Monthly Project Updates are a series I began to hold myself accountable for finishing the many projects I start–and to document the ups and downs I encounter along the way.
This month, I feel like I have come full circle—not in the good sense of finally finding your place, but in the aimless way of a dog chasing its tail. Last year around this time, I felt stuck in a job that consumed my energy and sapped my personal life and left me unfulfilled. So I quit. Then, the whirlwind began: the rushed wedding, the months spent abroad, the extended honeymoon—all before coming home to the existential angst of unemployment… but now I have a job. And no energy. And no personal life.
I’ve been absent from this blog for the past few weeks because I’ve wanted so badly to be able to tell a different story. I want this blog to be a journey, not a merry-go-round! This isn’t where I expected to be, and I feel confused… like I spaced out while driving down the highway and took the wrong exit. (Please tell me I’m not the only one who’s done this!)
Anyway… it’s the first of the month. It’s a new beginning, and (surprise!) I want to try something new. Yes, I’ll still give you updates, but this month I’m setting a new goal that I hope will help propel me out of this rut.
1. Cleaning and Downsizing
If there were such a thing as an anti-goal… then I would be winning at this! Instead, I continue to be my usual slovenly self. Lucky for me, my husband read an article about equal division of household labor and had an epiphany:
M: I read somewhere that even if I do the chores you tell me to do, I’m still not taking on the effort of running the household and making sure everything gets done.
Me: …I guess it would be nice if you took more initiative, but I definitely appreciate that you try to help
M: Well, I feel really guilty now. Don’t do any cleaning until I get home—I’m going to do it.
So for this past month, my husband’s guilt is the main reason we have clean dishes—he’s picked up my (unintentional) slack, and a tension I never realized existed is gone now that he takes more initiative with household chores. I don’t know how I got lucky enough to marry a guy like him, but I hope I’ll be a better partner to him next month—equality goes both ways!
2. Nurture my Marriage
As wonderful as M is, he and I are also in a bit of a rut lately. Part of the issue has been the unseasonably cold weather. It’s hard to do anything other than stay in and watch TV when it’s rainy and uninviting outside! That said, we’ve taken advantage of the odd warm day to walk around our neighborhood and try out a new restaurant. We’ve also come up with lists of non-TV-watching activities to do together… if we’re ever feeling energetic enough. Hopefully next month we’ll spend less time sitting on the couch and staring at screens, and more time engaging with each other!
3. Career… Stuff.
I’m still enjoying my job, even though my days are getting longer as more work gets piled on my desk. I still have so much to learn about the new field I’m starting out in, and I’m trying to brush up my skills with background reading outside of work.
Day to day, there are ups and downs. Working for a small company is like being adopted into a loving, but slightly dysfunctional family. Everyone is so interdependent that learning everyone’s personalities, quirks, strengths and weaknesses is a job in itself! Luckily, everyone has been helpful, supportive and friendly, and I’m glad to be part of the team.
4. Live According to My Values
Last month I set a few mini-goals:
- Attend a town meeting or political event, or contact a government representative about an important issue (Success!)
- Volunteer for a cause I care about, or donate money to support an important cause (I donated… the easy way out for the caring but lazy)
- Take on a new green initiative. (For May: recycling every time and beginning to compost) (I give myself an A- for recycling—there’s no recycling program where I work, and bringing unwashed recyclable containers home can be tricky—but I’ve done much better than in the past. As for composting… it’s a challenge in a city apartment with no yard. I’m still trying to work out the kinks on this one!)
- Spend time learning about a social, political, or environmental issue (This is where I dropped the ball. I’ve been reading and enjoying fiction instead)
For next month, I want to take on the added challenge of using environmentally friendly products—let’s see how that goes!
5. Make Time for Friends (and Family)
I’ve gotten sucked into work and away from friends more than I’ve meant to, but I’ll get to see many good friends because I have a birthday coming up!
6. Keep Writing!
Okay—time for my new challenge! For the month of June, I’m going to try to write a blog post every day. I’m going to try out some new ideas, and possibly take this blog in a new direction—or, at least, do one thing every day that is not working, battling traffic, or lazing around and watching TV!
So, that’s it! Another month of mixed progress, but a new project I’m looking forward to sharing over the next month. I hope you enjoyed reading, and (if you’ve made it this far) I hope you’ll leave a comment and tell me about a project or goal you’re working on this month—or leave me tips about what you do when you feel stuck in a rut!