Monday, March 31, 2014

Checking In - March!

Here it is, the end of March, which means I've been working my plan for three months now.  Some things are much closer to being habits now and there's some exciting news to report, along with an update on things that haven't turned out quite the way I envisioned back in late December.

I decided that 2014 was the year to Get Calm and I had to figure out just what that meant, since I was pretty sure that a year-long escape to some tropical isle equipped with a full staff just wasn't happening.  So what could I do to Get Calm and still live in the hectic, messy, glorious, beautiful world I inhabit?  That took some thought (and you can read the reasoning behind it, along with the books and movies on my list, here), but finally, I decided on five long-term goals, which are:
  1. A messy house stresses me out and costs me valuable time as I hunt for whatever-it-is I've misplaced, so I decided to work "zone cleaning" into my housekeeping.
  2. Money is a sore point with me, so I decided (with FryDaddy) to keep a stringent budget to lower our household debt.
  3. To strengthen my body, I decided to train to participate in a 5K race sometime this year.
  4. To improve my mind, I decided to read six "good books" that had slipped past me.
  5. Also to improve my mind, I decided to watch 24 "good movies" that had slipped past me.

Keep in mind that these are MY goals; it was crucial for me to not take on anything that had my happiness hinge on what someone else did.  Therefore, the budget item had to be undertaken very carefully and as a couple.

So - 90 days in, I can report *mostly* success.  Oddly enough, the housekeeping one has probably been the easiest.  I spent huge chunks of time last year de-cluttering the house - drawers, closets, cabinets, etc. and while I still have some to do, even the attic is much better than it was a year ago.  It's true what the organizing folks tell you - you can't organize clutter.  Go through that stuff a little at a time, toss and donate with glee, then take a clear look at what's left.  I spend about 15 minutes a day, five days a week, working on "house stuff" and our home is far tidier and calmer as a result.  For me, it's been all about the FlyLady system, but there are other ways to do things that won't have you weeping in a corner. I've still got my trouble spots and my chores that I dislike, but it surely is nice to come home to clear spaces.

The budget. Wow. We're making progress here - good progress, too, as my non-breakdown over unexpected car repairs this month can attest - but I still stress here. We're paying debt down, but it'd be so much more fun to spend the money on other things! Sigh. Growing up is hard and my inner child is a brat. Still - when you work two years on a book, you sort of want to celebrate that instead of putting the final advance towards student debt, you know?

The 5K training is going great! The eight-week "Couch to 5K" program I used (you can find that here) took me thirteen weeks, but yesterday I completed the final week.  My first 5K is in about two weeks and I've had so many friends offer encouragement and good wishes on this journey! I'm still very slow, but I can "jobble" for a full 30 minutes at a stretch, which was a far-away dream three months ago. And I don't think I'm going to stop after this first race. Seeing myself take strides toward making this goal has given me the *oomph!* I needed to make some other changes as well - first, I cut out sweets until race day. Last week, I added in drinking at least 80 ounces of water a day (I've had a single Diet Coke in two weeks), and I just added in eating two servings of fruit/veg at each meal. In two weeks, I've lost four pounds, which is nice. Run. You can do it and it really does feel GREAT!

Good books - I'm deep into Dumas' The Three Musketeers, which is a hoot and a half! The language is so flowery and over the top that I find myself skimming sometimes (I don't think Dumas would mind), and I've put it down to pick up other things this month.  I'm enjoying it - more so than I did the Forster I read first for this challenge.

Good movies - well, there was bound to be a misfire.  I watched Lucille Ball in Mame recently and it's just bad. I think the show itself is actually pretty strong and fun, but Lucy just didn't have a strong enough voice to carry off the role.  It's not a complete waste - Bea Arthur as Vera Charles is great fun, the costumes are gorgeously over-the-top, and grown-up Patrick is Bruce Davison (he'd grow up to be Sen. Robert Kelly in the X-Men franchise, among many, many other roles). I plan to get the non-musical Auntie Mame soon and watch Rosalind Russell instead. Also, this month, that's the only "list movie" I've seen, although I very well may watch another one tonight, which would still count for March. Then again, maybe not. So much of this whole plan is to get me over my perfectionism. No, my house isn't spotless.  No, my budget isn't zero-balanced. Nope, I'm not really a "runner" just yet. Uh-uh, my "great books" might not be someone else's great books. And my movies certainly aren't. But I'm trying hard to not let my fear of not being perfect keep me from trying.

Onward, Team Sloth!


Anne Hamilton said...

Ok, so I found your blog by accident. I was perusing my daughter's TheStorialist, and for the first time saw "next blog" at the top, looking clickable so I did. How delightful! You are so funny and happen to be addressing the very same issues I face, though I am probably about 30 years older. You are also a wonderful writer. You "grabbed" me from the first line with your announcement that this post was a plan update. I read, then scrolled back, and back, and back. Keep writing, and I will keep reading. Serendipity indeed. For me.

Dale Guffey said...

Welcome, Anne! So nice to have you in the Nest! Yes, the postings started as a way to keep me accountable so I would have a harder time giving up and that's worked for me big-time! Please keep coming back!

jae said...

...I've forgotton all about Mame! and you right, Ms. Ball's voice didn't compare to some of the other powerhouses but a great movie in my mind anyway. Love the blog :-)