Gee willikers, Radioactive Man, we are already halfway through 2020. While I am tempted to sit and wallow in my little pit of denial a bit longer, I suspect I have a better way to deal with this mini-existential-crisis-in-the-making. While it’s true that this year holds the record for worst played game of Jumanji in recent history, there’s still six months stretching out before us. Now, granted; there is the distinct possibility that next month a well-intentioned scientist will bring back tyrannosaurus rex (but with longer arms and an insatiable taste for human flesh), or not-so-friendly aliens in search of their next home world will invade (and they won’t be susceptible to water or the common cold), or we will discover that those monsters in Tremors have finally woken up from a long hibernation (and they are pissed). In spite of the possibilities, I would still like to hold out hope that this dumpster fire of a year might be turning around. Ha- I know, I may have just jinxed the entire human race. My bad.
The point that I’m very slowly meandering towards (sorry, it was way too fun coming up with different end-of-the-world scenarios) is that the past six months have made for an extraordinarily painful year for the vast majority of people. But here’s the silver lining: oftentimes the painful moments lead to the most growth. We’ve been given a glimpse of a future we don’t want to continue towards. We’ve been given a time out to reevaluate what we want from our lives, our employers, our neighbors, and our countries. I could go down the political rabbit hole right now, but I’m going to pump the brakes on that one for today. Right now my focus is going to be narrowed considerably. I think most of us have come to a impasse where change is going to be a requirement moving forward. We want to change society as a whole and the systems we live our lives within, we want to change the working environment that has not prioritized us as human beings. We want to change our role in the spaces in inhabit. But change starts with us before it can ripple out and take over the rest of the world.
It’s been a while since I’ve done any in-depth goal planning for my life. Primarily because when the world hits the proverbial pause button and you don’t know what your new normal will look like a week from now, it’s difficult to plan much farther than ‘today.’ But at the moment, I can see my personal trajectory a little bit better (and also: I’ve become a black belt in the art of pivoting when life throws a punch, so bring it June, I’m ready for ya) so I’m feeling a little bit more comfortable with this whole ‘planning’ thing. Which leads me back down an old path: monthly goal planning sessions- that’s right, time to get pumped.
It’s become abundantly clear to me that I am not particularly happy with my day-to-day routine. While I work in a field that I enjoy, the actual tasks in my wheelhouse are not things that I find rewarding. The pandemic has changed some of that; I’ve delved into creative problem-solving that will have a long-term impact on my organization, and I am very proud of that. But I know that once the dust settles, I’ll be given a thank you and shooed back to regularly scheduled programing. I think it might be time to start winding down this clock and looking for opportunities that will allow me to be a better person than I am right now. I’m worried that I’m getting jaded, and I don’t want to be that snarly woman who is afraid of change. So what now? What can I do this month that will allow me to walk into the apocalypse with a clear mind?
For starters: it’s time to make arrangements to get back to school. I need to wind down my work hours so that I can accommodate night classes again. I need to save up enough money and register for a realistic course load. This is a road I have been down before, and it’s time to finish what I started. Bonus: most campuses are focusing on e-learning, which is something I am actually pretty good at, so that’s awesome.
Next: double down on the things I love because maybe, just maybe, I can turn them into something. I need to figure out why I don’t have faith in some of my dreams. Why don’t I believe my career goals are worth anything if they don’t include a 9 to 5 and a desk I’ll repeatedly bang my shin on. So perhaps this summer is the chance I need to reinvest in myself and my creative endeavors. Furthermore, even if these passions of mine never strike gold- I know without a shadow of a doubt that I am a better person when I invest in them. They light a fire in my soul that is not easy to quench.
It’s a given that I will keep pursuing my Creativity Challenge, but I can take it one step farther. We live in a unique time where you can do just about anything if you have a decent internet connection and some drive. So for June I will challenge myself to create, to dig deep and push harder with my writing, with my arts, with my creative endeavors (see silly pencil drawing above). Because who knows if this was the key all along and I was too scared to trust it. The goal is to stop being afraid of imperfection in your art, in your creations: hence why I am going to post the beautiful right next to the ugly. You never know embers are going to catch until you let them fly.
I’ve always been a pretty liberal thinker, and I have never shied away from sharing my opinions with those in my life. That being said, I tend to avoid certain topics on this blog, and I don’t really have a reason why. But I think enough is enough. I can’t be honest with my work if I’m not fully open as well. So June is going to be a time to amplify the causes I care about. And if I offend anyone…well, then that happens. I’m not really at a place where I am willing to apologize for that anymore.
The key to any decent goal setting is actionable steps. If you have read a single self-help or motivational book, you will know exactly what I am talking about. Overarching ideas are pretty, but they don’t get the job done. So. Actions to be taken in June for this little bug:
- Take care of yourself in order to take care of others
- drink 70 oz of water a day
- 30 minutes of movement a day
- journal at least twice a week
- daily gratitude: write it down, say it, scream it for the neighbors (actually, don’t to that, they wouldn’t like it)- spend 5 minutes listing out 10 things you are grateful for in that particular day
- Career and Education
- Make a back-to-school plan and budget for the fall
- Complete one online course (Masterclass, Coursera, Udemy- there are a hundred)
- Read 1,500 pages (audiobooks also acceptable): I’ll talk about reading lists later this week
- Minimum of 3 new blog posts per week (reintroduce old segments, such as Lush-Us Lessons, Mimosa Musings, Reading Challenge Spotlights, add a weekly Signal Boost)
- Creativity Challenge: pick a weekly theme and complete one small task every day, plus one larger challenge each week. (example: drawing/painting one week, needlework and sewing another week, plotting how to take over the world can be week 3)
- Finish editing Fan Fiction piece and upload it at the end of the month
- Work on WIP for 30 minutes every day (even when you don’t feel like it)
- Plot for July Camp Nano
So, my bookish allies, raise your favorite beverage (or the one closest to you at the moment). Cheers to us, to this new adventure, to making plans at the end of the world. May the remainder of 2020 not be a dumpster fire, and may this year wind up becoming the most important one of all.