Our View From Here

Perspectives of Five Women

Being Resolute

First, it feels good to be writing again. While I agree we all needed a break, but I’m glad we’re back at it.

Looking over the past year, I think I did pretty well achieving what I’d set out for myself. My first goal was to move out into my own place. I had planned to do this around February or March, but due to some minor (but costly) medical tests, that was delayed until October. I moved to north Seattle, cutting my commute time to about a quarter of what it was. There’s a nice area to take Toby out to and it’s a lot more convenient to everything.

My second goal was to expand my social circle. Strictly speaking, I achieved this as well, but not as much as I had hoped. I made more friends at work and have gone out with them on occasion. I have stayed in touch with some of my friends in my grad program as well. Finally, I met some great folks in the running group I joined in August. I would have liked to have done more though. Maybe 2012 will be different.

My third goal – improve my health – was a great success. I joined Weight Watchers in January. I’d had success with WW before, so I hoped it would work well this time. Between January and June, I lost 20 lbs. More importantly, I kept it off (except for a couple pounds that jumped back on around the holidays – I blame my Italian in-laws for that one!) In March or April, I began running. This is something that I’d always wanted to do, but never had the stick-to-it-ness needed. I joined a group of colleagues in a weekly run. Over the summer, I started up with the Seattle Green Lake Running Group and found myself running on Saturday mornings. I even did two races – the 10K Dawg Dash to support University of Washington Scholarships in October and the Seattle Half Marathon just after Thanksgiving. While I didn’t do as well in the half marathon as I would like, I finished and now I’m hooked. I’ve alread signed up for a second one and am seriously considering two others in the coming year. So, I feel that 2011 was a very successful year.

Unlike my fellow bloggers, I feel that it is very important to list my goals here. This keeps me accountable. Had I not written my goals in this blog last year, I don’t know if I would have been so successful in achieving them.

I have two running goals. The first is to PR in a half-marathon this year. If I’m healthy, this shouldn’t be too hard. I hurt my knee five miles into the race and hobbled along the rest of the way. Ideally, I would like to break 2 hours, 30 minutes, but anything shorter that the 2:55 I did would make me happy. The second is to run a total of 500 miles for the year, which is an average of about 10 miles a week (taking into consideration recovery time after races.) Last year, I ran a little over 200 miles, but my training was very inconsistent and I took long breaks. I’m hoping having this goal will help me stick to my training schedule.

My household based goal is to work on purging a lot of the stuff I have and don’t need. When I moved from NYC, I took a lot of stuff that I thought I needed. Turns out, after four years in storage, I realize that I don’t need a lot of it. Also, with my Kindle, a lot of the books I have I don’t really need anymore. So the Goodwill and Half Price Books will be my friends this year as I try to pare down the stuff I have accumulated.

Finally, I want to be more social. I know this is the same as last year, but I don’t feel I did a great job at it. I’ve started branching out and moving closer to the city has helped.  I’ve made friends through running and I would like to get involved in some other activities that can only help.

Here’s hoping that 2012 will be as productive as 2011 was for me!

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Thank you and Goodbye, 2011. Welcome, 2012!

Happy New Year!

Overall, 2011 was a pretty good year for me. My biggest accomplishment was getting a new job. I’ve been in my new position for just over three months and it’s been a huge learning process. I suppose that’s to be expected with any new job though. I don’t know yet that this work will be my life’s passion, but I’m pretty sure I’ll get a lot out of it, which suits me just fine right now.

In retrospect, 2011 was filled with a lot of fun events. It was a great year for diving. I improved significantly and am much more confident in my abilities now. I had a phenomenal trip to NC where I was able to explore WWII ship wrecks and swim with sharks. It was an amazing experience and I’m eagerly anticipating this year’s NC trip. A month later, I had a wonderfully relaxing vacation in SC with my husband, the first since our honeymoon in 2009. I also got to visit friends in Boston, Philly, DC and NH, had a camping trip with friends in June and attended a multi-location wedding celebration in NC and OH for a very good friend. It’s these experiences and the associated memories that come to mind when reflecting on 2011, not all the muck and difficulties that would come up and stress me out throughout the year. I’m pretty pleased with that realization.

I have big hopes for 2012. As per my usual practice, I’m not really focused on making resolutions. But I am trying to be aware of what I can change in my life to make it even better than last year.

I wish all of you a wonderful 2012. May it be filled with happiness, health, love and ice cream.

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2011: Reflection on a Year of Big Changes

2011 was a year fraught with changes for me. I started the year being freshly laid off and looking for a new job. I found a job, moved to a new state and, to put it mildly, its been an eye opening year. It’s been fraught with unexpected joys like root canals and dental crowns and meeting a wide array of new people. I’ve gotten the chance to spend more time with friends I rarely got to see and miss seeing friends and people who used to be there everyday.

I suppose that’s normal in every year. People will come in and out of your life. Friends will get married or have children. I suppose this is all part of being a grown up. I’ve had more than one day where I’ve longed for those days I couldn’t wait to be all grown up. I don’t know what I was in such a hurry for. In all fairness to that young kid this is not at all what she had in mind when she grew up.

I’d like to say moving worked out wonderfully and my job is fantastic and that every decision was the right one . Sadly that’s not the case. I supposed that’s part of being an adult too, making a decision and dealing with the consequences if it turns out it wasn’t the right one for you. I was hoping to find exactly what I need right out of the gate this year but that didn’t happen. That’s ok though. One thing I’ve learned from this year is that if this isn’t right its ok. It isn’t permanent(A mantra I’ve had to repeat on the really bad days). I can go back to the drawing board and find the place that’s right for me.

Overall it’s been a very educational year and a big test of my character. I’ve been reminded that I have many wonderful and supportive friends that are there for me when things get tricky. This year might not have turned out exactly as I planned but it’s taught me a lot about who I am and how much learning and growing I still need to do. I’ll stumble through until I get an epiphany showing me exactly what I should do but as  I muddle through that I know my friends and family will help me while I try to figure it out.

Much like Isabella, I’ve made some resolutions. Most of them pertain to getting my life where I want it. I’m not going to share them here, also like Isabella, I like to keep them private. I don’t even plan on writing them down. They are just going to remain deposited in my mind. Some are big far reaching goals and some are small baby steps to a happier me. One resolution I will share, I am going to create a bucket list. I’ve spent a lot of this year focused on just my job. A bucket list will help me focus on all the other things I want that have nothing to do with my job.

This past year might not have been the best but hopefully way down the road I’ll look back on it as a big turning point in my life or maybe just as the year I got my first root canal.

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Revisiting Resolutions

It’s my turn to evaluate how I’ve done on my resolutions so far this year. Technically we should have done this a month ago – closer to an actual halfway point – but alas, here we are.

I had three goals for this year:

Goal #1:  Move out to my own place

So, this hasn’t happened yet, but it should within the next two months. Due to some unexpected medical bills (nothing serious, don’t worry!), I ended up using my security and pet deposits to pay those off. It turned out to be to my advantage that I stayed where I am to get this stuff taken care of, so I don’t count this as a failure. I am in the process right now of looking for an appropriate place and hope to move out around the beginning of September or October, depending on what I can find.

Goal #2: Expand my social circle

I suppose this is a minor success. Since I started a new job last September, I’ve met a lot of new people. However, it wasn’t until January or so that I actually started to get to know any of them. I volunteered to chaperone a weekly ski trip and met several of them that way. I also became a part of a couple of committees that has broadened my social horizons. The major hurdle, however, continues to be the distance that I live from the city. Twenty miles doesn’t seem like that far, but when you have to drive all the way home to let your dog out, you don’t feel like driving back that twenty miles that evening to go out with friends. Moving closer will help. I’ve also recently joined a running group and hopefully will make some new friends there.

Goal #3:  Improve my health

This has been a great success at this point. There are two main parts to this goal – weight and fitness. I joined Weight Watchers in January and stuck to the plan with fidelity for at least four months. I got really good at making various soups for lunches which I loved. The crock pot became a very good friend.  Prior to my recent trip east, I had lost 19 pounds. I’m not quite to my goal, but summer is difficult for me to stick with any real diet because I get bored and there is food around. So, I’m not expecting any great gains during the summer – I’m happy to hold steady. Come September, though, we’re back to game on.

The second part – fitness – has also been a big success. I started a Couch to 5K running program back in March. At first, I was only able to run for about two minutes and walk for two minutes. Before long, I was able to run for thirty minutes straight. I was up to 4 miles when I first got to New Jersey in early July. However, due to the unbearably warm temps in the east, the lack of time while traveling, and lack of place to run, I slipped back a little bit, but I’m building back up again. I have signed up for the Seattle Half Marathon in November and I will continue to work with my running group when school gets back in session. So, I’d say it’s a success, but still room to keep going!

I think I’ve done a pretty good job so far this year. We’ve got five months left to complete them, so maybe we’ll do a recap in December before making our new goals!

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Resolution Scorecard

Exercise: Overall my goal was to exercise more, but specifically I had mentioned that I wanted to get back to doing pilates and begin a running program.

I was pretty successful at the overall concept of this goal, but not the execution that I set out. As with most exercise goals, I did well for the first few weeks and then started to slip back into my old ways. March was a rough month, but I rebounded in April and went to the gym steadily up until the past two weeks when I started getting too busy (back at it this week though). I even went to the gym enough times to qualify for my health insurance gym reimbursement. It was pretty sweet to get a $200 check just for going to the gym.

Scuba ended up being a pretty powerful motivator. When we signed up to go on our trip to NC I realized that the trip was going to be much easier if I could get into better shape. I also figured that if I had to be on the boat at 6am, I better start getting myself ready to be up and functioning at that time. And so began my 5:30am gym visits. It’s a bit rough, but I do enjoy getting up in the morning and having some time to myself before I run right to work.

I had a lot of trouble starting a running program. No matter what I did, I couldn’t seem to find a good stride to get into that didn’t end up hurting me for days after. I eventually gave up on that and focused on the elliptical and the circuit gym. I bought some new gym shoes this past weekend and am going to try running again to see if it’s any better. As for pilates, if I go to the gym in the morning, I just don’t seem to have the energy to do pilates when I come home at night. Just the same, I would still like to get back into it so I might try again once I’m back to my normal gym schedule.

Cook: I made some progress on this but not as much as I had hoped. I haven’t gotten into the routine of making the big meals on Sundays so I could have leftovers, but I do seem to be making dinner a bit more during the week. I’m also getting better at including some more side dishes to have a more balanced diet. Still lots of progress to make on this front, but I imagine it’ll wait until the fall. Cooking in the summer is no fun in a small kitchen with no ventilation.

Patience and Temper:  Wait….this was a goal I made? Well crap. Ummm….I haven’t made much progress on this front…..because I had forgotten I was trying to make progress on this front. Oh well. Maybe next year, but I doubt it.

So, my scorecard ends with one resolution pretty successfully kept, one moderately there, and one forgotten. Given my history with resolutions, I’m a little proud of that.

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Status Report: Resolution Style

So this week we’re looking back to see how we did on our resolutions. I re-read my post stating my very simple resolution (“Find a job”). So did I follow through with my resolution? In a word: Yes.

I rather quickly found a job up here in CT and within a month of writing that post I was trying to find an apartment. The transition has been exhausting. Moving to a new place is as difficult as I thought it would be. The job isn’t quite what I expected it to be but I’m slowly figuring out how to make it work well. I’m really mostly tired. I had a long weekend recently where I was able to get away. It was just long enough to make me realize that I needed more time off. It also gave me a chance to reflect. I didn’t become totally refreshed but it was enough to make me change my perspective on my new home. I haven’t done much exploring and that doesn’t really help a person to learn a new area. So I’ve decide to try something new in the area once a week or at least go exploring in my car.

The job has had its ups and downs. Some days get to the point where I second guess my decision. I’ve decided this is also a waste of energy. The decision has been made. No matter how bad some days may be I’m getting good experience that will make me that much more marketable in the future. Builds character right?

I look at that old post and am reminded of the whirlwind of emotions I was dealing with that day. Some of them come back. I really do miss the people I used to work with. We really had a great time together. I was having a conversation with someone and she said, “It may be over but you can at least be grateful that you had it. Not many people get to work with a group like that.” I think that’s a pretty good way to see it. who knows maybe someday I’ll find it again. It’s amazing how things can change. I just need to look at the last 6 months to know that.

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New Year is an Understatement

I know this week we’re supposed to give our resolutions. I’m like Isabel and Amanda and don’t normally make them. I also have bigger things on my mind right now. In three quick words I can give my New Years Resolution: Find a job.

Today is my last day at my current job. I’ve been with this company nearly 8 1/2 years. It was the first company I worked for out of college. I’ve worked in different jobs and different departments and have gotten to know so many people. After today I’ll never see most of them ever again. This has been an interesting week with the full spectrum of emotions.

I’ve been excited about the prospect of going anywhere. Free to start anew at a different company with different responsibilities. The next minute I’ll be panicking. Horrified that my income, that’s been so stable and secure the past 8 years, is gone and I have no idea where my next paycheck will come from. Overwhelmed at the to do list in my head: Sign up for unemployment, find health insurance that won’t eat up all of my unemployment money, pack because no matter where I end up I’ll be moving, sign up for an IRA so Ican move my 401k money (I keep forgetting this one which is why I listed it.). I know there are things I’m forgetting. Everyday it seems like there is something else I need to do to prepare myself for this change over.

And then I just become sad. I’ve gotten to meet and know some fantastic people at this job. People I looked forward to seeing everyday. People that may frustrate you sometimes but for the most part made you smile and laugh…a lot. I worked with some of the craziest characters I’d ever met. You can’t write characters like this. Nowhere else have I been where there are stories that end with “I took a Xanax, had a glass of wine,and woke up in Amsterdam.” Priceless. I will miss everyone here so much.

But I’m trying to look forward to the possibilities of the future. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence right? Now I get to explore the other side of the fence. I’ve never left the area I grew up in. Even for college, I stayed in the same state. Studying 3 hours from home. I still live in the house I grew up in. It’s time to see what life is like in other places. I have a couple areas in mind. Right now I’m focused on New England but that could change. Who knows? That’s the exciting and terrifying part of it all.

I’ve told myself over and over, “I will be fine everything will work out.” Friends and family say the same thing. Doubt will creep in and I’ll have an anxiety attack for a little while. I fear that I’ll make the absolute wrong decision. When I do, my loved ones are there to remind me, “If you follow your gut and your heart you will be fine. When its right you’ll know it.” I’ll have a new job and a new life and all will be well.

Today I just need to get through the saying good bye part.

This song has been in my head all week. I think it fits.

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2011

This year I resolve to:

  • Spend more time with my friends.
  • Spend more time outdoors.
  • Eat less; move more.
  • Spend less; save more.
  • Write more, of everything: email, letters, cards, essays.

It’s a typical list, no?  It’s approximately the same one I make every year.  In 2010 I even made significant progress on several of these fronts.  I made myself proud, really.  I didn’t make any changes until mid-year, so I suppose that doesn’t really count as keeping a New Year’s Resolution, but rather, just making a change.

This year, the holidays hit me hard and I hit right back:  I hit the cookies; I hit the booze; I hit the buffet table (multiple times).  So, I’m resolving, right here and now, to attack my New Year’s Resolutions with the same vigor and intensity that I’ve had for food and drink these past few weeks.

Saturday morning, I’m going for a run.  It will be my first since Thanksgiving.  Wish me luck!

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Res-o-lu-TION!!!!

(title should be sung as “Tradition!” from the musical “Fiddler on the Roof”…because that’s what popped in my head as I was sitting down to write my post today).

So Isabel’s post yesterday kind of took the wind out of my sails. Generally, I don’t make resolutions either. While I agree with Isabel’s stance of making a change when you’re ready and not just because it’s a new year,  if I want to be honest about it, my reason for not making New Years resolutions is because I know I’m not going to keep them, so why set myself up for disappointment? With that kind of attitude though, it’s hard to get anywhere. So I’m going to go against my normal practice and make some full on resolutions this year. Here goes:

Exercise: Quite possibly the most common New Year’s resolution. And quite possibly one of the most failed New Year’s resolutions. However, I feel I have a leg up on my exercise resolution. Several weeks ago, I started doing pilates and I’m really enjoying it. Unfortunately, with the craziness of the holidays, I got a bit off track in the last two weeks. I’m back at it THIS WEEK, rather than waiting for next week.

My other fitness-related goal is to start running. Here too, I have a bit of an advantage. I already told a friend I would do a 5K for one of the Breast Cancer charities this year. It’s one thing to go back on one of my resolutions, but it’s an entirely other matter to not uphold a commitment I made to someone else. I hope this commitment will be the motivation I need to get into a regular running program. But to help keep me in that frame of mind, I started reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougal.

Cook: I’m beyond tired of my dinners of pasta and garlic bread or cereal or PB&J. It’s time to start expanding my repertoire, and maybe even get to a point where I have multiple side dishes with my entrée. It’s a crazy notion, but I think it might be just crazy enough to work. I’m going to shoot for making a big dinner on Sunday, and have enough for lunch and leftovers for a day. If I can do that, and 2-3 more meals a week, I’ll be happy.

Patience and Temper: I’m not always a patient person. I also have quite the temper. I’m going to work on reigning in both this year. I know I’m not going to turn into Mother Theresa overnight, but if I can keep myself in check a quarter of the time more than I’m doing now, I’ll figure that’s pretty good progress.

I think that’s a good start. Like I said before, I don’t make resolutions so because I know I’m not going to keep them. I think these are pretty reasonable, and certainly attainable. I think the one that has the highest chance of failing is the cooking resolution, but I should be able to handle three meals a week.

To keep myself honest, I’ll use one of my free posts in a few months to report back on my status.

For all of you who make resolutions, good luck fulfilling them! And best wishes to everyone for a happy and healthy New Year!

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