2018 Goals, Intentions, Etc.

I set myself a lot of intentions/goals for 2018. They’re almost laughably optimistic, if you use every other year of my life as a benchmark for what I can achieve in a single year.

Most of the things on the list are things I typically talk about doing, but bail on last second, or give up after a few tries. Something happens in life and I go down a spiral to drinking too often, staying out too late, eating too much fast food and watching too much Netflix.

I really thought moving to this cabin, out in the woods of Miccosukee, would help me cure those parts of myself that are weak and quick to admit defeat. But, as I’m sure no one is shocked to hear, it didn’t do that.

Do I feel better? Yes.
Am I working more? Yes.
Am I going out less and drinking less? Yes, most weeks.

I’ve learned to cook for myself, without the entire stock of groceries going rotten in the fridge before I can bring myself to finish the leftovers or attempt a recipe. (The secret? Only cook one recipe at a time and stop trying to convince myself that I like kale.)’

My 8 years in Tallahassee and my 6 months in this beautiful little house have helped me a lot, but I realized last month that the only thing that’s going to really get me where I want to be is focusing as much effort as possible on doing the things I want to do.

Some of these are big things, like getting more stories published outside of my regular gig at INweekly. Some of them are small things, like washing my face every night before bed.

But the one thing I want the most is the freedom to seriously take action this year.

Not just talk about trying, not just reading blog articles about what I’d like to try, not just biting my nails over how it seems like it’s SO EASY for everyone else that tries these things.

I had to recognize that this new phase isn’t going to be as luxuriously self-indulgent as most of my time in Tallahassee has been. I’m going to be getting serious about my finances, my business, my bad habits. A lot of it won’t look very cool on the internet and it’s not going to be the same type of creative space I’ve got right now.

But I’m willing to give all of that up so I can get this foundation of who I really am externalized into my day to day life once and for all.

In case you’re curious, here’s a list of things I’m going to accomplish this year:

  • Read 36 books.
  • Have 10 pieces of writing published. (Not including my work for INweekly.)
  • Post 24 essays on my blog.
  • Exercise 3 days a week.
  • Travel 6 times.
  • Journal daily. (I already do this but need to keep going no matter what.)
  • Complete “financial rehab.” (I’ve redacted all of my specific financial goals for the time being, but I’m going to tell you more about this soon.)
  • Move to a new city. (After Pensacola.)
  • Don’t get a pixie cut. (Yes, this needs its own line item.)
  • Buy no fast fashion. (Meaning no Forever 21, H&M, Old Navy, etc etc.)
  • Complete 100 rejection letters. (A course from Tiffany Han.)
  • Memorize my tarot deck.
  • Implement a daily skincare regimen.
  • Contact my representatives 3 times a month.
  • No phone an hour before bed and after waking up.
  • Drink 100 ounces of water a day.
  • Take December 8 – January 6 off from client work.
  • Knit myself a wearable sweater.
  • Attend one cultural event a month.
  • One community/volunteer event a month.
  • Subscribe to an independent publication.
  • Donate once a month to a patreon/indiegogo.
  • Read 1 long form essay or article each week.
  • Watch 2 documentaries each month.

Some of these things I do sporadically already or have been working on, but the key with this list is that I want to hold myself accountable for the big picture of the person I strive to be in the world.

I know if Sarah Von Bargen saw this list she’d throw something at me because the wisdom is “one habit at a time” (it’s good advice) and that’s my plan, but some of these things are what falls through the cracks during bad weeks or bad months.

I’ll get distracted or discouraged if I don’t beat myself over the head with what I want to do and why I want to do it.

The question of why I want to do it is pretty simple. I know what makes me happy, I know what makes me feel proud of myself and I know what leaves me fulfilled and satisfied with a day/week/month.

Things like “go thrifting” and “spend time with my family” aren’t on there because I don’t have to remind myself to do the easy stuff.

Maybe that seems silly to point out, but I know my year has plenty of room for every I already enjoy doing.

This list is the stuff that I had to dig up. The things that aren’t constantly being said to me by strangers on the internet. The things that I tell myself I’ll do but always chicken out of at the last second.

I thought of who I want to be and how I want to be living next year, in five years, in 10 years, in 50 years. I worked backwards from that.

What does that woman do every day, every week, every month? What are the non-negotiables in her life? What are her routines like? What does she talk about? What is she known for?

Feels a little weird to put most of my list up for a bunch of people to see, but this list will shape a lot of what I talk about this year.

I’ll check in here once a month to tell you how things are going and what my plan is for the next month. How’s that sound?

I’m also going to be sharing my list of new things I want to try (inspired as always by Sarah Von Bargen) because that one is just fun.

Normally this is where I would tell you to share with me about your new habits or intentions or plans to take over the world this year, but I’ve had to disable comments because of spam while I work on transferring this blog to a Squarespace site, so holler at me on Instagram if you want to talk about whether I’m totally insane for this list or tell me about your list!

Love y’all, talk soon.


Drawing My Own Lifeline

I spent the entirety of Sunday afternoon going through the last 10 years of my life and mapping out data points for the following categories:

  • Significant romantic entanglements/relationships
  • Where I lived
  • School Year
  • Family events/milestones
  • Jobs
  • Personal events/milestones

I drew them out on newsprint, pulled out my ruler and my crayon/marker stash. Everything was color coded.

When I finished drawing each category out, I entered the information for each year into a spreadsheet.

If this seems like a very peculiar way to spend a Sunday, that’s probably because it is.

But I was catching up on my horoscopes for the month and apparently there’s some kind of commotion happening this week for my sign.

Jupiter is moving into Scorpio (my sun sign) and from what I can tell, it’s like a cosmic lotto win. Having your ship come in. Everything finally coming up roses.

(If you don’t care about astrology or think it’s fake, that’s fine. This post is not for you and it’s not about astrology.)

There are plenty of reasons that I’ve been trying to clean house, mentally and emotionally, that I won’t go into here. But this news about Jupiter and the planetary brouhaha to follow gave me a deadline on something I’ve been thinking about for ages.

This is not a sob story.

I’ll be the first one to admit I’ve lived a relatively charmed and privileged life, all told. What sadness and struggles I faced growing up were mitigated by the amazing family and support systems I had. I will never deny that.

I’m also not trying to say that my life was perfect or that I don’t have my fair share of foggy, confusing childhood baggage to deal with.

What I do know, is that since about 2010, life really started picking up the pace for my “traumatic” life events and monumental changes. I’m not sure why, but it feels like a whole lifetime of shit has been packed into the past 7 years.

For a long time, I figured this was just how life goes for people. You move out on your own, suddenly “real life” begins and everything is just harder, worse in every way. C’est la vie.

After I said this to a handful of therapists and friends over the years, it became clear to me (from their horrified reactions after I went over the shortlist) that this is not actually the case.

I’ve only recently come to realize that being a bit more self actualized and doing some internal work with myself has been way overdue.

But in what I can only guess is a side effect of the way my life has gone for the past few years, my understanding of how my life has progressed from year to year and even the passage of time in relation to life events has totally escaped me.

I’ll think something lasted much longer than it did, or that one bit of trauma was an isolated incident, only to realize it was actually happening at the same time as many other terrible things.

I’ve been telling myself I should map out my life for about a year or two now. Just to line up relationships with jobs, moves with funerals and weddings. Just so it all logically progressed from season to season. Just so I could know, see it represented as facts all lined up neatly in rows.

So that’s what I did.

Your own personal history project.

After making this grand timeline, here is where I see this sort of exercise being beneficial:

Clarity around heartbreaks

This is the biggest realization for me. When I lined up my relationships with the other life events (death, divorce, disease), I realized that many of the big, gut wrenching break ups that had otherwise shattered me were actually a form of escapism or indirect processing of bigger, scarier realities.

(As anyone who’s been reading along regularly knows, I’m not an expert and I can only speak for myself about any of this.)

I’m not sure if this is some type of codependency or just emotional immaturity wreaking havoc, but the consistency with which my most toxic romantic relationships aligned with other tragedies or upsets was the most alarming discovery I made in this process.

Obviously, I didn’t untangle what this discovery means yet and I’m not calling up my exes to get their perspectives anytime soon (for those exes reading this, hi please don’t panic!), but just seeing the alignment was enough to teach me that I have channeled a lot of stress into relationships and attempted to process things that way.


Compassion towards my younger self

I can be really unkind to the younger versions of myself. I blame her for a lot of things, like staying with an emotional abusive partner or never starting a savings account.

But when I laid everything out, year by year, I realized that the times I was the most irresponsible or the most reckless, I was reacting to in the only ways I knew how to at the time.

For example, went my transmission on my car died, I spent my puny savings on a scooter to get myself to work and class. When that scooter was stolen and totaled, I dropped out of school and quit one of my two jobs because I didn’t have a reliable option for getting around town.

I kick myself for buying that damn scooter all the time and even more often for not taking the summer off like a normal student. But seeing everything else going on in my life plotted out, it all makes more sense that I would have just made the easiest and least painful choices at the time.

It’s really easy to be bitter about the choices you did or didn’t make when you were younger, but if you’re honest (or have it all laid out in front of you like I had) your older and wiser self sees simple solutions or more responsible decisions clear as day. Your younger, stupider self probably wouldn’t have see those same options, even if they were right in front of their face the whole time.

Power over my own narrative

This is where we come back to the astrology bit from earlier. I won’t go in depth about my attitudes towards astrology here, but at the most basic level, I find comfort in the parallels between planetary movements and the cycles of human life.

If nothing else, astrology is a tool (like tarot or meditation) that unlocks different perspectives and allows me to zoom out for a fuller picture of my life and experiences.

Laying out the past in this exercise and journaling consistently in the present makes me feel like I am truly steering the ship of my future, which is a pretty auspicious attitude to have as Jupiter enters Scorpio.

Keeping tabs on myself through creative work is going to be a big part of this new cycle I’m entering. Not only do I enjoy it and find it beneficial in the present, I’d really rather avoid having to plot out the next 10 years of my life in a spreadsheet.

The other major piece of this is autonomy over my patterns and behaviors.

Now that I can see the fault lines running through my life, I can address them and work towards healing those issues.

Again, I promise I’ll get to therapy eventually. Now I’ll have a handy guide for whatever therapists I encounter! Hah.

So, tell me, am I the only one who has felt like this? Has anybody else made a ridiculous retrospective timeline of their life? Anybody have good therapist recommendations for Tallahassee? Ok love y’all thanks for reading!