Do I Really Need This?

Every now and then I go through phases where I see how much money I’ve spent or I look at the stuff around me and think, “Good God, I am a colossal fuck-up.”

I spent a few months in the homeland and spent a ton of money. So much is so readily available there that isn’t where I spend most of my year. Craft stores tend to be my downfall. I love walking through them and seeing all the possibilities. I even used some of it this summer! I made THINGS!

When it comes time to pay my taxes though, I see how much I spent instead of saving to pay my taxes. I panic a little when this happens. I *know* I should save the tax money. I generally don’t think about how much it’s really going to be. (This is one of the pitfalls of being self-employed.)

I chastise myself after the fact about how wasteful I am. I’m not sure why I do it since it’s not like I didn’t know what I was doing at the time and it certainly doesn’t change the situation. I just end up feeling bad about myself. It’s like bingeing on junk food – feels good at the time, pay for it later.

I’m about to venture into a new business that requires the largest up-front investment I’ve ever made. It’s exciting – really exciting. However, I am basically going to have to become a completely different person when it comes to money. I want to pay myself back for the initial investment as well as continue investing in the business. This will leave me almost no room for the junk food-style bingeing I like to do.

I don’t want to be a junk food binger anymore, whether it’s food or money. I learned recently that I don’t usually feel so good when I do either, so why continue to do it? You know you’ve hit a new point in your life when you not only feel the after-effects, but you feel it WHILE you’re doing it.

My goal now is to look at everything I buy and think – Do I really need this? Need is obviously a relative term. Compared to people all over the world, my answer for most things would be a resounding “no.” No, you don’t *need* a smartphone to survive. That’s not a realistic way for me to look at things.

I had a discussion with a friend the other day about some clothes we were looking at buying. She clarified some as “must-have” versus “cute, but would be okay not having.” Pretty much all purchases fall into those two categories, but I add a third one “why am I looking at this?” I can’t tell you how many things I’ve gone home with and I later look back and think, “Was I under the influence when I bought that?” Sadly, that’s almost never the case. Just monumental lapses in judgment.

We all have things that lift our spirits. We can’t always explain why they do, but that doesn’t matter. If it’s something that will bring joy to my life *and* I will use it, I’m okay with that purchase. I saw a Star Wars Furbacca at Target the other day. It took a surprising amount of willpower to resist buying it. As a teenager I owned a Furby because I *had* to have one. The poor thing mostly sat on a shelf, staring at me from its horribly large eyes. I never talked to it or got it to speak anything other than Furbish.

Despite knowing that I might never actually play with it, I desperately wanted this Chewbacca to come home with me. Had it been cheaper (I thought it was $70, apparently it’s *only* $50), I may have bought it anyway. I’m a big fan of the loyal Chewbacca. But do I really need him as a Furby? No. Am I still tempted? Yes.

Mr. Lyndsy and I have a terrible habit of wasting food. We buy fruits, veggies, and meat, and then get too lazy to cook them. They turn into science experiments in the fridge and we go out to eat. Eventually one of us gets disgusted by what’s happening in our science lab of a refrigerator and we clean it out. We vow to never let it get that bad again. Until the next time, anyway.

Once I modified my diet, it happened a bit less. Going out to eat became an unpleasant experience as my stomach reacted violently to what I ate. Since I was spending more time in the fridge to find foods that wouldn’t upset me, less stayed in there longer.

We both know that eating the fruits and veggies we have at home is better than going out to eat. I like knowing exactly what I’m eating. I don’t have the luxury of eating whatever I fancy. I am beyond tired of feeling sick all the time. I finally hit THAT point. The one where I’m actually willing to do the right things.

Before I buy anything, I will be asking myself, “Do I really need that? How does this fit into my larger plan?” If the answer is that I don’t need it or it derails my larger plan – whether it’s being healthy emotionally, physically, or financially, I won’t buy it.

Sounds simple, but I know what a struggle this will be for me. I decided that my goal for this year was to be healthy. I meant it physically, but now I can see that I was really missing the mark. To achieve health in any of the big areas, I need to work at it in all three.

Yikes. Wish me luck, and also tell me – what are your best strategies for health, whether it’s emotionally, physical, or financial?

Zen Habits September Challenge: Unprocrastination

I clicked through a link on Facebook and found a site called Zen Habits. The challenge for September is to stop procrastinating. The goal is to spend 5 minutes every day, doing just one thing. No switching tasks. No stopping to check social media. Just focus on the one thing.

I’m going to try this. I need to go through my things, unclutter, decide what I really need and what I don’t.

I will even be able to use this unprocrastination to focus on writing and other creative projects as well. I don’t know when the last time was that I did just one thing for five minutes. I think it’s going to confuse my brain quite a bit.

It seems like multitasking has become a way of life. I’m torn on whether it’s a good thing or not. I feel more productive, but am I really? I have read articles that argue whether it’s really possible to multitask. And, if we are multitasking, is the quality of what we’re doing suffering?

I’m looking forward to doing this. Are you going to give it a try?

Wow, I have not been here for a while. I haven’t figured out what that says about what’s going on in my life right now. Either I’m busy and haven’t had time (seems not quite right) or I’m avoiding something (also doesn’t seem quite right).

I have been super busy lately. Being in a place where you’re surrounded by people you know and can access things like fun shopping and the gym easily means less time staring at walls. I’ve been hitting the gym 4-5 times per week which has been so good for my body. I feel strength I haven’t had in a long time. I’ve developed muscles in places I didn’t know you could have them. Shoulders have muscles? What?

Probably the best part about it has been the discipline I’ve exercised. I’ve talked before about how I struggled with discipline. I just cannot get myself to develop good habits. I do fine for a while and then the wheels fall off. My gym activities have been helped by the fact that I have a gym buddy. She’s using my guest pass to go to the gym, so I feel like I should show up so she can go. She comes because she knows I’ll be there so she can go. It’s working out well enough now that I think I’ll be able to continue it on my own.

 I need to work on developing better habits in the rest of my life. It’s almost 2:15am as I write this and I’m still awake because I totally failed at taking most of my meds on time today. Got the pill I take when I get up and… that’s it. When I don’t take my meds on time, things are not good. I feel joint pain. I don’t sleep. I have to get better.

I also know that there are other areas of my life (read: flossing, sorry J), that I’m terrible about too. It’s largely things that would make me healthier. The bad stuff is so much easier to do because we can accomplish it by doing nothing.

When I started thinking about what I could do to make myself be a better about healthy habits, I was thinking from the point of a reward system. How could I reward myself for doing the shit I’m supposed to be doing anyway. But now that I’m writing this, I’m irritated at myself.

For the things that are good for me, I should do them because I know that doing them will make me healthier. Health should be its own reward at this point in my life. The other part of the problem is how I would reward myself. Cake and other goodies that I would normally consider aren’t things I should be eating now anyway. Also,  I generally buy what I want when I want it (perhaps this is something I should be working on as well…) so there’s no saving up good behavior credits for a special something.

So, I have to suck it up and face the fact that sometimes in life, I just need to do something because it’s the best thing for me to do. I can’t expect to get a reward every time I do something I *should* be doing for myself. Chris Rock has a skit about it – I won’t mention where it comes from here, but if you’ve heard it, you’ll know what I’m talking about. He’s talking about people want recognition for things they should just be doing like, “I ain’t never been to jail!” Response, ” What you want? A cookie? You ain’t supposed to go to jail…”

I am a very visual person so I am going to track and monitor how well I stay on track with the things I should be doing. The plan is to have a calendar that I hang up where I can easily see it as a reminder. For this month, I’m focusing on three things and will give myself one star/sticker per day for each of the following:

  1. Take all of my meds ON TIME
  2. Brush my teeth twice/day, floss, mouthwash
  3. Meditate for at least 5 minutes

I already screwed up today, but since I just came up with this plan, I’m going to give myself a “N/A” for September 1.

What kinds of things do you feel like you could be better about? What do you think keeps you from doing what you feel you should?

Doing More

I feel like I’ve been able to do more lately, which is outstanding. Well, let’s be fair. When I say that I’ve been doing more, I should clarify what I’ve been doing.

As you know, this month’s 30-Day Project is to design a new cross stitch pattern every. That has been incredibly fun and it’s given me some vitality that I knew I’d lost. I feel driven to create and that hasn’t happened in a long time. I’m thinking about selling the patterns on Etsy once I get them reviewed and stitched up. Not sure how much success I’ll have, but I’ve gotten very good feedback on a lot of what I’ve done so far. People have even requested I send them the patterns to stitch!

I have also been reading more this year. When I do the Reading Challenges, I start slow and then, toward the middle of the year, realize that I haven’t been reading all that much. I frantically dedicate days to reading and get ahead. Then it trickles down as the year comes to a close. Since I joined NetGalley, I feel an obligation to read the books I’m gifted sooner rather than later, especially if the book hasn’t been released yet. Because I keep finding books that look great there and actually getting them, this means I’m committing myself to reading more than I had before.

I was doing my semi-regular cleaning out of email and sorting through things I have to pay for, and I discovered that I own a lot of domain names. Each domain name represents a project I started and haven’t finished. Part of the point of the 30-day Projects is to finish what I start. While that seems to be working (most of the time) on a concentrated scale, larger projects have been completely neglected.

I’m tired of doing that. I didn’t get rid of most of the domain names. I liked those ideas. I wanted something to happen to them. Lost of things got in the way – marriage (good thing!), health issues (bad things!), emotional issues (more bad things!), and trying to live in a new country (neutral thing).

I’ve been here long enough that I need to get my shit sorted out. The health issues aren’t really changing and I’m pretty much doing everything I can for them right now. The emotional issues are better when I’m being creative, so if I focus some more energy (through my 30-Day Projects) on creative things, some of the stuff I’ve been meaning to do that hasn’t been touched in ages may actually get a loving caress from me.

The first thing I need to do is sort it all out so I can get a grip on what’s actually out there. What I feel like I’m doing is standing still with things floating all around me. I need to grab them and stuff them in a box so they can’t get anywhere. Then, I’ll catalog the things so I can decide what I want to do. Then I’ll prioritize. Yes, this sounds like an excellent plan.

However, I could use some guidance on organization of intangibles. How do you keep your projects organized? How do you not let it overwhelm you?

New Year, No Goals

Well, it’s that time of year again. As the calendar flips form 2015 to 2016, most of us have a good think about the past year and how we’d like to do 2016 different. We resolve to be better about x, y, or z or we set goals like losing a certain number of pounds or whatever.

What I have come to learn this year is that goal-setting and resolving to do things only matters as long as your situation doesn’t change. My health went into the shitter last year. I don’t have the energy to do a lot of things I’d like to do. Getting on the elliptical 3 times per week would be a great goal, but sometimes my body just won’t do it.

Perhaps if I weren’t so hard on myself it may be okay to set goals. But if I say I’m going to do something 3 times per week and then I don’t do it, REGARDLESS OF THE REASON, I feel like I failed at it. That just makes me feel worse. I don’t see any point in driving myself crazy over something I don’t consider “mission critical.”

My only focus right now is trying to feel as good as possible as much of the time. Right now I just don’t know what that will entail exactly. I will probably figure it out as I go. I’m planning on going to Ireland this summer and that will be a lot of walking and carrying things. I need to feel pretty good going into that trip, so I suspect I will spend some time working out so that my back and leg don’t collapse on me while I’m there.

I’m debating whether to set another reading goal for myself. At times I felt pressured to read more, but reading makes me happy and forces me to relax. I love the reading challenge on Goodreads and seeing the progress bar move is hugely satisfying. My goal was 100 books for 2015 and I don’t know whether I feel like that was too ambitious or not. I did get t done AND ahead of schedule. I have a while to decide.

I will continue with my 30-Day Projects. They’re fun and I’m amused by them. I had ideas at first, but now I’m just sort of winging it. That seems to be working out okay though.

The big thing is that I won’t be setting any workout goals or weight loss goals. That’s more pressure than I can handle given the state of my body and my emotional state. I want 2016 to be pressure-free and happy. I have the luxury of being able to do that so I may as well take advantage.

To 2016 and feeling good!

Perhaps not a writer after all…

For years now, probably since my first National Novel Writing go in 2005, I have wanted to be a fiction writer. My mom has said that there was always at least a part of me that wanted to write, even as a kid. I got beaten down a little by my stepfather about it. He was an English teacher and just didn’t think I was any good at it. I don’t really think I felt like my mom thought I was much good either. I could do academic papers just fine, but I completely abandoned the fiction side of things until 2005.

Once I got married, took a part-time job, and moved across the world, I decided I would commit to writing. I was going to be a PUBLISHED AUTHOR! I had way more free time than I’d ever had before so clearly now was THE TIME.

I’ve been here over a year and I have just about no writing to show for it. I got 20,000 words into a mystery book last National Novel Writing Month and then just stopped. I got almost 10,000 in this year and then somehow wrote another 7,000 or so on the plane to visit family for Thanksgiving. Then didn’t pursue it any further.

It’s not that I don’t have ideas, I do. They’re not terrible ones either. Definitely books I think should exist. But I cannot seem to push myself to do anything about them.

There have been big things going on in my life over the last year and some. I had a major back surgery (that I didn’t think was that major – have since learned my lesson on that one since when they fuse anything, especially in your back, it’s a big deal), had complications, got married, moved overseas, didn’t have many local friends, had more surgery to deal with the complications of the back fusion, dealt with depression and anxiety. It’s enough to make anyone take some time.

But even when I was doing relatively okay, I wasn’t writing. November rolled around and I was like, “AHA! NOW is the time to write!” as though other months are off-limits from writing. Then, when November started, it was too much pressure and I just couldn’t.

Some of the time I think I forgot about the idea of just writing for fun and focused on the wrong thing – becoming published and making money. That isn’t why I started writing in the first place anyway. I started writing because I wanted to write happy endings for the people I knew when their lives weren’t really taking them to happy places. But once it stopped being about that and started being about other things, it didn’t hold the same interest.

I started working as a life coach in October. I only have one client, but so far I think it’s been great for both of us. One of the things we discussed was making lists. Lists give you a great sense of accomplishment when you can check something off as being done or not needing to be done. Lists can also let you know what you really value in your life. f you have a task on there (WRITE BOOK) that just doesn’t seem to be getting done no matter how many days, weeks, or months it spends on your list, it may just be something that isn’t that important to you.

And that’s where I am with the fiction writing. Rather than continue trying and beating myself up when it doesn’t happen, I’m going to let it go. Perhaps in the future my interest will swell and the words will flow. I’m too tuckered out with everything else in my life to beat myself up over this.

It’s also not like I don’t write. I do. It’s just not fiction. This blog is a place I can always come to get sorted out. I enjoy it. I have ideas at night that keep me up and it seems like if I just get them down on virtual paper, that my mind can rest a bit more easily.

So for now I’m going to focus on getting thoughts down onto paper when I have them, even if they’re about real people and real things and they aren’t going to make me any money.

30-Day Project: October Wrap-up & November

30-day Project

Hello November! My goal for October was to read for one hour every day. It didn’t always come in a one-hour block, and there were two days I didn’t read at all. However, I read 18… EIGHTEEN books this October! Even though I didn’t read an hour every day, these 18 book went a long way toward finishing my reading challenge of 100 books for the year. I was behind schedule at the beginning of October and now I am 7 books ahead of schedule! Which is good since November is all about writing.

That’s right! It’s National Novel Writing Month again! I didn’t finish last year which disappointed me. I had over 20,000 words in the first 10 days and then basically stopped. I had some personal things going on and it was a novel that should have been plotted out a bit more (murder mysteries need SOME planning). Even still, I wanted to finish. I liked what I had.

This year, after reading “2K to 10K” by Rachel Aron, I have decided to plot out my story (I did it the old fashioned way with notecards on a cork board) and then, each day before I start writing, to plot out what I want to accomplish in each chapter. After having done this for only today, I can tell that it’s going to make a big difference.

My goal for November is to write for the novel every day. To finish 50,000 words in November and “win” NaNoWriMo, I have to write at least 1,667 words per day. Today I wrote for an hour and a half and got almost 2,600 words done!

This is a novel I want to publish so I’m taking it pretty seriously. Knowing that is stressing me out more than it’s helping, but I’m tired of making excuses for myself for why things aren’t getting done. So I’m just doing it.

I am still going to try to read this month as well. To me, being a good writer comes in part from being a good reader. Every time I read a book, I’m adding more notes – don’t do this, do this, that’s a good item to add/good plot twist/etc.

If you’re interested in what I’m writing, let me know and I’ll fill you in!

Oh, I’m also going to be doing the 30 Days of Thanks! I should really focus on thanks every day of the year and perhaps once I get on a roll this month I will.

A Prescription for Change

Being sick for pretty much a whole month on top of the stress my body undergoes on a daily basis has sucked. A ton. I feel like I can probably add depression and anxiety to all of that. Physically and emotionally I am in a really fragile place right now.

In an attempt to try to get some control over some of my issues, I went to an endocrinologist on Sunday. He told me that I don’t have Hashimoto’s now, but it may become Hashimoto’s in the future. (I think he meant hypothyroid…) Accordingly, he won’t put me on medication unless my TSH, T3, or T4 readings come back out of normal range (they never have). The antibodies should come back positive, but he’s seen lab work like that already and doesn’t think it warrants medication. This is in spite of the fact that I present with all the symptoms. Based on my understanding, my numbers aren’t reliable since the thyroid hormones could just be in my blood after the thyroid gets attacked. Either way, it doesn’t look like I’ll be getting help from him.

What I’ve come to realize in the last few days is that my patience level is nowhere near what it usually is. Those who know me know that I don’t seem to suffer bullshit well normally. Imagine that what little you saw is now gone. Yeah, feel bad for the people around me who seem to want to try my patience. Or don’t, since they are trying my patience after all.

While I don’t like how I feel now at all, AT ALL, it’s given me a unique opportunity. I can take a look at my life, how I’m living it, who I involve in it, and what I do with my time and figure out what I just don’t fucking want in it anymore.

There are some obvious solutions – stop spending time with people who piss me off (harder to do than you would like when you’re involved in an organization) and start doing more of what you enjoy.

Social media is a good example. I enjoy using it. I like staying in touch with people, seeing what’s going on in their lives. However, social media is also full of a lot of bullshit. I’ve already posted about how I tend not to back down when I see something come across my screen that seems like it deserves my attention. Even if I didn’t engage, simply seeing something that needs a response is usually enough to get the response.

I think that because my energy has been down I haven’t been able to protect myself from a lot of the negativity that floats around in the ether. I have no defense against the onslaught of horror that comes at all of us every day from so many different angles. I can’t make myself not care.

At this point I think I need to start doing things I should have been doing for a while now.

I need to meditate.

I need to get back into journeying.

I need to focus on gratitude for what I do have.

I need to unclutter my life – people and things that just aren’t helping me be the best Lyndsy I can be.

I need to eat better to try to gain back some of what I lose every day.

I need to enjoy simple things again – reading, listening to music.

There’s probably more I could, and will, come up with but this seems like a good start. I hope it is anyway. The way I am now, I won’t last very long with what little sanity I have left.

30-Day Project: September Review and October

30-day Project

I’m going to call September a success. I did indulge in a couple Pepsis for my birthday dinner and while we were in Amsterdam I had soda a few times and fast food twice (I *always* try McDonald’s in new countries), but while I was home, I did really well. The point is really to get things back under control and September was a good reset for me.

I’ve been struggling to come up with something for October. I would have liked to have done something where I take a mile-long walk every day or go to the gym but my body is just not up for it right now. I have pretty much been sick since September 7th with a ridiculously sore throat and fatigue. It sort of feels like I’m trying to swallow glass. I went to the doctor the other day and got antibiotics, but I don’t seem to be feeling any less like I’ve got tiny knives in my throat.

A friend pointed out that I have been pretty much going, going, going for a while and this is clearly my body’s way of saying, SLOW THE FUCK DOWN. But how do I turn that into a 30-Day Project. I thought and thought and then realized that there is *something* I can do that would help me rest and also help with one of my 2015 goals!

I am behind on my reading for the year by about 3 books. I haven’t touched my 2015 Reading List in a while either. So, to promote restful behavior on my part and make sure I get through the 100 books I want to read this year, October’s 30-Day Project is to read for an hour a day.

I’m sure you’re wondering how it is that I planned to read 100 books this year without reading every day, but I usually do it in binges. I’ll go for a couple weeks without reading and then will spend 2-3 days binge reading. That usually nets me two to three books per binge.

I think making myself stop for a rest each day will be good for me. Less going, more relaxing. Since the antibiotics don’t seem to be working, I must have some sort of virus. The only thing I can do now is rest it out. Blergh.

2015 Reading Challenge: Update

2015 Reading Challenge

I meant to update this before now, but I’ve been a slacker about reading. I went through a phase where I didn’t read a book for WEEKS. I have no idea how that happened. However, I’m back reading again. I got pretty behind on my goal of reading 100 books this year, so I’ve been playing catch-up and diving into some series. Of course, those don’t exactly seem to be helping my 2015 Reading Challenge question.

Here’s where that stands:

2015 Reading Challenge

  1. A book with more than 500 pages The Time Traveler’s Wife
  2. A classic romance Jane Eyre 1/13/15
  3. A book that became a movie Gone Girl 1/22/15
  4. A book published this year Bring Me Back 5/4/15
  5. A book with a number in the title Fahrenheit 451
  6. A book written by someone under 30 The Hitchhikers’s Guide to the Galaxy 1/20/15
  7. A book with nonhuman characters
  8. A funny book Twisted Sisters
  9. A book by a female author The New Mrs D 1/26/15
  10. A mystery or thriller A Crime of Passion 5/22/15
  11. A book with a one-word title Dubliners
  12. A book of short stories Olive Kitteridge
  13. A book set in a different country The Kite Runner
  14. A nonfiction book Me Talk Pretty One Day, The God Delusion
  15. A popular author’s first book Carrie
  16. A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet The Woman Who Stole My Life
  17. A book a friend recommended The Talented Mr. Ripley
  18. A Pulitzer Prize-winning book Beloved
  19. A book based on a true story Eat, Pray, Love 1/14/15
  20. A book at the bottom of your to-read list
  21. A book your mom loves Little Women
  22. A book that scares you My Sister’s Grave 5/2015
  23. A book more than 100 years old Frankenstein
  24. A book based entirely on its cover
  25. A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t Catch-22
  26. A memoir Infidel
  27. A book you can finish in a day The Quaker Café 1/6/15
  28. A book with antonyms in the title North and South
  29. A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit
  30. A book that came out the year you were born Cathedral
  31. A book with bad reviews
  32. A trilogy Divergent 1/24/15, Insurgent 3/2012, Allegiant 3/2015
  33. A book from your childhood
  34. A book with a love triangle Taking Chances
  35. A book set in the future Ender’s Game 1/27/15
  36. A book set in high school Anna and the French Kiss
  37. A book with a color in the title The Color Purple
  38. A book that made you cry Anne of Green Gables 1/6/15
  39. A book with magic Vale of the Vole
  40. A graphic novel V for Vendetta
  41. A book by an author you’ve never read before A Temporary Ghost
  42. A book you own but have never read Attorney at Large
  43. A book that takes place in your stateMcNally’s Alibi
  44. A book that was originally written in a different language Chronicle of a Death Foretold
  45. A book set during Christmas The Polar Express
  46. A book written by an author with your same initials Final Jeopardy
  47. A play Hamlet
  48. A banned book To Kill a Mockingbird
  49. A book based on or turned into a TV show A Game of Thrones
  50. A book you started but never finished The Inconvenient Corpse

All in all, I could be in a better place, but I have months to get all these read. They are books I would like to read… well, maybe not Game of Thrones so much, but I guess we’ll see.

What are you reading right now?

I review a lot of the books I read. You can check them out on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/doseoflyndsy