Hello, dear readers. It’s time, once again, (long past, really), for a progress update on this year’s resolutions, or experiments, as I like to call them. And what an appropriate time to reflect and take stock than right at the approach of the Autumnal Equinox?
It’s been an interesting year, so far. As always, nothing has been as planned, exactly. But I feel I’ve been pretty consistently making progress on my path – through many self-corrections, re-directions, stumbles, and pauses along the way.
It’s been really interesting to me how, especially in the last few months, I’ve been noticing so many pieces of my past resurfacing in both new and familiar ways, presumably so that I might start addressing those old patterns and emotional residues to allow for more progress and growth in the now.
This does, of course, mean some pretty gnarly pitfalls as I struggle to, first, recognize when one of these ‘opportunities for growth’ is presenting itself, and, secondly, to figure out how to break an old un-serving pattern, then, thirdly, to establish a new and healthy way to handle the situation. Whew! It’s a lot of work, but it tells me that I have chosen some very appropriate experiments for my Self this year. So, let’s check in on my progress, shall we?
Experiment #1: Formally observe the Wheel of the Year. Write blog posts on each. Make videos on each.
Well, I’ve done everything here except make videos. And I’m okay with that. I’m already feeling a closer connection with Mama Nature as a result, and am so glad I’m doing this.
Experiment #2: Try something new. Choose (minimum) 6 new things to try this year.
While I have not as yet been sticking to the list of activities I planned for this experiment – SUP Yoga, solo camping trip, meetup group, aerial dance, sewing from pattern, hang gliding – I have been trying new things … and having a blast! I didn’t get to take an SUP Yoga class, but I did get to do some Stand-Up Paddling, which I’d never done before. It was great fun, and I hope to do more of it again in the future. I also went rock climbing for the first time. I’ve wanted to do this for ages, and finally some friends invited me to be their guests at the rock gym. It was so much fun. I absolutely loved it. And I felt doubly proud of myself for conquering my fear of heights as I conquered the wall. I’ve done some online dating this year. It may not seem as daring as some of the other items on the list, but, for me, it takes a great deal of courage to do it. I’ve put up profiles before, and fielded a few emails, but I’ve never actually let myself go through with any dates … until now. No real luck in finding my Prince Charming, yet, but it’s still something new that takes me [way] out of my comfort zone, so I’m counting it. I am still planning a solo camping trip, and hope to attend a meetup soon. (I had planned to go to one recently, but a terrible headache squashed those plans.) We’ll see what else I can get into by year’s end.
Experiment #3: Start a YouTube channel. Make regular monthly posts.
This experiment has been a bust … so far, at least. We’ll see if I get any traction on it this year. If not, I’ll add it to next year’s list.
Experiment #4: Save some money.
Well, I am managing to do this, but I am also, then, spending that saved money, so it’s been kind of a wash so far. I’m not spending terribly frivolously, a lot of it is my trying to pay down my quarterly taxes and my debt, but I do have a habit of spending mindlessly at times. The entire experiment is forcing me to take a strong look at my relationship with finances, and to seek out and implement new strategies that will work for me. So, progress is happening.
Experiment #5: Volunteer!
Once again, I’m sad to report that I’ve had an epic fail in the volunteering department. I still have a few months left, though, to get organized enough to make this happen on the regular for next year.
Experiment #6: Take a proper vacation.
Done! My trip to Belize took care of this one! You can read about it HERE.
Experiment #7: Go fully raw LFHC vegan for one month, beginning with a 3-day stint on Banana Island.
I’ve not done a straight month, but I’ve been pretty consistently mostly raw low fat vegan for the better part of this year. I’m no longer interested in Banana Island, so that’s not a priority. I have learned that I feel about a million times better when I’m eating low fat raw vegan, but I do occasionally give into emotional/nostalgic cravings. I’m okay with that right now, but I feel like I’m on the road to more and more raw every day. And I think this might have been one of the best goals I have ever set for myself. Yay!
Experiment #8: One month of super productivity.
Well, this was kind of a badly constructed resolution. I didn’t make it very quantifiable, did I? Being a classic Tortoise – slow and steady wins the race! – I will never be as super-productive as those Hares out there who spend every waking hour making things and/or making things happen. That said, though, I’ve been much more productive this year than I have been in many long years. I’ve been trying to create more clarity about what I want my life to look like, and how I want to spend my time, and the clearer that vision gets, the easier it is to set to work making it happen. I still have a lot of work ahead to hone my vision, my desires, and my self-motivational style, but the cogs are turning and things are happening, and that’s a good start.
Experiment #9: Be creative. Have at least 6 finished products by year’s end.
This resolution has been signed, sealed and delivered! I’ve been doing embroidery projects (tea towels, handkerchiefs), made a spirit house for my recently departed four-legged nephew, and making bath salts. I’ve made lavender sachets, a pinecone garland, and dehydrated some citrus slices to be used in a gratitude garland, and, possibly, some homemade tea blends. I made costume accessories for a short film. I’ve made a Bride’s Cross, a pine straw besom, and an altar cloth. And I’ve got several more projects in the works. So, yeah, creativity? I’m on it!
Experiment #10: Write an ebook and sell it online.
Well, I have made several starts on some book ideas, but I think the one that might actually get made this year, is a recipe book that I’m currently developing. It will be mostly low fat raw vegan recipes, with some transitional foods recipes, as well. I figured it was best to start simple, and see how the process works. We’ll see whether or not it will be finished by the end of the year.
Experiment #11: Pay off debts by a minimum 50% by year’s end.
Ironically, I did this already, but then I had some unexpected business expenses (and a few personal expenses) that put me right back where I was when I made this resolution. I have a solid plan in place, though, for paying them down, so I’m feeling, again, like I’m making progress. I’m also remembering why having debt sucks so much. It’s a cyclical downward spiraling situation. Debt begets debt, as the payments and interest rates make a small salary evaporate faster than rain on Southern blacktop. I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all. (On the Pollyanna side, though, I’m rebuilding my credit now that I have credit again. So, that’s good, I guess.)
Experiment #12: Reduce consumption, and, therefore, cost of living.
This was another instance of a poorly written resolution. I didn’t leave any hints on how to quantify success here. I can say that just trying to educate myself on the subject has been hugely helpful to me. I’m learning so much … about reducing my footprint, but also about myself, and my relationship to stuff and money. I have managed to make some fairly significant cuts in my budget and am continually looking for more opportunities to streamline my living and minimize my consumerism. It’s a challenge as I came of age in the 80’s, which begat in me a strong nostalgic connection to buying shit. But I’m working through these attachments and trying to find new, more fulfilling ways to address those emotional needs.
All in all, I’m still really happy with the resolutions I’ve chosen for myself this year. And I’m feeling pretty good about my progress. I’m learning so much and feel like I’m improving myself in some really positive and healthy ways. Perhaps some of this work is overdue, but personal growth is a good idea any time, in my book.
How about you? Did you set resolutions this year? Are you keeping to them? Are you learning from them? Are they helping you grow? I hope so.