So the moon will be entering its second full moon stage on Saturday—which is also Halloween. So, hopefully the temperatures will be nice, and after doing quite a bit of yard work throughout the day—I will sit outside in the backyard with the dogs for a while basking under the light of the moon. But before one can start looking towards the next full moon, one should reflect on the goals that they had set for the previous one.
Therefore, I need to look at the goals that I set for the Aries full moon and see how I did with each of them.
The goals that I had set for the Aries full moon included:
Review, edit, and reassemble my 150+ goals to accomplish in 2002 days. I know that there are some things that I can probably remove from the list—I won’t be changing the time period, I will just be changing out goals—seeing what has been accomplished, what needs to go, and possibly what can be added.
Figure out what other ‘notes’ to post around the computer to help in time management. I’ve currently been telling myself when I can check my email and get on social media—it is slowly helping in managing my time.
Continue with personal/professional development. This will include working through e-courses, reading, and journaling (especially taking prompts from different books and/or e-courses).
Draft a ‘master plan’ that includes the blog, the transition (remote, freelance, contract), personal/professional development, hobbies, and life in general.
So how did I do with each of them?
In terms of the 150+ goal list—I did remove one goal (totally finishing the dream job hack program), I also removed the ‘number of days’ that I was going to be pushing play in terms of working out.
I removed the number of days and instead just stated that I was planning on trying to complete each of the following programs at least once.
I also then updated the rest in terms of how I was doing with each area—some I haven’t done much in, others I’ve done a bit more in. I’ve also decided that I would probably look at the list every 100 days or so and decide if the goals were still working or if I need to remove/add any goals.
In terms of the ‘notes’—the first two only lasted about a week and a half. I’m thinking of actually trying to find the programs to block access to various sites (or at least remove the bookmarks for certain sites). I’m getting a little better at time management, but not to the standard I really need to be at, especially if I’m thinking of starting up a freelance/consulting/remote/contract work.
I managed to get a couple of books read during the month, and slowly started working through another e-course (I’m about halfway through the medical writers organization). This is something that will always be on the list of things to accomplish—personal and professional development should be a never ending path that we travel on.
Still working on the ‘master plan’ for my life. Even though I have some ideas, I usually break out in an anxiety attack when I start writing them down as goals (since I haven’t though of how to break them down in to smaller goals). Now I’m just going to refer to things as going on my ‘to-be-accomplished’ list instead of a to-do list. The first has a much more positive spin on things.
So progress is being made—in terms of ideas of the direction(s) I would like to go with my career (just need to work on various courses along with two very important transferable skills—time and project management. I’m reading more (though at times it is more fiction, than non-fiction—but I’m working on trying to balance that out).
I realize that no matter how next week turns out—I’m in the driver seat of my career and life and therefore I need to determine the best direction(s) for me (and the pets) to be going in.
The following quotes are one of the things I keep coming back to as I work through various things: Progress over Perfection; You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one; and not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make.
So I’m 100 days into this challenge, and there are sixty-six days left in 2020. We’re also just about a week away from the presidential election as well (fingers crossed it goes the way I’m hoping).
I decided a couple of weeks ago, that I should probably look at the list again, and see if there were any goals that I wanted to remove (for whatever reason), and possibly any goals I wanted to add—but also to see where I was in terms of the different goals.
There is still the pandemic going on—which means that the travel plans are still on hold, and I’m still sheltering in place. I will probably continue to shelter in place at least until March of 2021 (when hopefully a possible vaccine is available). I’m still working on trying to figure out what my ‘new normal’ is going to be looking like.
As I stated in a previous post, I’m also thinking of replacing the list on the odds and end bucket list with this list—so that change may be occurring soon as well.
So how are things progressing?
Professional development and career: On-going
1. Transition into an industry position (probably remote/online or freelancing at this point to start); there will be several posts on this goal
2. Learn a programming language (python or R—ties in with #6)—going to go with python to begin with.
3. Finish various e-courses that I’ve bought, but in particular:
4. Dream Job Hack Removed, currently going through the modules but trying to tailor to my needs (program is best for those wanting to get into high level manager type roles—not the greatest for someone switching from research to industry and who also hasn’t been in a manager type role).
5. Medical Writers Organization
6. Data Scientist Syndicate—Finished September 3rd 2020
7. Project Management Consortium
8. Management Consulting Firm
9. All other courses—see additional lists in the journal.
10. More interacting on Linkedin—Hard to score these, I’m doing the best with #11; though I have started doing my own posts—mainly photographs and quotes; need to start working more on the other 2 (especially the giving/asking for recommendations).
11. Sharing articles from various biotech pages, and other science pages
12. Commenting on posts
13. Giving/Asking for recommendations
14. Start writing my own posts
15. Creating monthly/weekly/daily calendars for above goals—trying to get better at the editorial or to-do-list calendars.
16. Renew professional memberships—Need to pick just one or two currently to renew; can’t do all at once.
Both Personal and Professional Development—still working on all of these
17. Become fluent in Spanish
18. Become fluent in German
19. Become proficient in French, Norwegian, or Swedish
20. Read at least 300 personal/professional development books; this will include books from my previous attempts at 1001-day challenges as well. I have over 300 books on the list, and I would like to get through at least 100 of them before I keep adding to the list.
21. Finish the books on scientific writing
22. Start building up a portfolio of work (writing/data analysis/plus other ideas)
23. Develop a daily writing habit (tied with several goals below)
24. Write a letter to my future self
Personal development and hobbies—started a few, but need to also start in on others as well
25. Paint and frame at least one original painting
26. More photography—Have been doing this; started a new challenge (though I haven’t been totally consistent with daily postings) and updating/adding pages
27. 365-Day Challenge (aim for 365 different pictures)
28. Update photography pages on blog
29. Make my own jewelry
30. Learn to cross-stitch
31. Get a new sewing machine—On hold; seems getting a sewing machine there is a 50/50 risk that the machine will have problems winding the bobbin
32. Make a new quilt (or this may wait until I move)
33. Make a set of drapes for the bedroom (for backdrop for any zoom calls)
34. Start a new afghan (write a post on finishing the other)—need to figure out how to patch the other afghans
35. Show case crafts on blog (possibly a weekly update?)
36. Start writing a book
37. Learn Photoshop
38. Write in journal daily (answer questions/prompts from journaling books and free thought)
39. Create my own coffee-table photography book
40. Learn basic sign language
41. Start a virtual book club
Finances—still working on these, since I’m taking time off there isn’t a steady paycheck coming in yet.
42. Create monthly budgets—currently this is just paying off the bills.
43. Credit card debts down and hopefully paid off monthly—some are high, but that is due to buying a couple of personal/professional development courses that were rather expensive.
44. Declutter the house (way of earning extra cash)
45. Savings account up another 20K (hopefully)—this will be tied in with #44, #46, and any other ways of trying to earn a little extra cash.
46. Talk with financial person about short-term investment possibilities
47. Continue doing the small surveys as a way of earning a little extra cash
48. Finish the various financial e-courses, and decide when/how to start investing
Fitness & Health—On going
49. Get into the best shape of my life
50. Multivitamin and supplements daily
51. Manage to make it through the following Beachbody workouts
52. Morning Meltdown 100 (will probably do this 2-3 times, as I’m currently doing this program right now—07/19/2020)—Finished my first round on 9/15/2020
53. Yoga Booty Ballet—Abs & Butt (should be done mid-Nov)
54. 10 Rounds—Will be starting this mid-Nov & done by Christmas.
55. Barre Blend
56. Insanity Max 30
57. LIIFT4 (have already done this program once); 2nd round will be done mid-Nov (combined this with Yoga Booty Ballet—Abs & Butt)
58. 22-Minute Hard Corps
61. Insanity: Asylum 1
62. Insanity: Asylum 2
63. 4 weeks of Prep
64. 6 weeks of the work
65. T25 (have already done this program once)
66. Brazil Butt Lift
67. 21-Day Fix (Already done this program once)
68. 21-Day Fix Extreme (Already done this program once)
69. Country Heat (already done this program once)
71. Muscle Burns Fat
72. Muscle Burns Fat Advanced
73. 30-Day Breakaway (this is a maybe—it’s running based)
74. 9-week control freak
75. Shawn Week
76. 80-Day Obsession
77. Brazil Butt Lift: Carnivale
78. Shift Shop: Proving Grounds
Plus any other possible Beachbody program that is coming out that I may want to add.
80. Manage 5 push-ups on my toes
81. Manage 10 push-ups on my toes
82. Hold a two-minute forearm plank
83. Hold a 90 second plank
84. Meditate nightly
85. Start jogging (as another way to try to keep my mental health up)—may tie this in with #73
86. 60-80 oz of water a day
87. Stretch daily
88. Go one weekend a month with no social media (no scrolling through social media pages; may still post on the sites)
89. Get at least 10,010,000 steps (breaks down to 5K/day)—on my way; I’ve managed to hit all month goals (and surpass slightly).
Blog and Social Media–Ongoing
90. Finish YouTube for bosses course
91. Finish YouTube course creation for bosses course
92. Finish blog to biz course
93. Launch a YouTube channel
94. Launch an online course
95. Get blog traffic to 500+ views a day
96. Rebrand myself (?)
97. Get Instagram followers to constant 800+
98. Get pintrest followers to constant 400+
99. Get twitter followers to constant 1000+
100. Publish at least two blog series
101. Editorial calendars (monthly/weekly/daily)
104. Facebook pages
107. Get Fit with Jessi to 1000+ likes/follows
108. Get becomingJessi (or new name if I change) to 1000+ likes/follows
109. Various top 10 author lists
110. Various top 10 book series lists
111. Launch a podcast
112. Full/New Moon Goals
113. Create my own altar (wicca/pagan)
114. Weekly (or daily) tarot/oracle card readings
115. 15 minutes outdoors in the morning (coffee only) weather permitting; probably on hold now until spring—fall/winter mornings are usually somewhere between the 30s and 50s (if it’s closer to the higher end—maybe).
116. Keep at least 3 plants alive
117. Design a science based board game
118. Create and update digital vision board
119. Reorganize my storage unit
120. Put in at least one flower garden around the house (backyard, and/or front yard)
121. Help put up partial privacy fence in backyard
122. Start downsizing clothes and creating different “minimum” wardrobes (work/professional/casual; home/casual/working out)
123. Develop at least 10 different 100-day challenges
One challenge will be 100 days of iPhone Photography.
124. Start downsizing rest of my things./ as well—would like to probably be able to live comfortably in a smallish size apartment (or house) wherever I move for the next job.
TV shows to binge watch—Haven’t felt like sitting and watching anything lately
125. Hawaii 5-0 (latest remake)
127. The Librarians
128. Once Upon A Time
131. Agents of SHIELD
Goals on hold due to the global coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) outbreak (either because they require traveling, going into a large store, and/or being around large groups of people):
132. Re-pierce my ears
133. Go to at least 1 scientific conference
134. Present at a scientific conference
135. Go to at least 2 professional networking events
136. Move to a new (or maybe not new) city for job
137. Visit at least 3 new countries
138. Visit at least one new national and/or state park
139. Visit at least one new national and/or state monument
140. Visit at least one new zoo
141. Visit at least one new aquarium
142. Fly out and/or land at 3 new (to me) airports
143. Visit at least one new city
144. Visit at least one new state
145. See the northern lights
146. Attend at least one blogging conference
147. Attend at least one author-reader conference
148. Swim with whale sharks
150. Run a 5K (connects back to goals #73 & #85)
Once I move:
151. Get fabric and foam and make new cushions for chairs
152. New couch & chair for living room
153. New dresser for bedroom
154. New mattress & box spring for bed and/or a new bed set
155. New TV & stand
156. New desk/craft workstation
So in terms of the goals:
So I’ve removed one goal (finish the Dream Job Hack program), though I’m still going to work through a little that I think is relevant to what I need to be doing. I did find the program helpful, but it is geared more towards people who have been (or are in) management type positions—while I would like to get there, I know that I probably need to start a step or two below.
I’m making some headway with others—I’ve finished the data science syndicate program from the Cheeky Scientist Association (will be writing a post on late shortly), and am looking forward to trying to learn python and then start building a data science portfolio.
I’m working my way through the medical writers organization (another advanced Cheeky Scientist program), and am hoping to have that finished by mid-November, and again start working on building up a writing portfolio.
Currently I’m thinking of going in the freelance/online/remote direction for work (namely because of the pandemic and not really wanting to figure out the whole headache of trying to move two animals, all of my stuff, and myself to a different state currently). So in that case, I’m also thinking of possibly rebranding the blog (I have a couple of different names bouncing around, a decision will be made probably early next year sometime).
I’m still working on developing an editorial calendar/to-be accomplished list hybrid that works for me. I’ve realized that I swing between two extremes: I get over-ambitious and try to cram way to stuff in everyday, or I don’t get anything really accomplished.
I’m trying to work on that by possibly going to larger bullet journals that I can paperclip in my to-be-accomplished lists (which would then be discarded once everything as accomplished) instead of having to write out the lists constantly.
I’m also working on a schedule that will let me bounce back and forth between different things. I just finished reading “ How to be everything: A guide for those who (still) don’t know what they want to be when they grow up” by Emilie Wapnick.
I will be posting a review on the book soon (hopefully this week)—but it was nice to see that I’m not the only one who has felt drawn in different directions and not having a clue how to handle things. I was pleased to find that I’m a mixed-style multipotentialite—someone who goes between having quite a few different projects going on at once to only having one or two projects going on at once.
So that has definitely been a major breakthrough during the last few weeks—now it is a matter of me fully embracing that aspect of myself and figuring how the best ways of working that way—without triggering massive anxiety attacks (stay tuned).
I also removed the “number” of workouts from my fitness goals—the main reason I was starting to get tired. Everyone needs a rest day, and I’ve shown myself that I can still push play on Monday morning even if I take the weekend off (as told by the workout schedule).
So I am slowly making progress on the first ~124 (or I guess 123) goals; the last twenty-odd goals still require the pandemic to be brought under control and for me then to be willing to slowly start leaving the house and going to places that will actually have other people present as well.
So today is evaluate your life day. This ‘holiday’ was created to help people sit back and reflect on their lives—are you going in the direction you want to be moving in? If not, what can be changed?
So questions that I found via the web included:
The BIG Question: Am I really headed in the direction I want to be going?
Am I using my time wisely?
Am I waking up in the morning ready to take on the day’s challenges?
Am I in the right mindset before I go to bed?
Am I letting things I can’t control stress me out too much?
What do I wish to be known for?
Am I spending enough time with loved ones?
Am I putting enough energy into my relationships?
Am I listening to others as I should?
Do I have an open & receptive mind?
Am I taking things for granted?
Have I been taking care of myself physically?
How is my appearance?
Do I trust myself?
Have I been being true to myself?
Have I been avoiding anything?
Have I gone outside my comfort zone?
Are things going well overall?
Am I achieving the goals I set for myself?
Is there something I need or want to change?
If I were to number the above questions 1-19, and then answer totally truthfully—here would be my answers:
In terms of the big question: I would like to think that I’m on the path to where I want to be. Listening to various courses, there was the one conversation between the Chestier Cat & Alice:
“Which road do I take?” she asked.
“Where do you want to go?” he responded.
“I don’t know,” Alice answers.
“Then, it doesn’t matter,” said the cat.
I’m still in the process of trying to figure out the exact direction I want to be going in—the reason, I’m remembering/realizing that I enjoy numerous different topics, and I don’t want to go down the hole of ‘specialist’ and become bored.
That being said, I am reading and doing quite a bit of self-reflection to help narrow down on the ideas/paths. It could very well become a single path to one destination—or it could be the melding of several areas into something that is uniquely me.
So with being totally truthful—no I am not using my time wisely. The reason is that I’m still trying to figure out what part of the day do I have the most energy, and which part of the day does my energy dwindle. I know that it is usually somewhat in the morning and evening—but it varies depending on what I do day-to-day. So currently, I’m trying to track my energy levels to determine peak times for getting things done.
Usually, I do wake ready for the day—though again, this varies. I’ve realized over the past few weeks/months of self-reflection that it is perfectly fine to slow down and not get everything checked off the to-do list (which is why, actually I just make a large weekly to-do list; that way I know that I have all week to get everything done, and I’m not over committing myself to things). I’m also in the process of trying to create my life handbook, to help me choose what things should go on the to-do lists, and what things are worthy of my time and energy.
I try to be in the right mindset (somewhat calm and relaxed) before heading to bed. To get there—I do a oracle card reading; this helps me see if I’m staying on the right course or if something needs adjusting and then I usually try to mediate on the message from the cards. In addition, I’m trying to do quite a bit of journaling and getting my emotions and mindset down on paper as well.
Yes—I am letting things that I can’t control stress me out too much. This is mainly in regards to the current political atmosphere in the US (I’m going to be voting on Nov 3rd, but I live in a red state, so who knows how much of an impact a blue vote will be), and the current pandemic situation (the US is leading in total cases & deaths, and I’m starting to go just g a little stir crazy; as I’ve been in isolation since mid-March, only going out every so often—with a mask and proper social distancing).
This one is tricky and tied in with question one. On one hand—I should know where I’m going in order to know what I want to be known for; on the other hand—that path may change and what I want to be known for may no longer meld with that path or even with the second path. So—currently what I wish to be known for is someone who is compassionate, caring, able to convey complex science topics with ease to others, a good friend, colleague, and someone who also stands by her principals and values—even if it means having a smaller community around her.
This is tricky and with the current situation (SARS-CoV2 pandemic) both a yes and no question. Yes, I am spending time with loved ones—I’m self-isolating at home with my parents, and my younger brother has managed to come in for one visit. It is also a no answer—because it isn’t possible right now to spend time with friends and family that are outside of our immediate ‘bubble’.
Again—tricky question and one that has both a yes and now answer. Yes I feel like I’m putting enough energy into some relationships, and there are relationships that I know I’m not putting enough energy into. With the current situation (SARS-CoV2 pandemic), and still trying to find my footing, plus dealing with imposter syndrome, social anxiety, and not wanting to feel like I’m wasting people’s time—I know that I could be putting more energy into various relationships.
Well—it depends on the topics, if it’s politics and someone is trying to defend the current resident of the White House or anyone in that particular party—no I’m probably not listening. While I have no problem trying to debate politics, I do have a problem when it comes to morals—there are certain things that aren’t up for debate (and a lot seem to be on the ballot this year). Otherwise, I hope I’m listening to other people well enough—but I know that this is something that I work on.
Yes, I have an open and receptive mind. Again—I’m usually open to debating various things, unless they’re either blatantly false (such as those who believe that the earth is flat and the center of the solar system), or situations where we just won’t agree (such as pro-choice vs pro-life).
I don’t think I’ve really ever taken anything for granted—other than maybe believing that if something can go wrong it will go wrong.
I’ve gotten back into a workout routine, and have even gotten to the point to where I can take the rest days and not fear that I’m not going to push play again come Monday. I know that it will take awhile to get into the best shape of my life—but life is a marathon and not a sprint. It is time to honor my body and work with it, instead of against it.
Well, currently this is a trick question. We’re still in the middle of a pandemic; I’m self-isolating so that means that my wardrobe currently consists of comfortable clothes. I’ve never been one for makeup and fixing my hair—as far as I’m concerned they both take way to much damn time. So I’m more of clean-faced, and pull my hair back into a pony-tail. While I’m sure that I may have to do a little more ‘dress-up’ for any potential interviews and so forth—right now I’m not going to be worrying about it.
I think that I’ve spent quite a bit of time not trusting myself over the years and I’m slowly starting to slow down so that I can hear the internal voice and guidance of my intuition.
I’m trying to be true to myself. I’ve made the decision that I probably won’t alter anything on any of my social media accounts. Why have I made this decision? Well, everyone is always told to make sure that you haven’t posted anything that can in theory ‘haunt’ your job applications or your career—I’m an introvert, so there isn’t any socially awkward pictures anywhere on the net—but I am a liberal, a pagan/wiccan, and I have a snarky/sarcastic sense of humor. Therefore I have memes on my personal facebook page that make fun of the current administration, I have links to petitions on my twitter feed, and I have numerous pictures of tarot/oracle card readings on my instagram account. I’m proud of all those things—my response to the ‘don’t post things so you don’t offended others’—if my posts ‘offended’ you, don’t send me a friend request and don’t follow me on social media; my feelings won’t be hurt.
What have I been avoiding lately? I’ve been avoiding doing in-depth personal and professional development. The reason why: mainly imposter syndrome and social anxiety. Though I’ve decided that I’m going to acknowledge the feeling and try to find middle ground on moving forward towards my goals.
I find this to be a trick question—because if you look up comfort zone to learning zone, you’ll find graphics that show that between those two zones is the fear zone. So, in a way I’ve been stepping outside my comfort zone—but I’ve realized also that I’ve become trapped in the ‘fear zone’. This zone is one that takes more work to get through, and at least for me a lot of that work is mental—I need to shift my mindset. While I have shifted my mindset, it takes longer to internalize those messages. So while I logically know that not everyone is going to approve of my choices—emotionally it is taking longer to internalize.
I would like to say that things are going as well as can be for it being 2020. The pandemic has taken everyone’s plans and thrown them into the shredder. While I may not be able to do the traveling that I wanted, I have been making strides in self-reflection, personal and professional development. I’ve started to embrace the phrases “progress over perfection” and “slow and steady wins the race”.
Yes, I am slowly achieving the goals that I’ve set for myself. I’ve realized that I can’t change every aspect of life overnight, and going after too many goals at once is a recipe for a nice heavy anxiety attack. Today is still going to be spent looking at various lists of goals, and asking myself the following question: “Am I pursuing this goal for myself or because someone else things I should be pursuing it?”
Finally, yes there are things that I need to change—I need to change my mindset (getting over or through imposter syndrome; feeling like others are judging/mocking me; and so forth); I need to become better at time management (need to tune into my body and figure out what part(s) of the day I have the most energy—and then dedicate those times to pursuing my goals); I need to continue working through various personal and professional development courses—but mostly I need to find the path back to myself. I realize that my next career step may (or may not) be unconventional—but it will be what ever works best for me.
I’ve also realized that I need to go back and look at the results of my Clifton Strength Assessment Tests again (I took it the first time in 2017 and then again back in December of 2019), and see how I can both leverage my strengths and start working on improving some of my weaknesses. Though as one author put it—we all have a little of all the strengths, we just don’t use some as much as others. So while I will never be the outgoing extrovert—I can at least work on improving my people-facing skills.
The biggest takeaway for me this year is acknowledging that I’m still not absolutely certain of what I want to do with my career moving forward. While I know that I probably want to move away from the bench—towards what I’m still not certain on; though I have some ideas.
I have courses to work through, a large network of people I can ask questions to (as soon as I stop feeling like an imposter/idiot), and knowledge that I can adapt to any situation that I need to moving forward in life. My next step is going to be creating my ‘life handbook’ and that way I will have all goals in one central location and can sit and review them on a more consistent basis.
Have you either evaluated your life today, or created a life handbook? If you’ve created a life handbook—did you do it digital or in a notebook?
So we are coming up on October’s new moon (either last night, tonight, or maybe tomorrow—again depending on where you are in the world). For me, the new moon is tonight. We’re a little over halfway through October, and that means there are basically 66 days left in 2020; and only a little over 2 weeks until the elections.
So the moon is going to be moving through the Libra constellation over the next day or so (hence, this is the Libra new moon), and that means there are various things we can look at or work on over the next few weeks—such as:
Look at how you’re relating to other people (difficult to totally assess this year due to the pandemic and self-isolation, but should see if 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.
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?
Take a break from social media and/or numerous social obligations
Start a dream journal
Face one big fear
Trust your intuition
Buy a meditation CD & use it every day for a month
Write poetry from the heart
Share one of your secrets
So this new moon is actually urging me to find a balance between social obligations and self-care/self-love. In one way it is easy—I’m still self-isolating, and therefore any “meetings” that I would be attending are all virtual. I haven’t actually had a sit-down conversation with someone (outside of family) since March. Looking back at old entries—I’m still working on trying to achieve mental clarity/calmness. One thing I’ve noticed, is that I have a habit of having numerous ‘stories/conversations’ running through my head—and none of them really mean anything, but at times they all spike my anxiety into the zone of not wanting to do anything (giving myself an anxiety attack for no reason).
So what are my goals going to be for the Libra new moon?
Improve/work on my nightly meditations; I have nature CDs on my iPhone, that I use to listen to when I was meditating. Lately, I’ve just been doing an oracle card reading, interpreting the cards, reading, and then trying to meditate a little before going to sleep. I’m going to try to put the ‘meditation’ between reading and going to bed. Sometimes it’s works better sitting/laying on the floor then reclining on the bed.
Start trying to tune in more to my intuition/gut instinct. While I’ve spent quite a bit of time over the past ten months doing self-reflection, and trying to listen to my inner voice—it is still something that I need to work on daily. I’ve listened to it in terms of turning down potential job leads—most are in research and since I’m not absolutely certain that is the way I want to go, I’m turning things down (as I don’t want to go in a direction, simply because it is the only thing that I know).
Continue working on regaining my identity. Currently I think the only ‘unhealthy co-dependency issue’ I have is with sweets and I’m working on changing my mindset in terms of food. We’ve all been taught to treat food as ‘good’ versus ‘bad’—when it’s just food, energy for our body. Yes, some may be a little more nutritious than others, but there is no checkpoint in our body that stops calories and questions them on the food source they came from. I’m working on developing an identity that doesn’t revolve around higher education research—an identity that encompasses all of me (strengths, weaknesses, quirks, and faults) and allows me to go through each day feeling like I’m making a difference in the world.
And as I continue moving forward (no matter how small the steps seem) I’m going to be keeping the following phrases/quotes front and center:
“Progress over Perfection”, “You can’t start the next chapter of your life, if you keep re-reading the last one”, and “Not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make”.
So I’m a little over a week into my fourth decade and still working on answering the question: which hobbies, passions, and interests will fall under the jack-of-all-trades umbrella, and which will fall under the specialist umbrella.
While for some this is probably a quick question to answer—I’m still slightly struggling with for two reasons: 1) imposter syndrome—since I’m wanting to transition out of academia and into industry, there are times when I feel like a ‘fraud’, even though I know everyone’s journey is their own and that no two paths are the same—also no one has the same history, likes/dislikes, strengths/weaknesses, and personality traits that I do. The second reason is that at times I’m still in an somewhat academic mindset, which has a somewhat “clear ladder” on how your job grows—you graduate with your PhD, you do a couple of postdocs, you then get an assistant professor position, and then work your way up the ladder to associate, full, regents, emeritus professor along with possibly going for department head, or positions as a dean.
Since I’m still not sure which direction I want to go in—therefore there is no “clear ladder”, and even once I decide on a direction or directions to go in—there is no guarantee of a “clear ladder” or straight job trajectory in today’s society. Therefore I’m on a mission to create a mix of things that not only fall under both categories (jack-of-all-trades and specialist), but also encompass all aspects of life.
Through self-reflection, I realize that the times I’m happiest and in the ‘flow’ are when I’m both learning and relaxing—in other words when there is a balance between things. This is something that I had lost over the past decade or so—actually, this was something I closed off when I thought I wanted to go down the academic route—I pushed aside enjoyment, relaxation, and balance while focusing on just one small area for ‘learning’.
I’m thinking that the best route will be something that allows me to both—work for a company, but also be an independent freelancer as well. This way I can juggle different hats (under the umbrellas of jack-of-all-trades and specialist), and hopefully never get bored.
Boredom for me is like the kiss of death for the job—and one thing I need to work on is asking for change in the job when I start feeling boredom sneak in—because if I don’t ask for a change, I know I will start to get a little laid back in things and let things start to slide—which is something that I want to avoid moving forward.
So that brings me back to the question: how am I going to divide up my hobbies, passions, and interests into the categories jack-of-all-trades and specialist?
One area can be quickly filed under jack-of-all-trades currently, and that is crafts. These include knitting, sewing/quilting, learning cross-stitching, making my own jewelry, doodling, and hopefully at some point painting. The time I spend on any of these varies—knitting is usually done only in the cooler months, I currently don’t have a sewing machine, and the others have had very little time spent on them.
Therefore until I start spending a good amount of time on any of them during the week, they will be a ‘jack-of-all-trades’ topic. These will be things that I write about maybe once a month or every couple of months on the blog. I have ideas on how to try monetizing some of them (knitting, jewelry, and cross-stitching), but haven’t spent any time trying to work up the plan or even a few showcase pieces.
There are other hobbies that I spend more time on: bird watching, photography, reading, and at times journaling/writing. These are areas of my personal life that I could slowly start working on more and move to what I would consider ‘expert’ level.
In terms of bird watching—seeing how many species in North America I can have identified by a certain age. This would then also allow me to include traveling, being outdoors, hiking, and photography as well.
In terms of photography—I can work on becoming a better nature photographer, and also start learning another form (say architecture or portrait photography). I would consider myself an expert if I then start selling my prints (either through my own site or another site, and/or have a small photography business on the side).
In terms of reading—start writing book reviews and posting them on both the blog and where I purchased the book, in addition to promoting books as well on my blog and social media sites. This way I could also then start possibly reviewing advance-reader-copies (ARCs), in addition to maybe working through affiliate programs—earning a little money, by referring people to buy different books.
In terms of writing—there is quite a bit I need to work on (and actually can be applied to all areas that I would like to become an ‘expert’ in) to get better at writing. The first thing is scheduling time every day to write/brainstorm/outline. Saying I want to become better at writing does nothing unless I also put in the work to become better at writing. So what are the things I need to work on?
Brainstorming, researching, writing, and editing—on a schedule
Publishing my writing (in more places than just the blog)
Asking others to read what I’ve written and give constructive criticism
Different types of writing
Creating a portfolio to highlight my work
So in terms of my passions and interests—which should be jack-of-all-trades and which should be specialist?
If I look to my scientific background that has spanned a little over two decades I’ve noticed that I can focus on any of the following: recombinant cloning, recombinant protein expression and purification, sequencing, HPLC, MALDI-TOF, NMR, transcriptional and translational assays, small RNA biology, plant biology, cell culture, yeast, bacteria, fruit flies, the cell cycle, and bioinformatics.
If I had to chose areas for jack-of-all-trades those would include: bioinformatics (data science, programming, and data analysis), cell culture (basic mammalian and insect), sequencing, HPLC, MALDI-TOF, and NMR. These are the more technical things—though cell culture isn’t very technical, I just didn’t do that much of it through the years.
The areas I would chose for specialist would then include basically everything else: recombinant cloning, recombinant protein expression and purification, transcriptional and translational assays, small RNA biology, plant biology, yeast work, fruit flies, bacteria, cell cycle and almost anything that falls within these categories.
If I looked to other topics that I enjoyed during college—these were classes in social sciences and humanities (history, anthropology, sociology) that I got good grades in and never really stressed out over the exams (unlike all the other science classes).
So I would probably include some of those topics—medieval history, art history, anthropology, ancient North/South American history (prior to the arrival of the Europeans), archeology, and paleontology within both categories depending on the amount of time I could give to each area.
Other interests that could probably bounce between being jack-of-all-trades and specialist include spirituality, personal finances, and health/fitness.
These are areas that I’m interested in gaining more knowledge (finances—getting out of debt, saving more, retirement, multiple streams of income), becoming the best version of myself (health/fitness—completing programs, getting outdoors, and setting fitness goals to achieve and celebrate instead of spending money), and embracing (spirituality—I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m more spiritual than I am religious, therefore I want to become better at reading tarot/oracle cards and be able to meditate longer than say two to four minutes).
Therefore within the next five to ten years I would like to become a more well rounded person and scientist—this means over all balance, some days may be more science than crafts, more time at the computer than behind a camera—but also more days crafting, reading, and meditating. It is time for me to forge my own path forward that allows me to embrace all aspects of who I am, my strengths (learner, intellection, input, achiever, deliberative/ideation/arranger), while also working on my weaknesses.
The next step will be creating a plan that will allow me to slowly start moving in that direction.
Well we moved into another ‘new moon’ phase this week (specifically for me, it was last night) and I realize that I didn’t get around to posting my double new moon post last month (since the moon cycled through Cancer twice, it was a review of the previous month’s goals and trying to set new goals for the next Cancer new moon), and then I forgot about the Leo new moon last month.
Instead of trying to look back at the things I should have been trying to do for the Leo new moon, I’m going to move ahead and look towards the Virgo new moon that we just transitioned into.
The new moon is pretty close to my birthday this year (which is still two days away)—three years ago, the new moon was on my birthday; and next year the full moon for September will fall on my birthday. Since, Virgo is my start sign—it means that I’m semi-neat, semi-organized, and semi-neat freak (constantly cleaning). My other signs are Scorpio (rising) and Pisces (moon).
So what are some of the things that one can do during the Virgo new moon?
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.
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.
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.
Avoid nitpicking—this is where the motto “progress over perfection” really comes into play
Get organized—pay bills, figure out the monthly schedule (workout, eating, so forth)—things that can make life a little more bearable going forward.
The moon is also moving through my 11th house—or my friends’ zone. So what are some things that one can do during this new moon in regards to friends, hopes, and dreams (and take into account the new “normal” of social distancing and so forth, due to the ongoing pandemic)?
Sign up for an evening class in something you’ve always wanted to do.
Ask your friends to introduce to friends of theirs you’ve never met.
Wish on a star every night for a month.
Introduce a childhood pal to a friend from your life now.
Say ‘Hi’ to someone you see nearly every day but never talk to.
Thank your best friend for being there for you.
Well having a ‘real’ social life during a pandemic isn’t possible right now. I’m currently still self-isolating, and most of the people I know are trying to keep their ‘bubbles’ small (i.e. the people they interact with on a daily basis). So having physical meet-ups right now is out of the question. I know that I could probably do virtual meet-ups, but first I still want to purchase some thin drapes to cover up the bookcases that would be seen behind me in my room when doing virtual meet-ups (unless I sit on my bed).
Usually I would be meeting up with a classmate once a month for lunch—but we haven’t done that since right before the shelter at home orders were given—six months ago, and it may be at least another six months before we may be able to meet up face to face for lunch.
So what will my goals be for the Virgo New Moon period?
Take inventory of various aspects of life and try to develop a working schedule that will allow me be both productive, but at the same time enjoying time outside as well.
Continue with daily workouts (currently it is a combo of Yoga Booty Ballet with LIIFT4).
In combination with #1—organize the schedule, possibly alternating days that certain things are done on (for example networking on Mondays & Wednesdays, but following up with people on Tuesdays & Fridays).
Continue with nightly oracle card readings and also try to spend at least two to three minutes meditating (either before or after the reading).
Finally continue moving forward while remembering: “Progress over Perfection”, “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one”, and “Not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make”.
So I am going to be finishing up with my first round of morning meltdown-100 next week (specifically on Sept 15th), and then moving right into a combo/hybrid workout of another two programs—LIIFT4 (which will be my second time going through the program) and Yoga Booty Ballet (specifically using their abs & butt makeover calendar).
I’m combining these two programs for the following reasons: 1) I want to continue doing weight training, and I really enjoyed doing LIIFT 4; 2) I’ve always enjoyed the Yoga Booty Ballet program (and actually this was the first program I bought from Beachbody years ago); and 3) I think they will complement each other nicely.
The workouts in each program are between 30 and 45 minutes—which is basically the current amount of time I want to spend working out (especially in the mornings), and while the yoga booty ballet workouts aren’t ‘live’—I don’t mind doing them on repeat for the next eight and a half weeks.
One goal for this combination is to see if by the end of the program am I lifting heavier than I did at the end of the first round of LIIFT4?? I’m hoping with coming off of morning meltdown 100, I will be lifting a little heavier for some of the exercises (though I also know that there are several that I’ll still be lifting “light” on for quite a while as well). So we will have to see mid-November how much heavier I’m lifting on some of the exercises.
All right, I realize that I haven’t posted a level-10 check-in since July of last year. I did do a level-10 check-in in December 2019, May 2020, and then this most recent one—beginning of September 2020; but two of those three were only in the journal.
So, just a quick reminder of what a Level-10 life check-in is:
There are 10 areas of life: family & friends, personal development, spirituality, finances, career (and I also include professional development here as well), social life, fun & recreation, giving & contribution, physical environment, and then finally health & fitness.
You then rank each area on a scale of 1-to-10, quickly and without thinking too hard on each one. Then you can compare your most recent Level-10 to the previous one and see how (or if) each area changed. Then depending on how you score them, and the change you can set up goals for each for the coming cycle.
Instead of doing three months, I stretched it into four months this year—because it’s 2020. Usually areas have been either staying constant, or just going up or down a little.
Though, with this check-in there were two areas that had slightly higher ups and downs.
Those two areas were finances, and the physical environment. My ‘happiness/appreciation’ of my finances went down 1.5—due largely to my impulsive e-book buying (and therefore a slightly larger than normal amazon bill). My ‘happiness/appreciation’ of my physical environment went up 1.5—due mainly to me keeping things better organized than I have in the past.
So what are my goals for the last four months of 2020? These goals are going to encompass basically seven out of the ten areas—leaving out family/friends, giving/contributions & social life. Not that I don’t care about those two—but 1) we’re still currently in a pandemic, so if I want to socialize with people, it will have to be online (or a minimum of 12 feet apart); 2) I try to keep in semi-touch with family/friends via social media; 3) there may be things to be donated or given away—just not sure on that particular point.
1) Finish the following workout programs:
Morning Meltdown 100—I should be finishing my first round of the program on 9/15/2020
Yoga Booty Ballet & LIIFT4—I should finish this combo by 11/15/2020 (marking the first finish for Yoga Booty Ballet-Abs & Butt Makeover & the 2nd time through LIIFT4)
10 Rounds—I should then finish this program by Christmas (and it will be my first round of this program).
I will then start either Muscle Burns Fat & then Muscle Burns Fat Advance or another round of 21-Day Fix and 21-Day Fix Extreme (either of these will then carry me into 2021).
2) Finish the following professional development courses:
Data Science Syndicate (finish by the end of September; only 1 ½ modules left; actually finished this on 9/3/2020).
Medical Writers Organization (by the end of October)
Management Consultant Firm (by the end of November)
Project Management Consortium (by the end of December)
3) Start learning python (tied with #4 and #2)
4) Finish at least 6 other short e-courses
5) Read at least 8 personal/professional developments books and write short reviews
6) Daily mediation and tarot/oracle card readings (bi-weekly or monthly oracle card review on blog)
7) Learn a new hobby (try my hand at cross-stitching). Also get more yarn and start another afghan possibly.
8) Determine way(s) of earning extra money (or free-lancing options)
9) Start building up a varied portfolio for looking into free-lancing/remote/on-line job options.
10) Go to the storage unit and start repacking boxes that need it, plus maybe start seeing what I don’t need.
So August is over, that means there is now less than three weeks before my birthday, barely three weeks before fall, a little over 2 months until the election, and only four months left in 2020. I’ve been joking that I’m not acknowledging this year—so in theory I won’t be turning 40, but having my 2nd 39th birthday.
I feel like I’ve been slightly more productive during the second half of the year so far—mainly in terms of pushing play and getting in a daily workout. Nutrition hasn’t been on point (and yes I know, that in terms of weight loss—one should focus heavily on nutrition instead of exercise), but I’m doing a little better every week (usually). I’ve realized what one of the major things I need to work on—finding balance between being well informed on what is going on in the world, and constantly scanning social media and the news. One thing I’m going to be looking into this coming month are web apps that block access to certain sites for a specific amount of time (say 8am to noon)—that way I can hopefully focus on other personal and professional development tasks and not just scroll through the internet.
The US still hasn’t gotten the virus under control—when I published ‘July in Review’ I noted that the US had over 4.7 million cases and now the US is a little over 6.2 million cases (that is an increase in over 1.5 million cases in a month). I’m hoping that the election goes the way I want it to go, and therefore travel may be possible by the end of 2021 (I’m currently debating on whether I want to spend a week in the UK or traveling through Northern Europe—Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark).
So as we head into the last few months of 2020, I should look back on the goals that I set for August and see how I did with each of them.
The goals for August included:
At least 155,000 steps (again breaking it down to roughly 5K/Day)
Continuing Morning Meltdown 100 (Days 55-85)
Reading (or finishing) at least 2 non-fiction books
No Spend Days/No Spend Week/ and hopefully a no-spend month
Finish the Data Science Syndicate program (or at least modules 4 & 5)
Finish at least 3 other short e-courses
Answer the question: “Who do I want to become over the next 5 to 20 years?”
So how did I do with each one?
At least 155,000 steps (again breaking it down to roughly 5K/Day)
I managed to get in almost 186,000 steps (I ended the month at 185,860) and I was not quite 3K above the steps for July. Hopefully with cooler weather coming, I can get out and walk in the early morning, or even during the day with the pup. I haven’t done a long walk around Boomer Lake since early February (so about a month before everyone realized how serious the virus was actually going to be)—but once late fall, early winter hits I may be able to be out at the park walking (maybe with my smaller digital camera or without) and enjoying some time in nature—though I would also like to see some of the migrating birds this fall/winter.
Continuing Morning Meltdown 100 (Days 55-85)
I’ve been continuing with morning meltdown 100—only did one double day early in the month. The dogs had played a little too rough, so I kept an eye on Chaos that day—but did both workouts (melt-con and re-vibe) the next day to keep on track. I really like this program; right now my only complaint is that there aren’t worksheets for tracking the weights (so you can see if you need to or have gone heavier than previous workouts). So I’m thinking that I will probably be designing a set of tracking sheets for the next time (or possibly the third time, as there were a couple of workouts that I didn’t write down the exercises on).
Reading (or finishing) at least 2 non-fiction books
One of the books that I read this month was a short book (actually the author called it a booklet) on blogging. The title is “How to write great blog posts that engage readers” by Steve Scott.
Now I’ve had this e-booklet for a little over two years (though I just had to add it to the long personal/professional development reading list), before I actually got around to reading it. The reason—I have a habit of buying and downloading numerous books a month, and not removing books I’ve read from the device. So books that have been bought (but not read) have a habit of being at the very bottom of the list usually (or close to it). I’m now trying to get in the habit of removing read personal/professional development books—that way the only books that I’d be scrolling through are either the numerous fiction books/series that I have and any unread personal/professional development books.
I liked this book because it gave a suggestion that one should aim at having a minimum of 8 posts a month. Two of the posts are larger articles, and the other six are smaller articles. I’m thinking of adopting this mindset, but also varying month to month what each type (large & small) articles would be over—since I’m also keeping the blog “multi-facet”—in other words I’m sticking with probably two (maybe three) niches: lifestyle, personal/professional development, and hobbies.
I started a couple of other books, but hadn’t finished any of them by the end of the month. At times I couldn’t get in the mind frame for reading personal/professional development.
No Spend Days/No Spend Week/ and hopefully a no-spend month
I’ve managed to have several no spend days that almost stretched into a full no spend week—but I have yet to work up to an actual no-spend month (that is a HUGE goal for September, and hopefully October as well).
Finish the Data Science Syndicate program (or at least modules 4 & 5)
I managed to get through all of module 4 and about 80% of module 5. I think that there are two videos left before taking the quiz for module 5, and then I would have the sixth and final module for the Data Science Syndicate. I think that I might enjoy doing data science, though I need to download python (the data analysis program, and not a snake) and start working with it before I could say one way or the other on this particular job path.
Finish at least 3 other short e-courses
This was something that I fell behind on doing this month—I managed to get through another quarter of the data science syndicate program, but didn’t really work on any other e-courses (or not enough to have finished a course). I did write out all the courses that I have bought over the past few years so that I can keep better track of what I’ve completed and what I still need to work on. One of my issues has been trying to mentally switch gears and sit in front of the computer and listen to someone talk for awhile and then do what ever little work is assigned for that video or section. I’ve also realized that I can work on whatever course I want—it doesn’t always have to be a professional development course—if I want to spend the afternoon learning how to read tarot cards better, I can.
Answer the question: “Who do I want to become over the next 5 to 20 years?”
The answer to this question will actually be posted as a separate blog post—currently my answer is going on two pages and I still feel like I haven’t answered the question in full detail.
Goals for September will include:
At least 150,000 steps (This breaks down to 5K/day; depending on how the number of virus cases goes, I will probably slowly start increasing the daily goal.)
Finishing up Morning Meltdown 100 (I only have 15 days left), and then starting a duel calendar of Yoga Booty Ballet and LIIFT4 (once I draft the calendar I’ll share it)
Read (or finish) at least 2 non-fiction books
No Spend Days/No Spend Weeks/leading to hopefully a no spend month
Finish the Data Science Syndicate program, install python and start learning how to use it
Finish at least 3 other e-courses
While reminding myself: “Progress over Perfection”, “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one”, and “Not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make”.
So now it is August, with a full moon right around the corner. We have 151 days left in 2020—wondering what how the rest of the year is going to be going. The next full moon is coming up (some time between today and Tuesday—depending on where you are in the world). But before I get to contemplate the Sagittarius full moon, it is time to reflect back on the goals that I had made for the Capricorn full moon.
So what were the goals that I made for the Capricorn full moon?
Continuing with Morning Meltdown 100 (I should be at day 54 at the end of the month; and day 57 by the next full moon).
Work on creating a new long-term goal list; the pandemic threw quite a few monkey wrenches into my latest 101 goals in 1001 days, plus I never really got specific about the industry position. So the goal is to have an least a rough outline of the major goals for different areas (health/fitness, finance, career, personal/professional development, spirituality, and living space).
Continue reading through my huge to-be-read digital pile. I think that I’m currently up to a total of 367 (since there are ~10 books on the list that I consider to be more of a reference book). I started this list in 2018 (or maybe late 2017), and it only had ~80 books on it but has now ballooned to almost 400—and between the start of 2018 and now—I’ve read about 50 of them so far; I’m averaging about 20 non-fiction books a year. This means that if I don’t add any more books—it will still take me about another 16 years to get through the list of books. Though some of them may fall into the “reference” book pile.
So how did I do with the goals?
In terms of working out—I will be on day 57 of Morning Meltdown 100 on Aug 3rd. I’m sticking with the plan of pushing play sometime between 8:30 and 9:15 every morning. I’m modifying each workout as needed as well (since lunges aren’t really my thing—hard to have a nice straight step back when you’re knocked-kneed). I should be finishing up the program come mid-September.
In terms of the long-term goal list—I had made a new goal list/time frame schedule. Instead of saying 101 goals in 1001-days, my new list is 150 goals in 2002-days. I added in the workout programs that I want to complete, and doubled the time frame. One thing that I’m going to be doing is taking say 5-10 goals every 2-3 months and breaking them down in steps and pinning those to-do lists to my bulletin board.
In terms of the reading challenge—I managed to finish three more books over the past month. This means that I have 309 books left on the list to read—though the number may go up, since I have this habit of buying books that sound interesting and adding them to the list.
So I actually was able to meet all three of my goals for the Capricorn full moon. I will be continuing all three goals as I move forward as well—working out is helping with my mental health and sleeping, reading is something I’ve always enjoyed (trying to increase my enjoyment of non-fiction reading), and making the 150 goal list has me actually trying to think long term (and not just day-to-day as I’ve been doing for quite awhile). This progress may have had bumps in the road, but it is still progress that is moving me forward. The path may still be shrouded in shadows and mist—but the path is there, I just have to light the path myself.