So today marks day fifteen of the oracle card challenge, and that means there are only 105 (or 563) days left in the challenge. Today also marks the halfway point for the second deck of cards chosen: Nature’s Whispers by Angela Hartfield.
The card chosen for the eleventh day was ‘be in service’. It is a reminder to give back to the world, and while life is give and take—harmony is achieved when they’re balanced.
A kind word, holding a door, or even an email inquiring how things are going are all simple acts of being in service.
I’ve been bouncing ideas around on how to use my degree/education more and ‘be in service’ and have touched on the topic of science communication. There is a deep rift between how science is communicated between scientists and how they communicate it to the rest of the world—I want to help bridge that rift.
The card chosen for the twelfth day was ‘higher ground’. It is a reminder that if things seem out of balance, or not going your way—all you may need is to look at it from ‘higher ground’. Sometimes we miss ‘the forest’ because we’re focused on ‘the trees’ and vice versa.
For years I’d been focused on ‘research at the bench’, that I had ‘forgotten’ that research doesn’t have to be just at the bench, but it can be done away from the bench and therefore take on various forms. I’m slowly ‘embracing’ research away from the bench, and looking for the ‘topics’ that I find interesting and enjoy.
The card chosen for the thirteenth day was ‘illumination’. It is a reminder that while we all have ‘guardian angels’ willing to help—we still need to believe in ourselves as well. Knowing that we are capable of achieving dreams (old or new) as long as we are willing to put in the work and believe that it is possible.
We also shouldn’t compare our journey to others—everyone has their own path to walk, and some may be ahead, some may be behind, and others may look like they’re walking along side.
While worry and fear have their places in life—one should try not to let them overwhelm. That has been a problem in the past; I’ve let worry and fear overrun my life too many times to count. Now, I simply try to acknowledge their presence, give them space and work through the emotions and the ‘blocks’.
I realize that I will be harboring these emotions frequently as I try to edge my way into a new career—one that may become full-time, or may only become part-time. While acknowledging their presence, I’m also going to work at ensuring they don’t keep me tethered to my comfort zone.
The card chosen for the fourteenth day was ‘make a decision’. There are times when it would be nice to turn the clock back to where the biggest decision one had to make was cereal or waffles for breakfast. It becomes difficult at times to see the variety of choices one has once that ‘degree’ is chosen in college, or when the program is decided on for graduate school.
I’ve realized one reason why I’d been a somewhat ‘passive’ player in my career—the ‘goals’ had somewhat already been mapped. Deviating from that course, now means I need to figure out what the goals, benchmarks, and milestones moving forward and that can be somewhat scary.
But I do have the wisdom to create a ‘new’ path, without totally ‘destroying’ the old—but it will take a little more time to figure out the goals, benchmarks, milestones moving forward will be, but that is also part of the fun. Creating something new, melding it with the old, and making it my own.
The card chosen for the fifteenth day was the ‘empowerment’ card. It is a reminder that while we can handle things as they come—sometimes it is nice to have the guidance and support of others (especially in our careers).
As we move through life (especially in our careers), we at times have to go looking for the guidance and support of others, while at other times both are always there.
Everyone says one should have mentors—both ones that you talk to (either via phone, email, or zoom), and others that you end up finding online and following their online presence.
For an introvert (with anxiety)—finding mentors that you talk to is semi-difficult, especially when you’re still trying to determine the direction that you want to go in. Finding the ‘virtual’ ones is easy, though I’m starting to go back through and ask myself ‘am I following this person because I truly find them inspiring, or am I following them because they’re the ‘person’ to follow?
This is yet another puzzle piece that I am working on figuring out the shape of, slow but steady.
These cards are slightly different from the enchanted map and others in that they ‘don’t’ tell a story, per say. What I mean by ‘story’ is that card’s meaning is general—so depending on your ‘question’ or situation the ‘story’ or outlook may differ from reading to reading.
These cards are still helping me move forward with the goal of freelance work—they’re reminding me of things that I need to work on (such as finding mentors, not letting fear and anxiety run the show, and asking for (and accepting) help when needed).
Here’s to the next five days of the Nature’s Whispers Oracle deck challenge.
I asked this question on both LinkedIn and Instagram, and only received a single answer (climate change)—so I’ll ask it here as well: what science topic do you wish was communicated better? Also who are some of your favorite people to follow (and why)?
So I decided earlier this week that I was going to do a 120-day oracle card challenge on Instagram. This challenge has two objectives: ensuring that I’m posting something daily, and locating my online ‘tribe’. While I realize that oracle card readings may not be everyone’s ‘cup of tea’, I’ve found them to be a great starting point for reflecting on various things.
Since I have several different oracle decks (actually I have thirteen), I decided that I would use a different one every ten days, in addition to possibly extending the challenge longer (130 days would allow me to use each deck once, but extending it to 578 days would allow me to draw each card once).
While I’m sharing the cards daily on Instagram, I decided that I would do a summary of them on the blog every five to ten days (ensuring at least one to two posts per oracle deck, to begin with).
To start the challenge, I decided to use the Enchanted Map oracle deck by Colette Baron-Reid. I like the stories that one can draw from the cards.
The first card that I drew to start the challenge was ‘Into the Unknown’ (card number seven, in the upright position).
This was a fitting card to start the challenge with as I’ve been slowly thinking of stepping into the unknown of changing careers. I’ve spent the past year and a half doing a large amount of personal and professional reflections, and while I don’t have the path totally planned out—I do have an idea (or two) of where I would like to start. Part of any path is knowing that you have a learning curve to deal with, but at the same time one needs to figure out how to move into the new ‘arena’ even if you’re at a ‘disadvantage’ compared to others.
It is also a reminder that growth comes by stepping out of our comfort zones and into the unknown.
The second card that was drawn for the challenge was the ‘One-Ring Circus’ (card number fifteen, in the upright position).
This card reminds us that we’re capable and competent in any endeavor that we pursue—as long as we put in the work. Self-reliance is key, as we’re the only ones who can forage our paths, others may ‘walk’ with us, but we have to do the work. For me this is also a reminder that I need to become a more ‘active’ learner—actually starting to put various things into practice instead of just reading/watching and moving on to the next book or e-course.
I’m slowly becoming better at setting (and meeting) my own deadlines for projects. My biggest ‘problem’ actually is that I get overly ambitious about the project and bite off more than I can chew initially. These two aspects (setting and meeting deadlines) will be essential as I move towards my career transition (especially so I won’t be feeling overwhelmed and able to juggle more than one project at a time).
The third card drawn was ‘Heal the Ouch’ (card number thirty eight, in the upright position).
Did you know the phrase let ‘bygones be bygones’ originated in the 15th century?
This card is a reminder that forgiveness is the healer of the soul and sooths the heart and mind as well. It also brought to mind the Buddhist saying, “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”
This is something that I’m working on—releasing past angers, irritations, and feelings of not good enough, not dedicated enough, or not driven enough. I’ve realized that by allowing myself to either compare myself to others (or allow others to do so), has been one of the key reasons why I’ve been ‘stuck’ and afraid to step into the virtual world as a science communicator, educator, and advocate (even though that is my training and background).
I know that not everyone will agree with my posts, comments, or tone of writing—and that is fine, I need to be true to myself so that I can find my ‘tribe’ both in the virtual and real worlds.
The fourth card drawn was ‘Metamorphosis’ (card number twenty-five in the upright position).
This card is a reminder that nothing in life really stays the same and that to become the best version of ourselves—we need to change. Change is also at times painful and scary (especially when it seems like we’re the only ones going through the process).
As mentioned previously–I’ve been thinking of a career change for several years now, and only decided right before 2020 to take time off to really try to figure out what I wanted to do with my life—the long hours in lab and at the bench no longer appealed to me.
Over the past year and a half, I’ve been reflecting on what type of ‘change’ I could do—a total change in direction, or a hybrid change (bench work part-time and something else part time). The ‘loss’ has been the realizing that the childhood dream of my own marine biology research lab wasn’t going to happen, the ‘pain’ is realizing that I’m going to be trying to step out in an arena with others who have been doing it longer. But the ‘growth’ is there, I just have to take the baby steps away from the lab dreams and start focusing them on a different area of life.
Today’s card is the ‘Spark’ (card number thirty four and in the upright position).
The spark is here to remind us that if we’re feeling the spark of creativity to go ahead and move forward with the idea, or if we want to start a new job—now is the time to search and apply.
It has taken awhile for me to be able to find or see the ‘spark’ of creativity—I’d thought it had be totally extinguished as I kept trying to make a go of a career in academia. But it hadn’t been extinguished; it was just not burning as brightly as it could have been. It is slowly starting to burn brighter. What is my creative idea/job that I’m trying to move forward? Figuring out how to blend science education/communication/advocacy together with a personal development/hobbies/spirituality blog.
It’s been suggested that I do two blogs—but I know that if I try to do that one of them will flounder and fail. Not because I don’t have ideas for both—but because I know that I’d focus on one more than the other (as I’ve been prone to do—focusing on something and ignoring everything else). The plan—slowly start adding in more science posts to the blog, and keep reworking things until I find the right ‘mix’ of the two areas.
So, that covers the first five days of the challenge. Each card, while randomly drawn has been the exact card that I needed that day. They’ve been reminding me to listen to my inner voice (no matter how quiet it is)–I just need to be able to sit quietly and turn inward. I also need to trust both in myself and this journey that I’m on–that I not only will ‘survive’ but thrive as I make my way down the ‘unknown’ road of online entrepreneurship.
So I had mentioned previously that I had decided back in December that I had stepped back from being an independent fitness coach/consultant for Beachbody.
The reasons for this decision are both simple but complex.
Though before getting into my reasons: I should also mention that Beachbody doesn’t guarantee that coaches will automatically earn money–you have to put the time and effort into the process.
So the first reason is that I’m not the biggest sharer of personal things on social media (though I had shared some of my progress pictures in the past)–therefore I wasn’t doing one of the main caveats of coaching–sharing my story.
This is because in part over the past couple of years, my weight has swayed back up and I have regained the weight I had lost prior to becoming a coach/consultant.
The weight gain was in part due to me dealing with a moderate level of depression the past few years (2018 was the capstone year for depression), and pretty much went into survival mode. One mistake I had made was not reaching out for help from other coaches that I knew. I didn’t want to share my issues, I didn’t want to burden others–I’ve learned over the past year or so–there is no shame is asking someone if they can listen, or if they can give you some advice on something.
That is one key take away I’m trying to take forward with me–that it is okay to ask for help when you need it, and it isn’t a sign of weakness asking for help–but a sign of strength.
But, since I wasn’t sharing my story, I wasn’t gaining customers–and without customers purchasing Beachbody products and improving their lives through my pages–I wasn’t earning any money. I was actually losing a little money monthly.
The second reason–is that I’m trying not mend my relationship with food. While proper nutrition is important for weight loss/management–neither of their nutrition programs seem to to be the right fit for me. I’m tired of trying to always count my calories/macros/colored containers, and while I’m trying to drink more water throughout the day–I don’t like being told when I should be drinking water and that half my plate is suppose to be veggies.
The third reason–is that I have never bought into the whole organic, non-GMO, gluten-free diet/nutrition mindset. True, I have bought (and do still occasionally buy) items that are labeld non-GMO or organic, but I usually just shake my head at the marketing strategy.
The list of GMO plants (as of 2019) include:
Maize (corn)–15 varieties
Arctic Fuji Apples–1 variety
The time and effort that go into producing GMO plants is extremely long–we’re talking at a minimum of 2 to 4 years, but usually much longer (depending on the flowering/germination rate of the plant).
Therefore, scientists put a lot of time and effort into generating a crop that has a single change in a gene that will extend it’s life, improve the crop, or help to start reducing the amount of water needed for it.
So truthfully–labeling items ‘non-GMO’ is a marketing scheme. Companies realize that we’re willing to part with more money for ‘organic’ or ‘non-modified’ items. Hate to break to everyone–humans have been ‘modifying’ plants and animals since we started doing agriculture (that is the very basis of getting better crops and animals). ‘Organic’ food is actually worse for the environment than GMO plants because it takes more land to grow the same amount of food.
So while I don’t buy into the reasons for ‘non-GMO’/’organic’ labeling and pushes, I will probably still end up purchasing products labeled that way because there may not be any other options on the market.
So to sum up my leaving independent coaching/consulting–while I share on social media I don’t share much, and therefore it isn’t easy to build a large fitness following. I was tired of losing the little money monthly (and currently need that money elsewhere). I’m mending my relationship with food, and I don’t want to be measuring, counting, or weighting anything (and that includes myself). Finally–I just got tired of seeing so much ‘non-GMO’/’organic’/’all-natural’/lets cut calories/need to do this to burn that off crap throughout my various social media channels.
I’m still a Beachbody customer–I’m keeping my on-demand subscription to have access to all the workouts. I’ve actually been a Beachbody customer for decades, and have nothing bad to say about them–these were my reasons/decisions for stepping away from the coaching side of their company.
Everyone’s fitness and nutrition journey is different–some don’t mind sharing their ups and downs with the world. I’m a little more private, which at times makes it a little harder to build up a consistent following.
While I will probably still be sharing my fitness/nutrition journey, it may just be a little more sporadic with very few pictures or measurements or things like that.
Reference for list of GMO plants: news.agropages.com/News/NewsDetails—34089.htm
So 2020 is finally over (and I’m cautiously looking out the window at 2021), but it is also time to reflect back on the year (ups, downs, hills, and valleys). So my apologies if this seems to be a really rambling post–I’m covering the year, but there isn’t any particular order for my thoughts.
2020 managed to shake up the entire year by itself. Earlier in the year there was talk of a novel coronavirus that had popped up in China and was possibly making its way around the world. The first ‘identified’ cases in the US showed up in late January/early February (though now we know that the virus was actually here earlier); and now at the end of the year-the US had just under 20.5 million cases as of New Years Eve, and leads in total cases and number of deaths (I wish someone would explain to people–this isn’t a damn popularity contest; you actually want to be coming in last).
Vaccine development was pushed to the forefront as case numbers due to the virus continued to climb; currently there are two vaccines that have been granted emergency use (I also think that there are two or three more entering phase III clinical trials)–but I won’t be eligible for either of the them until late summer/early fall (with a three-to-four week wait period between the two shots). So needless to say–there was no travel this year, and probably won’t be any travel (at least international) probably until 2022 (at the earliest).
Though I’ve been self-isolating for the most part this year, I decided I would buy some face-masks for whenever I needed to go out and possibly be around people. So far those times have been walking at Boomer Lake this fall and winter (I figured fewer people out in the cold weather), I have the face-mask on, but pulled down and when I can’t keep at least six to eight feet between myself and the other person, I pull the mask up over my mouth and nose. I also have one that I wear when I need to go buy the weekend newspaper, plus several others that I can go between for any other errands I may need to run in 2021.
Both puppies that we adopted last year have settled in, grown, and are showing their unique personalities. Rolex seems to have developed an autoimmune disorder (Vitilgo), which is also an autoimmune disorder that humans can have. So now whenever she loses a little bit of fur-it will grow back in white instead of black. So at some point, she may start looking like a reverse Dalmatian (black with white spots), though she still has a pinkish jaw (the fur hasn’t totally grown back).
Chaos has basically finished growing, though I think he still as a little more muscle mass to put on, and should top off somewhere between 55 and 65 pounds. He walks nicely on a leash for me, and listens to most commands (though to get him in–you do need to have a treat in your hand, he is a little devil in that regard). His only ‘health’ issue right now is dry/itchy skin that we’re treating with a combination of bendaryl, flaxseed, and anti-itch pills (which are a combo of various omega oils). Though we may be switching the food to see if that has anything to do with his issue.
Now once the weather starts to behave, I’ll be walking him more and possibly trying to walk him at Boomer Lake where we may see other people and animals–he grumbles a little at people he doesn’t know very well. When Arick is in town, Chaos grumbles at him every so often–though it may be due also to the fact that Arick was wearing dirty clothes that day and Chaos didn’t like the smell of them. But I do need to try and get him a little more social–mainly so I don’t get the lecture from the vet on his personality problems.
Looking back at what I had planned for 2020, I almost want to break down into tears–I had the idea of trying to focus on just a couple of areas, creating a monthly calendar to keep me on track, posting more on the blog, and just getting more stuff done in general. I also had plans for at least one mental health break trip and then a networking trip as well–needless to say, neither trip happened (and probably won’t happen for another year or so).
While I’m still slightly stuck in the weeds in terms of trying to figure out the next direction for my carer/job, I have realized a couple of things. 1) I know realize that once I feel like I’ve learned all there is to learn within the position, I start ‘coasting’ and have a hard time asking for more things to keep me engaged at work; 2) I really don’t work well with micro-managers and straight up-right upholders (if you don’t recognize the term–I suggest reading ‘Four Tendencies’ by Gretchen Rubin); 3) I do like working in a group setting where there is interaction between people (at least conversations every so often).
While trying to figure things out, I decided that I would retake the Clifton Strength Assessment to see if any of my strengths had changed since I first took it. The top four stayed in the exact same order (learner, intellection, input, and achiever), while the fifth one changed (deliberative to ideation; and when I averaged the two assessments, the fifth changed again to arranger, followed by deliberative. Ideation fell to number nine on the average).
This means that when looking for jobs/assignments/positions, I need to choose things that allow me to be learning (but I also need to have at least a small interest in the subject), dive as deeply as I want into the subject matter, change topics on a whim, work remotely, at an office, or both, and realize that I could be changing tones/subjects/ideas or whatever on a day to day (or even hour to hour) basis.
Earlier in the year (basically at the start of the pandemic) I had more of a drive to try to transition into an industry position and joined an accountability group to help make that happen. While, I haven’t transitioned yet–it did give me ideas on how to go about filling in my job search spreadsheet, which I will be starting a fresh one in the coming weeks for 2021. One issue that was brought up is that since things are probably going to be sticking remote for awhile (especially interviews), one should try to have a dedicated ethernet connection for virtual meetings. Currently, we don’t have one and probably won’t–I don’t want the headache of having to stretch a cord from my parents room (which is where the closest phone jack is) into my room–but this is also a problem to address at a later day in 2021.
Informational interviews probably won’t start happening until the earliest April, since 1) I still haven’t figured out the direction(s) I want to be focusing on in terms of job transition, and 2) I will still need to build rapport with people online before asking if they have time to answer a couple of questions either via email, a phone call, or a Skype/Zoom call.
Another area I was trying to focus on in 2020 was health and fitness. I managed to get serious about pushing play on working out in June. Up until then I had been trying different times of the day for working out and none of them really stuck, until I decided that I would workout in the morning after having breakfast. So, I made the decision on June 1st to push play in the morning (and so far the latest has been ~10AM), and I managed to finish three and a half programs (I still have probably another week or so of the Yoga Booty Ballet-Abs&Butt Series to finish) by the end of 2020.
The goal for 2021 is to complete a total of nine Beachbody workouts.
I also made the decision to step back from trying to do coaching via Beachbody. I had several reasons for this, and I will probably do a separate post on that during the first month or two of 2021.
I had made note at the end of 2019 that I was trying to focus on too many different things, and therefore would try to focus just on health/fitness, career transition (these were tied at number one), then personal/professional development (number two), and if possible crafts as number three. Needless to say–having multiple things actually helps me focus better, when I can switch between things if I start to get bored. My problem was actually needing to figure out how to prioritize the projects/topics and setting up a workable schedule/calendar. Though if I look at my reading list–I did manage to read eighteen non-fiction books in 2020, which is about the average of the past couple of years.
So to help with the prioritizing, setting up a schedule/calendar, I’m going to do the following:
Have a list of non-fiction books that I would like to read–instead of just saying that I will randomly pick one out of the three hundred that I still have to read. This way, the list is smaller and curated–almost guaranteed that I should be able to read at least twenty-five of them during 2021.
I also have a goal to read about forty to fifty fiction books as well during 2021–and I think that I have probably forty-five on pre-order already for the year. I’ve also decided that for the books that I still want to get in 2021, but haven’t been put up for pre-order yet–in order to buy one of them I will need to have read two non-fiction books and two to three fiction books and posted a review on them (blog and amazon) before buying another book.
I’m also going to have a list of forty to sixty different e-courses that I would like to work through for the year as well. These will include most of the advanced Cheeky Scientist programs and then a variety of other courses that I’ve bought from other sites. The goal is to continue working towards an industry transition, though now I’m thinking more remote/freelance/independent/consultant/contract type of work for a while (mainly due to the pandemic situation). As I work through various courses, I will be taking notes and posting updates on the the blog as to what I think of the courses and how taking it has benefited (either by being something I will continue working with or showing me that the topic isn’t for me).
In terms of crafts and hobbies–I’m hoping to get out more with the camera and work on my nature/landscape photography skills and maybe also some architecture/city photography as well. Photography was one of my saving graces during 2020–with sheltering in place I managed to get quite good at getting pictures of hummingbirds in motion at their feeder. I think my top three photography subjects were the ruby-throated hummingbird, the red-bellied woodpecker, and the downy woodpecker.
I’m also going to sit down and teach myself cross-stitching and jewelry design, plus work on my drawing skills. I have a couple of books on jewelry design (and I’m sure I can find other articles and so forth on-line), e-courses on drawing, and I can probably look up an introduction video on YouTube for cross-stitching. One thing I’m having to remind myself of lately–that trying new hobbies doesn’t mean that I’m going to be dedicating my life to them.
I also got back into the habit of doing an evening oracle/tarot card reading. I decided that instead of taking a picture of every reading–I’d ‘sketch’ out the cards in my journal along with what I took away from each card. Then once I started doing a review on the oracle/tarot deck I would reference back to my journal for the layouts that I wanted to use as examples. I’m slowly working on those reviews–I find that even though they’re ‘creative’ writing, I put more thought into them than I do some of the other creative writing posts I do.
Another idea that I had bouncing around in my head during 2020 was to do a weekly recap of the various science news posts that I had read and shared on twitter or LinkedIn–needless to say the idea stayed in my head all year, but will hopefully be put into practice in 2021.
While 2020 was difficult year–December was a very trying month. There were a couple of deaths in the family (one due to the SARS-CoV2 virus, one to other health issues/surgery complications, and one to old age/health issues). Also it didn’t help hearing from an friend who is just getting over botulism poisoning that they are having to go through surgery due to possible cancer tumor on their salivary glands. Then to top off the month–a close friend and her entire family caught the SARS-CoV2 virus, but luckily they seem to have “recovered” from it. Luckily, we’ve been fortunate that no one in the immediate family has come into contact with anyone who has tested positive for the virus.
So while there was zero traveling during 2020, I did manage to get a few things accomplished–I got better with my camera and getting pictures of birds; I have several ideas of possible directions to go in terms of my career; I’ve done quite a bit of self-reflection (though there will be more of self-reflection in 2021 as you can never really be done with it), found quite a few more book series and new (to me) authors, and managed to stay safe and healthy in the midst of the SARS-CoV2 pandemic.
While traveling is still probably on hold for 2021 (damn you both pandemic and poor government response), I will be focusing on the things that make me happy–learning, reading, crafting, photography, meditating, tarot/oracle card readings, and spending time with my family and pets.
Hopefully 2021 will also be the year of making numerous new friends and having coffee/tea/water chats over Skype/zoom/phone/email. I’m going to slowly start trying to get out of my ‘shell’ but at the same time realize that the shell may be the best place to be at times.
The phrases for 2021 are now going to be: “Progress over Perfection”, “You can’t start start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last”, “Not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make”, and “evaluate the people in your life; then promote, demote, or terminate. You’re the CEO of your life.”
I’ve also decided that the words for 2021 are going to be: growth, curiosity, creativity, prosperity, and happiness.
So December is over–2020 is now in the past and here is to 2021 being more mellow, laid back, productive, healthier, and just all around better. While the Electoral College met on December 14th and finalized the vote–on January 6th, Congress is suppose to do the same thing. Then on the 20th, the new president and vice-president will be sworn in (as long as there is no stealing the election by a certain political party).
December was not a good month over all, in fact it ranks right up there with February and October of 2018 as one of the three worse months ever. There were a couple of deaths in the family, illnesses in the family, finding out friends came down with the SARS-CoV2 virus, and another friend having even more medical issues. But the month is over–2021 is here and with the presence of two vaccines (and hopefully two or three more by the summer), the world may slowly start getting this damn pandemic under control.
The US still hasn’t gotten the virus under control-when I published ‘November in Review’ I noted that the US had just under 14 million cases, and as of last night the US had almost 20.5 million cases (that is an increase of almost six and a half million cases in a month–a little over two million more than what we had in November).
We’re in the log phase–where numbers/cases are doubling at a faster rate than our hospitals can handle them. People are still ignoring the advice of the health professionals–wearing masks, washing your hands, social distancing, and not getting together in large groups. I’m almost afraid to think of how high the numbers are going to be this coming month. But as I mentioned there are two vaccines that have been approved for emergency use in people over the age of sixteen (or eighteen), but I probably won’t be able to get either of the shots (since both are a two shot unit) until the earliest mid-summer/early-fall. That means that there will probably be zero travel again for 2021, and hopefully sometime in 2022 I can possibly think of planning a trip again.
So as I gaze towards 2021, I need to look back at the goals I set for the last month of 2020 and see how I did with each of them.
Goals for December included:
At least 130-155,000 steps
Finishing up 10 Round and then either a week of YBB or starting one of the following combos: Muscle Burns Fat/Muscle Burns Fat Advance or 21-Day Fix Live/21-Day Fix Extreme Live
Read (or finish) at least 2 non-fiction books
No spend days/no spend weeks/hopefully no spend month
Finish up the writing/editing assignments for the Medical Writers Organization
Get halfway through one of the other advanced Cheeky Scientist programs
Complete at least two other short e-courses
Brain dump/organize/create a rough draft of an editorial/to-accomplish calendar/list
So how did I do with each of them?
At least 130-155,000 steps–I managed to get a little over 200,000 steps (209,869 steps to be exact). I managed to do five walks at Boomer Lake in December, and have realized that on days that I can get a walk in at Boomer Lake results in me getting over 10K steps for that particular day. Since June, I’ve managed to get a little over a million steps. Goal for 2021 is to have at least 1,825,000 steps (breaking down to basically 5,000 steps per day).
Finishing up 10 Rounds and then either YBB or Muscle Burns Fat/Muscle Burns Fat Advance or 21-Day Fix Live/21-Day Fix Extreme Live.
I finished up 10 Rounds the day after Christmas, and will probably be doing at least a second round of the program so that I can focus on some of the other moves (such as the rolls, slips, pivots, and foot work)–as the punches came easy to me.
I decided that I would start 2021 off with the combo of Muscle Burns Fat & Muscle Burns Fat Advanced. Currently I’ve done the first four days, and while it isn’t going to be one of my favorites (possibly the only time I do these two programs)–I am pledging to give each workout an honest try with a decent amount of effort.
Read (or finish) at least 2 non-fiction books
While I’ve been reading books all month, I haven’t finished any non-fiction books. The goal for 2021 is to have a shorter list of books to choose from–so instead of wondering which of the three hundred books I’m going to pick, the list is shorter at about eighty-eight.
No spend days/no spend weeks/no spend month
I managed to have quite a few no spend days, and I think even a no spend week. Though I still haven’t worked up to having a no-spend month.
Finishing the writing/editing assignments for the Medical Writers Organization program
These assignments weren’t finished this month. I’ve realized that while I’m thinking of going the scientific writing route professionally (probably freelancing to start)–I’m leaning more towards science education or possibly writing for a non-profit (museum, aquarium, zoo) and possibly doing less medical writing. I will be doing the assignments–but I’ve realized that while I’m a learner at heart, I also have a small bit of interest in the subject to really get into it.
Get halfway through one of the other advanced Cheeky Scientist programs
Since I haven’t finished the writing assignments for the Medical Writers Organization, I didn’t want to start another program without finishing that one first. I probably will start one of the other programs next month just to get a little traction going again in professional development.
Complete at least two other short e-courses
December really wasn’t a month for me in terms of professional development–I couldn’t find the energy, push, or drive to sit through any videos this month. I have decided that I will be making a shorter list of e-courses that I would like to get through for 2021 (so that instead of having a massive list of courses to choose from, it will be a shorter, condensed list).
Brain dump/organize/create a rough draft for an editorial/to-accomplish calendar/list
I have managed to do at least one or two brain dumps–both on paper and digitally. I’m working on organization (smaller lists of non-fiction books to read, e-courses to work through, and a workout schedule for 2021). While I have the shorter list of non-fiction books and the workout schedule done, I’m still working on the short list of e-courses (hoping to have that done by the end of the weekend).
Once I have that list, I can then attempt to create a to-be-accomplished calendar or list to start off 2021.
So, looking back at everything I managed to meet some of the goals for December, and fell behind slightly on others. In terms of writing–I’m leaning more towards science education, non-profit, creative, with just a little medical (though if I find the topic interesting I may do more on the topic).
I’m still working on figuring out the direction to go in for career, blog, and life in general–but also figuring out how to make sure that I’m not laser focusing in on one aspect and neglecting everything else.
2021 is a fresh start in many ways, while still be in limbo for other things. So the goals for January 2021 will include:
At least 130-155,000 steps; since it is still winter I’m not sure how many walks at Boomer Lake I will be getting in, so I will need to think of other ways of getting the steps during the day.
Finish up Muscle Burns Fat and start Muscle Burns Fat Advance
Read (or finish) two non-fiction books from list
Read three fiction books
Finish the MWO & start another advanced Cheeky Scientist program
No spend days/no spend weeks/maybe a no-spend month
Time outdoors, meditation and/or sitting quietly
Daily craft time
Finish at least two other e-courses from list
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”/
I’m also stating that the words for 2021 are: growth, creativity, curiosity, happiness, and prosperity.
So, I’m a little over a month into my reboot break. I’ve
done a little soul searching, some reading, adopted a puppy from the local
animal shelter, a few walks around Boomer Lake, tried to get back into a
fitness routine, and so far have put off trying to draft a master plan/outline
for the year.
One thing I will admit to is that I’m a procrastinator—if I
don’t want to do something I will either find something else to do, or I will
keep saying that I’ll do the task tomorrow (and depending on the task—keep
saying tomorrow). I’ve realized that the
procrastination wasn’t that bad while growing up—there were deadlines for
homework and things like that (and as a child—at least I couldn’t get away that
much with the procrastination), but it started to develop once I hit college,
and has gotten slightly out of hand since.
When it was time to think about going to college, I wasn’t
entirely sure what I wanted to major it (I enjoyed numerous subjects in
school), and I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go. I had an average grade point
and had an okay score on the ACT—neither of which were going to get me very far
if I wanted to go to school out of state. I already had the mindset that I
wasn’t going to take out a loan for school (even if I was eligible for any that
were halfway decent), therefore that meant going to the state college in town.
I had decided to go the science route (as at that time
everyone was saying something along the lines of “major in what will pay the
bills, and minor in what you enjoy”). I could have gone into business—but the
thought of sitting behind a desk all day bored me, so I went the science route.
I started off thinking wildlife ecology & management, but once I found out
that the lab exams for one of the courses was out in the field looking at
plants (that wasn’t so bad)—but you had to identify them by their scientific
name (my spelling is bad at the best of times—I’m glad that there is spell
check), I decided to switch to biochemistry and molecular biology.
I still took classes that I found interesting, and this
resulted in me taking seven years to finish my undergrad—but I got two
bachelors’ degrees (biochemistry & molecular biology, and biology), plus a
minor in history (I was two classes shy of a sociology minor by the time I
graduated). Throughout these seven years, I learned several things about
myself—first and foremost the testing anxiety was still front and center. I did
well in the humanity and social science classes, but the other sciences (where
my majors were)—those were a struggle at times when it came time for the tests.
I’d found that certain areas of both degrees were more
interesting than others—for example I enjoyed learning cell and molecular
biology more than I did organic chemistry and physics. I also found that I
could pull historical facts forward faster than I could pull the method and
byproducts for an organic chemical reaction.
I remember that I was probably a year or so away from
graduation and wasn’t sure if this was the direction I wanted to go—but was
also unsure of which direction to go in. I therefore push onward, took the GRE
(got an okay score—not great—remember I have huge test anxiety issues,
especially if the test is all computerized—which the GRE was at that point),
and applied for different graduate programs.
I decided that I should try to stretch my wings and I
applied for several different programs that were out of state (plus at the last
minute, decided that I would also apply to my alma mater as well—as the
ultimate fall back). So I applied to four different programs out of state, and
while I managed to get an on campus interview for one of the programs—none of
them panned out. Either my grades weren’t high enough, or they didn’t think I
could handle the PhD program and suggested that I should apply for the masters
program instead (PhD programs pay you to learn, masters programs for the most
part don’t)—so I was lucky in that I was able to get into my alma mater for
This wasn’t my first choice, but I was going to make it
work. I spent a year in a structural biology lab, before I realized that wasn’t
what I wanted to do with my life. I then switched to a plant molecular biology
lab, where I was actually being challenged in learning. I hadn’t worked with
plants that much before joining the lab hadn’t done any RNA work, and I found
things enjoyable for the first time in a few months in grad school. Also it was
nice to be told that within four years I should have learned as much as
possible and it would be time to move on. The only drawbacks for those years in
grad school—there was no real mentoring in how to “properly” write a scientific
paper or proposal, and there was no real career mentoring.
After graduation I managed to land a post-doctoral position
at one of the many universities in the Greater Boston area. While I enjoyed the
time out in the area, I had ignored some red flags that I shouldn’t have and
struggling since to figure out exactly what I want to do with my life and
career. I’ve realized that one should never really take a position in a newly
started lab unless they are willing to put in fifteen or sixteen hour days six
days a week. I only learned a few new things, and started to slowly realize
that I probably wasn’t cut out for academic life.
Coming back home, and bouncing around at my alma mater
(first a postdoctoral position, and then two staff positions), has only
highlighted the fact—I still haven’t found that position/job/title/occupation
that is my “calling”. There have been things that I’ve enjoyed over the past
seven years, but there have also been things that I really disliked over the
past seven years as well.
So how does all this tie into my admitting that I’m
Going to sidetrack a little and give a little background on
procrastination (see how I’m procrastinating?).
For years, it has been said that procrastination is a time management
issue—and that definition is easy enough to see—we do something else to avoid
doing what we originally needed to do. Now it is being toted as an emotion management
Basically, we procrastinate or put things off that we may (or may not) have
attached negative emotions to.
So, I’ve admitted that I’m a procrastinator—which means that
I’m admitting to having negative emotions attached to certain ideas or tasks.
So which tasks/ideas/goals have I either consciously or subconsciously attached
negative emotions to?
back into shape—I’ve been out of shape majority of my life (never was really
big on sports growing up nor being all girly and dressing up/wearing makeup). I
had managed to lose a good amount of weight twice in my life—first time was out
in Boston (I was walking my dog at least twice a day, and cooking for
one—though most of the time weekday dinners were a peanut butter sandwich), and
then again about six months or so after moving home. At that point I joined an
accountability group on Facebook that was being run by a old high school
classmate—I lost probably about twenty pounds or so, but then after a bike
accident (where I royally bruised my lower left leg) and job issues—I’ve put
the weight back on (with added interest—I’m probably at my heaviest since
college). Why do I have negative emotion attached to getting into shape? In
part—I was picked on throughout school (or at least up to going to college)
about my appearance and weight. So there are still those issues that I need to
work through—basically I need to remind myself on a daily basis that I’m losing
weight to live my best possible life—not someone else, and I’m not losing the
weight to make anyone else happy either.
into an industry position—this is more tied into my anxiety, and the worry that
I’m going to make another wrong turn (like I did with my first postdoctoral
position). For the most part, I like to have a good idea of how things are
suppose to go—I knew that with the postdoctoral positions, I had to work hard
(though I did limit the hours to more or less “normal forty hour weeks”) and I
would have to read a lot to brush up on the subject matter (as both were new to
me areas). Going into industry—there are numerous different directions that one
can go in, the job may or may not be totally steady (depending on if the
company is bought out, merged with another, or if it somehow goes bankrupt),
and about a hundred different other issues. Also it comes down to whom you
know, and who is willing to put in a good word for you—and this is totally tied
in with my anxiety.
At times I
have problems with trying to do small talk, and networking—it isn’t that I
don’t want to meet new people and expand my network—I do, but I have this
underlying fear from childhood that people are going to be interrupting me and
correcting my speech. This comes from the fact that when we moved to OK from
MA, I ended up in speech therapy for years because of the fact that I learned
how to talk in MA. In case you didn’t know people in MA have a tendency to drop
the “r” in words—so since I learned how to talk in MA, I had a northern accent.
The teachers and school officials decided that I needed speech therapy to learn
how to pronounce my “r”—I spent five years in speech therapy, plus had teachers
correcting my speech in class. I then got into the habit of not really talking
in public settings—and this is something that I’m trying to work on. I know it
is a slightly irrational fear, but it is still there lurking in the back of my
are so many different choices for what one can do in industry, it is almost
like being a kid in a candy store. While I have several different options
listed out about what I’m curious about—I have a fear that the one I may chose
could be the wrong path. Though as I’m told—I won’t know if I like, unless I
try it. This is also tied into the networking problem—I don’t want to feel like
I’m wasting people’s time if I decide that their path isn’t the same one that I
actually decide to go down.
have everything planned out. I will admit that I do like to have an idea of all
the steps, and any and all possible results and endings before starting
something. I mean instead of picking just one area of Indian art for my paper
for art history in high school, I wrote basically a thirty-page paper covering
everything that could fall under the umbrella of Indian art.
also coming from again my first postdoctoral position—I thought I had
everything planned out, but then the rug was metaphorically pulled out from
underneath me. It isn’t fun realizing that one needs to move back in with one’s
parents in order to get out from the mountain of debt that one finds themselves
in. So now I’m trying to figure out how to plan out every single step of
everything and finding myself in motion paralysis.
So now that I’ve admitted to being a procrastinator and the
two main areas (health/fitness and career) that I’m procrastinating in, how
will I go about getting past the procrastination and making progress on each
As I was reading some different pages on procrastination and
emotions I found the following three sentences to be profound:
So now I’m going to name the two big tasks (relating to fitness/health and job transition). Then I’m going to brainstorm how to break those two big tasks into easier to handle tasks. In addition I’m going to brainstorm an award system for each big task. Finally I’m going to break down the tasks into monthly/weekly/daily goals—with the rewards being based on hitting the larger (weekly or monthly) goals. In other words—I’m going to be working on my long term plan (other wise known as five year (or ten, twenty year) plan.
Sites with their links have been included that I found interesting and used in the post.
So I’m about a month into my reboot break, and am still
trying to figure out the best routine. One thing I’ve noticed after going
through notes that I’ve taken over the past couple of years—I need to try to
find (or actually rediscover) my “voice” or who I am. I’ve realized that I’ve
spent the past couple of years just drifting along, and when it comes to trying
to answer personal/professional development questions such as “who are you” or
“what is the difference between you and someone else for this role”—I can
almost generically answer the first one, but can’t come up with answers of what
makes me unique for roles. I realize that I’ve spent years blending in with my
surroundings and trying to stay in the background unnoticed. This all comes
from childhood and being a victim of bullying—not of which was physical, and I
learned it was better to pretend to be invisible and blend into the background
than draw attention to the situation.
While it is nice that I’ve identified the problem (my
unconscious moves to blend into the background), now I need to work on breaking
those patterns. I need to rediscover things that I enjoy doing (things that
make me uniquely me), and then determine the best ways of weaving those hobbies
into “transferable skills” for job interviews. I would say that I’m fairly
confident that I should move R&D scientist down the list on interesting job
titles (as it is more or less my comfort zone), and start trying to step
outside of what I’m use to doing to see what grabs my interest in terms of the
other possible job titles.
I’m thinking that the list is going to now look something
Market Research Analyst
Market Communications Specialist
Clinical Data Analyst/Manager
R&D scientist (up to R&D
Though the top seven are more or less fluid (I just
rearranged a few from how I’ve previously listed them).
So this week is going to be spent getting back into a
workout routine, spending some time practicing photography, puppy training (I
adopted a puppy just before Christmas), reading, working a rough draft of
everything that I would like to accomplish this year, and looking more into the
Once I remember (or better yet remind myself) of things I
like to do, that aren’t related to work, I will be that much further on my path
to finding the optimal industry position to transition into this year.