Posted in Self Improvement

Baby Steps

baby stepsI haven’t written here in a few days because I’ve been busy climbing out of a black hole.  Every so often, my depression sneaks back in without me realizing it and then BAM! I’m lying at the bottom of a hole trying to claw my way back out.

When that happens, everything seems to take more energy than I can find.  This time, however, I was able to continue doing some of things I’ve set for myself as goals. So I’m proud of myself for that. 😀

Since yesterday was the start of a new month, I decided to do something a little different.  I always have a list of ‘to-do’ items I want to get done, but I never seem to accomplish more than one or two of them.  I decided I need something a bit more ‘visual.’

I made a spreadsheet of ‘October Goals’ for myself, complete with little boxes I can check off as I complete the items (or parts of them).  One of the things I want to do is to finish scanning in all my old family photos.  This has been a goal for me for years, because I inherited all the old family albums when my parents died.

After 5+ years, though, the photos are still sitting in a box in my closet.  Divide and conquer, right? Rather than making my goal ‘scanning ALL the photos,’ I made a goal of scanning 60 photos this month.  And because I was feeling so good about creating my ‘goal’ list, I sat down and scanned 60 photos yesterday!

Normally, this would encourage me to immediately say, well, I just did 60, so I can add another 60 to my goal.

But I didn’t.

I scanned 60 this month, so I met my goal.  If I end up scanning in more this month, great. If not, I can scan 60 more next month, and the next, and the next. It’s not like the photos are going anywhere. I’m trying to learn to be nicer to myself, and I see this as a baby step in that direction.

Another one of my goals is to exercise every day. I put an app on my phone for a 30-day workout.  I get reminded once a day to do the exercises, which makes it pretty simple.  I picked the ‘easy’ plan to start – and I’m glad I did, because even the easy plan is kicking my out-of-shape ass.  I’ve stuck with it for 14 days so far (even though I really, really, really look forward to the rest days!), so I’m proud of myself for that.  Even though I’m depressed at how completely out of shape I am – at least I’m making progress.  Again, baby steps.

I have about 15 goals on my list for this month, some simple, one-step things, some more complicated.  Having them on a tracker sheet where I can see at a glance how I’m coming along has already been a huge help. My OCD/organization-loving little heart squeals to see all the marks to indicate progress.  And even though today is only October 2, I’m pretty pumped about the progress I’ve made this month!

Baby steps. 😀

Posted in Self Improvement

What’s Your Passion?

chase your passionI’m currently searching for my passion.  I first heard about this concept when I was reading The Help for a long ago book club.  One of the characters restored old houses.  That wasn’t her job, but it was her passion, and something she did to keep her soul fed.

Since encountering the idea in the book, I’ve seen it mentioned over and over in various formats – social media posts, motivational talks, and the like.  It’s become a sort of mantra for many people who are looking to escape from the drudgery of their current jobs and “find their passion!”

I’ve had several discussions about this with relatives, because I have no idea what my passion is.  Well, that’s not strictly true.  I know dance is a passion with me.  However, at this stage of the game, there’s no way I’m going to be a professional ballet dancer.  I am trying to get back into dancing, even if it’s only in my own home, in front of the mirror.  It feeds my soul in way nothing else does.

And while I enjoy dancing very much, I’d like to find something that I am passionate about that I could also turn into a money-making venture.

I used to think teaching was a passion, but 5+ years in the public school system cured me of that one.  I don’t even know if I will renew my license, though I feel like I should, if for no other reason than to justify the time and expense of obtaining it.  I don’t need it, though, for the teaching I do (rarely) now.  My degrees alone are qualification enough for the community colleges where I sometimes teach as an adjunct.

One of the things I am currently interested in is photography and photo editing.  I’ve spent quite a bit of time learning to use Photoshop and I love playing around with different effects with my images.  But I think I’ve hit a wall as far as self-teaching goes, and I am debating taking some actual courses (the kind you pay for) in order to better my skills.

I just can never seem to justify the expense to myself.  Why should I spend money on a course when I may never use what I learn? Why should I spend money on a course when there are so many other things that I need to use it for? (Like college tuition for my oldest!)  I’m lucky enough to get to be a SAHM, and since I don’t bring income into the house, I have a hard time not feeling guilty about spending anything on myself – especially for something that is not a necessity.

If it was truly a passion, would any of that matter?

I’m interested in so many things – photography, art, creating, painting, crochet, writing, blogging – how do I know which one I should focus on?

How did you discover your passion?  Have you found a way to make money with your passion? 

Posted in Self Improvement

Self-Destruction

I’ve been trying to make some positive changes in my life recently.  I’ve been trying (mostly unsuccessfully) to cut back on sugar and sweets and I’ve been trying (so far successfully) to exercise every day.

But for every step forward I try to take, I find myself taking two steps back without even realizing it.

My attempt to cut back on sugar and sweets has been a miserable failure so far.  I went grocery shopping with the best of intentions, determined to not buy any sugary snacks or sweet tea (my Achilles heel when it comes to sugar).  And yet, despite my intentions, I left the store with a box of Ding-Dongs (for my son, I assured myself), and two gallons of sweet tea (also for my son, I assured myself).

There is now (two days after shopping) only 1 Ding-dong left (though my son did eat most of them) and only 1 gallon of sweet tea left (which I think we split evenly).

I have been exercising every day (and discovering just how weak and out of shape I am).  However, I am fairly certain when I step on the scale tomorrow, that I will have gained weight rather than lost any, which is extremely frustrating.  It’s like, at some level, I don’t want myself to succeed.

Why is that?

Is it that I don’t love myself enough, as all the self-help sites say?  Is it that I am not accepting enough of my flaws? Unwilling to face the pain I’m trying to eat?  Is it my sugar addiction taking over everything?

I don’t know, but I do know that I am tired of feeling like a failure. Something’s gotta give, and I don’t want it to be the snap on my jeans.

Everything I read says that I have to stop making excuses.  But how do you tell when it’s an excuse and when it’s a valid concern?  For example, I tried doing Weight Watchers, because I know quite a few people who have had success with it.

However, it was a miserable failure for me.  I know that I should eat more fruits and vegetables and less sugary and/or processed food.  Unfortunately, I have food textures issues.  Many people dismiss these as all in my head – if I would just EAT the food, I would like it.

I would LOVE it if this were true.  For me, it’s not.  I cannot stand the texture of cooked, mushy fruit, for example.  Raw apples – love (minus the skin, because again – texture).  Raw carrots – love.  Cooked apples – make me want to vomit.  Same for cooked carrots.

I can’t stand broccoli – it feels like I am chewing on grass.  Lettuce, however, is fine.  All the fruits and vegetables I like (potatoes, carrots, corn, beans, bananas) – are on the ‘not very good’ or ‘eat in moderation’ lists.  So am I left feeling like I have nothing I can eat without feeling guilty.

And WW tells you to eat the ‘low-fat’ versions of everything – which is ridiculous to me, because ‘low-fat’ almost ALWAYS means that there is added sugar to the item, to compensate for the flavor that has been removed along with the fat.  I feel like I can’t win.

Are these excuses?  Maybe, but after 20 years of dealing with my food texture issues, it would be ludicrous to think that I can just ‘get over them.’  I feel like I’m trying to navigate a mine field, in the dark, underwater, and without a compass.

And overcoming my sugar addiction feels like an impossible task, because there’s added sugar in EVERYTHING.  (Did you know they add sugar to pork?  To pork! Why?)  Growing everything I eat myself isn’t an option, so what do I do?  I know the solution is out there, I’ve just got to find it.

Before the self-destruct countdown ends.

Posted in Random

Serendipity

serendipityI’m a big believer in serendipity.  When I am ‘in sync’ with the universe, good things happen.

Like this week.  Earlier I posted about how I was struggling to find things – the old editor (because I loathe the new one), interesting blogs to follow, and so on.

Enter serendipity.

As I was working on updating other areas of this blog (namely the favicon), I somehow ended up in the old dashboard, which then allowed me access to the old editor!!! I have no idea how I got there, but I bookmarked it, and I am currently writing this post in my beloved old editor. ♥

In addition to finding the editor, I also got lots of new follows – so welcome to the madhouse, new people!  (I’m probably using way too many exclamation points in this post, but I’m just so excited!)

This has been a good week – new stuff to read, new readers, and lots of positive changes in my life.

I think my improved outlook is in large part due to my diving back into dancing.  It is something that I absolutely love to do, and something that I haven’t done in ages.

It’s slow going, my memory for routines isn’t what it used to be (which is frustrating), but I love it.  I’ve actually woken up the last couple of days looking forward to something, which hasn’t happened in forever.

I still have a long way to go to get to where I want to be, but I’ve at least taken some baby steps.

Onward!

Posted in Random

I Can’t Find You

i-cant-find-youI’m having one of those days where I feel out of sync with everything.  And, for whatever reason, I’m really struggling with using WordPress.

Not only am I being forced to use the new (and so far icky) post editor, I can’t seem to figure out how to search/find/follow interesting blogs.

It’s not that complicated, right? You put in a search term, like photography or yoga or baking or whatever, and then find blog posts about those topics, so that you can follow them.

Except I’m not having much luck.  I mean, when I only get about 10 hits using the search term “photography,” I MUST be doing something wrong.  10 hits? Surely there are more people writing about photography than that!

Am I just looking in the wrong place? Are blogs no longer the ‘thing’?  Should I be looking on Instagram or YouTube or SnapChat for interesting people to follow?

If you’re writing about photography, digital art, creativity, art, writing, blogging, or books (just to name a few topics), I’d love to follow your blog.  How do I find it?

Posted in Technology

Resistance is Futile

resistanceIn my inaugural post, I wrote about how I’ve been blogging for years.  I’ve also helped others start their own blogs and/or websites using WordPress.  It’s always been my favorite – probably because I know it better than other platforms, but because I truly thought it was better than anything out there.

Today, however, I am feeling more than a little frustrated with WordPress.  I’m late to the party, I know, but I am NOT A FAN of the new Bee Boop (or whatever cutesy name they gave it) editor.

I have another active WordPress blog, and when they introduced the new editor, I simply said, “No, thank you,” and went back to using the old editor, which you could find under the WP Admin menu option.  I’ve been using the ‘old editor’ on that blog ever since.

Since I was starting a new blog (and because I couldn’t find the WP Admin option when I wrote my first post), I just used the new (*shudders*) editor.  About 30 minutes after hitting publish, I realized that I had neglected to add any categories or tags to my post.  GASP! Why? Because they weren’t in all the usual places, so – out of sight, out of mind. 😦

I went googling, trying to find information on how to access the old editor (which I have used for YEARS) and am very familiar with.  It seems that when the new editor was introduced, plenty of people had the same reaction I did.  However, since it’s now about a year later, none of the tips/tricks that I found actually led me to the old editor.

I know it must still be there somewhere under the hood, because I use it on my other blog.  But no matter what contortions I try, I cannot access it via this blog.  (Both blogs are on WordPress.com, so that’s not the issue.)

My head tells me that I should just get used to it – obviously the WordPress folks think their new shiny is an improvement over the old one, or they wouldn’t have made it.  My heart, however, longs for the comfort and familiarity of the old editor.

So if any of you out there in the blogosphere have any tricks up your sleeve to share with a new oldbie about accessing the old editor – please share!

In the meantime, I’m going to go re-watch some ST:NG episodes and have some Earl Grey tea, hot. 🙂

Posted in Uncategorized

Starting Over – Again

start-lineThis is my 4th? 5th? blog – I’ve started one so many times and then abandoned it because it just felt wrong.  Why?

I have no idea.

Will this one be any different?

I have no idea.

But I hope so!  Usually I spend hours, days, and weeks agonizing over the perfect name, the perfect profile pic, the right header, the perfect font – and then find myself disappointed and all that time wasted because I don’t stick with it.

This time, I’m going with my gut.  My original intention was to repeat my pattern of seeking perfection – but since it hasn’t worked out before, there’s no reason to assume it would work out this time.  Hence, going with my gut.

So far, I’m actually feeling pretty good about how everything is going.  I’ve been spending more time looking for blogs to follow than I have worrying and creating my blog itself.  Courting disaster, perhaps, but I prefer to think of it as letting my creative light shine.  😀

I don’t know yet exactly what this blog will be, other than an outlet for my creativity, but I’m looking forward to finding out.

It may just all be a wilde goose chase (see what I did there?), but it will be fun, so join me.

P.S. I’m still looking for good blogs to follow, so if you have one, let me know!!