year in review: 2014

Dear Internet,

Working at home today and getting supremely in the groove. Re-discovered that I used to do a round up, by month, of things that went on in the previous year as a year in review. This seems like a good idea to continue insofar as giving me a perspective for the year and helping me figure out what I need to improve or cut back on.

Previous years: 2000, 19971996

Neil Gaiman’s New Year’s wish for 2015:

Be kind to yourself in the year ahead.

Remember to forgive yourself, and to forgive others. It’s too easy to be outraged these days, so much harder to change things, to reach out, to understand.

Try to make your time matter: minutes and hours and days and weeks can blow away like dead leaves, with nothing to show but time you spent not quite ever doing things, or time you spent waiting to begin.

Meet new people and talk to them. Make new things and show them to people who might enjoy them.

Hug too much. Smile too much. And, when you can, love.

It’s been a helluva a year. Here’s to 2015 being boring and slow.

xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2014, 2013, 1999

Kalendae Januariae: 2014’s Goals

Dear Internet,

Last year I decided to go on a bender of self-improvement, which I called the Kalends project (and the series list is at the beginning of this piece). The idea sprang from something I had read about the history of the Kalends, which could be summed up as such:

This single day contains the whole year in it, so that what you do during those spare twenty four hours will determine the character of the remaining three hundred and sixty four.

I broke down the improvement plan over four different sections, with a follow up in November. The fifth element, the Making Happy project, could also be tied into my goals. The sixth goal, about getting fit, has been sitting in draft format since December 2012; that still needs to be written

So here we are, 2014. If the Kalends are true and what I did in the last 24 hours sets the tone, then it’ll be Sherlock and popcorn and good dark chocolate until the cows come home.

But I digress.

What I did not account for, of course, was how many setbacks I would have at the beginning of the year between my second ankle surgery, mental health issues galore, wonky work schedules, and whatever else life throws at you. I crawled up inside myself more than I had liked, I set some very necessary boundaries, and  pissed off a number of people.

[Aside: I’m tired of people stating resolutions/goals are cliche because to me, it indicates a lack of self-improvement, life long learning, and wanting to simply grow as a human being. At that point, if you’re not willing to even grow, what is the point?]

Personally, this last year has been one of much growth even if that growth has at a snail pace. The setting of boundaries, the dispensing of fraught relationships, the ability to recognize the crazy when it happens has been tremendous success in helping me define a better path for myself even if that path doesn’t make itself visible to the naked eye. It was painful, scary, and downright terrifying at times, but I did pull through. I always pull through. So even if at first blush I come off as a chaotic train wreck, when compared to how it could have possibly gone, I am positively in a great space.

I treasure that. And you, readers, of course.

Gender bending smoking kid, circa early 1900s.
Gender bending smoking kid, circa early 1900s.

So what’s ahead for 2014?

Buy Nothing 2014
To buy nothing in 2014, unless it’s necessary (food, gas, or related),
to genuinely replace, or renews an existing service (i.e. Spotify, Netflix, etc)

What prompted me to start reining in the funds was the 114 orders on Amazon (one every two days) and lord knows what else I bought in 2012. In 2013, I dropped it down to 40 orders from Amazon, much of it spent on gifts or household items rather than items of unnecessary delight. Instead of buying things outright, I asked for them for gifts for holidays/birthdays/etc, and stopped buying things I did not need unless it was to replace. I did see some financial gain from this but with not enough to make a decent savings since other financial considerations came into play later in the year. 2014 will be even more strict and I’ll start being more judicious on recording everything I spend and saving what I can.

2014 will be the year of creativity (even if it kills me)
This was one area I was not as improved on as I had hoped, but talking to my friend Amy who gave an impressive display of her own improvements in 2013, really kicked up my own notches to get going on my own projects. Cheers Amy, for the inspiration kick in the pants!

Year of the written word
Read all the books/comics I own before buying more. Surprisingly doing better with this as time goes on. In fact, I’ve been most impressed that majority of the books I’ve read for 2013 I read in November/December, of which five I finished in one week. Still plowing through the TBR pile, lots of reading being done online for research for the book as opposed to pleasure reading.

Writing
In January 2013, I said I wanted to:

  • Write 10 hours a week  (Does not include blogging)
  • Write 250 word blog entries 5x a week (Get proficient enough to knock it out in 1/2 hour).
  • Keep notes on everything
  • Write a short story a month.
  • Write a poem a month.
  • Get something published by my birthday in June

January 1 – December 31, I wrote 151K words over 171 posts / 31 pages. Beyond that, my biggest accomplishment is this post marks the 63rd day in the row I’ve written and posted in this space. What started as a simple challenge in November to complement NaNoWriMo, has become a routine. A glorious routine, I must add. In those 62 previous days, I wrote 67,5 K words (almost half my yearly count in two months!) over 63 posts (some days had two posts).  In November I said,

This does not include any notes, work done on paper, editing of pre-2013 posts, and so forth. Add another a rather conservative estimate of 25K words for over 100,000 words this year alone and for that, I’m really proud. Sure, I didn’t get a poem or prose published, but that’s also okay. I’ve got a better sense of what I want to do and what I want to write, and I know I can always do better. Produce more. Leave a mark on the world. Keep pushing forward.

Another challenge I did for an entire year was the Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes project, which tracks all the things I wrote, watched, read, listened to, and liked. What was striking about this particular project is I’m now seeing others do variations of it across the web, so even if I’m not a direct inspiration it’s still pretty cool to see others doing something similar.

The other big thing with writing is I took my fiction writing more seriously, finished a few short stories (which I’m still waiting for TheHusband to edit), and started serious research on a book series I have had mapped in my head since the summer of 2012. I had said, quite seriously, I was going to write the entire first book during my 3.5 week vacation but my mania got in the way as well as other things. But that I had researched and outlined the first six chapters was farther than before, so I feel pretty good about what I’ve accomplished. I may not have gotten anything professionally published this year, but my output, research, and strengths are increasing. Next year will be even better.

So not exactly spot on and perfect, but I’m fairly pleased with the results. Keep pushing forward.

teh interwebs

It can broken down to this:

  • Unsubscribe from unnecessary mailing lists
  • Delete unused social media accounts
  • Stop following people/services/accounts/blogs that no longer hold my interest/are not engaging
  • Get the archives back up
  • Stop buying domains
  • Stop obsessively checking social media accounts

In my November update, I was pretty sussed with how things were turning out. I was keeping with where I wanted to be with the one exception of the last one: checking social media. Also in November, I made the decision to deactivate my personal Facebook account which turned out to be a really good idea. As of January 1, I’m taking mental health break hiatus from Twitter as well, though I’ll be posting via apps over the course of the time. I need to refocus, concentrate, and work on some big deal projects that are upcoming and putting my energy into something else.

Lastly, the Making Happy and the get fit components which I hope to be writing more about in the near future.

What are you doing for 2014?

xoxo,
Lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe: 2013, 2011

Crab Canapes and Christmas Pudding

Dear Internet,

Tomorrow I go back to work as my holiday break is now over, thus things may slow down around here after my mania output for the last few weeks. It’s now eight days into the new year and I thought it would be a good idea to give up an update as to how  my proposed changes are coming along.

(I’m still tap dancing around the notes that need to be finished for body and health pieces, but I’m just not there yet.)

  • Buy Nothing in 2013
    I promise I will not tell a lie: I have spent money on non-essentials this year, totaling $90.26, but it was for very good causes. Two of the items, a yearly subscription to Duotrope and the fall issue of Jane Austen Knits, were items I planned to buy in December but forgot until after January 1. I know I’ll probably end up purchasing a license for Licorize sometime later this week, but that’s a one time cost. Removing myself from temptation has been huge. I also am ignoring anything Margaret posts because I almost always end up buying what she suggests.  Anything I have found has gotten pinned or added to my wish list. Side bonus: Removing myself from vendor catalogs has slowed amount of junk mail in our mailbox.
  • 2013 will be the year of creativity (even if it kills me)
    I’ve only really worked on the cooking and knitting stuff, which have been slow going as one meal a day is a green smoothie of some sort, lunch is usually a salad, and dinner is something we come up together. Our timing is going to change once I go back to work tomorrow, so not too much to report.  In the knitting area, I’ve almost finished my brother’s hat and will be working on fingerless gloves for me next.
  • Year of the written word
    The goal was to write at EPbaB five times a week, at about 250 words per piece, and 10 hours a week writing fiction. In the last 8 days, I’ve published something here everyday except for one and in space of 7 published days, the pieces here totaled 4992 words. In fiction writing, the goal was to write a short story a month and get something published by my birthday. I’ve finished one story a few days ago and I’m starting on a second. I have two additional stories in draft form that also need to be finished.  So far, these goals are being met. But again, with work starting back up for me tomorrow, this output is more than likely slow down. The second bit of this challenge was to read everything I’ve had on hand – which I’ve not really done, but I am still shooting for finishing a book a week.
  • teh interwebs
    This was by far the best thing I’ve done as my inbox is so quiet right now, it’s kind of frightening. I did go so far as to unsubscribe from several of my favorite retailers emails, in addition to paring down other vendor emails to once a week or month. I’ve stuck with following vendors in one format instead of all of the ones they offer, which has also helped considerably. I almost did purchase a domain, one I was eyeing on in late November but didn’t follow through at the time, but refrained from doing so. I spent several days paring and cleaning up my RSS feeds, but that may end up just being a lost cause for the moment. I’ve not started putting together a workflow for the archives.

I’ve struggling as to how to articulate how I’m feeling today, and lately, finding it is much harder than I had hoped. The 900mg of Lithium has definitely leveled me out as far as moods go. I fake raged to TheHusband, while feebly pounding against his chest, if this was what being happy was like, then I’m not sure I could deal with it. Most of the side effects of lithium have dissipated, and I’m feeling pretty much, overall, okay. I’m still freezing all the time (and we’re on track for January to be our warmest month on record), but I have no evidence to say this is because of Lithium or not. But I’m far enough away from being without lithium to know the difference between when I’m on it and when I’m not. I’ve not gained weight and I am drinking a lot of water, so I do not feel dehydrated as one would think for taking a salt.

Concerta on the other hand is tricky – very tricky. I need to take it no later than 9AM, for if I do, I’m apt to be up all night. If I go a day without it, I can still sit and work without being all over the place. If I go two days without it, then it’s like I was before and like nothing has changed. I get small bouts of mania, but these seem further afield than before and seem to be random, meaning there is no trigger. My headaches are mostly gone.

In the before, I was very passionate about some things and mildly interested in others. In the during, I had zero interest in anything, and to some extent, to anyone. I could not feel or love what it was to feel or love. I did things because I knew how to already do them and I knew that they needed to be done.  Robotic. I could muster energy to feel something about tiny things, but larger things were passed over. I did not think of myself as being depressed until much later for I did not act like those I knew to be depressed acted. I did not see myself as being manic because I did not act like those I knew to be manic acted. Something was wrong, but to what extent that wrongness and/or what was needed to fix it si still remain to be seen. Well. We know, but whether this snake oil is actually working remains to be seen.

There you are. Here I am.

x0x0,
Lisa