Category: Personal Development

Looking back at the goals for the Aries full moon

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.

No Comments 101 GoalsAstrologyBookscareerFull Moon GoalsHealthPandemic2020Personal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Check-in on the 150+ goal challenge. 100 days in, & only 1902 days left.

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 photographyHave 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

                                    59. T20

                                    60. Insanity

                                    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)

                                    70. CIZE

                                    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

                                    79. P90

            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)

                        102. Blog

                        103. Instagram

                        104. Facebook pages

                        105. Twitter

                        106. Pintrest

            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

Spirituality–Ongoing

            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).

Others–ongoing

            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)

            126. Grimm

            127. The Librarians

            128. Once Upon A Time

            129. Blacklist

            130. Numbers

            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

            149. Parasailing

            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.

No Comments 101 GoalsBookscareerCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesodds and endsPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentRebootBreakReflectionsspiritualitytarot cardstravelUpdates

Photography Challenge Day 13: Ruby-throated hummingbird

So the winner of today’s photography challenge is the ruby-throated hummingbird.

I’ve always been intrigued by hummingbirds—they’re small, quick, and they beat their wings constantly.

Lately, I’ve also been trying to remember that when I was younger I felt a little like a hummingbird.

In that I could dive into a subject, immerse myself, learns as much as I could and then move on.

Ruby-throated hummingbird at the rose-of-Sharon

I did this for class projects: there was the paper over the Culture of India (and I covered everything from architecture to music to philosophy), to diving into the history of Peru (though I don’t think I ever wrote a paper over this—so that may be something to go back to) and medieval England.

I’ve always been fascinated with birds—I have quite a few bird encyclopedias in my storage unit, plus numerous articles that I had clipped out of the papers as I was growing up to make a scrap book on them.

So what does fascination with birds, culture and history of other countries, and everything else have to do with hummingbirds?

Ruby-throated hummingbird at another rose-of-Sharon

When I had taken the Clifton Strength Assessment test back in both 2017 and 2019, my top strength was learner.

This trait fits people who have a love of learning (though they have to be drawn to the topic), love digging into new things, love researching topics and ideas and gathering information.

These individual have been likened to hummingbirds in that they will deeply investigate on subject before moving on to another—similarly how hummingbirds will investigate flowers for their nectar before going to the next flower.

Until I took the test and saw the top strength as learner—I had almost forgotten how much I enjoyed learning, reading, investigating, and putting the information together in some format.

Getting my undergraduate degrees took awhile—because I was ‘bouncing’ between ‘flowers’ (aka different subjects)—but I did manage to get my two degrees and minor (though now looking back, I should have taken that last six hours of sociology to get that minor as well).

Graduate school, allowed me to dive deeply into a subject that was still fairly new and I was learning different techniques and systems. The first postdoc was where the love of learning started to dwindle—while the topic was slightly different from grad school—what I was being taught really wasn’t, and therefore I got bored (only realizing now, exactly why I was getting bored so early—if I had realized it then, things might have gone differently had I asked for either another project or figured out a way to strike up a collaboration with another lab).

The second postdoc allowed me to dive into another system and I learned quite a bit—though I didn’t like being told to read up on other things in my spare time. I learned in both staff positions—more so in the first (only because I was working with undergrads in several different labs on several different projects) than the second. It has taken about ten months of self-reflection to realize that one of the problems that I had with the last position—I was bored; while I had been told I could ‘collaborate’ with other labs on projects, the only labs I could think of would have required me doing experiments and those aren’t something that you can schedule to only take 1 to 2 hours a day.

As I now move forward—I have to remember that I’m like a hummingbird, where there needs to be ample ‘flowers’ around for me to sample; I may hang around one or two longer than others, but at least I won’t get bored.

This is something that I will keep in the forefront as I start looking towards either my industry transition or freelancing/working for myself–I need variety to keep busy–so for me (at least mentally) it is better to be both a jack-of-all-trades and a ‘specialist’.

Have you taken the Clifton Strength Assessment Test? What was your top strength?

No Comments bird watchingcareerflowersnaturePersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentReflections

Evaluate Your Life Day–reflect & ensure that you’re headed in the right direction.

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?

Other questions:

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. 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.
  6. 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’.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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).
  10.  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.
  11. 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.
  12.  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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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”.
  18. 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?”
  19. 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?

No Comments careerHealthPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentQuotesRandom Celebration Days

Time for meditation, listening to one’s intuition, & self-reflection: Libra New Moon Goals

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?

            Practice yoga

            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”.

No Comments AstrologyHealthNew Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflectionsspirituality

Aries Full Moon Goals: Time to reflect/revise, & plan new goals.

So the moon will be entering its full moon stage either tonight or tomorrow night (depending on where you are in the world). This will mark the first of two full moons for the month of October (the second one will actually occur on Halloween this year). So in addition to being the first of two full moons for the month—it also marks the beginning of the last quarter of 2020 as well. Fingers crossed, that the last quarter goes more smoothly than the first three quarters have gone.

So the moon will be moving through the Aries constellation—which means that astrologically we’re ‘starting a new year’ since Aries is the start of the Zodiac calendar. It is the time to reassess, redesign, toss, and make new goals if one is inclined.

So what are some of the questions we can reflect on during this time?

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

            Have I been going too 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 before answering the questions, I do need to point out that it is the beginning of the month, so I actually going to answer these questions based on 1) how I want to behave during the coming month, but also 2) how I behaved during the past couple of weeks. So as usually I’m going to number the questions 1 to 5 as I answer them.

  1. While I haven’t been selfish (at least I don’t think I’ve been acting selfishly) over the past month, nor do I plan on acting selfishly during the coming weeks—unless you consider setting aside time for self-care (for me that is taking bubble baths, and having at least forty-five minutes of winding down at night before bed)—then I will selfishly guard those times. I’m trying to control my temper—I will admit to getting into an argument with people last month. We’re still in the middle of a pandemic, and people are getting tired of the fact that nothing is ‘normal’. They want their kids to be in school full time face-to-face. While I can agree that face-to-face teaching is the norm, and what in theory is ‘best’—if you can’t guarantee small class room sizes, social distancing desks, and that your kids are going to wear the masks all day—it isn’t worth the risk. This isn’t a novel flu or cold that is going around—it is something five (or more) times deadly, and even if it doesn’t kill you it will leave you with health problems for the rest of your life. So yes, this is the one thing that I will argue with people about.
  2. In terms of being impulsive—I’m an impulsive book buyer (and that is something that I’m trying to curb. I know that I have hundreds of books on my e-reader that I haven’t read and I should make a dent in that ‘pile’ before buying more). In terms of going too fast—nope, people will probably accuse me of going way too damn slow—but guess what the tortoise won that race. Everyone goes through life at his or her own pace, and I’m finally at peace that my pace isn’t everyone else’s pace.
  3. Well, this depends on the topic—yes, I’ve been blunt in terms of the novel coronavirus. There are things that everyone should be doing (but most people aren’t doing them), that I have kept harping on (wearing masks, social distancing, and staying home whenever possible). But I don’t think that I’ve been brash or too competitive—again I’m slowing down to my pace, I’ve decided that trying to keep pace with everyone else was too damn tiring and if I’m going to make changes it has to be at a pace I’m comfortable with—and not worry if others feel the same.
  4. I don’t think I’ve been ignoring people’s finer sensibilities—it would actually be nice to see if their finer sensibilities would come out during this time. I’m actually trying to ignore their more obnoxious sensibilities, so that I don’t have to downsize my friend list too much over the coming months.
  5. What is this fun, you speak of? We’re going into month seven of the pandemic; the US has over 7.4 million cases, over 200K deaths, and idiots currently in charge. I am trying to figure out ways to add ‘enjoyment’ to my day, but at the same time realize that the ‘old normal’ is gone, and a ‘new normal’ is still at least fourteen to sixteen months off.

I’ve realized that I’m still happy being a wallflower—someone who is happier observing than participating, but that doesn’t help with networking and job searching. True networking is more virtual these days (thanks pandemic), and so are most job interviews—but I still have to develop the enthusiasm for talking with people (and not worry constantly that they’re judging me)—so here is still a small goal to be working on.

Aries is also moving through my sixth house (or my daily work and health zone). This house is where we can sit and reflect on who we are (both in terms of professional/work and personal/health) and decide to work on those aspects that we don’t like.

I had decided a couple of months ago that I was going to push play daily (and I’ve only missed one day so far), and complete four Beachbody programs before the end of the year. I completed morning meltdown-100 mid-September, and am currently going through a combo calendar of yoga booty ballet and LIIFT4. This combo calendar will take me to mid-November, when I will then tackle a new program (which will take me to Christmas). Then I will finish out the year/start the New Year with a different short program.

I’m not really close to where I was hoping to be in terms of my reboot break and transitioning into industry—in part due to the pandemic, but also in part to still not being absolutely sure which direction to go (I do have several ideas that are swirling that I need to get down on paper over the next few days). I have also realized aspects of the past jobs that I’ve liked and that I’ve absolutely detested—those too are going to be written down. The plan is to have an idea of direction(s) that I can go in that play to my strengths, helps me work on some ‘weaknesses’, but avoids most (if not all) the things I learned to detest over the years.

So what are my goals for the Aries full moon?

            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.

While sticking to the following reminders: 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.

No Comments AstrologycareerfitnessFull Moon Goalsno spend challengesPandemic2020Personal Developmentprofessional developmentRebootBreakReflections

Progress on personal & professional development goals: September in Review

So September is over, that means my birthday has come and gone—here is to starting the fourth decade of my life in self-isolation. There are only three months left in the year, and the coming month or so will be interesting—two full moons in October (last one on Halloween), then we ‘fall back’ time wise that night/early the next morning, and then the presidential election is just a few days later.

So I decided that I would try to ‘schedule’ the time that I’m either checking my email or on social media—that way I can hopefully get quite a few other things done as well—I think that the schedule will work (though some days will be better than others). Now I’m thinking that I may also need to ‘schedule’ my time outside—as I realize that once I sit down outside, I’m more likely to stay outdoors for the rest of the day (though like today I have brought my laptop outside to work on).

The US still hasn’t gotten the virus under control—when I published ‘August in Review’ I noted that the US had over 6.2 million cases and now the US is a little over 7.4 million cases (that is an increase in over 1.2 million cases in a month). With elections just a little over a month away, it will be interesting to see how it turns out—I’m hoping the way I want, that way the virus can be brought under control and then travel may be possible by sometime late 2021 or early 2022. I’m still planning on at least (hopefully) one mental health trip somewhere.

So as we head into the last quarter of 2020, I should look back on the goals that I set for September and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for September included:

At least 150,000 steps (This breaks down to 5K/day)

Finishing up Morning Meltdown 100 (I only have 15 days left), and then starting a duel calendar of Yoga Booty Ballet and LIIFT4

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

So how did I do with each goal?

At least 150,000 steps—I managed to meet and surpass my step goal; I managed to get a total of 202,386 steps in for the month. Unfortunately, the number of viral cases kept going up for the month (we went from ~952 cases at the beginning of the month to over 1900 cases as of the 30th). Therefore when I do decide to walk at Boomer Lake, it will have to be during the week (when hopefully everyone is at work), and isn’t a full walk around the lake (depending on what time I leave in the morning).

Finishing Morning Meltdown 100 and starting a combo of Yoga Booty Ballet and LIIFT4—So I finished up Morning Meltdown 100 mid-month, and then started on my combo calendar of Yoga Booty Ballet and LIIFT4. This combo calendar will now take me through mid-November. I’m tracking change by how heavier I’m going in the weights, am I doing less modifications, and do I feel better/sleep better.

Read (or finish) at least 2 non-fiction books: I managed to finish the following:

“Careergasm: Find your way to feel good work; bullshit free advice to help you get after it” by Sara Vermunt

            One of the things that I really liked about this book was the reminder that at times we need to think back on the things we enjoyed as a child to help find a clue to what we may actually really enjoy doing as an adult. I actually have several different ideas now swimming around in my head on things I could try to do and/or directions I could possibly take the blog/site, or even just other pages I could add to the site.

No spend days/no spend weeks/leading to hopefully a no spend month—this is something that I’m still working on—large goal again for October.

Finish the Data Science Syndicate program, install python, and start learning how to use it—I finished the data science syndicate program on the 3rd of the month. While I have installed python on my computer, I haven’t yet started any course that will teach me how to use the program yet.

Finish at least 3 other e-courses

I re-watched one skillshare short course—“The writer’s toolkit: 6 steps to a successful writing habit”. This was an okay short course—basically talking about creating an area that is solely for writing, determining what you’re going to be writing on, having a routine in place, and also reminding us to read books that we enjoy—if you don’t enjoy reading a certain genera of literature it’s no fun.

I had also started watching the skillshare course—“Writing and Blogging with Passion: Create a Flexible Editorial Plan and Calendar”. In addition I’ve also been working through an affiliate blogging short course program as well. One thing I’ve realized with some of the courses—I will have to do a lot of brainstorming to fit the blog to their suggestions, since I’ve decided to stay somewhat multi-facet in topics that I’m covering.

So I’m slowly making more progress on various goals—the biggest thing that I need to get control over is my time management. There is enough time in the day to accomplish everything I want—it may mean though that I don’t spend forty minutes aimlessly scrolling through social media or checking my email every five minutes. Once I have that under control, and remember that I’m the only one that can walk my path I will be on my way to achieving my goals—though they may look different four months down the road compared to today. That is fine—that is evolution, learning, and realizing that in four months I may not be the same person that I am today.

Goals for October will include:

At least 155,000 steps (breakdown to 5K/day; daily step goal may go up, but again that depends on the daily number of virus cases in town)

Continuing with the combo calendar of Yoga Booty Ballet and LIIFT4

Read (or finish) at least 2 non-fiction books

No spend days/no spend weeks/no spend month

Finish the Medical Writers Organization

Complete at least one other e-course that deals with python

Then complete at least two other short 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”.

No Comments Bookscareercomputersfitnessmoney saving challengesMonth in Reviewno spend challengesPandemic2020Personal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Update on goals set during the Pisces Full Moon

So the moon will be entering its first of two full moon stage either Thursday (marking the full moon at the very beginning of the month) or Friday night. This full moon is the closest one to the fall equinox (which was last Tuesday). The full moon later in the month will be the “blue” full moon. This also means that we’re entering the last quarter of 2020………

So before looking towards the next full moon, I should look back at the goals that I set for the Pisces full moon and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for the Pisces full moon included:

            More creativity time (namely trying to teach myself cross-stitching)

            More time on self-reflection (meditation and journaling)

            More time on personal/professional development

So how did I do with each goal?

            In terms of creativity time—this is something that I still need to work on. I make the time (usually) for practicing my photography skills (currently mainly in the backyard), but I haven’t actually sat down and tried to learn a new craft. I think in part it’s due a little to imposter syndrome—never done it before and therefore I’m immediately judging myself poorly, instead of treating myself with compassion and understanding. This is something I notice myself doing quite a bit of lately, and it is something that I’m working on fixing—being more compassionate and caring with myself.

            In terms of the self-reflection—I would say it was a minor improvement in terms of journaling. For the most part I managed to do a oracle card reading (there were a couple of nights that I didn’t manage), and I feel comfortable in the path that I’m on. I am doing a balancing act—taking it easy, but at the same time moving forward. The biggest insight is that I realized that once I start to feel ‘bored’ on a job, I’d let my thoughts wander during the day—instead of being laser focused on the job. Therefore moving forward I need to make sure that the position is one that will constantly be challenging—also I need to remember that if I feel like I can do more, ask for more responsibility on the job.

            In terms of personal and professional development—I managed to finish the Data Science Syndicate program (and will be writing up my thoughts on both the program and possibly going that route), and downloaded the python program to my computer. I now need to start working through one of the other e-courses that I bought that focuses on python.

            I had just published a post ‘self-reflection, ‘jack-of-all-trades’ vs ‘specialist’, & now more planning’ earlier this week. Within the post I made note on what areas I was going to focus on, where I would consider myself either a jack-of-all-trades or specialist. I also manage to finish at least one book: ‘Careergasm: Find your way to feel good work; bullshit free advice to help you get after it’ by Sara Vermunt. One thing that I hadn’t been thinking on was what if I need to redo my goal list (again)?? I love this passage:

 

           “Sometimes the best thing to do is let go of some old goals that simply aren’t serving you anymore. Lighten your load. Let ‘em go. Make room. It’s time your goals start working for you again, and not the other way around”.

I think that is one of the major things I’ve been doing—recycling/renaming old goals and trying to make them look fresh. I in theory just made a new 150+ challenge list to complete in 2002 days (I decided to ‘modify’ the original 101 goals in 1001 days challenge). Now I’m thinking that I may be having to back to that list and modify it again—though the goals are all ‘me’—I’m just not certain that they’re for the ‘future’ me or the ‘past’ me—and I want to be working towards the future me, not being held back by the ‘past’ me.

So over all, I think I did well with the goals. Yes, I could have spent more time doing creative work—I will probably start doing more, once I remind myself that I don’t have to share the finished product with anyone if I don’t want to (and I think that has been one thing that has been holding me back—fear of what others will think). Self-care is always something that I can strive to be better at (this comes from the fact that I spent way too many years in academia pouring my heart and soul into something that really didn’t give anything back), and personal/professional development should be a never end road—and it is, I’m just slowly finding my way back to it, and will be traveling the road at my speed.

As I keep moving forward, I will also be remembering the following—“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”.

No Comments AstrologyBook ReviewsFull Moon GoalsPandemic2020Personal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Self-reflection, ‘jack-of-all-trades’ vs ‘specialist’, & now more planning

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.

This question evolved from my ‘self-reflection, planning, and yet more self-reflection’ post where I was trying to answer the question of who I wanted to become over the next five plus years.

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?

            Time management

            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

                        Creative/Fiction

                        Scientific

                        Non-fiction

            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.

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Goals for the Virgo New Moon

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?

  1. 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.
  2. Continue with daily workouts (currently it is a combo of Yoga Booty Ballet with LIIFT4).
  3. 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).
  4. 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”.

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