is something that I’m trying to get back–starting with writing in my journal, creative writing, and working my way up to summarizing journal articles (to then hopefully write a mini-review on a topic).

Number heavy positions. Dealing with numbers really isn’t the problem–I would just need to learn statistics, and then brush up on basically everything business related (finances and economics for example).

While I’m not looking at positions that are constantly on the road (as I know there are at least two to four different positions that travel at least four days a week), there are one or two that might have some travel time. Currently I want to limit the amount of travel, since when I do move–I’ll have my cat with me (and then I’m planning within six to nine months after settling of getting another kitten or puppy), and that means I don’t want to be paying a large amount of money every month for a pet sitter.

So as you can see—I have numerous directions I can chose from, I just need to decide which are the most interesting and which ones could possibly overlap and make it an easy transition into the second, or third industry positions (as now a days—people may or may not stick with the same company for more than say three to five years).

I almost consider all the positions (other than the R&D scientist/manager) to be some sort of data analyst position—which would be interesting in their own way—but I’m not sure if I want to be stuck at a desk all day or not (but this is something else entirely to deal with).  The R&D position would be staying somewhat within my comfort zone. I’m saying somewhat—because I know that there are technical skills that I’m lacking, but would be able to pick up fairly quickly on the job. The position is listed, because currently I do miss doing actual research at the bench—I’m just not sure if it is something that I want to continue doing for the next thirty or thirty-five years.

All of the positions have a learning curve—there are technical skills, coding, subjects (such as marketing, statistics, and economics for example), and possible foreign languages to learn (or brush up on).

So how can I go about paring down the list? Well, for that to happen I will also need to make headway with the other two points on the triangle (what do I want to be an “expert” in and where do I want to work/live (biotech hubs and the specific companies)—and then hopefully work on getting some informational interviews with people to hear first hand about these positions.

In addition I have listed in another journal things that I can start brushing up on (or learning) that would help with transitioning into the different positions, and may also help get me back into enjoying learning something new and pushing myself outside of my comfort zone.

This is also going back to my issue with time management—I know that there is enough time in the day to brush up on one or two things, and that I can go between different things (say have a M/W/F schedule & then a T/Th schedule—just like college)—I just need to clean up a work space, install some time management apps—so I don’t spend all day going onto social media, and sit down and get stuff going.

That then brings me to the second area to figure out: my niche. So how do I decide on what to be an “expert” on and what to be a “jack-of-all-trades” on? If I had to pick a couple of skills/areas that I would enjoy doing frequently they would be the following:

I think that knowing how to do “old fashion” molecular cloning is important, only because I’m sure there will be a time when money runs out for a lab and they will still need that one last plasmid to get the grant—if someone knows how to do it the “old fashion” way—they can put in the grant application; if no one knows—the lab folds and closes. This is something that one might not have to do much of in the industry setting (as time is money, and companies may rather just pay another company some money to make the plasmid for them), but I do feel like it is something that any molecular biologist should at least know the theory behind (and if possible, have tried their hands at it).

            If nothing else, I think this would be a good subject to design an entire series of blog posts around, and maybe even a small online course.

The recombinant protein expression and purification fits in with that aspect—because you have to put your gene/protein of interest into a plasmid to be able to study it. Proteins and small molecules are what makes the cell run—knowing how to study them, how to target them (in cases of cancer and other diseases) for treatment is something that I think I’d enjoy doing. There are also numerous technical skills that I would hopefully be able to pick up as well doing this; though with this area—there are so many different proteins, that again this would be an duel edge sword—being an “expert” in one or two, and then a “jack-of-all-trades” in a couple of other types of proteins.

Cell biology fits in with both the above two topics and the last one (small RNA biology) because you have to understand how the cell operates to be able to understand how to start to manipulate it. This is a subject that I would need to brush up on, as I only took one or two classes in college, and while my dissertation topic touched on it a little—it only touched on a very small aspect of it (post-transcriptional modifications).

Small RNA biology is an area that can span different industrial sectors such as biomedical, pharmaceuticals, and agricultural. This is also a growing field, with more being discovered about these small molecules that play a large role in the cell. Having done small RNA biology with both plants and animals, I can go either direction, biomedical/pharmaceutical or agricultural, and probably be happy doing the research at the bench.

So these four areas can probably be condensed down into two areas: molecular biology and cell biology that I feel like I could be an “expert” and a “jack-of-all-trades” in at the same time (as both areas encompass numerous different subfields). The other two areas that I would feel more comfortable having a “jack-of-all-trades” or “minor” expertise in would be biochemistry and chemistry. As I’m typing this, I’m finding it funny that I’m willing to consider myself an “expert” in molecular biology, and an “jack-of-all-trades” or “minor” expert in biochemistry (since both my undergraduate and graduate degrees were in biochemistry and molecular biology)—it has only taken me about nine years to figure out which subfield I’m more comfortable with compared to the other.

So, while I’ve chosen the areas (and to some extent the subfields)—I’m still going to need to spend time reading papers, and giving myself a refresher in certain subjects (namely chemistry, a little biochemistry (all those pathways), and a little cell biology). I need to design a tracking system, or something that will make it interesting and fun so that I don’t lose interest after a week or so—plus I will design a schedule to where I focus on only say two “subjects” on any particular day (pretend I’m back in college).

So I have some idea of the direction(s) I’m probably willing to take; ideas of what I wouldn’t mind becoming an “expert” versus an “jack-of-all-trades” in—which then leads to the third point—where do I want to relocate to, and then which companies within that region am I going to look into further. This is actually a two-part problem: location to live and company to work for. I’ve realized that I’m going to be going about this issue in a different manner than most people: I’m going to first focus on narrowing down the biotech hubs that I’m willing to relocate to, and then focus on narrowing down the companies within the biotech hubs that I want to work for.

So when it comes to choosing a biotech hub, I already have several different criteria that will have to be met:

            The cost of living has to be reasonable. I know that moving to a larger city, rent is going to be relatively high, but I don’t want to be paying an outrageous amount of money for a small studio or one bedroom apartment.

            There has to be a decent public transportation system in the city. This is currently an absolute must have, as I don’t drive (and until I work thorough my anxiety issues associated with it—I won’t be driving). So that is one thing the city has to have—public transportation. I don’t mind riding buses, trains, or both to get to work—you do what you have to do, with what you have.

            There has to be things to do within the city (both free and hopefully also fairly inexpensive). With a transition into industry, this will hopefully mean that I won’t have to be working on weekends (though the occasional one is perfectly fine), and I can spend the time exploring my new city and the surround areas. That also means that there should be ways of getting around the outlying areas as well (for example—Boston serves as a hub and you can take a bus almost anywhere within a four hour drive).

            Finally, there needs to be a decent number of companies within the area. I realize that I may not spend the rest of my career working for the company that I start with—but if I’m going to be changing companies (for whatever reason, say five to ten years after starting with company one) I don’t want to be moving cross-country, or even between states (if I can avoid it). The move to and from Boston for my first postdoctoral position soured me on long distance moving (moves are expensive, and time consuming [packing, arranging movers, finding an apartment/condo/house, setting up utilities, getting your stuff delivered, and then unpacking], and as far as I’m concerned—an all around headache).

            When it comes to trying to pick the companies, this will be in part dependent on which direction I chose to go in, what I’ve “branded” myself an “expert” in, and of course the city. I know that companies all have their own culture, values, and visions—so the best way of narrowing down the companies will be to setup informational interviews. These will start first online (or over the phone), and then when I have an solid idea of the place(s)—hopefully in person informational interviews, when I take some networking trips in the spring.

So there it is—my “movement paralysis” layout, and each little circle opened up to reveal another “knot” that needs to be worked out in order to move forward. I’m going to be doing this a little slower than others might—but by doing it slow, I can hopefully avoid falling into any major panic attacks or introducing a new “movement paralysis” stop.

First things to do: clean up my room and design a work area at home (probably not my desk—which is also currently serving as my dresser), install some time management apps on the computer (to keep me from surfing social media sites during the day—especially once I’m on my reboot break), and design a schedule for the “class” work I need to start working on. In addition, I’ll be working a little on it during the week at work (when I have a little down time in between other things), such as reading business/tech pages to start brushing up on the business side of science.

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Review of Libra New Moon Goals

So the moon will be transitioning through it’s new phase again this weekend and it will be going through the Scorpio constellation. Somehow we have less than a week left of October, and then only sixty-one days left in 2019.

So before I think of addressing the Scorpio new moon (and it’s goals)—it’s time to look back at the goals I had made for the Libra new moon.

Those goals included:

            Meditate nightly—I have some nature CDs on my iPhone that I bought via iTunes—they’re calming (at least for me) and no one is talking.

            Practice yoga—there is a little yoga in one of the workouts that I’ll be doing over the next few weeks.

            Regain my identity—this doesn’t have anything to do with unhealthy co-dependency issues (unless you consider all my jobs to this point have been in an academic setting)—but try to figure out whom I am and what I want to do with the next half of my life.

So how did I do with these goals?

In terms of meditation—I only really managed a few minutes (especially since I didn’t feel like always having my cell phone and ear buds out right before bed). I know it is a slightly silly reason—but I am trying to avoid using my phone after I turn off all lights. I do have a white noise maker, so that helps a little; but mainly I need to quiet my thoughts and emotions (usually anxiety and stress) so that I can focus on my breathing. So again—this is an on-going practice and something that once I get better at it, will help with the anxiety, stress, and depression.

In terms of practicing yoga—this didn’t happen. I have the hybrid workout schedule all made up, but by the end of the day—I don’t feel like doing anything. Now I know that it can basically be considered mind over matter, and that I will probably feel better once I start to workout—but right now, the more lazy thought pattern is winning over the productive thought pattern. I am at least striving to hit my step goal for the day and week—and will be hitting my yearly step goal again this year. Negative thought patterns are easy to identify, but rather difficult to break—so this is something else that I’m working baby steps towards again.

Regaining my identity—I’m slowly working on this (I actually have at least one blog post almost ready to share on the topic). As I’ve told a couple of people—I have several ideas of what I may enjoy doing—I just need the time to focus and work through things (hence one of the reasons for the reboot break). I’ve also realized that I currently feel like a boat adrift in the sea (no working motor or sails), and the reboot break is going to feel like I’ve found an island that I can land on and slowly start fixing my boat—then I can be in charge of the direction I go in life, instead of just allowing myself to be pushed by the currents of others.

Things haven’t been perfect, and some things haven’t moved forward at all—but there has been progress in each area. That progress has been as little as admitting that there are roadblocks and that I need to develop an better plan to either remove said roadblocks or find a way around them.

As I move into the last two months of 2019, I’m going to keep with the mantra: Progress over Perfection.

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Aries Full Moon Goals: A few days late

So the moon is (or actually has) entered it’s latest full moon stage, and has moved through the Aries constellation. I’m going to be a day (or two, maybe three) late in posting, but that seems to be on par the past couple of weeks in my posts. By the time I post this, October will be halfway over, and that means there is only two and half months left in 2019. Somehow, time speeds by when one wants it to go slow, and crawls when we want it to speed past. I’ve realized that one thing I need to focus on during these last few weeks of 2019 and going into 2020—time management, and productivity.

So Aries is actually the start of the Zodiac calendar—which means astrologically speaking—it’s starting a new year, so goals can be reassessed, redesigned, tossed, and new ones made if one wants to.

So during the full moon, there are a series of questions one can ask themselves regarding the full moon in different constellations. So in regards to the full moon in Aries, one can ask themselves the following questions:

Have I been hotheaded, selfish, or argumentative this month?

Have I been going to fast or been impulsive this month?

Have I been brash, blunt, or too competitive?

Have I ignored other people’s finer sensibilities?

Have I had enough fun?

So if I were to number the previous questions 1-5, I think my answers would be as following:

  1. I don’t think that I’ve been hotheaded, selfish, or argumentative this month as all—though I’m sure that there are some people who will disagree with me on the selfish part (since I turned in my letter of resignation for my current position [and who knows when it will be filled]). I’m actually trying to put myself first at times (especially in terms of my mental health). I usually try to avoid being argumentative at work (it doesn’t seem to do any good, other than make a situation worse).
  2. No I haven’t been going to fast or being impulsive this month either—if nothing else, my problem is that I’m usually going in the opposite mode—to slow and being overly cautious. I’ve realized that I’ve actually worked myself into a stage/period of “motion paralysis”, and this is something that I’m actually going to be working on moving/getting out of over the next few months (especially once my reboot break starts).
  3. Again, no I don’t think I’ve been brash, blunt, or too competitive—I’m more likely to stand back and let others be in the spotlight. I’m quite content to be in the background doing things.
  4. I don’t think that I’ve been ignoring other people’s finer sensibilities.
  5. No, I probably haven’t been having enough fun lately. This is something else that I’m going to be trying to correct over the next few months. I know that it shouldn’t be trying to find a “balance” between work and home—but trying to enjoy and find something “fun” in what I do between the hours of eight and five (or nine and six—or whatever the work hours will be). Plus, once I’m better at time management—spend some time in the evenings working on crafts, photography, and/or writing.

So I can safely say—that I’m quite boring, dull, and more than willing to be a wallflower. Traits, that won’t be helpful in terms of networking, and job searching—so there are things that I will need to work on over the next few months. But before one can start making their full moon goals, one should also look to see which house the full moon is moving through—and what they may need to take into account there.

So Aries is moving through my sixth house—or my daily work and health zone. So this is one nice thing about the moon—it moves through the houses several times each year—but there are two times (new & full) that we can sit and reflect on how we’ve done with each house. This is the house, where we can sit and reflect on who we are (both business/work wise and health/fitness wise) and decide to work on what we don’t like.

I find it amusing that the sixth house has popped up approximately a month before I’ll be leaving my job, and a little over a week before I do a free health assessment. I know that there are numerous things that I need to focus on in both areas of life (work/business and health/fitness)—that I’m going to go slow, and the goals may carry over into goals for both November and my reboot break/transition plan goals.

Therefore my goals for the Aries full moon will include:

            Working on my reboot break/transition plan. This may include working through some of the personal development courses or starting to read some of the personal development books (particularly the ones that have numerous journal prompts).

            Trying to back into meditating nightly—this has been an on and off endeavor the past couple of weeks. I know that when I manage to do it for at least a couple of minutes—I do sleep a little better at night.

            Not touching my phone after I turn off the lights and start reading (I have the light dimmed on the e-reader, but haven’t figured out how to dim the light on the phone). Try to be meditating by no later than nine, and reading no later than twenty after nine.

            Continue trying to plan out the next couple of months, and look into different programs that allow you to block certain apps/web pages to help increase my productivity and work on my time management skills.

And always remember: Progress over Perfection.

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A review of my Pisces full moon goals

So the moon will be entering it’s full moon phase tomorrow, and then within a few days October will be halfway over—as it is, there are less than ninety days left in the year. I have basically six weeks left on the job, and then I will be starting my reboot break—I’ve realized over the past week or so that I’ve worked myself into movement paralysis (overthinking to the point of not being able to do anything), and that in the spring I’ll have to make a leap. What that leap is going to be or where it will take me—that is still up to the drawing board.

So before I sit down to draft my next round of full moon goals, I should look back at the                                           goals that I set for the Pisces full moon and see how I did with them.

My goals for the Pisces Full Moon included:

            Meditating nightly.

            Get back into journaling and working on my reboot break and transition plan.

            In connection with number two—figure out how to divide things between different days and work on my time management (plan things out).

So how did I do with each one?

            Other than the past week or so, I managed to meditate at least two to three minutes each night. I realized that October was going to be a difficult month (in basically every aspect of life), due to it being the one year anniversary “month” of when we had to put Chewi and Piranha down last year. I had thought that I managed to get a grasp on my depression—and for the most part I have, but I’ve also realized that there will be times when I slid backwards. These past few weeks has been that slid backwards—now I’m going to be working on moving forward again; both to regain the ground “lost” during my backwards slid and to make progress moving forward.

            In terms of journaling and working on various plans—I’ve been slowly working through an new e-course, and with that has come some startling thoughts—like I’ve been in academic research (in some form) for a long enough period, that the “career” has reached the legal age of drinking. Now that I’ve decided that I’m done with academia—I’ll be starting with a “new, baby” career—that will have quite a ways to go before it reaches the legal age of drinking.

            I’m still working on my time management and planning things out—I’ve realized that it may be better to just try to block off time for certain things (working on an e-course, journaling/answering personal development questions) than stating that from X to Y is going to be Z and then moving on to C and D. Again over the last few weeks I’ve realized that I’ve worked myself into “movement paralysis” and anytime I tried to slowly work my way out of it—I’d sidetrack myself by checking social media, and other pages. So one thing I’ll be doing is looking into the sites that allow you to block access to certain pages for a certain amount of time. That way I can hopefully get quite a bit of other stuff accomplished without sidetracking myself with social media. This also means that I’ll be having to straighten up my working space at home and remove/hide other items that I would consider “time wasters”—mainly my phone (so that I can’t check social media), my kindle (so I’m not just reading anything), and possibly some of my craft items.

It is time to figure out what I’m wanting to do with the second half of my life—academic research has been fun, and will always hold a spot—but it is time to find that one thing that I’m totally passionate about, and will also keep me interested and engaged at work, and I feel excitement when I head into work daily—instead of counting down the hours until I can leave.

But currently I’m going to keep with the motto: Progress over Perfection.

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