Goals

Belated 2019 Goal Setting

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There is nothing more telling about where I am in life than a post about 2019 goals midway through January. I blame my January 8th birthday – it’s exactly one week after New Year’s Day, so I always continue that weird holiday “suspension of reality” until my birthday is over. Honestly, what’s really happening is that I am just continuing to live my life flying by the seat of my pants, which is a trend I actually hope to put a stop to this year.

Every January, I pick one word to live by along with a few supplementary words – called ways of being – that kind of jive with the main word. I discovered this ritual from Stratejoy and specifically Holiday Council, but I feel like it’s becoming more mainstream across the internet and social media. Having a word or a general theme is far less intimidating than setting specific many goals that may or may not pan out, especially for someone like myself who lacks discipline. It’s easier to refer back to a word, or a feeling, instead of a laundry list of to-dos.

That being said, here’s what I came up with for 2019.

My theme for the year is Discovery; my additional ways of being are to be truebe focused, be lightbe alive, and self-love.

I chose the word Discovery because, to be frank, I need to figure myself out. For too many years now, I have pushed everything inwards and opted for ignorance, hoping that I would wake up one day and ~magically~ function like a normal person. I kept avoiding the hard work, and now it’s caught up to me.

As I hinted at in my last post, my life post-wedding has been oddly unsettling. It has nothing to do with my marriage, but a lot to do with who I am as a person. Being “the bride” for so long and then suddenly having to let go of that role made me realize how much I tie my worth to what’s going on in my life – not having the wedding to talk about anymore left me feeling extremely empty and unseen. It’s making me want to rush into the next piece of my life (buying a house, having kids, possibly furthering my education) simply because of the attention it garners. I recognize how very unhealthy this is, which is why I need to find the time to really peel back all of my layers, get to know myself, and find out what will actually make me happy and satisfied. I feel like, if you asked me that today, I don’t have a real answer for you.

I do have some general goals this year that I need to map out a little more specifically, but again, I like setting intentions before the actual tasks. I want to read more books this year. I want to drink more water, exercise more, and actually schedule doctors appointments. I want to make more casual plans with friends, instead of waiting for big get-togethers or events, and I want to stop flaking out because of anxiety.

This month specifically, I’m setting two task-based goals: continue my daily at-home yoga practice, and get to work on time. The first one is pretty simple because I’ve already been doing it since last January. The latter seems straightforward, but is actually fairly difficult because it requires tweaking of my entire daily schedule. As you might expect, halfway through the month I am doing pretty well with daily yoga and… not so great with being at work on time. But I’ve still got half of the month to go, and I’m trying to remind myself that every day is a fresh start, not just the first day of the year/month/week.

What is your best trick for getting up in the mornings? I cannot seem to pry myself out of bed any earlier than absolutely necessary (seriously, I wake up for work 20 minutes before I leave), so if you’re up hours before work, tell me your secrets!

About Me

Dusting off the cobwebs.

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Well, hello there.

I always find myself back at my blog at the beginning of each year, because I am nothing if not predictable. New starts are my weakness, which is very odd considering I can’t tell you the last time I actually followed through with any new habit I tried to start.

(Actually, that’s a lie. Last year I started a daily home yoga practice with Yoga with Adriene, which I highly recommend because she’s lovely and funny and doesn’t make you feel completely inept.)

Other than that, the only “goal” I accomplished in the last year was getting married. That is not something I say lightly – planning and executing the Best Day of Our Lives in a way that is budget-friendly, gorgeous, and fun as hell is not a simple task. The marriage part, in comparison, feels easy. It felt like marriage was the next, obvious step in our relationship. In fact, it felt so normal that I didn’t even cry a single tear on my wedding day. I had expected to be a sobbing mess, but I found that I was just completely, blissfully happy.

The remaining seven months of 2018… that’s another story. Still rocking at marriage, not so much with the rest of my life. But that’s for another post, or probably many posts. (I’m sorry in advance. Except not really.)

As I compose this, I don’t really have an intention for this space. I probably should have done that first, but I like to jump in feet-first and think about things later. (Surprisingly, that’s how I ended up with my husband.) Maybe it will be a place to explore some hobbies, because after all the busy-ness of wedding planning, I forgot what it was like to have free time (not spent scrolling Instagram). I will likely retroactively recap some of the creative projects I did for my wedding, since I had hoped to do that last year but failed to realize juuuust how all-consuming event planning can be. Or, maybe I’ll just ramble, like I always did in the good old days – writing to capture the memories of my life and not feeling like blogs had to have a ~purpose~ or a ~theme~ other than, here are the random happenings of my life.

I guess what I hope for here (and what I think I always hope for) is a public space to be held accountable. Having readers – even if it’s just two or three internet buddies and the stray real-life friend who wanders this way – means that somebody is listening. Somebody is seeing my goals and my thoughts, and reading my silly stories about life and reflections that don’t necessarily translate to in-person conversations. And even if nobody is reading, it still serves a purpose because I am writing as though someone is reading. Journaling is a raw, unrefined practice to get thoughts out of my head; blogging is telling a story and using some level of creativity to make my words string together nicely. It’s a baby step back into feeling more like me, because I always felt comfortable behind pretty fonts and a tidy layout.

That being said, if you somehow found yourself reading this blog, drop a comment below so we can (re)connect! Especially if you, too, are still blogging (or starting it back up, like me).

 

daily life · wedding

My own personal March madness.

Did you know that your life completely flies out the window when you’re in the throes of wedding planning?

Okay, so that may be a bit of an exaggeration, considering we are only on step one – which, little did I realize, step one is THE BIGGEST AND MOST TIME CONSUMING STEP OF ALL. Don’t try to argue with me, because I have spent nearly every weekend in a car with my mom and/or my fiancé, ending up at various locations, nodding over menus (that I don’t actually care about) and trying to envision what places will look like in gorgeous, plants-blooming-everywhere May instead of in the dreary, cold winter.

To top that off, I’ve unfortunately had my first frustrating experience of finding a place we love only to find out that all the dates we wanted are gone and the only one left is the start of peak season, which increases the cost and puts it out of budget. All the other places started to pale in comparison and now look less appealing, and even if they don’t, THOSE places are suddenly running out of dates as well.

It’s also super fun when you get sick on top of all of that, because in the midst of planning and also trying to maintain your social life, you forget to rest and that tiny little cold you felt coming on turns into a full-blown case of the plague (yes, that’s definitely what I have).

I know things will work out. I know we do still really like the other places we’ve seen, that one of those top-three places has many dates available and even let us put a hold on a date for free (for two weeks! So at least we have SOMETHING), and we have a few more tours at places that sound promising. It was just hard having that first crushing ‘I want this and could’ve had it but because of timing/money I can’t have it’ moment.

I will just feel so. much. better. once I have someplace booked for real. Then I can relax and get to the fun part, like finally seeing the rest of my to-be bridesmaids and, you know, tell them they’re bridesmaids. I’ve only done one person so far and it’s making me sad because I want to get started on group texts and also reveal my super-cute ask boxes (which I’ll likely share here).

Tell me what you’ve been up to lately. Also, have you been sick yet this year, and has it been awful? Because I haven’t been this sick forever and I am such a wimp.

About Me · stories

The sound of traffic.

When I was younger, I was always fascinated by the idea of living in a house that was on a main road. I thought it would be so cool to be able to step outside and watch cars rush by all the time, instead of only seeing the neighbors drive by slowly like we did at my parents’ home in a suburban development. Whenever we passed a house that had a front porch that was on a busy street, I wanted to move there. My parents thought I was nuts – they knew about the many impracticalities of living directly next to street traffic, like getting in and out of the driveway and hearing the cars all day and night – but I still held onto this weird little dream.

The apartment complex I’m in now is just off of a pretty busy U.S. highway, with two lanes of traffic both ways and a 55mph speed limit. While there is a parking lot and a little bit of landscaping that separates the building from the road, we’re close enough that I can see and hear it from my balcony. This was completely unintentional, though I like to imagine the universe was giving my childhood self a gift. It’s incredibly soothing to me, especially at night – I could easily spend an hour sitting outside, watching the cars go by. In the springtime, when we have the windows open at night, I fall asleep listening to the rhythm of traffic – there are two stoplights lights on either side of the apartment complex, so there will be a stillness when the lights are red, followed by the hum of motors as the lights turn green.

Pinpointing why I’m so enthralled with this has been an interesting examination of myself. I think it stems from my discomfort with both stillness and solitude, or more specifically, isolation. While I do enjoy the quiet noises of nature sometimes, I prefer constant movement or noise, especially in the background. Cars driving by on a constant basis provides exactly this. I like having something to focus on, even when I’m taking time to relax. Watching traffic gives me a passive activity to do while my I sit on the balcony and take in the fresh air.

My preference for observing traffic at night has to do with avoiding isolation. Sometimes, as a night owl, as it gets later and later I start to feel like I’m the only one awake. Yes, I know that there are other people awake at any hour of the day (especially thanks to the internet and having friends in different time zones), but seeing or hearing a car go by at 2am is a physical reminder of that fact. So is passing a house with lights on when I’m coming home late from someone’s house, or seeing a fast food restaurant or store open 24/7, or walking through Times Square in NYC at any ungodly hour, all of which bring me that same peaceful feeling. Put simply, it’s the feeling of knowing I’m not isolated in my experience. I’m not the only human who stays up until 2am sometimes.

Most people would hate to live within earshot of a highway, but I have always cherished it. It’s why I could never live anywhere but the suburbs or a city – the slow, quiet lifestyle in other parts of the country that people find relaxing simply don’t suit me. I need the cliched hustle-and-bustle, the 24/7 reputation, as my reminder that I am never alone.

Goals

February.

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February is always a weird month for me. January, despite moving quickly for the first two weeks, slows wayyy down and seems never-ending. February always seems to show up out of nowhere.

February is also when I always start to feel the weight of reality stack back on my shoulders. After a carefree holiday season, there’s catch-up work to do in every realm of life. This year, work has been maddening, we are moving in less than two months, and I still have to get my feet wet with wedding planning. I’ve tempered this craziness with more reading, almost-daily yoga, and trying to reduce the amount of time I usually spend zoned-out in front of my computer. But I’m still overwhelmed.

Thankfully, work should slow down soon. We have had a series of daunting transitions one after the other: the original 45-store buyout, adding the new owner’s original six stores to our workload, buying another eight stores, and now transitioning the final store from my original employer. Every time I would feel somewhat under control, everything would wobble and fall over again, kind of like constantly rebuilding a house of cards. Now we have a controller who can get us organized, and (fingers crossed) we shouldn’t have any new additions for a little while, so we should be able get a handle on our procedures and workload.

Moving is only stressing me out in terms of anticipating it without actually being able to physically do anything yet. Things like that don’t sit well in my brain – until it’s time to take action, it will remain this pesky thought bubble that keeps floating through my conscious mind daily until I get to do something about it.

My hope for February is to feel a little more settled. To do that, I have a few goals:

  1. Get to work on time. Even with adjusting my hours to 9:30am to 6pm, my body still wants to sleep in absurdly late so that I barely arrive on time. I’m still trying to figure out the key to waking up earlier in the morning, because seriously, no matter how many alarms I set or even if I ask Erik to throw open the shades and wake me up, I go back to sleep until I have just enough time to get ready and bolt out the door.
  2. Tour wedding venues. After fighting about our guest list too many times (something I never expected to argue about!), we finally have a close-enough number that I was able to contact some places for their minimums, maximums, and availability. There are a few responses in my inbox already and I’m hoping to start scheduling visits. Once I have this one crucial piece squared away, I will feel so much better about wedding planning.
  3. Assemble my bridal party. I hemmed and hawed about who to pick but finally settled on my group of girls. I’m now in the process of creating bridesmaid “ask” gifts – which you can either love me or judge me for – and then I’m hoping to see all of them in person to ask them. This will take a little bit of schedule juggling, but it shouldn’t be too bad (and if I have to, I can always mail the boxes).
  4. Start packing our non-essentials. It will probably drive me completely insane to not pack anything until next month, so my goal is to drag things out of our closets and pack up things I don’t use daily (my books, our DVDs, my embarrassing collection of 3-wick Bath & Body Works candles, etc). I might also take things off of the walls and start packing away decorative knick knacks as well, even though bare walls make me super sad.
  5. Continue making my lunch at home and find healthy breakfast foods. I’m doing pretty well with bringing lunch from home, which is good for my body and my wallet. However, I’m still trying to work on breakfast. I’m usually not hungry in the morning so I need something small (like fruit or yogurt), but I don’t put the effort in to actually have those things ready at work.

The only good things about February are Valentine’s Day and that it’s a shorter month than usual. Once March comes around, I’ll hopefully feel a little more normal.

What are you looking forward to in February?

moving

On the move.

For the past year or so, prior to being engaged, Erik and I have been talking about moving. We started out mentioning in passing, like oh wouldn’t it be nice to live closer to that downtown area? Then we actually made a deadline for ourselves to start looking – which was before the holidays – and now, we’re actually set to move!

Originally, we wanted to be in an apartment near this cute little up-and-coming downtown area by where I work, somewhere completely walkable. There were a few options, but because they were also located near a train station and the major nearby highways, the prices were too much for too little space. After casting our net out a little further, we found the perfect place that’s only slightly more expensive while giving us some major upgrades. And – bonus! – it’s still closer to work for me and even a little closer to my brother and my parents.

Moving is always a little bittersweet – not only did Erik and I move two years ago, but we also moved his parents out of the house that Erik and his sister spent most of their childhood in. (We moved my brother, too, but that was mostly just bat-shit insane and not at all emotional.) I’m so excited about my new apartment, but there will be some things I really miss here.

What I’m going to miss from this apartment…

Having unlimited parking spots
We have friends over a lot and where we’re currently located, we can have however many cars we want and can park wherever. In our new place, this won’t be the case – we’ll have two spots for us, but all guests have to park on the side streets.

Being in a garden apartment complex
I was always in love with the idea of a garden apartment, with an outdoor entrance and a back patio. Walking out your front door like you’re walking out of a house has always felt more normal to me than walking out into a hallway – that’s probably the suburbanite in me. And the patio? That is the thing I’ll miss the absolute most. Even if I didn’t always sit outside, the sliding doors created the illusion of more space and it was so great to throw the door open and let in the fresh air in the warmer months.

Proximity to McDonalds
Okay, so for the sake of my health it’s probably better that I don’t have a fast-food restaurant walking distance from where I live. But man, I’ll miss that convenience. (Especially because it was 24-hours!)

What I WON’T miss…

Crappy neighbors
We had trouble with our upstairs neighbors pretty much since we moved in. There were a couple of minor confrontations in the first few months (over very foolish, unimportant things) and now there’s just passive-aggressive noise-making. I know I can’t be promised better neighbors in my next place, but I’m glad to be away from the people upstairs.

Having to go outside to do laundry
One of the trade-offs of a garden apartment (at least the ones we looked at) is the dreaded laundry room. Never mind the fact that it costs me $4 per load ($2 for the washer, $2 for the dryer), but the rooms are kind of gross and only have two of each machine. It’s no fun to do in the winter, or when it’s Saturday and everyone is doing laundry and I have to make the trek across the property to find an open machine.

Crappy bathroom and kitchen fixtures
Our appliances and fixtures are functional and were pretty clean when we moved in, so I can’t complain too much. But oh, the new apartment has brand-new EVERYTHING and I cannot wait. It has double vanities. It has an ADDITIONAL HALF BATH. It has in-unit laundry AND a dishwasher AND a separate tub and shower stall. I never thought I would care that much, but guess what guys, I do.

The worst part of moving is uprooting your home. I feel the same anticipatory excitement as I did moving out of my parents’ house, but I also feel that same wistful twinge of sadness with leaving someplace behind. This was my first home with Erik, and it’ll be tough to leave. But like I said, the new place is pretty gorgeous so, I don’t think I’ll have too much of a tough time with it.

What’s your must-have for a living space, whether you have it already or you dream about having it? What’s your favorite part about where you live right now?

About Me · Goals

Step by step.

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When I was growing up, I loved all things that involved following instructions. I was the girl who got Lego sets and, after carefully organizing the pieces into piles based on color, size, and shape, would follow the instructions step-by-step. There was no desire to use my imagination – I was satisfied by having a completed structure that mimicked the one on the box.

I got a lot of craft kits as a kid, but again, they involved little creativity. My jam was ANYTHING color-by-number, whether that be coloring books, those plastic stained-glass sun catchers, or my favorite (and I hope someone else knows what I’m talking about): the paper sand art where you peeled each section to reveal a sticky background and covered it with the appropriate shade of sand. Man, I wonder if I can still get those at Michaels?

This also explains my adoration of baking and my general disinterest in cooking. (“Flavor to taste” is not a unit of measurement, thank you very much.)

In my adulthood (HAHA, what’s that?), I have found this to be an issue for the simple fact that life doesn’t come with instructions. Many of the responsibilities that we undertake as adults – budgeting, grocery shopping, wedding planning, etc. – don’t come with any guidelines. Sure, you can ask Google for the answers, but that isn’t always straightforward.

Same thing goes for goal-setting. See, if someone gave me a list of things I had to do along with how to do them, I’d be totally set. But coming up with that list myself? It’s a struggle.

This means my goals are usually not task-based. They’re abstract: drink more water, exercise more, read more, get on a better schedule. I don’t follow a budget, I just do my best to avoid impulse shopping and don’t buy things unless they’re absolutely necessary. Theoretically, I know I have to carve out time and create a schedule to complete these things… but I don’t. Because I have little practice in being creative, even when “being creative” means drafting a daily timeline of activities.

So, when you ask me what my goals are this year, this is my big one: make an attempt to organize my life. This means sitting down and physically writing in my planner what time to go to bed, what time to wake up, when to stop eating at night, and dedicating certain days or certain hours of the day to specific activities. In addition to that, I have a couple of actionable goals, some measured and some not:

  • Reading one book a month (my Goodreads goal is 15 books, because I’m ambitious and hope to read two books in three of those months)
  • Blogging once a week
  • Exercising daily, even if it’s just a little bit
  • Bring lunch to work whenever possible and cut down on Dunkin and Starbucks trips
  • Stop! Impulse! Shopping!

If I can force myself to sit and come up with a super detailed plan, as silly as that sounds, it might actually help me feel a little more in control of my life.

Do you love following instructions or do you approach everything with creativity?