Wow, it has been a while.

I come back to this forgotten blog after a year. I want to put some roots down, more now than perhaps ever before. I have moved back to Florida from Michigan and am teaching K-12 again, and I’ve also pursued my writing enough that I have actually published a few things. One, “Words Fail Him,” you can read in Cartridge Lit here.  It helps if you’ve played Chrono Trigger, one of my favorite SNES-era RPGs. Another piece is coming out in print later this year.

Now is a time when I’m trying to simultaneously achieve more and be realistic about expectations. It’s a time when I’m pushing myself harder and also trying to accept myself for who I am. It is a time for reconnecting with friends I made 3-7 years ago, for driving around mired in nostalgia for a time when I was newly an adult and bad at pretty much everything–yet I am also craving new experiences and fresh starts. And even though I still am wondering exactly what I want this site to be, now is a time when I want to take care of it.

So I hope this is the first of many new posts, and if I become ambitious enough, an entire site redesign.

 

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Week Five–My Cooking Week

When I look back on this week, I think it will be the one where I learned to cook a lot of different foods. This experience was fun, I got a product out of it that I like, and I feel like it will be a useful skill throughout my life. I made TWO cakes, a stir fry, some soup with dumplings, and some chips with leftover potato skins. I also made a less successful hash with old waffle fries and eggs, and I ate a lot of fried eggs this week in general. As for my other goals…

Well, I finished the third Harry Potter book (I’m doing a reread of the series) and got about halfway through The Cuckoo’s Calling, though I could have done a lot better. I started a story that I’m very excited about, though I did not get very much work done on my thesis (my perennial shame). I think my goal for next week is to write a little bit every day, and to do it in a way that makes me happy.

I have been exercising pretty regularly thanks to discovering Spotify, which allots me with unlimited music every month. That alone has made me excited about getting outside and running a little bit from time to time. Well, that’s about it!

Week Four–Learning All the Time

This was a very elucidating week. I moved into a new place with some roommates with whom I really get along. I read a few books–finished Haruki Marukami’s Norwegian Wood, Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train, and the second in the Harry Potter series. I got most of an issue of Crazyhorse read, and I started working on something that I think will be really fun to write. (I could be doing a lot better on my thesis, but I guess we need to have limits at some point!)

Interestingly, I learned that I have a cognitive breaking point and that just like I want to be super productive, there is such a thing as being too productive. Yesterday I ended up reading for most of the day, and by the time 11:00 P.M. rolled around I was both a little stir-crazy and had a bit of a headache. This made me realize that I need to have a balance, and sometimes that includes a bit of unproductivity. I did REALLY well last week with staying offline, so I’m going to continue that. I also think I will strive to finish a few books this week and (ESPECIALLY) revise some of my work and send it out.

Til next week!

Week Three–Starting Over

I had some super highs and super lows this week. Among the highs were that I got to visit my brother and his girlfriend in Houghton, and because they have no TV or internet, I got a lot more done in those two days than I have gotten done all summer.

The lows were that I crashed on a lot of my goals–in fact, pretty much all of them. I am trying to be positive here and say that I learned some things. For example, I learned that having goals only works if you are really committed to the outcome, and if breaking those goals is something that hurts your life overall. (I think one of the most difficult aspects of healthy eating for me is that eating a little unhealthily every once in a while has no negative consequences; it is hard to tell when a line is crossed, and usually only evident to me long after it happens.

So this week I am trying to feel things out a little bit more. I want to listen to what my body and mind are telling me about what I really want and need. I am hoping to have more specific goals at the end of this week, but for now it is to try to spend a lot less time online–that was one of the huge successes of last week.  I have also decided that one concrete goal per week is probably beneficial for me right now.

Til next week!

Week Two–Deciding on Priorities

This week I finished two books: Patti Smith’s M Train and William B. Irvine’s A Guide to the Good Life. I enjoyed both of them but also found myself putting them down and picking them up a lot, which means I might not have actually enjoyed them as much as I thought. The Irvine book in particular was interesting in that it was all about Stoicism, in which a life of tranquility is sought over a life of fame or material prosperity. The book argues that materialism is an addiction that will never be fully satisfied, and that a life full of peace is the best type to sustain.

In reading that, I began to evaluate what exactly I want out of my own life. I wrote a decent amount this week (ten pages or so–not great, but at least a start) and had a blast. Sometimes it is hard to remind myself that my biggest goal in life is to have fun and enjoy things day-to-day. I also watched the first half of season 1 of The Leftovers, made it to the gym once, ran a little bit, and visited family for Mother’s Day. I was also pretty inefficient, and my new goal is to try to get rid of those times of the day when I am all-out wasting time. I don’t mind the video games or the TV so much as the internet scrolling, so I’m trying to minimize that. I’m also trying to decide just how much to cut down on sugar, alcohol, and unhealthy food.

What was great this week: I applied for two jobs that I would be thrilled to get, I spent very little money

What was okay this week: working out, reading, writing

What could really be improved still: eating healthier.

Goals for this week (something new I’m doing):

  1. Finish an essay about the Edmund Fitzgerald
  2. Read two books
  3. Make it to the gym twice, and make sure to run at least 4 days this week

Til next time!

Week One–Figuring Things Out

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(This is a picture from the Riverside Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, FL, where I went for a conference earlier this year.)

Well, I realized this week that I have a lot further to go than I thought. I attributed all my bad habits to the fact that I had a lot of stress in my life from finals week, and I figured that as soon as I got rid of that, I would have all sorts of energy to devote to the things I truly cared about.

That didn’t happen, exactly.

I ate terribly this week and went over my budget for the first time in six months. I only got out for a run a few times. I read MAYBE a hundred pages this week, and all my writing was for class. (I am at least pretty happy with a few micro-essays I wrote for a class). I did manage to spend a bit less time online, and I also managed not to overextend myself with friends and social events, but I want to do better.

This week, in addition to any positive habits I managed to cultivate last week (which are few), I am going to try to eat healthier and work out every day in some form. I also want to try to write. Last week, I was at a lot of MA and MFA thesis readings, and one of my friends at one of them said his dream life is to have two hours a day to write, and one hour a day to work out. He followed this with “And I don’t think I’m being unreasonable in that.” I liked both the sentiment and the time frame of these things, so that is what I am going to do.

Next week, I am hoping to be able to say what media I consumed, as well as how my working out and running went. Wish me luck!

I’m Changing This A Little

I have decided to do something a little different.

I have finished my M.A. program at Northern Michigan University, and I find myself in the current situations:

  • I have a lot more free time than I have had in the past two years. I am looking for summer work, but because I am living very frugally, I do not need to make very much money in order to pay my bills.
  • Many of my personal goals during this time happen to be non-job related. I want to write and read a lot and get into excellent shape.
  • These goals are going to require months of dedication—basically, I need to make sure I’m accountable and always working toward them.

For those reasons, I have decided to amend this blog a little bit, so that each week I make a post about what I have gotten done that week. It will include what I’m reading, what I’ve written, and how my physical training is going. It’s will probably be really boring to anybody reading it, but I think it will help me, and eventually, if I reach my goals, this can be a space where people can look back and see how I got there.

I have made a vow that each post will be pretty short—right now, I’m shooting for around 500 words.

This is the beginning of Week 1.