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set myself free (read all 4 entries…)
Embracing happiness

Lately I haven’t had much going on in my life outside of work-in the past I have kept myself busy with various activities (volunteering, half-heartedly working on a master’s degree, among other things). But now I’m not doing any of these things. I’ve also let go of some friendships, because it was time to do so.

I’ve been reflecting on these various activities and relationships and also my feeling that I should find some kind of activity to fill my time because…I would meet new people, maybe make a new friend…good people volunteer, I should give back…I should earn a master’s degree because it’s a “wise” career move…I have time, I should fill it…but to be honest there is nothing that really speaks to me at this moment.

And it got me thinking. Although most of these “outside of work” activities that I did in the past I enjoyed, I can’t say that I loved them all. Sometimes I did them because other people were urging me to, or I thought other people expected me to do these things. Also, once I made a commitment to some of these activities, I had a hard time ending my involvement once it was no longer working for me.

In short, most of these activities weren’t making me happy, or they did initially, but I kept at them even if my schedule changed or I lost interest.

Why, why, why? It was like I was trying to force myself into becoming someone I thought I should be or someone other people wanted me to be.

Such silliness.

I’ve decided to embrace activities that bring me happiness. Just hang out with my friends, take long walks, read, spend time recognizing what brings me happiness.

As these thoughts were taking shape, I re-read Eat, Pray Love. When I initially read it, I had some of the same criticisms that others had of this book-the author was extremely privileged-how many people can take a year off from their life to sort themselves out in Italy, India, and Indonesia?

I decided to re-read it mainly because I liked the vicariousness of it-what would it be like if I could do what she did, which I suppose is the main attraction of the book.

This time around I came away with some insights, primarily an episode at the ashram in India, where the author decides that she is too talkative, and that it is impeding her spiritual development. She decides to take a vow of silence for a month or so, and she hopes to be seen by others as a silent, ethereal, gliding presence. As soon as she makes this decision, she is notified that her ashram chore assignment has been changed from scrubbing floors to being a hostess to people who are coming to the ashram for week-long silent retreats. It’s a positions that requires her to talk, to be chatty, to be outgoing as she assists these people. She is the only person at the ashram these people are allowed to speak to. At the end of the retreats, various participants remark on her “silent, ethereal, gliding” presence. By embracing her chattiness, by embracing who she is, she finally achieves what she had been striving for.

I want to embrace myself, whatever it is that makes me me.



set myself free (read all 4 entries…)
21 Days of Motivation, Continued

I’ve completed the tasks up through Day 16. It was a nice way to carry out my spring cleaning this year, and I have been aggressive in tossing things that I don’t need, items that don’t represent the life that I want to have.

I also read Geneen Roth’s Women, Food, and God, as I want to have a better relationship with food. I tend to eat when I’m bored, so I’ve been trying to let myself be bored. I’ve also been trying to do this with other activities such as wasting time online. What I find is that when I let myself be bored instead of eating or surfing the Net, then I find other things to do. And usually these are more productive things (like the tasks on the 21 Days of Motivation list) and I feel better for having accomplished them.

Next I need to work on my clothing. It seems shallow, but I would like to get a better job some time in the next year, but my interview-appropriate clothing is looking a little worn. I have been procrastinating doing anything about this in part because I really hate suits, at least the suits that I find in stores. (I don’t understand shoulder pads. It’s not 1988! Yet it seems like every suit jacket has them!)Also, I just don’t really want a suit. It seems too corporate for my taste. So either I need to figure something else out or just search for a suit I can live with. Either way, not having an interview-appropriate outfit is just getting in the way of me moving on work-wise.



set myself free (read all 4 entries…)
21 Days of Motivation

I stumbled upon this goal.

Rather than actually adding it to my list, it seemed to fit in with this goal of setting myself free, so I’ve decided to incorporate these 21 days of motivation into this goal and write about it here.

I began last weekend and have done the following:

Days 1-3: open windows to change the air in my home

Days 4-6: clean out wallet and purse and delete contacts I no longer need to shed literal and figurative baggage. I also cleaned out a tote bag I use for work and some other bags as well.

I really enjoyed the task of deleting contacts I no longer need. I also still use an actual address book for mailing addresses, so I bought a new one and entered in the addresses that I wish to keep. It felt great to delete the names of people I don’t really keep in touch with. If I need to get in touch with any of them, I’m sure I can track them down.

Day 7 (today): haven’t done this yet-wiping down the bathroom mirror, but that will be easy enough to do. I’ve been trying to just stick to the task of the day and not let myself get ahead on the various tasks, but I think this weekend I’m just going to work ahead as best as I can because it seems to make sense. For example, Day 8’s task is to clean the lights in the bathroom. I might as well do that today when I clean the mirror.



set myself free (read all 4 entries…)
"You will make many changes before settling satisfactorily." --fortune cookie

For a long time I felt as though there were “things” in my life that were holding me back from being able to live the fullest life possible for me.

When I first added this goal I merely had a vague idea of what I needed to do to “set myself free.” I have been slowly making changes that I believe will set myself free from those “things” that constrain me.

One action that I have taken is to forgive. There are some people who I knew I needed to forgive. For a long time I felt that this was something I had to do, but I didn’t. The reason for this hesitation was not a desire on my part to hold a grudge, but rather, I needed to let the hurt and anger run its course. This was a hard thing to do-I thought I should go ahead and forgive, I know other people in my life thought I should go ahead and forgive. But I think I just needed to feel those feelings and learn from them.

A couple months ago I stumbled upon this book about forgiveness at the library. I read a couple chapters and found a forgiveness affirmation. The book suggested that you didn’t necessarily have to seek out the people you wanted/needed to forgive-in some instances it may not be helpful to do.

I made a list of people who I felt I needed to forgive-family members, neighbors, people I used to work with, people I went to school with. I also made a list of people who I wanted to ask forgiveness from.

I said an affirmation for each person saying I sincerely forgave them (or asking for forgiveness). Most of these people I found it easy to forgive-in a way, I already had. About five or six I found really hard to do-but I found it in my heart to sincerely forgive.

Since doing this, I feel better about things in generally-not that I was miserable or anything beforehand-but as the book said, if you don’t forgive, these negative bonds of energy remain between you and the other person. I have broken these bonds. When something causes me to think of, say a former boss who was just horrible-in the past this would trigger bad memories and I couldn’t help but dwell on that for a few seconds or more. Now if something cause me to think of that horrible boss, my memory of the person just passes through my mind and it doesn’t stop on a bad moment. I am free.

So this was a major breakthrough for me.

I still have more to do to set myself free. Two things I want to do seem rather shallow after my forgiveness breakthrough, but here they are:

1. I am going to add a goal about losing weight. I want to be my best possible self and this is one thing I need to do.

2. Resurrect the “create an outer style that is a true reflection of me” goal. (So annoyed that when you want to do a goal again it doesn’t appear on my current list of goals.) It’s time for an updating of the wardrobe and also, I think I am going to include my home this time around.



Budget using the Envelope Method for a month
This actually works!

When I use it! (Of course!)

I found, for $1, a plastic expandable file with pockets that is purse size. It’s a little bulky, and if I continue this, I might replace it in the future. (Through googling, I found someone who makes envelopes for people who use this method and sells through etsy-they look less bulky, which I think will make this a more attractive method.)

Anyway, I came across an entry on this site of someone who uses this method- and they only had a three categories, which I adopted too. Initally I thought I would have quite a few, but the fewer the better.

The categories are: groceries, toiletries/entertainment/gifts, and “free” (for lunch out and if I fall short in other categories. This category is the only one with a set amount each time-$20).

What I also try to do at the end of each day is to take the spare change, and rather than keeping it within one of the categories, I put the nickels/dimes/pennies into a jar (to be converted to dollars at a later date) and then quarters in their own dish for laundry, parking meters, etc.



October Bootcamp 2011: Shoot for the Moon
My shooting for the moon...

...consisted mainly of trying to go for a walk (almost) everyday.

Mission Accomplished!



plan an awesome weeklong staycation
Possibilities
  • Community acupuncture
  • Day trip
  • Another day trip for cider donuts
  • Redeem free yoga class card
  • Go out every night! No sitting in front of the TV!


September 2011: Fall into Healthy Habits
Healthy Habits

Physcial: Establish an exercise routine for the month once the pool closes. Break a sweat four times a week. Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Not go over my calorie and fat intake goals 25/30 days. Minimize sugar.

Mental: Plan awesome staycation!

Social: Go out more often.

Financial: Use the envelope budgeting method.



stop eating sugar (read all 6 entries…)
Three weeks down!

One thing that I have found unexpectedly challenging is determining what should I exclude from my diet during my “sugar detox.” It seemed very straightforward until I started reading labels. I went in thinking that I just needed to avoid sugar and high fructose corn syrup but then there are just so many different kinds of sweeteners-honey, cane juice, maple syrup, and so on.I’ve been avoiding, as best as I can, these other sweeteners. Although I haven’t done extensive research, I do know that some, such as honey, have a high glycemic index rating, and I have been trying to avoid the spikes in my blood sugar such foods might cause.

One thing that I have experimented a little bit with is agave nectar. Most kinds have a low glycemic index. I’m not in love with this sweetener, but I did find an ice cream that is made with this and coconut milk-this has been a great find, as come June 29, I will not be rushing out to the nearest ice cream stand. During these past weeks I have missed ice cream so much-not that it’s my favorite sweet treat, but rather it’s hot and I feel like I’m missing out on a part of summer. Now I don’t feel that way, and so, I think I will be able to continue to be sugar-free (or mostly sugar free) beyond June 28.



stop eating sugar (read all 6 entries…)
Living in the future

So today marks the two week point in my sugar detox and it’s going well, though it hasn’t been 100% sugar free (dining out is tough, and sometimes unavoidable, especially if you have work-related lunches). But overall, I have done well and have managed to successfully avoid cookies, candy, ice cream, etc.

I’ve lost some weight. I continue to sleep deeply and wake refreshed, although I am sleeping about the same amount as before I gave up sugar.

Lately, I’ve been preoccupied with the future-I suppose we all are here-isn’t this what most of our goals about here-creating our future.

Anyway, I have been preoccupied with two things related to the future. One is, what will the rest of my detox period bring? Will I continue to lose weight, will my skin continue to look good? Will I experience other changes as result of this detox? Of course, the only thing I can do is wait and see.

The other thing I have been thinking about is what to do once the detox is over. I think that I should not just go back to eating whatever I want, although I have read that people have experienced a change in their desire for sugar once they give it up for a week or more. So maybe it will not be an issue-maybe I just will not want sugar. But just in case, I am thinking ahead to how I can maintain this change. I’m thinking of limiting myself to one sweet treat a week. Hopefully I can do this and still sleep as well as I have these last couple weeks!



stop eating sugar (read all 6 entries…)
I made it through the first week!

Althought I did end up accidentally eating sugar a couple times, such as when I went out to eat, ordered something, and realized later that there was probably some sugar in the sauce. Oh, well.

In terms of detoxing, days 1, 4, and 6 were the worst. After day one, the cravings weren’t too bad. I did feel sluggish and cranky. About midway through the week, my sleep changed-I woke up feeling as though I had slept more deeply than I am used to. It feels good!

I’ve been drinking a lot of water and unsweetened iced tea. I need to add more food to my meals, because I find that I am getting hungry in between meals. I need to come up with some non-sugar snacks that will hit the spot in those moments. I have been eating some whole wheat crackers, but they’re really not something that I want to eat frequently. At least they provide fiber.



stop eating sugar (read all 6 entries…)
Not so bad!

This is actually going well (hopefully it continues this way). Day 1 was difficult, in large part due to a long work day that included a looooong meeting for which cookies and soda had been ordered. I resisted the temptation!!!

I really haven’t had cravings for sugar. I do miss diet soda-I already drink 8 glasses of water daily, and I like to occasionally have a diet cola with lunch or dinner just because drinking water gets kind of boring. I’ve substituted unsweetened iced tea, which is okay.

I feel a bit thinner. I’m not doing this to lose weight, although I could stand to lose a couple pounds.

I’ve been feeling a bit sluggish lately, but I don’t if it’s the result of my body detoxing from sugar or if it’s due to the past week at work.



stop eating sugar (read all 6 entries…)
Day 1 of my 28 day sugar detox

I’ve decided that rather than stop eating sugar entirely, I am going to not eat sugar (or artificial sweeteners) for 28 days. I have read about others’ experiences in giving up sugar and/or artificial sweeteners for a month or so and they have reported changes in their taste/desire for sugar and artificial sweeteners.

I’m not certain if it’s realistic to want to stop eating sugar forever. I can’t imagine saying to myself that I will never let myself enjoy ice cream on a super hot day.

I just don’t want to have sugar everyday, and I am hoping that this 28-day detox will help me achieve that.

I am a bit worried-this will be hard!

I think if I can make it through the first four days, then the first week, and then the first two weeks I’ll be fine.

I hope.



admit what I really want
I really want to find a job where I could work 30 hours a week and be able to comfortably support myself

I am over the idea of working 40 hours a week. I work for the health insurance, but I would love a job that would give me this for only 30 hours of my time each week.

I would want to make at least what I’m making now, or even a bit more.

Although I have had on my list for a while now to find a new job, honestly I really like where I work. It’s just that I feel that my compensation and job title are not in alignment with what I do. If I could cut my hours with out cutting my pay, it would seem to be a more fair arrangement. (I know, who do I think I am, don’t I know there’s a recession going on out there?)



stop eating sugar (read all 6 entries…)
Did anyone else read that New York Times Article?

The article in the New York Times a few weeks back “Is Sugar Toxic?” was eye-opening. I’ve been trying to adopt the Michael Pollan approach to eating-”eat food. not too much. mostly plants”. And since sugar is a food by his standards (my grandmother and great-grandmother would have recognized it, been able to buy in the story, cooked with it), I thought it would be okay to keep that and work on eliminating high fructose corn syrup (which I found pretty easy to do) and artificial sweeteners (a bit more challenging for me). And maybe sugar in moderation is okay. Or may I should think of it as a poison.

What I’m doing now:

I’ve pretty much eliminated added sugar from things I buy, such as bread. I have a few things such as ketchup and peanut butter that have sugar in them, but the containers are almost empty. When they need to be replaced, I will look for alternatives without sugar.

I have experimented with using agave nectar.

Unfortunately, I keep feeling the need to have “one last” (fill in the blank sweet).



Pledge NOT to like, tweet or share anyone on 43T!
Probably the easiest goal to complete!

And totally worth it! :)



bake bread
I know it's not 2007 anymore....

...but I finally got around to trying no-knead bread, which was such a phenomenon a few years back…and it’s wonderful!



enjoy 29 (read all 2 entries…)
29 has come and gone...

...and I will never be 29 again.

It was a rough year, with lots of changes, some welcome, others not.

Sometimes having this goal was stressful. I sort of felt as though I should be cramming as much fun into my life….but it became about trying new things.

I tried a lot of new things, and I feel as though I am slowly creating the life I want to live. I’ve been making small changes (like the once a week media diet) that are rippling through my life.

Best thing I learned, or rather, had reinforced—plan! Planning seems boring, but if you make a list of things you want to do, you have a better chance of accomplishing them.

But then, I guess since you’re on this site, you already know that!



exchange my current job for an awesome new job!
Time and space

I decided to take several months off from this goal earlier this year. My desire for a new job didn’t change, but in this economy, it was so discouraging to have this goal. I felt like I was on a treadmill, moving, but not going anywhere.

So I needed a break and gave myself permission to take one.

Over the last few months, I felt moments of anxiety. Shouldn’t I be doing something? What if there was a job opportunity out there, right now, meant for me, and I missed it?

I tried not to worry and continued with my break.

My goal was to let the summer pass before starting again.

So just a couple weeks ago I felt compelled to revise my resume, and ended up completely re-designing it in less than 45 minutes. It looks awesome, and I don’t think I would have been able to do this had I not taken a break.

The hard part of actually finding a job that’s a good fit is still ahead of me, but I feel so much better with my new and improved resume! Wish me luck!!



learn to make hummus
No tahini = better hummus

I wasn’t happy with my first attempt at making hummus, so I decided to give it another try. I decided to eliminate the tahini, and just used chickpeas, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and little water. This was soooooooooo much better!! I improvised and need to tweak the recipe a bit, but this is a keeper!



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