Wednesday, January 7, 2015

What I've Always Known and What I've Learned (+ Goals for 2015)

I have to admit... I see little value in calling 2015 a clean slate.

This new year is not about the opportunity to start fresh. Nor is it about the chance to get things right. In my world, all of the former translates into a deep-seated yearning for perfection. And that is not what I want.

In my opinion, this new year is an opportunity to leverage what I've always known, acknowledge what I learned last year, and set goals accordingly for the year to come. Who needs a clean slate? I'll take a slate full of past! (Weird)

Goal time. Let's do this! (ft. Eggnog)

What I've always known: 

1. I am book smart (or "good at school" as my friends like to call me). I enjoy reading, studying, making presentations and writing essays. Above all, I love learning new things. As a result of this, I am fortunate that high grades have always come easy to me.

Now please allow me to bypass appearing completely conceited. While I have never struggled academically, I am not the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to...

Do you need driving directions? Great. I have lived in Ottawa for 24 years. But no. I'm sorry. I can't help you. If not for the Maps app on my iPhone, I would be perpetually lost.

Do you want to talk about history?*

*I ran away. Embarrassed. I wish I had watched that one war movie with Graham. Or read that one book on history. Correction: I wish I had read any book on history... 

The moral is: I have some work to do in certain areas. But I feel fortunate to have such a strong passion for learning.

2. I am creative. When I was in elementary school, I would continually beg my parents to take me to the movie theatre (normal). Only to return home, completely inspired; then proceed to write a 30-page story before supper time (less normal). When I tired of writing, I would spend hour upon hour drawing pictures of stories I had floating around in my mind.

My parents have threatened to read one of said stories at my wedding. I'm sure they were brilliant... Not. (My MOH's sole duty is to ensure this does not happen.) 

I went on to take creative writing in high school, and there, I felt as though I had finally found my niche. I remember hand-making a costume for my final presentation to accompany the story I had written. I dressed as a pregnant corpse, covered in cobwebs (Her spirit had inhabited the attic of her murderous husband's home after her death... Just in case you were wondering...). I also recall the horrified look on each of my classmates' faces:
Too far Kristina. Too far.
My favourite pastime is scrapbooking. DIY projects allot me a greater sense of accomplishment than I can put into words. I plan my Halloween costumes months in advance. Dreaming up the colours and details of our (upcoming) summer wedding has been one of the most amusing efforts I have ever put forth. Creating recipes - combining new (often odd) flavours to see if and/or how they "go" - makes for a happy me, and a happy Graham (most of the time...).

You get the picture.

What I've learned (from 2014): 

1. I am competent and productive. I am capable of exploring my passions and chasing my dreams.

Truth is... I have never felt capable of all that much. I did not attend my undergraduate graduation because I felt like I could have done "so much more." I did not have a plan for graduate school, nor a plan to effectively use my education. Similarly, when I later landed my full-time job, I called it a fluke. "I got lucky," I said.

Then came the newfound free time that accompanies bidding farewell your life as a student. Suddenly, I did not have evening classes to attend. I did not have essays to write or exams to prepare for. I had one job. And a stable one (that comes with vacation), at that. 

In honesty, the free time overwhelmed me. There was so much I wanted to do (finally the time to explore my passions!), but so little I felt capable of. I found myself wondering: What if I fail? I have always dreamed of having the time to write a blog, immerse myself in a craft project, write a story. But what if I just... can't. 

And so I told myself that I wasn't competent: You are not a good enough writer (you studied psychology instead of English). You do not have the attention span to complete a project. You are not creative enough (funny, because I just listed this under the things I've always known). 

Turns out, telling myself that I was incompetent actually made me unproductive. My negative self-talk inspired bad decisions. Stopping at the store for snacks on my way home from work because "What else am I going to do with my night other than Netflix?" Telling Graham to make plans with friends because I was too tired to do much of anything. Not the kind of inspiration I needed.

Don't get me wrong! I love spending a lazy afternoon or evening watching movies, snuggling on the couch with Graham and Eggnog. I just don't want to spend every afternoon or evening watching movies. It's just not me. And Graham was quick to tell me so, as he proceeded to dig me out of my short-lived rut (sloth-hood). 

Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? Be it on account of laziness - or in my case, fear of failure - I urge you to break your routine. 

One evening after work, I came home and wrote for hours. I broke the Netflix habit. It has now been several months, and I have not looked back since. 

From that moment on, I began to prove to myself that I am capable, competent and even more productive than I ever thought possible. I may have found school to be rewarding, but it pales in comparison to the joy I feel while exploring my passions. 
I learned to say yes to adventure and exploring new places!
(Also looking very much like a tourist here.) 
2. I am capable of saying yes to adventure (and in general). 

Years ago, truth be told: spontaneity was a concept unknown to me. I said no... a lot. 

A spontaneous brunch... let's meet in twenty minutes? No way! I haven't showered. I already made a smoothie. 

This makes me laugh... I now live for spontaneous brunch dates. 

A weekend getaway... we're leaving this Friday? Not a chance! I am in the process of saving money.

Also makes me laugh... I am now often the organizer of said weekend trips. 

Skip yoga or the gym... to see that old friend I haven't seen in ages? Absolutely not. I need to exercise regularly. If I skip the gym today, I will never return again! 

This one in particular may be puzzling to others. Isn't it important to maintain a healthy lifestyle? Of course it is. But the bolded statement above is catastrophic thinking at best. When you are as regimented as I am (or can be), skipping a workout isn't the end of the world. I exercise less than I used to now (currently 2-3 times per week), and I feel happier and more balanced than ever before. To each their own. You need to do what's right for you. 

I learned to never say no to brunch. Never.

Goals for 2015

Alas, because of what I've always known and because of what I've learned, some of which are related and some of which are not, I present to you - my lovely followers - my resolutions for 2015 (our goals as a couple are also mixed in):
  1. Make time for creativity
  2. Buy Less! Go for quality 
  3. Volunteer our time (Graham and I have talked extensively about this - more to come) 
  4. Pray together each day 
  5. Take a sewing/embroidery class (Graham insisted that I mention this is not his goal... hehe) 
  6. Join an intramural sport as a couple... Maybe softball in the spring? NO floor hockey... Sorry Graham
  7. Monthly date night 
  8. Eat dinner together at the table more often
Monthly date night? Sign me up!
It may not be on our list of resolutions, but I plan on spending a lot of time in 2015 cozying up to these two snuggle
What have you always known? What have you only just learned? 

Oh, you haven't overthought this to death like I have... 

Then what are your goals for 2015? ;)


1 comment :

  1. I can relate with the rut of doing little to nothing with my evenings! Netflix can become a noose. So this year I signed up to volunteer at our local arts centre and theatre! Evenings out working in the sector I love but on a voluntary basis and leaning and being creative! A perfect new venture for 2015!