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.
Let me explain something that happened last month: a project that started as one thing transformed into something completely different and unexpected, and I’ve been questioning it ever since. Remember “No TV November?” The logic behind it was, as much of a part of me wanted to participate in NaNoWriMo, I knew it wasn’t going to happen for me this year. There’s too much going on at work for me to even pretend I plan to leave at a reasonable time, and given that, there just was not enough time in the evenings for me to take on a writing project. Thus, I thought, the only way I’m going to have more time is if I make more time, and the only way to make time is by… giving up TV.
So I made my plan, I gave up TV for the whole month of November… and what happened was not writing. What happened was not a short story, or even a blog post, and certainly not the beginning of a novel. Stranger yet, I also lost focus on several other projects I’d taken on. Progress toward finishing my online class slowed, and I went to the gym less regularly. By the end of the month, I missed TV so much that not watching it felt like a full-time job.
However, other unexpected things happened as well, and not all of them were bad. I didn’t get bored, which I fully expected to. I started practicing the piano regularly again, which I hadn’t since… well, at least since before my stint in Singapore. M and I spent a lot more time playing board games together, which was a delightful surprise for him. And for the week that M was away on a business trip, I spent a lot more time cooking and picked all vegetarian recipes as an added challenge. (I may have taken advantage of an opportunity to try out a delicious-sounding recipe that had all of M’s least favorite vegetables…)
Anyway, now I’m back to watching TV, and literally and figuratively back to the regularly scheduled programming! For the last time in 2017, I’m revisiting the goals I set for myself this year and… although this update will probably be a slightly disappointing one, I’m glad to come back to them a final time.
1. Cleaning and Downsizing
I’ve begun the dreaded task of sorting through and discarding the many boxes of mementos shoved in the back of the closet. I am, in so many ways, weighted down by the things that I am not ready to get rid of. I’m a sentimental person, so I still have boxes of old birthday cards and pamphlets from every play or concert I’ve attended since middle school… and it takes up a lot of space.
One strategy I’ve started using is to categorize things better. For example, all of the keepsakes from one trip (or one phase of my life) go into one box. Then, as I’m sorting through, I can choose a few things to remind me of that time and throw away the rest. I’ve managed to throw out two garbage bags full of stuff this way, which is progress! But even so, the process is overwhelming for me, and there is still a lot of work to do.
2. Nurture my Marriage
I am currently failing in my marital duty of accompanying my husband to the opening night of The Last Jedi. In my defense, I’ve been sick all week and didn’t have the energy for a late night out in the middle of everything. And in M’s defense, he took my “I’m sorry, but I’m really exhausted and I’m not going” pretty well.
I’m on track in terms of how things are going at work, but off track in the online class I was taking. Overall, the month has been a mixed bag. Working for such a small company, the opportunities for growth are less about vertical movement, and more about expanding the value I can bring to the company. I’ve been trying to learn as much as I can and take on new projects. So far, it has been challenging, but in a good way.
4. House Hunting
While not an official goal I set for this blog, this has been an ongoing process for me and M. There’s not much recent news to report, but there may be more in the coming year!
5. Make Time for Friends (and Family)
The holidays can be a blessing and a curse—on one hand, spending time with families and fiends can be amazing. On the other hand… it can introduce complications. Sometimes deciding which days to spend with whose family, and for how long seems like a no-win situation that can only end in disappointment and guilt. Since M is the only child of a single mother, we decided to combine the families and invite M’s mom to my family’s Thanksgiving dinner. However, it seemed like she spent a lot of the night feeling like a fish out of water, and although everyone tried to include her in the conversations, I couldn’t help but feel that she wasn’t having a good time. I hope this is something that will naturally resolve over time as she gets to know my family better! But for now, Christmas is less than two weeks away and plans are still up in the air… (If anyone has advice about combining families for the holidays, please let me know!)
6. Keep Writing!
Well, I’ve already mentioned how badly I failed at this goal the past month! Next year, I’m hoping to at least update this blog monthly, even if that is the only writing I do.
This post got a bit long, but it was also long overdue! What goals have you worked towards this month? Do you have any planned for next year?