So, the moon is going to be transitioning through the Gemini constellation tonight—marking either the first new moon (or second) for May. I say first or second—depending on when the Taurus new moon was—it happened around April 30th or May 1st. Looking back at what I’d written last year—I didn’t set any goals for the new moon in 2020, but did set some for 2021.
The new moon is marking the end of May (and I’m truthfully ready for it be like December), but I’ll talk all about that in a day or two in my ‘May in Review’ post.
So what are some of the things that one can focus on during the Gemini new moon?
Think about how you communicate with others.
See your siblings
Well, since we’re still in the middle of a pandemic—I’ll have to stick with online socializing (LinkedIn and Facebook), possibly having ‘zoom’ coffee chats. I see my younger brother quite frequently (since he moved back to town last year), but the older sibling is out in CA—so won’t be visiting for a while.
I read frequently, and I’m trying to get back into a meditation routine (elderly pets have been problematic with meditation mats). I’m also working on ways to improve my communication skills (specifically oral, written, presentations, among others).
But then I should also look to see what house the new Gemini moon is moving through as well. So the new moon in Gemini is also moving through my eighth house, or my “sex and shared finances”. This zone can also be referred to as the money & relationship zone (or at least that is how I think of it). So what are some of the things that one can do during this time in regards to the eighth house?
Pay off a loan (or take one out)
Open a savings account and make your first deposit
Cancel a credit card you know you can’t afford
Ask for a pay raise (but really only if you believe you might get it)
Refinance your mortgage
Talk ‘dirty’ to your partner
Try a sexual position for the first time
Still not in the market for a relationship—for several reasons: 1) we’re still in a pandemic; 2) I need to focus on me and my own issues currently; and 3) I still don’t have the time or energy to even think of entering the dating scene and finding someone. I’m that odd duckling—that happens not to mind being unattached and single.
So in terms of things one can do for the eighth house:
I currently have a savings account (with a little money in it), which I’m going to work on trying to increase the balance
There are a couple of ‘high’ balance credit cards that I’m going to be working at paying off over the next six-to-twelve months (Long time–but currently without a job)
I don’t own a house–so looking to refinance is not necessary
I don’t have any loans (and currently not thinking of taking one out)
No pay raise (not until I’m in a job for at least three-to-eight months; or start working for myself) as I’ve been on a ‘reboot’ break for over two years now
And finally, I’m still not in a relationship (nor looking for one)–so the last two things aren’t even on my radar.
So what are my goals for the Gemini new moon? They include:
The creation of a multi-prong personal/professional development plans (including health/fitness, finances, spirituality, career, and hobbies/crafts), as I’m confident in the direction I want to pivot in, and I’m not getting any younger. This will also tie in with my personal/professional development game (creating different types of content based on the ‘square’ I landed on).
Continue with my daily intentional movements and nightly meditations/sitting quietly moments.
Start getting out of my comfort zone and interacting more on different sites (LinkedIn for example). I’m great at ‘lurking’, but need to start trying to interact and comment on what others post; and possibly start trying to do more ‘zoom coffee chats’
As always—reading, reading, and more reading.
As I’d mentioned in a post on LinkedIn, I’d spent the past two years reconnecting to my strengths and values:
Strengths: Learner, Intellection, Input, Achiever, and Deliberative (my top five Clifton Strengths)
Values: Knowledge, Creativity, Curiosity, Spirituality, and Evolution/Transformation
I’ve realized over the past two years—that I had the tendency to ‘sacrifice’ or ‘down-play’ strengths/values to either not make waves or to stay in the background (I’m not really an attention seeker). But now—I’m making sure that those strengths and values are front and center for any and every decision I make going forward in terms of personal/professional development, career trajectory, and just overall happiness.
I know that for the multi-prong personal/professional development plans—I will need to be very specific in the goals, and then have different ‘plans’ for breaking them down to monthly/weekly/daily goals—which is usually where I ‘falter’ in the design scheme.
Being repetitive in goal setting until they become habit is a good thing (as long as you’re making some type of progress on the goal). That is why most of my goals (that are repetitive) focus on personal and professional development—my progress is slow, but it is there. Others might not see it, but then I also don’t share everything all the time.
So, we’ve entered May—that means there are only eight months left in 2022. Hopefully things may start to ‘mellow’ and ‘level out’, but I’m not holding my breath. While the ‘reset’ hasn’t quite happened yet—I’m going to head into the second ‘third’ of the year focusing on just a few things: creativity (writing, crafts, photography, and reading), curiosity (research, writing, and networking), and moving forward with the goal of landing a remote communications position within the biomedical, pharmaceutical, or agricultural sectors.
I mentioned last month how I felt like the first quarter has been a ‘testing’ quarter for different things (setting a schedule and so forth)—April was hit and miss on keeping the schedule and other things. While I did mange to get several things accomplished, I will also admit that I fell short on quite a few other things. One reason: I’m still not handling the possibility of a greater global conflict very well—when I get super stressed or down, I have the terrible habit of spending money. That means I now need to head into the second month of the second quarter of the year with a more solid plan for personal/professional development, writing, networking, crafts, and just life in general.
So, it looks like the SARS-CoV2 virus is here to stay. There are only a few places in the world that are currently ‘virus-free’, and that ‘label’ will come and go as more people get back to traveling.
While it may look like I’m against traveling—I’m not, I’m just advocating for safe travels (wearing masks, carrying hand sanitizer, and social distancing). I may start traveling again next year, but will be weighing the pros and cons of any trip (especially any possible international trip), by asking myself if the trip will be worth the slight chance of catching the virus.
In terms of the total number of cases of the virus within the US, when I published ‘March in Review’ on April 1st, I noted that we had reached a little over 81.7 million cases and now as of May 1st —we have reached a little over 83.0 million cases (an increase of a little over 1.3 million cases). Numbers are going down, but is it due to the people vaccinating or just not going and getting tested??
Before trying to set my goals for May, I should look back at the goals I set for April and see how I did with each of them.
The goals for April included:
At least 130-150,000 steps
At least five minutes of intentional movement each day (aiming to lift weights, cardio, walking, and so forth)
Read at least two non-fiction books
Read at least two-to-five fiction books
Recommit to the no spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending challenge
Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development e-course
Writing, writing, and some more writing
So how did I do with each of them?
At least 130-150,000 steps; I managed to 165,500 steps for the month of April. Since we’re into the spring weather, I managed to do a nature walk at Boomer Lake almost weekly (I think I only missed the last weekend of the month). I haven’t walk Chaos as much as I should, but that is due to the fact that cement/pavement is quite a bit warmer than the air, and while the neighborhood has trees—there aren’t that many that shade the streets.
At least five minutes of intentional movement; weight lifting and so forth—I have the weight lifting tracking sheets in the journal. I managed two days of lifting—but then concentrated on walking/chores/moving, because I had to give my elbows time to heal. Yes, you read that right—I had to let my elbows heal. I had only been using 2-to-12 pound weights over those two days (the 2-pound weights were for the reverse fly, and the 12-pound weights were for the chest press). I’d used 8-pound weights for the bicep curls, and while I felt fine the rest of the day, and part of the next day by the day after that—I could barely move my arms, my elbows hurt that much. Needless to say, I’m fine—I just forget at times that due to having multiple hereditary osteochondroma (basically benign tumors at the end of all my long bones), I’m bow-legged and bow-armed (my arms aren’t straight). Which means, I have trouble doing lunges, push-ups, and obviously can’t start with eight-pound weights for bicep curls.
Read at least two non-fiction books:
The Finnish Way: Finding Courage, Wellness, and Happiness through the power of Sisu by Katja Pantzar
Lagom: Not too little, not too much: The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life by Niki Brantmark
Read at least two-to-five fiction books: I usually have no troubles reading fiction books (well, with the exception of trying to expand the genera that I read), and managed to read nine books this month:
One Way Back to Me (The Wilder Brothers #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan
Falling Embers (Tatter & Torn Series #2) by Catherine Cowles
My Favorite Night (Paradise Bay Billionaire Brothers #0.5) by Claudia Buroga
Until Next Time (Against All Odds: The St. James Family #1) by Claudia Buroga
Something Like Love (Against All Odds: The St. James Family #2) by Claudia Buroga
Wrong Text, Right Love (Against All Odds: The Brassard Family #1) by Claudia Buroga
Didn’t Expect You (Against All Odds: The Brassard Family #2) by Claudia Buroga
Love Like Her (Against All Odds: The Brassard Family #3) by Claudia Buroga
Fated in Winter (Redwood Pack/Talon Pack Crossover) by Carrie Ann Ryan
Recommit to the no spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending challenge: Umm, I think I managed maybe one percent of the month…so next goal please…
Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings: Other than the time outdoors, I’ve been bouncing back and forth on doing the other three on a consistent daily basis. Since I haven’t had a entire month of doing oracle card readings, I’ll be using one of the decks from earlier this year (I have four to choose from)—I may actually try to see if I can manage the next four months of doing a card reading each day.
Craft time: I managed several days of photography and have made a little bit of progress on the cross-stitch project.
Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development e-course:
Freelance Medical Writing as a Career Choice (on Udemy)
How to create a portfolio to get into medical writing (on Udemy)
Getting started with Canva for beginners: CANVA BASICS #1 (on Skillshare)
A free five-day email LinkedIn training course (and I then bought and am currently working through the more in-depth LinkedIn training course)
Writing, writing, and some more writing: In terms of writing—I got the usual posts (March in Review, March New Moon Goals in Review, March Full Moon Goals in Review, April New Moon Goals, April Full Moon Goals, April New Moon Goals in Review, and the Taurus New moon goals; plus a book review) written. In addition, I also got my 626-Day check-in for the 100+ goals written and published—and that managed to skyrocket the views on the blog for a couple of days (I mean I actually got over 1,000 views in a single day). So—now I have something to work towards repeating (and on a more consistent schedule).
So, in terms of how I did overall—I managed to meet the step goal, the reading goals, and working through some personal/professional development e-courses. I fell short (as usually) on the intentional movement, limited spending, and the mental/spiritual health aspects of the goals.
But—I acknowledge and aim to do better (I’m actually reading a book on the brain right now—so maybe I can figure out how to tame my mental gorilla).
I mentioned at the beginning of the post that I was going to focus on: creativity (writing, crafts, photography, and reading), curiosity (research, writing, and networking), and moving forward with the goal of landing a remote communications position within the biomedical, pharmaceutical, or agricultural sectors. I want to also add in spirituality to both the curious and creative aspects of doing things. I may spend money here and there (hopefully not to the extent I’ve done so far this year), and I know the best way to avoid it is to delete the silly games on the kindle.
So what are my goals for May? They’re going to include:
At least 130-155,000 steps
Starting to lift weights, do more cardio, yoga, walking, and so forth
Read at least two non-fiction books
Read at least two-to-five fiction books (have mini book reviews written for at least two of them)
Recommit to the no spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending challenge–delete the one damn game on the kindle
Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
Working though at least one module of a personal/professional development e-course
Writing, writing and more writing
I’ll add in working on improving my time and project management skills as well (they’re not bolded—because they can be considered a part of each and every goal that is listed above).
In terms of the writing projects—I have several that are bouncing around in my head (I actually have a ‘rough’ draft going for one of them); I just need to try to finish at least one of them (and decide how many ‘blog posts’ I can get out of it). Therefore, I may also start posting some science posts, history posts, art history posts and so far—so there may be a little more variety to the site.
I’m also working on figuring out my ‘brand’ as well. While I think I have the ‘statement’ down, I’m also working on choosing the colors and fonts—I took a couple of quizzes and got the results of mystical and serene. Just need to figure out how to blend them—or I may just go with the serene (works a little better with the ‘science/medical/health communications aspect that I’m thinking of starting with). Therefore the theme of the blog may be changing as well at some point.
Happy thoughts/good vibes are continuing to be sent to the people of Ukraine who are fighting to keep their country intact.
Therefore, just as a reminder: if you follow me on other social media sites—I will probably have some political and/or religious posts/statements. I won’t apologize for my views (I believe in science, education for all, healthcare for all, women’s right to choose, people’s right to marry who they want, people identifying as they choose, and the separation of church and state—I’m a mix of pagan, wiccan, and atheist).
I will say this again—if my post is ‘upsetting’—ask yourself why you find it upsetting. I don’t share things to offend, but I do share to help try to educate in addition to showing my stance on various topics.
Therefore on the eve of this new moon, I send healing thoughts and vibes to the people of Ukraine and Russia. Nothing is gained through the loss of lives…
So the moon is going to be transitioning through it’s new phase tonight, and moving through the Scorpio constellation. There are only 57 days left in 2021—where did the time go? Looking back at what I wrote last year—the pandemic was just starting to ‘pick’ up and the world had over 54 million cases, the US was topping 11 million, and there were over 1.3 million dead; basically a year later and the world has almost 248.5 million cases, the US is almost at 47 million cases, and there are over 5 million dead worldwide. Hopefully we can get the vaccine to countries that really need it, parents will vaccinate their kids, and maybe we’ll start to see the end of the pandemic sometime in 2022 or 2023.
So as the moon moves through Scorpio, there are several things that one can do during this time (according to “Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland), and they are:
Make inner peace
This moon is also moving through my first house or my image zone (how one presents themselves to the world). While Aries is the start of the zodiac calendar—when the moon (either full or new) passes through your first house, it can also seem as the start of a “new year” (we can have a “new start” twice a year if necessary).
So what are some of the things that one can do during this time?
Surprise friends with the ‘new you’
Throw out all your old make-up and start again
Get married or meet someone new
Good time to move
Splurge on something in a vibrant color
Have a facial
Get your sight checked
I feel like I’m still being guided to focus on myself and am getting the gentle reminder that I’m worth whatever work I put into crafting my own future. The path is still slightly ‘murky’—but it is there, I just have to be willing to walk the path even if I can’t see that much of it. As I’d stated last year—if I do nothing, others would be deciding my future for me.
I’m still crossing a few things off the above lists:
Throwing out make-up; Since I’m setting up a freelance business and working from home, I’m currently not wearing makeup (and truthfully I’ve never really been a fan of wearing makeup)
Getting married or meeting someone new; I’m not in a relationship currently nor am I currently looking to for a relationship
Moving–I still need an idea of where to move and the finances to afford it
Getting a facial–I can scrub my face at home and I have one or two different facial masks I can try for free
Getting my sight checked is currently crossed off due to the fact we’re still basically in the middle of a pandemic
While there may be people who are getting tired of seeing me state that I’m still going to be self-isolating (even after getting my vaccine and booster shots)–I’m doing it really until enough of the vaccine has been distributed worldwide that the daily number of new cases is under 100K (and currently the number has been running between 350-480K a day). Once the numbers drop and stay low–then I may start thinking of actually interacting more with the outside world.
For my short list of goals for the Scorpio new moon, they will include:
Continuing to work on healing my relationship with food and movement. This will include restarting my second round of morning meltdown 100, finding in-season fruits that I enjoy eating, and figuring out what in-season veggies I’m willing to eat this fall/winter.
Continue with my evening meditation/sitting quietly for at least five minutes
Start working through the complete personal finance course on Udemy
Continue working through the Write Your Way to Freedom copywriting course
Hopefully our Wi-Fi issues have almost been resolved, and that means I can try to dedicate more time to online learning/networking/work. I’m looking at the last two months of 2021, and reminding myself that I need to aim for ‘progress over perfection’, and that it will be slow going writing the next chapter of my life.
Have a blessed Scorpio New Moon period, and remember also to aim for progress and not perfection.
So, we’re on to the last third of the year—there are now only 122 days left in 2021. While it feels like time is starting to speed back up again, I’m wondering when things are going to totally go to hell. The vaccination rate is still on a steady decline (though there are days when the number of shots given is high), and the delta variant is still running rampant through the country. Luckily, I’ll be able to get the J&J booster shot sometime between October and December (they state that it is most effective six to eight months after the initial shot). So, it looks like I’ll be staying in self-isolation throughout the fall and winter (with the occasional walk to get the paper on the weekend, and possibly a walk once a month at Boomer Lake).
The world is still crumbling at a decent clip, and I’m talking about everything from the issues in Central Asia (Afghanistan) to the fact that while Greenland lost a huge amount of ice—they also got a huge amount of rainfall (for like the third time in recorded history). Therefore, I’m limiting my news intake to morning/night and the occasional lunchtime checks on Facebook. When I published ‘July in Review’, I noted that the US was a little over 35.7 million cases for the SARS-CoV2 virus, and now we’re at a little over 40.1 million cases (so it was an increase of not quite 4.5 million cases last month—all due to the delta variant and fewer people getting vaccinated).
So the numbers are going back up, and less than 0.5% of the hospitalized cases are vaccinated individuals (break-through cases). That means over 99% of the people in the hospital for SARS-CoV2, haven’t gotten the vaccine (and a good number now are children under the age of 12 that currently aren’t eligible for the vaccine). I really wish things would go virtual for another semester or two, and if everyone wants schools opened—get the damn shot. (End rant)
Staying in self-isolation will give me the time to really start focusing on trying to get a freelance/remote/contract career started (focusing first on writing, crafts, and possibly project/product management, then stretching to data analysis, and possibly educational consulting).
Before looking ahead to September (the start of the last third of the year, and a semi-modified new set of goals, and continuing to work on my time and project management skills), I should look at the goals I set for August and see how I did with each of them.
The goals for August included:
Restart LIIFT4 (mainly following the lifting schedule, not necessarily streaming the program)
Finish up the writing/editing assignments for MWO, the MWO course, and roll the dice to figure out the next advancedcheeky scientist program to start
Finish reading two to three non-fiction books
Read two to four fiction books (and hopefully write small reviews over at least one of them)
No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month
Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries
Craft time (Continue working on the cross-stitch project)
Work through at least one other personal/professional development e-course
So how did I do with each of them?
135-155,000 steps: I managed to get in 154,591 steps this past month. Mostly through wandering around the house and yard, though I did manage to get a walk in at Boomer Lake earlier in the month. I’m thinking that for September–most of the steps will be from wandering around the house/yard, walking through the neighborhood (early mornings, so I can wear my mask), and possibly a walk at Boomer Lake.
Restarting LIIFT4: I’m still giving my wrist a little more time to heal (I semi-sprained or did something to my right wrist last month), and therefore didn’t do any lifting this past month. As I mentioned in another post (400 day update), I have until basically the end of September to decide if I’m keeping my beachbody-on-demand subscription or not. I’m trying to limit my ‘screen time’ (or as much as one can when they’re thinking of freelance/remote/contract writing as a career option). Therefore I’m thinking of working out away from the screen (lifting weights and doing other things), and doing ‘screen time’ for mainly yoga.
Finishing up the MWO program & deciding on new one: I’ve finished the editing assignments for the program, and am still working on the writing assignments. I have one module left to go through (though I may not get the certificate until I complete the writing assignments), and then would be ‘done’ with the program. I did roll the dice and decided that I’d be working through the following programs over the next several months (regardless of when I finish the MWO): User Experience Squad, Project Management Consortium, Regulatory Affairs Council, Business Development Federation, and Product Management Group.
Finish reading two to three non-fiction books: I managed to read the following non-fiction books:
I Want to Do All the Things: Finding Balance as a Polymath, Multipotentialite, and Renaissance Soul by Arcadia Page
The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own by Joshua Becker
Though I haven’t written mini book reviews over either of them yet.
Read two to four fiction books (and hopefully write small reviews on at least one of them): The fiction books Imanaged to read during the month of August included:
Vortex: A FBI Thriller (#25) by Catherine Coulter (review posted to blog)
Dawn Unearthed (Ravenwood Coven #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan (review posted to blog)
Wiretaps & Whiskers (The Faerie Files #1) by Emigh Cannaday (review posted to blog)
Catnip & Curses (The Faerie Files #2) by Emigh Cannaday (review coming soon)
My Next Play (On My Own #3; advanced reader copy) by Carrie Ann Ryan (review coming soon)
Three out of the five books have reviews posted to the blog, and the other two books are books that I just finished within the past few days, so those reviews should hopefully be getting posted to the blog (and other sites) by the weekend.
No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month:
There have been a couple of books bought, one (or two) large amazon orders–but truthfully, nothing more than usual. The breakdown for this will be in the next installment of the limited spending challenge check-in.
Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries:
I’ve been able to spend time outdoors this month–though there was only one walk at Boomer Lake (due to combination of temperatures and the delta variant). I am very grateful that my parents have a decent size backyard that one can be out in during this period of time. I’ve been doing my evening meditations/sitting quietly moments for at least a few minutes (hoping to add this to the morning routine as well).
In term of the daily gratitude entries–I’ve been pretty good with these, even if they’ve been something along the line of being grateful that I don’t have kids and therefore I don’t have to worry/stress about navigating things with the pandemic still raging.
Craft time (continue working on the cross-stitch project):
I actually finished my first small abstract cross-stitch project the other day. Instead of trying to find a pattern, I’m sticking with abstract made up on the spot designs. The reason: I can’t draw a straight line to save my life, and trying to write letters on the fabric was giving me a headache, though I do know that with practice I’d be getting better at both of them).
I should be getting in my glue gun by the end of the week, and will be gluing some of the fabric to the backside of the framefor a more completed look.
I’m starting on a second and larger cross-stitch project, and am finding it therapeutic stabbing the fabric over and over again with teh needle and thread. It seems that the amount of time spent on the project is directly correlated to how irritated I am with the world.
Work through at least one other personal/professional development e-course:
I started two different short e-courses this past month, and finished one of them:
Understanding and Developing Emotional Intelligence on Udemy
With the way the world is going today (especially in terms of the anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers), this is something that a lot of people seem to be lacking. Out of the five main concepts (self-awareness, self-control, social skills, empathy, and self motivation)—I feel like everyone needs a good dose of empathy.
While I may be getting tired of being in self-isolation (more or less) daily, at least I know that I’m doing my part not to spread the virus. Just like I know that wearing a mask in public, helps slow the spread of the virus (even though I shouldn’t be carrying it—it would still help protect me from catching it).
Everyone that is screaming ‘it’s their right’ on whether or not to wear a mask, or get vaccinated, or whatever—yes it is your right, but the world doesn’t revolve around you. We’re a global society, and we really should be looking out for each other (instead of being of the ‘me-and-mine’ mindset).
After taking the course, I’ve realized that I need to work on the self-motivation (keeping the inner critic/imposter syndrome in check) the most, with maybe self-awareness coming in second. I’m usually aware of my emotions, and while I try not to let them get the better of me, sometimes I don’t always control my facial features as much as I should.
Another thing I did last month (and actually at the very end of the month)—I submitted a ‘application’ for paying freelance writing gig. The opportunity came from the company that I’m doing the volunteer writing for (one of the editors wants the pages on another site rewritten), so I sent a response with links to both the blog and my LinkedIn profile (as my portfolio) to the editor I work with and we’ll see what happens.
Even if I don’t get the job—I managed to quiet my inner critic long enough to ask some questions in one of the medical writing Facebook groups I’m in, and put together a response and emailed it back in the afternoon. This is a really big step for me, since I’m more likely to try to let the inner critic/imposter syndrome win and not try to go for things.
I decided earlier in the month that I was going to be keeping the website url, and running tagline for the blog. I will be updating the site over the next few months (especially with a ‘portfolio’ section to highlight various science/medical writing styles/topics, and other writing examples).
I’m not going to change up my ‘goals’ that much, though I will be trying to put a little more time into the other ‘writing’ projects that I’ve got on my plate.
The other goals for September will include:
130-150,000 steps; I’m hoping to get at least one walk in at Boomer Lake this month, in addition to maybe one or two walks through the neighborhood in the mornings (when I shouldn’t run into anyone who could be potentially ‘anti-mask’)
Start my own fitness routine (weight lifting, shadow boxing, yoga/stretching)
Start working through the User Experience Squad program, work on the writing assignments for the MWO and finish the sixth module of the MWO program
Read one to two non-fiction books
Read two to four fiction books (have small book reviews written and published)
No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month
Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, and daily gratitude journal entries
Craft time (continue working on the new cross-stitch project)
Work through at least one other personal/professional development e-course
I’m keeping the goals similar to the ones for August—though I’m changing up the fitness/intentional movement goal. Instead of streaming workouts (though I might do that for the yoga), I’m going to just put on music and either lift weights (focusing on certain muscles) or shadow box. This way I’ll be getting in my fitness/intentional movement for the day, but at the same time will be having some ‘screen free’ time as well.
I’ll also be trying to figure out what other types of writing I’d like to be doing, so there may be a variety of blog posts (or pages) popping up throughout the month as I try my hand covering different topics.
While I’ve semi rewritten the ‘work with me’ page, that page and the welcome page may get updated throughout the fall as I slowly make my way into the freelancing world of writing, editing, proofreading, and crafting.
So, while time is starting to ‘speed’ up, I hope that everyone is getting their vaccination shot(s) against the virus, and if you have kids—they’re getting theirs as well. As that (along with masks and social distancing when needed) is really the only way we’re going to be able to get to a ‘new’ normal.
While I’d asked this question last month on what types of posts people would like to see more of (science/educational, personal/professional development, hobbies/crafts, book reviews, or thoughts on different career paths), I decided that I will continue forward with a mixture of all (as that fits my personality and my top two strengths: learner and intellection).
I’m going to share the words I chose for 2021 again— growth, creativity, curiosity, happiness, and prosperity.
I just realized that I missed doing a 1-year check-in for the challenge last month since I’d been so focused on doing 100-day check-ins. I’ve also realized that I don’t check-in as often as I should with the list, possibly because we’re still in the middle of this damn pandemic and at times I feel like there isn’t a point.
TV shows were removed during earlier updates, as I usually don’t watch that much TV currently, and I am also thinking of cancelling my Beachbody-on-Demand subscription, since I’m also wanting to start ‘working-out’ away from the TV/computer screens. But, if I decide to do that—it will probably be before the fifth check-in on the challenge, and it will have it’s own post on the blog as well.
There is still the pandemic going on—which means that the travel plans are still on hold, and I’m still sheltering in place. While three vaccines have been approved for emergency use and the Pfizer was just granted full approval for people over the age of 12 (with several more in the middle of phase 3 clinical trials), I managed to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine (1 & done) in early April. The numbers of cases had started to go down, but then people got lax on getting their vaccines (or just didn’t want them—not going to rant here), and then the delta variant decided to become the most dominant—and numbers are going back up. Therefore, I’m still going to be sheltering in place through the fall and winter, and hope that maybe by the late-fall of 2022 things may be heading towards a new ‘normal’.
So how are things progressing?
Professional Development and Career–Ongoing:
Transition into an industry position (this is probably going to be remote/online or freelancing; exact direction (subjects) still to be determined; there will be several posts on this goal
Learn a programming language (going to go with python to start); just need to set up the newer laptop and download both teh program and bookmark the e-courses that I bought on the subject
Finish various e-courses that I’ve bought, but in particular:
Clinical Research Coalition--Finished May 30th 2021
Medical Writers Organization–need to finish the writing assignments; finished up the editing assignments last month
Data Science Syndicate–Finished September 3rd 2020
Project Management Consortium
Management Consulting Firm
Intellectual Property Pack–Finished June 25th 2021
Regulatory Affairs Council
All other e-courses that are in the journal (including other Cheeky Scientist Courses)
More interaction on LinkedIn-while hard to score (see the below photograph), I’m slowly figuring things out. There are certain posts that do better than others, and certain versions of posts that do better than others.
Sharing articles from various biotech pages and other science pages–I’m managing to do this at least once a day, Monday thur Friday, I don’t really share much on the weekend.
Commenting on posts–as I commented on a post, I’m trying to do more than the just usual congrats, or that’s great. So this is still a work in progress
Giving/Asking for recommendations–this still needs to be done in order to ‘finish’ building my professional/personal brand on LinkedIn. I just have to decide who I’m going to ask (and then who I’m going to give recommendations to)
Start writing my own posts–see the below photograph, but I’m slowly dipping my toes into the world of LinkedIn publishing. I mentioned previously that my first two comfort/stretch/risk/die diagram posts had been my best posts (1st had over 1900 views, 36 reactions, and 12 comments; the second had over 6 thousand views, 36 reactions, and 20 comments). Obviously I didn’t use the correct hashtags with the third diagram (as it hasn’t come close to the number of views, reactions, or comments yet).
Creating monthly/weekly/daily calendars for above goals–trying to get better at the whole ‘planning’ things out in advanced.
Renew professional memberships–I need to pick two (one is going to be joining the American Medical Writers Association, and then the other may be either ASBMB or ASCB).
Personal and Professional Development: on-going
7. Becoming fluent in Spanish–I need to get back to using the app Mondly, and aim for thirty minutes two to three days a week to begin with and build back up to doing it daily.
8. Become fluent in German again
9. Become proficient in French, Norwegian, Swedish, or Mandarin
10. Read at least 300 personal/professional development books total (since I first started these challenges in 2017). Aiming for twenty to thirty (plus) books a year, this year is going to be low (unless I start really reading all non-fiction and very little fiction).
11. Finish the books on scientific writing
12. Start building a portfolio (possibly as another ‘page’ on the blog) of different types of work (writing/data analysis)
14. Develop a daily writing habit
15. Write a letter to my future self
Personal Development and hobbies: on-going
16. Paint and frame at least one original painting
17. More photography–have been doing some, but now between the weather and the delta variant I’m not walking at Boomer as much as I would like to
18. 365 photography challenge–this one I’d try to start, but had fallen off track already. May try to restart it in the fall
19. Update photography pages on blog–I’ve been adding pages to the bird tab, and I have about another 100 pages to go, plus have been trying to expand the travel pages as well
20. Make my own jewelry
21. Learn to cross-stitch–I’ve started an abstract project, where I’m just filling in the entire tapestry with colors
22. Get a new sewing machine–on hold, due to the fact that there are issues with the machines being able to wind their bobbins, and the fact that people are probably buying them up again to make masks.
23. Make a new quilt (on hold due to #22)
24. Make a set of drapes for the bedroom (for backdrop when sitting at desk; on hold due to #22)
25. Start a new afghan–not sure if I’m going to be buying any yarn this year or not, since I still need to finish patching the second afghan that Chaos had chewed holes in.
26. Showcase crafts on blog (weekly update or possibly new pages when I have several completed?)
27. Start writing a book
28. Learn Photoshop
29. Write in the journal daily
30. Create my own coffee-table photography book
31. Learn basic sign language
32. Start a virtual book club
Finances: on-going (still a little difficult as there is no steady paycheck yet):
33. Create monthly budgets–currently this is just paying off the monthly bills
34. Credit cards debt down and hopefully paid off monthly–there are two that are high (where they aren’t paid off in full). Plus one is probably going to be high for a couple of months (since I’m thinking of possibly buying a bookcase and nightstand).
35. De-clutter the house–basically trying to sell DVDs back as a way of earning some extra money; on hold only because of the delta variant and me not wanting to be around other people
36. Saving account up another 20+K–this will take quite awhile since I haven’t ‘officially’ started doing any freelancing or remote work yet; nor have I landed any type of contract position
37. Talk with financial person about short-term investment possibilities–on hold, again due to the delta variant
38. Continue doing the small surveys as a way of earning a little extra cash
39. Finish the various financial e-courses (and decide how to implement what I’ve learned)
Fitness and Health: On-going
40. Get into the best shape of my life
41. Multivitamin and supplements daily–I’ve only forgotten to take my multivitamin and supplements every so often
42. Manage to make it through the following Beachbody workouts–these might be removed by the time I do a 500-day check-in as I’m thinking of cancelling my beachbody-on-demand membership
43. Morning Meltdown 100–I finished my 1st round on 9/15/2020
44. Yoga Booty Ballet-Abs & Butt series–Made it through 3/4 of the program by 11/14/2020
45. 10 Rounds–1st round finished 12/26/2020
46.Barre Blend–Started on 2/8/2021; managed to do half the program before deciding to call it quits
47. Insanity Max 30
48. LIIFT4–Did a round of the program back in 2018; second round finished on 11/14/2020, 3rd round (focusing mostly on the lifting) was finished 7/23/2021
49. 22-Minute Hard Corps
52. Insanity: Asylum 1
53. Insanity: Asylum 2
54. 4 weeks of Prep
55. 6 weeks of work
56. T25 (have already done once)
57. Brazil Butt Lift
58. 21 Day Fix (have done once); started the ‘LIVE’ version and made it a week before moving to LIIFT4
59. 21 Day Fix Extreme (have done once)
60. Country Heat (have done once)
61. CIZE–managed to make it through the program, even though I felt like I had two left feet the entire time. Finished this April 9th 2021)
64. Let’s Get Up! (hopefully out fall 2021; but have to decided if I’m keeping BOD or not)
65. 9-week control freak off the wall (technically with dumbbells)
66. Shawn Week
67. 80-Day Obsession
68. Brazil Butt Lift: Carnival
69: Shift Shop: Proving Grounds
71. Core de Force
72. Manage 5 push-ups on my toes (I had been practicing, but I haven’t done much lately–need to get back to it)
73. Manage 10 push-ups on my toes
74. Hold a two-minute forearm plank
75. Hold a ninety second plank
76. Meditate nightly–Have been doing, even if its only been for a minute or two
77. 60-80 oz of water daily–some days I fall way short on this; something to work on
78. Stretch daily
79. Get at least 10,010,000 steps (breaks down to 5K/day)–on my way; some months are better than others.
Blog and Social Media: On-going:
80. Finish the YouTube for bosses course
81. Finish the YouTube course creation for bosses course
82. Launch a YouTube Channel
83. Launch an online course
84. Launch an online freelance/remote/contract business
85. Get blog traffic to 500+ views a day–have managed to increase the monthly views (May-July it was a little over 500 views per month), and now just need to work on increasing the weekly and then the daily views
86. Rebrand myself (?)
87. Get Instagram followers to constant 800+
88. Get Pintrest followers to constant 400+
89. Get twitter followers to constant 1000+
90. Publish at least two blog series
91. Editorial calendars (monthly/weekly/daily)
92. Blog–tried this for August, but life had a way of throwing it out the window; will try it agian for September
94. Facebook Page(s)
97. Get BecomingJessi (or new name if I change) to 1000+ likes/follows
98. Various top 10 author lists
99. Various top 10 book series lists
100. Launch a podcast
101. Full/New Moon Goals–I’ve been managing to keep with these, even if I may not hit each goal that I set for each new/full moon
102. Create my own altar (wiccan/pagan): This was accomplished earlier this year, though I will be moving things around since it is a small shelf and everything feels crowded
103. Oracle Card readings (Weekly or Daily)–I’ve managed to do this more or less daily (though there have been a few days that I’ve missed). I started a 120-day oracle card sharing challenge, but after 26 days I’ve called it ‘quits’ for now, as it was feeling more like a task than an enjoyable hobby.
104. Sitting outside in the morning with my coffee (back to waiting for nicer weather–so hopefully sometime this fall)
Others (that don’t require travel): On-going
105. Keep at least three plants alive–I’ve managed to ‘root’ and replant several cuttings from our dumb cane plants, so I guess that could count as keeping plants alive. Though the Christmas poinsettia didn’t survive it’s repotting.
106. Design a science based board game
107. Update my digital vision board
108. Reorganize my storage unit
109. Put in at least one flower garden around the house (backyard, and/or front yard).
110. Help put up a partial privacy fence in backyard
111. Start downsizing clothes and creating different ‘minimum’ wardrobes (work/professional/casual; home/casual/working out). Have found different non-profits that I could donate clothes too, but the overall project is on hold due to the delta variant. Once that is under control, I’ll box up clothes that I don’t want and ship them off.
112. Develop different 30-day challenges–this one may be taken off by the 5th check-in if I haven’t come up with one and seen it through to completion.
113. Start down sizing the rest of my belongings (would like to live comfortably in a small house/apartment and I know that I don’t need majority of my stuff).
Goals that require a little traveling (or having moved into my own place):
114. Re-pierce my ears
115. Go to at least one scientific conference
116. Present at a scientific conference
117. Got to at least two professional networking events
118.Move to a new (or maybe not new) city for job
119. Visit at least three new countries
120. Visit at least one new national park and/or state park
121. Visit at least one new national monument and/or state monument
122. Visit at least one new zoo
123. Visit at least one new aquarium
124. Fly out and/or land at three new (to me) airports
125. Visit at least one new city
126. Visit at least one ‘new’ state
127. See the northern lights
128. Attend at least one blogging conference
129. Attend at least one author-reader conference
130. Swim with whale sharks
132. Get fabric and foam and make new cushions for chairs
133. New couch and chair for living room
134. New dresser for bedroom
135. New mattress and box spring for bed and/or a new bed set
136. New TV & stand
137. New desk/craft workstation
While the number of goals seem shorter than previous: the total number is still about 147 (ten of the goals in the professional development group were dotted instead of numbered).
Since, I thinking of cancelling my Beachbody-on-Demand membership next month, there will probably be about 25 ‘goals’ that may disappear from the list (at least the ones that would require the use of streaming; older programs that I have the DVDs on may still be done).
Therefore I may in add some additional personal or professional development programs to the list, or some other goals to take their place (in other words I’m not sure I’ll be decreasing the total number of goals or simply switching numerous ones out).
I’d mentioned in a post last week (my most updated comfort diagram share), that I felt like I’d let my time management slip the past month or so—and I have. I actually tried to make an ‘editorial’ calendar last month for August through October. But, life has a way of getting in the way at times, and it threw the calendar out the window (though I’m going to try to update it for the rest of fall).
I’m almost certain that I want to go in a freelance/remote/contract direction for my career (since the delta variant isn’t going to be disappearing anytime soon), and am slowly brainstorming the ideas needed for that pivot.
The bingo card that was created at the beginning of the year (both for yearly goals and the fitness programs I wanted to get completed), with the best intentions—I’ve realized that I probably won’t be getting a ‘bingo’ this year, and I will need to fine-tune the ideas for my 2022 yearly bingo card and any future fitness bingo cards.
I’ve decided currently that I’m going to keep the current web addy (becomingjessi) and the running tag-line (a little bit of this, a little bit of that) for the blog, but also start trying to brainstorm some ideas for new ones as I slowly start trying to develop my freelance/remote/contract business (writing, with possibly data analysis, project/product management, consulting).
So, the summer saw me becoming a little lax in time management and online learning—but I’m reactivating the self-control app, and will be setting weekly goals (say three hours of online learning, non-fiction reading, and work on crafts; in addition to some type of word total for writing).
The volunteer writing position that I took is helping me learn some of the ins and outs of researching various types of topics and writing for a general audience (I’m slowly figuring out how much science is actually needed within those topics), and I’m hoping to be able to do more than one post a week (one for the company, and then a different one for the bog) within another month or so.
So I will be brainstorming/mind-mapping different ideas for the career pivot that will appeal to my mixed-style multipontialite personality (different types or number of projects), and my strengths (learner, intellection, input, achiever, ideation, and deliberative) moving forward. This will mean trying to determine the best type of daily schedule (when to do research; what to research; how long to research; blocks for writing and so forth).
Therefore, the goals for the next 100 days will include getting through various professional development programs (finishing up the writing tests for the Medical Writers Organization, making it through the Regulatory Affairs Council, and possibly the Business Development Federation program as well), reading at least 3-4 books off the personal/professional development list, and creating my own fitness/intentional movement calendar for the rest of the year (weight lifting, and then some types of cardio and recovery), and then whatever else from the list that will fit into the 100-day schedule.
Today is ‘celebrate your geekness’ day, a day that was created by Wellcats Holidasy as a day about being proud of what you do, who you are, and what you’re ‘obsessed’ with. I will freely admit that I’ve always been a ‘geek’, and I’ve been proud of being a geek. While I may seem ‘quiet’ and slightly ‘unsociable’, it is more of the fact that I’m wondering what I can add to the conversation. Depending on the topic, I may either be more of an active listener or an active participant. While I am a ‘geek’ on various subjects, I also admit that some areas I’m reconnecting to, so I may not be that big of a ‘geek’ in terms of random knowledge.
I like these five reasons from ‘a big think edge’ blog post back in 2018 on why one should embrace thier inner geek:
The term communicates that you are intelligent
You may be more socially competent and mature than the ‘cool kids’
As a geek, you are viewed in a increasingly positive way
You are technically savvy and an early adopter of new technologies
Geeks bring different perspectives and knowledge to the conversation
I agree with all of them, with the exception of number four–I really don’t care for updating/upgrading my electronics and such unless I either absolutely have to, or the update/upgrade has something really going for it.
So what are things that I consider myself a ‘geek’ about?
Hobbies such as:
Birds (and bird watching)
Reading (fiction, especially romance)
Knitting and other crafts
Being outdoors, gardening and nature
Learning, especially on topics related to:
What am I currently learning or teaching myself?
Python coding, cross-stitching, jewelry making, and brushing up on subjects such as intellectual protperty and clinical trials.
What are my end goals?
Continuous learning, finding harmony between ‘work’ and ‘everything else’, and bridging the communication gap beteen the scientific community and the general public.
What is one scientific topic that you wished was communicated better?
Well, we’re a third of the way through the year–four months down and eight to go. While the number of people getting vaccinated is either going up or holding steady, new cases of SARS-CoV2 are also on the rise in certain parts of the world (namely India). Therefore, this lady is still going to be self-isolating for quite a few more months, even though I did manage to get my vaccine at the beginning of the month (I got the J&J vaccine, so 1 shot and done).
In terms of various news stories–the cop, who was filmed with his knee on the neck of George Floyd was found guilty on all three counts of murder. His sentencing is in another two months or so (and I personally hope it is life without parole). There are so many problems in this country that have their roots sunk deep in racism, and how a portion of cops act towards non-whites is a huge part of that problem. Then there is the whole other topic of gun control (which I’m not going to touch here, at least right now).
I like the fact that we have a new administration that actually listens to and promotes science. While there are still a few hots pots within the country, we’re slowly getting the virus under control. When I published ‘March in Review’, I noted that the US was a little over 31.1 million cases, and now the US is at a little over 33.1 million cases (so it was an increase of basically 2 million cases for the month, slight increase but compared to numbers from last year–nothing really major). I think the slight uptick in cases was probably due to various spring breaks and small regional ‘outbreaks’.
Before looking ahead to May (with the plans of becoming slightly more productive and organized), I should look at the goals that I set for April and see how I did with each of them.
The goals for April 2021 included:
At least 130-150,000 steps; this will hopefully include at least 1 walk at Boomer Lake and several shorter walks with Chaos with the weather hopefully getting nicer
Getting a new pedometer
Finish up CIZE and then move on to 21-Day Fix Live
Read (or finish) 3 non-fiction books
Read 3 fiction books
Finish up the Clinical Research Coalition program, MWO assignments, and at least the 1st module of the Regulatory Affairs Council
No spend days/No spend weeks/Limited Spending Month
Time outdoors and meditation/sitting quietly
Craft time (jewelry design)
Finish (or start) at least 2 other e-courses
Manage at least 30-45 minutes a day learning Spanish
So how did I do with each of them?
At least 130-150,000 steps: I managed to meet and surpass the goal of 150,000 steps. I actually managed to get in 187,411 steps–this included 2 full walks at Boomer Lake, a partial walk at Boomer Lake, and probably half a dozen walks or so with Chaos throughout the neighborhood.
Get a new pedometer: I got a new pedometer that also acts as a watch during the day. I decided that I didn’t need to sleep with it on (as one of the features is sleep tracking), as I usually sleep better without knowing how often I toss and turn
Finish up CIZE and then move on to 21-Day Fix Live: I finished up CIZE (more or less), and while I have started 21-Day Fix Live, I’ve also been walking and doing things outside as well, so there are days that aren’t ‘tracked’ via the Beachbody workout platform, since they no longer have an option for adding in non-Beachbody workouts.
Read (or finish) 3 non-fiction books: While I’ve been reading, I haven’t actually finished any of the three that I started as I’m also trying to work through the various exercises within the books as well. The books that I’m currently reading are:
‘Design Your Life: How to build a well-lived, joyful life’ by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans
‘Career Rehab: Rebuild Your Personal Brand and Rethink the Way You Work’ by Kanika Tolver
‘Reivention Road Map’ by Liz Ryan
Read 3 fiction books: I have manage to read quite a few books this month (though I have yet to write any book reviews). The books I read were:
My One Night (On My Own #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan
State of Affairs (First Family #1) by Marie Force
I also re-read the entire Fatal series by Marie Force as well before State of Affairs was released (there were 16 full length books and two novellas in the series).
I also read the first two books of the ‘Steeles at Silver Island’ series by Melissa Foster.
Finish up the Clinical Research Coalition program, work on the MWO assignments, and start in on the Regulatory Affairs Council program (three of the advanced Cheeky Scientist programs): Well, none of this happened this month.
No spend days/No spend weeks/Limited spending month: I did okay for the first three-fourths of the month, there were book splurges towards the end of the month. More on this in the next installment of my limited spending challenge updates.
Time outdoors and meditation/sitting quietly: Weather was nice, so there was more time outdoors, and I have been meditating most nights as well.
Craft time (jewelry design–try to make 1 necklace/bracelet set): Nope, the only crafts I did this month was a little photography and the addictive color by number pictures on the kindle app
Finish (or start) at least two other e-courses: Well, since I didn’t complete any of the cheeky courses, this didn’t happen either.
Manage at least 30-45 minutes a day refreshing Spanish: I think I managed a day or two of Spanish this past month.
So in terms of meeting my goals for April–I think I am more or less at an even fifty percent. I managed to meet half the goals, while not getting close on the other half of the goals. Part of the problem is the nice weather–I want to be outside, so I go outside but I usually don’t take anything out with me to work on–then I get upset with myself at the end of the day when ‘nothing’ has really been accomplished.
Another problem–is just the mindless scrolling through both the internet and social media. Therefore, I’m going to start making use of the one ‘time management’ application (Self Control) that I downloaded earlier in the year, but have yet to activate it. While I have done my ‘May brain dump’, I’m also going to be putting thing on a weekly ‘to-be-accomplished’ list with a set of due-dates for various stages of work (research/rough draft/editing/posting and publication). This will hopefully allow me to get more posts and pages up on the blog, and possibly some posts for LinkedIn as well.
I’m also giving myself grace, as I realize that everything is cyclic, and while some months may be extremely productive, the next month (or two) may not be that productive, but things can always swing back towards productive with a little bit of focus.
Therefore, the goals for May 2021 will include:
At least 135-155,000 steps; since the weather will be getting warmer, hopefully there will be at least a weekly walk at Boomer Lake, and possibly half a dozen or so with Chaos through the neighborhood
Finish up 21-Day Fix Live and then start 21-Day Fix Extreme Live
Finish reading the 3 non-fiction books listed above
Read 3 fiction books
Finish the Clinical Research Coalition program, the MWO assignments, and the first 2 modules (at least) of the Regulatory Affairs Council program
No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month
Time outdoors and meditation/sitting quietly
Finish (or start) at least two other e-courses
Manage at least 30-45 minutes of Spanish at least 5 days a week
Activate the time management app: Self Control
While continuing to remind 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’
In addition to remembering: Growth, Creativity, Curiosity, Happiness, and Prosperity were the words I chose for 2021.
So tonight marks the first full moon of 2021. We survived 2020, and while I was questioning if 2020 stole a couple of weeks from 2021–I’m confident that we’ll survive 2021 as well. I missed a few months of new and full moon goal setting throughout 2020–and I will basically blame that on the pandemics (both the SARS-CoV2 and the ever rampant stupidity pandemic) for missing them. I have realized that when I do take the time to reflect on the questions for the full moon, or the other activities one can do during the new moon–I feel a little calmer (at least for a day or two).
I decided that instead of having a single word to try to define 2021, I would have several and picked: growth, creativity, curiosity, happiness, and prosperity. In addition, I’m working on refining my core values and merging them with my strengths while working on strengthening a weakness or two.
What are some questions to reflect on during the first few days of the full moon? According to “Moonology: working with the magic of the lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland, they are:
Have I been too self-centered, egotistical, or proud?
Have I been treating the people around me like minions?
Have I been arrogant, vain, pushy, or pompous?
Have I been expressing myself creatively enough?
Have I shown myself enough self-love?
If I were to number the above questions 1-5, my answers would be as followed:
After last year, I think I can safely say that I haven’t been self-centered or egotistical really about anything. But I can say that I’m proud that I survived the year without having any type of major mental breakdowns. Though over the past year, I have defended my beliefs in everything from wearing masks and social distancing to why I think schools should be taught virtual–defending those stances did upset some people, and several have un-friended me on Facebook. But I’ve gotten to the point where I have very little time and energy for certain types of people.
No, I haven’t been treating the people around me like minions. I live at home with my parents currently–there are no minions here.
Again, nope I haven’t been arrogant, vain, pushy, or pompous. People will probably say that I’m usually the opposite of quite a few of those adjectives.
No, I haven’t been expressing myself creatively enough lately. While I have been trying to write more posts for the blog, it has been a little too chilly for walks at Boomer Lake (while I know I can bundle up–I’m more worried about the temperatures, condensation, and possibly wrecking a $600 digital camera that I currently can’t afford to replace). I am going to be trying my hand at cross-stitching, plus I’ve come up with an idea or two for trying to mend the afghans that my pup chewed holes in.
Again, this one is basically a no, that I haven’t been showing myself enough self-love. While I’ve been sticking with a consistent workout schedule for the past eight months–I still need to work on improving my mental, spiritual, emotional, and social health habits. Over the past few months, I’ve realized that I’m just starting to come out of the total and complete burnout that I was keeping myself immersed in for years (more on this in another post). I’m working on ways to process and deal with stress (that don’t revolve around eating chocolate constantly), reconstructing the negative self-talk, plus trying to acknowledge and work with my inner critic/anxiety instead of against it. I’ve also decided that I’m still keeping the word diet out of my vocabulary and working on improving my relationship with food.
So a good portion of this year is still going to be focused on self-care/love. This will still include a daily workout (my current year schedule will be finishing up Muscle Burns Fat Advance in the early part of February, then on to Barre Blend, then the live versions of 21-Day Fix/21-Day Fix Extreme, a 3rd round of LIIFT4, a 2nd round of Morning Meltdown 100, a 2nd round of 10 rounds, and then finishing the year with either Country Heat or CIZE), evening meditations, oracle/tarot card readings, listening to podcasts, reading, journaling, time outdoors, and just trying to reconnect with my inner spirit/voice.
Looking at my chart–the Leo full moon is also going through my 10th house (or my career zone). I’m still considering myself on a semi-‘reboot break’ (since 2020 took all my plans and threw them out the window with the pandemic)–but I do need to start trying to figure out what I’m doing with the second half of my life.
I have a couple of ideas bouncing around in my head in terms of possible paths, but I need to do a little more research to make sure that those ideas/paths will let me focus on my strengths (learner, intellection, input, achiever, deliberative/ideation/arranger, creativity, curiosity, and critical thinking), while also improving one or two of my ‘weaknesses’. In addition I want to ensure that the paths, plus my strengths are also connected to my values (vitality, spirituality/inner harmony/peace, creativity/curiosity, learning/knowledge, and evolution/growth/transformation/openness)–some of which are identical to some of my strengths.
I’ve put health (mental, physical, and spiritual) as core values–because I’ve learned the hard way that trying to focus solely on my career lead me to becoming burnt out on everything. I’ve only started rediscovery my joy of learning, reading on different topics, and other things over the past six to eight months. I won’t say that I’m back to ‘normal’ yet–because I’m not. But I’m slowly getting there–but to fully get there I also need to prioritize my health above all else, or I will fall back to the bottom of the pit of burnout again if I neglect them.
So what are my goals for the Leo full moon?
Continue with my fitness schedule–to begin with finish up Muscle Burns Fat Advance and then move on to Barre Blend.
Write down the current ideas I have for going freelance/independent/remote, in addition to also seeing what other industry positions may be of interest, plus figure out other ways of earning a little extra income
Spend time working on crafts–and doing more than just color-by number. I’m talking learning to cross-stitch, patch up the afghans, making jewelry, doodling, coloring, and once the weather warms up–getting back up to Boomer Lake with my camera.
Meditating, oracle card readings, reading different books on spirituality, and hopefully finally setting up my altar for doing my card readings.
All of this 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 last week marked the end of my first round of Muscle Burns Fat.
This was a three-week program that Beachbody released last year–I started it right after I finished my first round of 10 Rounds, and am currently going through the follow-up program Muscle Burns Fat Advance (review coming early Feb).
So, as I mentioned on the page for Muscle Burns Fat that I posted under the fitness tab–I came to enjoy the program towards the end.
I’ve realized that I really do enjoy lifting weights and strength training–though some exercises (such as triceps pushups or dips)–are no-go’s due to my arm bone structure (I have slightly curved arms).
I’m still working on trying to do a ‘normal’ lunge without weights–I have no idea when I will be able to hold weights and do a lunge–but it is something I’m working on.
The main downsides that I felt with the program were the BOD ropes–I hate them (even with going into the next program), it just doesn’t feel like I’m getting my heart rate up with them, and also I get tired of occasionally hitting myself in the leg or arm with them.
Also I didn’t like how ‘static lunges’ were called ‘split-squats’. A lunge is a lunge; if you split a squat in half–you’re doing a damn lunge.
I did get use to the format of the program–it was filmed during the pandemic, so all the cast were working out via Zoom, so it was getting little peaks into people’s lives and homes. I just found it strange and a little distracting at first when a second screen would pop-up at the top of the video.
While it has been awhile since I’ve done 21-Day Fix (and I’m actually going to be doing the live version come March–after I finish both MBFA and then Barre Blend), the formats of the two programs were different.
21-Day Fix has two days of active recovery–Pilates and yoga (days 4 and 7, if I’m remembering correctly), Muscle Burns Fat only has one day of active recovery and that is day 7 (Sunday).
Another difference is that while both have modifiers, 21-Day Fix also had someone working out with the resistant band on a few of the days–muscle burns fat was straight dumbbells.
I did start to enjoy the program towards the end–though I will probably always detest the EMOM (every minute on the minute) workouts, hopefully when I do a second round of the program, I’m either lifting heavier or able to do all the push-ups.
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.