Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My One (Real) Resolution

The year is almost over, and I will be setting my resolutions for 2012 soon. I have two different types of resolutions. The first is a wishlist of things I'd like to do, the usual "lose weight and play more tennis" resolutions that everyone makes and breaks. The other sort is more of a theme for the year and beyond-- one single thing I can focus on in everything I do to make my life better in the long run.

This will be the third year I've set this second kind of resolution. My previous themes were "Feel the fear; do it anyway," and "Embrace the adventure." These were life-changers for me. Fear kept me from doing so many things for so long, and I found that fighting the fear took all the energy and focus away from the thing I wanted to do. I started doing a lot more things when I decided to let the fear be and concentrate on the doing. And "embracing the adventure" was my pledge to myself to go beyond facing my fear to accept the opportunities and challenges that life put right in front of me. The rewards of living adventurously have been more than I could have imagined when I first decided I wanted to try it.

My theme this year is simple and practical: "Finish what you start."  So easy to say, so hard to do. I have faith that I'll make progress; I take this kind of resolution far more seriously than the other sort. My previous year themes became mantras that kept me going in the right direction when the going got tough, and I am sure I'll be repeating "finish what you start, finish what you start" under my breath all year whenever I have a hard time taking the next step or start to leave something half-done. By this time next year, it will just be the way I do things.

My other resolutions?  I'd like to dust off my rusty Spanish, finish projects I've already started, and officially convert to Orthodoxy. Oh, and I might actually do the blogging I resolved to do last year. Maybe.

Friday, September 9, 2011


(This has been re-posted from another blog of mine. There have been minor changes to it.)

I left my husband in July. I think I have grounds for placing the date of our separation a full month before I actually left because that's when I declared my intentions and we started living apart in the same house. That was a difficult month.

There are a lot of reasons why I've decided to end the marriage, but there's no point in getting into it here. Sometimes it is just time for things to be over.

I've been living with my mother and in her other house (back and forth) since July 22. I started a new job in the last two days of August. I could complain that it took me a whole month to land a part-time job, but I know a lot of people are out there looking and finding nothing at all. I am just used to finding employment pretty quickly when I am seriously looking for it-- usually within two weeks-- so it was longer than I'd generally expect.

I like my new job as a caregiver for elderly people. I don't necessarily think it is something I want to do forever, but I like the one regular client I've got, and I've been able to pick up a few more shifts here and there. Tomorrow I will work a 6 hour shift, filling in for a call-out, and Monday I pick up a new, regularly scheduled gig-- twice a month to take laundry to the cleaners for someone.

I've had to adjust to not being the household matriarch. I've had to adjust to living in very tight quarters with my 2 daughters. I've had to adjust my plans for the immediate future. I'm adjusting ok, but it has been a bumpy ride.

There have been some very good things that have come along in the last few months too. I'm in love, for one thing. It's a long-distance relationship, but we seem to be handling that well, and it won't be that way forever. I've also lost some weight and started feeling better about myself.

Some days are better than others. As time goes on, I am having more days that grateful for what I've got and happy with my new life.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


In childbirth, the last stage of active labor is called transition. It is the hardest part of labor for many women. It certainly was for me. I panicked. I begged for them to just let me go home. I wailed pitifully when they wouldn't let me leave. But soon enough it was over and forgotten, as I found myself face-to-face with the newest member of my family.

And so now I am in a transitional stage in life. Everything is changing very rapidly for me. I know I am doing the right thing, but it's still hard to cast aside efforts and plans that just aren't going to work anymore. I can only have faith that I can get through this hard part and move on to something better.

I am almost there. Just a little longer.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I have failed completely to keep this up to date, but I have been getting on with things while I haven't been writing. I've applied and been accepted to the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, majoring in Biology. They sent me a letter today that says they're accepting 39 transfer credits. (14 in languages, 10 in math, 6 in history, and 3 each of English, philosophy, and computer literacy.)

School is finally over, so things are starting to settle down a little bit here. The last month of school is always hectic, with field trips and end-of-the-year activities. I am glad it is over with for a little while.

I wish I had more to say right now, but I am afraid this is as good as it is going to get today.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

This Week

I've been really up and down in mood lately, but I am beginning to bounce back. I have been getting some things done, so that's a plus. I've got a few specific projects for the near future on my mind right now, too.

First, I really need to get my house clean. It's a mess. There's really nothing to do about it except to just do it. I find I work well with a detailed list, but if making a list is going to get between me and actually doing something, I'll skip it and just take each room in sections.

Then I have a bloggish project of sorts in mind. It would be an extension onto the Web of one of my more annoying motherly habits. I take every opportunity to point out interesting careers to my kids. I think they are just about tired of hearing, "That's a job! That guy is getting paid to do that!" I thought perhaps I could send a few standard questions to people with different sorts of jobs and post their responses online, under the title, "That's a job".

The "That's A Job" idea sprang forth from the realization that the Employment Opportunities class I had to take in eighth grade wasn't as stupid as I thought it was at the time. We learned about some different career fields, as well as how to look for, apply for, and interview for a job. Unlike some of the other classes I had to take, I've actually used everything I learned in that class in my real life. I look at the young adults I know who never had any such class, and some of them are very lost and have a very narrow view of what they could possibly be doing, or how to get the job once they figure out what it is that they want to do. I can tackle at least part of that.

But I am going to put cleaning my house ahead of starting yet another project. It's got to come first or I'll just never do it.

In the meantime, while I am cleaning house and making lists of people who might be willing to talk about their careers, I've developed a somewhat better plan for losing some weight. I had seen a nutritionist and had gotten a food plan that was pretty flexible and seemed to be working before my inner rebel kicked in. I am going to do that and some fun exercise-- the Wii Fit Plus thing, walking when it gets warmer, and swimming at the Y from time to time. I feel extremely motivated on this point. It's time to just do it. Starting now.

Monday, March 7, 2011

From here to where?

One of the hardest parts of trying to move myself forward toward something better, or at least different, from where I am at now is knowing where I want to go and what I plan on doing when I get there. I mean this both literally, in terms of where in the world I want to be, and also as a metaphor for where I am trying to get to in life.

And sometimes I think, for me, those are actually the same thing.

It has been a long, long time since I had any clear career goals. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a writer. I started writing when I was around 7, and kept at it until I was 15 or 16. At that point, I was working on the school literary magazine, and generally getting a lot of positive feedback, along with some helpful criticism.

Then several things happened, one after another in a short period of time, that stopped me in my tracks:

My parents got into my private journals, which were not for public consumption at all-- not everything written, even in a diary, is true. Sometimes there's a lot of debris in there as you excavate the truth from the dark places you've been hiding it from yourself. Also, my frank descriptions of my early sexual experiences freaked my parents out. My father, in particular, was quite nasty because I was writing things that he said were inappropriate for a young lady to even be thinking about.

Then I attempted to write something that was more like what my peers were writing for the literary magazine, as a sort of experiment in writing what I thought they might like to read. My dad read it and called it tripe, lecturing me on how bad it was and how much better I could do. I was crushed. I could take an honest critique, but what he said didn't feel like it was about my work. It was really about me.

Kids know that their parents will say everything they do is wonderful, and that sometimes the praise is a loving lie. That doesn't mean they don't want to hear it. But that wasn't my dad's way. Even when we were very little, he'd never let us win a game, and he wasn't about to let me write crap. If I had a reason for writing that way, he didn't want to hear it. I suppose he expected me to rise to the challenge, but instead, I simply shut down and didn't write another word outside of a (well-hidden) diary for years.

And then The Bad Things happened. I was shattered. At first I was a lunatic, raging against God and Fate and myself-- myself more than anyone-- but when the rage in me went quiet, when it was over for everyone else, I was still broken on the inside. Despite the image of the suffering artist, I didn't find anything to draw on in all that misery. I just found emptiness, and nothing ever came floating out of the void. Perhaps I just felt like I didn't deserve any success or happiness ever again.

I have talked to people (friends, loved ones and paid professionals) about The Bad Things, and at this point, I don't want to do that any further. I've made my peace and it is only now, 24 years later, that I have been able to give myself permission to move on. I was shattered, and now that I have all my pieces in one basket, I'd like to concentrate on the gluing and not so much on the breaking. Don't ask about The Bad Things. I only mention that time as something that came between me and writing.

Now, when I am looking backward and forward, trying to find out who I am and what my part in this world will be, I feel like I should want to write for a living. I just don't know if I do.

On the other hand, my aunt took me to France and England when I was 12, and every single second of every single day since then, I have wanted to leave the US again, to be among people different from what I've always known, not just to drop in for a tour, but to live, maybe for a year or two at a time. Even longer than that, from my first discovery of Spanish when we were in San Antonio when I was 6 or 7, I've wanted nothing more than to know other languages from the inside out, which begs for travel. These are passions that have never ceased to burn inside me. Unfortunately, this is an end that needs a means, which brings me back to the career question.

So where do I go from here? Obviously, the ideal thing would be to build a movable career, something that can travel with me no matter where I end up going. Writing would be perfect, if I could figure out how to make money doing it. Or perhaps there's some other portable career I haven't even thought of. While I am figuring that out, I will just write. I will sit down and write something every day. If writing isn't my thing, perhaps I will gain some insight from the exercise anyway.

I will also spend some time researching what kinds of other careers might allow me to work from wherever I might find myself.

As far as what locations I might end up visiting, I think the best thing I could do for now is to be a tourist in this country and Canada, to see what there is to see. I've never even been to New York City. And I'd like to dip my toes in the Pacific. Those are things I could perhaps do even as I work on a career and try to save up every penny I can for more distant adventures.

I thought perhaps a couple of months in Quebec as a visiting tourist might be good for a trial run at living with a different language and culture. I am pretty confident in my ability to learn passable (survival) French, as I've studied it before. Quebec City is within reasonable driving distance of our home base here (~14 hours) and our families in Delaware (~12 hours).

But that is all so distant. The first problem, the most immediate problem, is how to earn a living. That's the first step on the path from here to there.

Friday, February 11, 2011

It's Not All About Me

As I consider the things I want to improve about myself, I've been thinking a lot about how I can make the world a better place as I go. I wouldn't feel very good about a change that was just about me changing for the sake of making more money or making myself feel better, even though there's nothing wrong with those goals. I just feel like there has to be more to me than that.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Developing New Routines

I know a lot of my online friends swear by the FlyLady, a site and program for developing routines to get the household decluttered and running smoothly. I really resisted the FlyLady because I'm one of those "I'll do it MY way" people, but I have found that there really are some very good ideas there. For one thing, she recommends incremental progress, which I've learned the hard way is much better than deciding to radically change how you do everything all at once, only to burn out three days later.

I've come to the conclusion that the only way I can achieve my goals is to develop some new routines to get things done and simplify the day-to-day. I started a couple of weeks ago to make sure that all the dishes get done every day. I'm getting better at it, and it really does make a huge difference in how I feel about the kitchen first thing in the morning. Now that it is February, I think I'll add a second new habit: putting the laundry away as it gets done.

I hope that by getting into these new habits, I won't have any days where I have hours and hours of work just to get the place decent. This will be crucial to my success when I return to school and have to study and do homework while keeping everything else from descending into chaos.

What new habits would you like to develop in 2011?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Falling off the wagon already?

I said I'd post at least once a week, but I didn't publish any posts last week. I started a few, but that doesn't really count. It only counts if it is available to the public on the front page. I learned some lessons about when it is a good time to write and about setting priorities, so it wasn't a total loss.

That's another thing this blog is about, I suppose-- getting back on the horse every time I fall off. My plans for overcoming my chronic procrastination and disorganization might include being instantly successful, but the reality is a completely different thing. It's work, folks.

Today I'd like to share a few sites that I have found helpful or interesting:

43things.com -- This is a sort of goal setting social network. Some people set "bucket list" goals, while others set goals like "wash all the laundry". The primary part is your list of up to 43 things (your goals), but it is a lot more than a list-- you can write entries on things you're doing or how-to guides on things you've finished, comment on other people's entries and guides, and "cheer" people on goals or entries that you like. It's a fairly social experience if you get involved. Or you can just use it as a list, if you prefer. The lists are public, but you can choose any username you like if you're worried about being found.

750words.com -- This site is so simple and so beautiful to me. All there is to it is writing 750 words a day. It counts the words. You can write privately. And it compiles a bunch of statistics that are fun too.

penzu.com -- I used to write on a couple of different public journaling sites, but Penzu is a private online journal with optional sharing. If you're looking for a place to keep a diary on the Internet, or if you just need a place to keep notes to yourself, you might consider a Penzu journal.

Ynsee Gaelg -- This is a site where you can go to get started on learning the Manx language. What's Manx? It's a Gaelic language that used to be spoken on the Isle of Man. There's Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and Manx. Why learn it? I love learning languages for fun and I've got a friend offering his expertise in the subject. I am fascinated by the idea of language revival, so Manx is my "language of the year". I am having fun with it so far. Gaelg aboo! (Hooray for Manx!)

Also, you might notice that I have a FOCUS banner in the sidebar to the right. That's a charitable organization of Orthodox Christians. Check it out if you get a chance and consider lending your support.

And with that, I am going to publish this and get back on the wagon.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Big Fat Me

One of the things I have vowed to work on this year is getting into better shape. I am morbidly obese. I know because that's what my doctor scrawled across my records in huge letters.

I've assembled some tools to help me change. This week, I will be using the food tracker at SparkPeople and getting some exercise with Wii Fit Plus. That's where I am starting.

I have used Wii Fit Plus for two days in a row-- yesterday and today-- and I am hoping to follow through for a full 7 days, just to start. I haven't started my food tracking yet, but I will begin that tomorrow, for 7 days, and then have a serious look at what I've been eating at the end of next week.

I like the Wii Fit thing because it is fun and it is not something I have to go out in the snow to do. I have tried working out along with videos on the Net, and there are some decent ones out there, but those aren't as fun as a game. I will probably mix it up in the future, but for now, I am going to try to make it as fun as possible.

I have to admit that I am not very good at all of the games, but I like trying to get better. To start with, I was tripping myself up terribly on the "Basic Step" game, but I have been getting consistently better. I really enjoy the "Basic Run" and the one where you bicycle around the island too. But my favorite might be "Free Step", which is just 10 minutes of stepping on and off the balance board to the rhythmic sounds that come from the Wii Remote, allowing you to watch something else or put on your own music.

Wii Fit Plus with Balance Board

Perhaps I should declare Friday to be Fitness Day, when I come back here and report on how well I am doing (or not doing... or avoiding) with regard to my weight loss efforts. My goal has been to write at least once a week in this blog about my efforts to improve my life, but this particular topic is so important that it might be worth making the additional commitment.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Good Enough.

I suppose the best place to start something is at the beginning.

A few weeks ago, I decided on some resolutions and goals for 2011, and among those was to start a blog and post on it at least once a week. It is now nearly three weeks into 2011, and I am just getting around to starting this. I might as well confess right here at the beginning: I am a disorganized procrastinator. And I am very easily distracted. Trying to overcome those flaws, or at least work around them, will be the main theme of this blog.

After a bit of wrangling and hand-wringing, I have decided that 'Now Is Good Enough' is a good title for this blog, for two reasons:

a) I always want to wait for the perfect time to do something. If I forget, I have to wait until the next time that it is the perfect time to start. And if I mess up, I want to start over from the beginning at the perfect time. I am always waiting until Monday, until the first of the month, until I can afford new shoes, or whatever other excuse I can think of.

It turns out that "The Perfect Time" is like "The Perfect Unicorn"-- it would probably be amazing if it actually existed.

I am trying to be better at actually doing things, even if they aren't done perfectly at first. If there is something I want to work toward or something I want to do, why not do it now? Now is good enough.

b) It was one of the few blogspot addresses I tried that wasn't taken. I am glad, though, because it is the right title anyway. I just needed to dig a little deeper to find it.

So, that's the story behind the title and the reason I am doing this.

I also turned 40 a little less than a week ago, so this may be the perfect time after all, for the sake of doing things I want and trying to achieve what I want to while I am still young enough to have the time to do and try, but old enough to have a tiny bit of that 'wisdom of experience' that the older folks always talk about. We'll just have to see how that turns out.