If you need any indication of how my morning is going, I just tried in earnest to move my cursor with my phone (instead of my mouse). Yep. Awesome.
Have you ever gone through your old emails and thought, “Wow, I sound like an entitled, spoiled brat. Who am I trying to convince, and what am I trying to convince them of?” I had a few of those moments this past week. I’ve been keeping up regular correspondence with one person in particular and divulging way more information than I should via email. Based on the emails back to me, this person thinks I have my life way more together than I really do (which is a nice change from how I’m sure people usually perceive me). On the one hand, I feel bad for throwing around my awesome time-management skills and perfectionist tendencies; on the other hand, it feels kind of nice to have someone think I’m not the worst, since that’s usually how I perceive myself. So many jumbled up feelings.
But what I do love is this newfangled getting-to-know-you method of email. I’m positive we’ve both said things through email that we wouldn’t say in person. It’s the first time I’ve done this outside of attempting to date (which is clearly not the case here), and it’s actually kind of fun. How often as an adult do you get to make a real connection with someone (outside of work, which is sort of an artificial connection in most cases)?
Anyway, onto this week’s Five Things!
- Currently Reading: Since last week’s post, I finished Half-Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls, and Better Than Before, by Gretchen Rubin. Words cannot express how much I LOVED (so much!!) both of these books.
Half-Broke Horses was refreshingly easy to get into – Jeannette Walls has such an easy narrative voice. Plus, the fact that it’s mostly true is just too awesome. I was more than a little sad when the book was done. I imagine I’ll be grabbing her latest from the library the next time I’m there.
Better Than Before… oh, man. I feel like I could write an entire book on how this book has changed my life (for the better). I went into it very skeptically – I’d read The Happiness Project and all it did was annoy me. There are certain parts of the book where it sounds like the author is bragging about how easy it is for her to not do certain things, like eating carbs, where I just want to find her and slap her. Then again, that’s how my emails to my friend sound to me, so it’s at least nice to recognize the smugness. But although there is a touch of smug, there’s a lot of cognizance of faults (which I find endearing, and which balances the smug). A lot of the ideas put forth in the book aren’t ground-breaking; in fact, I’ve been in the practice of doing many of them for years. The difference is that the author puts a name to the different behaviors and provides some psychology behind them. It was actually pretty fascinating once I started to get into it. I learned a lot about myself, and I think I’ve learned a lot about other people and how to work with them. I’ve started mentally classifying some friends and coworkers as different subgroups, which gives me a better idea of how to approach them. For example, I understand now that one friend can be classified as a Rebel, and if I want her to do something, I need to find a way to make her believe the idea is hers and no one else’s. I like to think of it as reverse psychology-ing her. And so far, it’s worked! I’ve been doing little tests with people all week, without their knowing it, and so far the principles in the book are true. Plus, the whole point of the book is to help the reader create new habits and rid themselves of bad habits. On the way home from the beach on Sunday, I made a list of 15 habits I’m trying to implement as a result of reading this book. Some are around snacking, some around getting more sleep/bedtimes, others around work, and one or two around volunteer stuff. I’m about five days in, and so far my list of habits is working like a charm. I have no complaints about sleep this week, and I’ve quickly gotten back into a healthy eating groove.
I’d highly recommend both books – Half-Broke Horses for some interesting, easy reading, and Better Than Before for incorporating some easy lifestyle changes.
The latest book I’m reading is 52 Small Changes for the Mind, by Brett Blumenthal. I got it to piggyback on Better Than Before, but honestly, it all seems very superfluous. I’m only 12% through, so I’ll likely continue until at least 15% and then re-evaluate whether or not I want to continue with it.
- Currently Eating: As I mentioned earlier in the week, I spent Monday prepping lunches and dinners for the week. It worked like a freaking charm; it saved me from having to think about what I was going to eat, and limited me from snacking on random foods. By pre-packing both my lunch (which I’ve always done) and my snacks, I’m only taking certain foods with me to work, so that’s what I’m stuck with. I’m much more likely to pack healthy foods at night (when I’m lucid) than in the morning, so this is taking my foggy brain out of the equation. And by roasting a big batch of brussels sprouts and asparagus on Monday, plus cutting up some fruit in advance, I’ve cut down on the idea of french fries as an acceptable dinner side. 🙂
Before I went on vacation, I’d gotten into a really bad habit of coming home from the gym and plopping down on the couch with dinner and then topping the night off with either ice cream or a single-serving bag of potato chips (even if I wasn’t hungry). The thinking behind it was, “I just worked hard at the gym, so I deserve a treat.” (<– Backwards thinking, really.) So now one of my new habits I’m trying out is that I’m “closing” the kitchen after 9:15 (or after dinner, if dinner is after that time). I’m making a conscientious effort to walk to the kitchen, turn off the light, and verbally announce “The kitchen is closed.” And then I go brush my teeth and floss. So far, it’s working fantastically – the first couple nights I felt I needed something else to eat before bed, but I resisted. Now I barely even remember that I have chips and ice cream in the house. It’s not that I’m not “allowing” myself to have these things; it’s that I’m limiting their availability. For some reason, that’s working for me.
- Currently Craving: Vegetables, for the second week in a row. I had a couple weeks of out-of-character, “vacation” mode eating, and I’m happy to be back to normal now.
No pizza cravings this week, but I’m sure they’ll be back in no time!
- Currently Loving: Getting to know people better through email. Eating “normal” food again. Creating new habits. Getting rid of some bad habits. To-do lists (a new one every day).
I’ve found that I’m much (MUCH) more productive when I create a to-do list at the beginning of the day. So while it may seem daunting to create a 30+ item list in the morning, the satisfaction of seeing a mostly or completely crossed-out list at the end of the day is worth it. Plus, then there’s no question of whether or not I’ve accomplished anything on that particular day – I need only look at the list to know I did things.
One of my friends is anticipating that she’ll possibly be laid off from her job at the end of October, and she’s not sure what she wants to do if that happens. We’ve tossed around a few ideas, but none of them seem like anything she really wants to pursue. So I suggested she make a list of things (tasks) she wants to do, deep-down. I’ve found that when I’m completely lost about what I want, it helps to write down everything that pops into my head, no matter how silly it seems. From there, I’ve been able to gain a clearer picture of what I really want, what is feasible and realistic, and what I definitely don’t want. She was going to take that advice, but then I started thinking about it for myself. For years, I’ve had one particular goal in mind. Now that I’m getting closer and closer to being able to achieve that goal (in fact, I could do it now), I’m second-guessing if I still want to go that route. So at some point this weekend, I’m hoping to write down some things I’d like to work towards and see if they still align with that original goal. I have a sinking feeling that they might not, and I need to find a way to be okay with that. But, I’m loving that I get the chance to make lofty goals and work towards them – not everyone has that luxury.
- Currently Anticipating: I have three 16 in ’16 tasks that I’m trying to accomplish this weekend, but all three of them are pretty flimsy. One might not happen because of the volunteer schedule – I’m on tonight, and I have a feeling we’re going to get some calls. If that happens, the one task is out for at least another month. The other two are largely dependent on the weather. I removed myself from the volunteer schedule on Sunday so that I could cross off these two items, but if it rains, or if it’s cold, they might not happen. Still, if I manage to complete even one of the three, it’ll be progress. And I’m genuinely excited for all three, so hopefully both the timing and the weather cooperate.
I’m tentatively anticipating going back to bartending tomorrow, but mainly because I’m broke as a joke after vacation. Every month, I put over 50% of my salary into savings and I refuse to take it out unless I absolutely need to. I transferred my August salary into savings on Monday (effective Tuesday, thanks to the holiday), and then reviewed my updated checking balance yesterday. It’s not a pretty sight. I think I’ll be okay without taking money out of savings, but some tips (and a paycheck I’m owed) will come in handy.
I’m obnoxiously excited about our regular volunteer team meeting that’s resuming next week after a few months of summer break. Some people who have been on deployments are coming back, and others who have been on vacation are returning… it’s going to be awesome. I want to squeal just thinking about it. On the other hand, I know that once I get there, I’m going to be awkward and quiet – there’s going to be a lot going on, and there’s no need for me to add to the excitement. Still. So excited to see some of these people again. 🙂
Also, my trip to Omaha is officially happening. I booked it yesterday, and set about creating my restaurant wish list. So far, I have 35 places I want to visit in 3 days. I still have a week and a half to pare it down a little, but I miiiight be overdoing it. Typical.
Have a great weekend, everyone!