Oh, hi. How has your 2017 been so far? Nice and predictable, smooth sailing, calm seas?
Mine has been a lot more the “I am thankful that today happened, but relieved that it is over” variety. Multiplied by 6 months.
At least it started out that way. One month after making these resolutions, I felt compelled to move back out to Edmonton, with no resources and no job lined up – just the support of my awesome family (thanks!). I crashed with my brother for February, then I got a new/old job, and we moved into a new place in March. I reconnected with my work and church friends and settled back into a city that felt (and still feels) like possibility. It hasn’t been easy or straightforward, but I feel like I’m finally a little bit grounded again, and it coincides nicely with the halfway point of this year.
Today I’m going to review those resolutions I made many moons ago and assess my progress. I’ll talk about what’s gone well, what I need to work on, and what I’m tweaking. If I’ve got a fairly good handle on some of these, I might expand them or just add new ones altogether. That’s what life is, right? Adding new goals until you die. On that cheery note, let’s dive in!
Overarching Resolution: LIVE MINDFULLY.
In my resolutions post, I identified an overall desire to live a more mindful life, defined as follows:
“… one in which careful consideration is given to each thing/practice/person/task that enters my sphere. Are they life-giving, joy-prompting? Do they contribute to my wellness and my ability to extend compassion, help, and love to others? Do they sit well with my conscience or personal philosophy and values? Is there balance?”
In general, I feel this has been the undercurrent of everything I’ve endeavoured in this year so far. From drastically reducing/selling my belongings and moving, to choosing a place to live that maximizes community living and financial stability over aesthetics, to being very critical of how I engage in a workplace/position, to the products and people with which I surround myself… nothing has been taken at face value or grudgingly accepted if not a good fit.
And although the circumstances of the last 6 months have been unstable and potentially scary at times, this mindfulness (and strengthened faith) has helped me feel balanced and well in the midst of it.
Now to the rest of the resolutions.
1. Engage in community, spiritual and otherwise.
I’ve made some good progress on this one. It’s been lovely to be at a familiar workplace, and I’ve been reminded how awesome my friends there are. I’ve also reconnected with Haven, and have made it a priority not only to attend but to be involved.
About a month ago, I accepted the position of Worship/Tech Lead, so I wrangle the musicians, choose songs and keys (which forces me to play guitar and test songs), and handle the lyrics. I created/maintain our group’s drive and electronic resources, too. Oh, and I also led worship for the first time last month, which was an incredible experience!
In the latter part of the year, I would like to join our community league to get a better sense of the people and projects happening here. It also comes with free pool access, which never hurts.
2. Blog regularly – updates, creative pieces, essays.
Ah. This was going quite well until a) my laptop committed hari-kari and b) my work situation consisted of knowing I had enough work to cover bills exactly one month at a time. Neither of those was very conducive to regular writing/updating.
I did make a fairly extensive topic/posting plan for the entirety of 2017, so, now that I have been blessed with a very fairly priced laptop from a friend (thanks, Wynne!), I’ve been amending it and am planning to press on. My work, while still casual, looks like it will be stable for at least the summer, so I feel comfortable introducing writing time into my schedule again. I’m currently planning to post twice a week (Wednesday/Saturday), which will help make up for the lost time.
I have been putting a lot of creative energy into my Haven work, because well-planned resources and worship songs benefit from an open, excited mind as much as my personal creative projects do.
Oh, and I met a personal goal by writing a proper fanfic which I will absolutely not be linking here because. Yeah. But suffice it to say, it’s gotten some nice comments and kudos, and that warms my little shipper heart.
3. Exercise/get outside every day.
This has been successful! Partly due to the cost of transportation, I now walk home from work 5 days a week (~25 min) and at least 20-30 min each way for groceries on the weekend. When we moved to the new place, I knew it’d be a little further away from some things, but it’s still close enough that I almost always choose to walk.
As it’s now very warm when I leave work at 3 pm, I’m going to switch my routine up and try walking to work in the morning instead. I’ve decided to wear sneakers/workout pants and bring my work clothes with me.
4. Examine spending and focus on finances.
If you’re unaware, I did not work for the majority of last year, so when I got my job here I started paying student loans again. I’d also accrued some debt from my expenses in 2016. I decided that this year would be one in which I get a more solid handle on my finances and how they impact my plans for the future.
I would say this resolution is being met. I’ve mapped out a lot of my future goals regarding education, work, housing, travel, and retirement (a book I read a month or two ago changed my vision considerably and for the better – more on that later). I’ve budgeted based on my current means, and although there have been a few setbacks (the laptop, starting work at the worst possible point in terms of pay period) I am a lot more aware of my finances in general.
Because I have a lot of debt repayment at the moment, I’m able to spend very little recreationally – which has been a good thing in that I appreciate things a lot more. Again, as my work has stabilized recently, I should be able to start implementing more of my plans soon.
5. Work/study in ways that better me and are authentic.
Ahh, this was a good one. As of now, I’m working in a casual position (full time hours, though) that I really enjoy and do well in. As referenced in a piece I wrote earlier this year on contentment, I initially felt a lot of pressure to aspire to more and to want to get into a “better” job as soon as possible, whether it was a good fit or not. But this resolution helped me to work through those doubts and see the value in knowing what works for me and owning that. I’m still open to a more permanent position, but at this time, I like what this one does for me.
As for studying, financially it doesn’t make sense to attempt full-time education again in September, so unless I find a part-time or distance program, it’s unlikely I will do this until the following year. I’m always researching programs, but I feel like because of my financial/future resolution, I see this more clearly in the context of the life I want. And while I enjoy the thought of studying and furthering my skill set, I’m content to be a working person at the moment. 😊
That’s it for part one! Next time we’ll go through the second half of my list.
What were some of your resolutions for 2017? How are they going?