A Month In

It is a little, teensy bit over a month into 2017 and how are things going?

Did you make goals for yourself this year? Did you do some soul searching on items you wanted to tackle or places inside you that you wanted to rearrange?  What did you come up with? And how has life been tweaked to accommodate those things? Have their already been some successes (I think: yes), have you run into some roadblocks?

How has the political climate impacted your life? Has it changed you?

I had some pretty broad goals for myself this year. I wanted to get outside more, even in these winter months. I spend a LOT of time indoors. If I didn’t have to drop off the kids at school or pick them up I could easily go m-f with never leaving my house. I didn’t like this. I love walking outside and when I was in an office I would always walk during my lunch. Being at home there are always other things I COULD be doing (laundry! netflix!). So since the New Year I have made an effort to get outside during the day at twice a week. I would prefer 3 times, but… life. I’ve been able to get the kids early a few days and taken them to the park. And I’ve been able to step outside for 40 minutes here and there, which as been lovely and made me appreciate my new neighborhood even more. I would call this a success but still a work in progress.

I wanted to drink less. Even though I really do enjoy a beer while making dinner, I felt like it didn’t totally allign with my health goals and can make me sluggish in the evenings with the kids. I’ve reduced my daily beer to 3-4 times a week and reduced the amount of alcohol in my beers, which has been great! I always feel like I could do better with this, but having a beer during the week is also one of my small joys – so balance.

I wanted to get more sleep and though some of that is out of my control because children, I feel like I have created a very calming nightly routine, especially with reintroducing reading to my evenings. I have hit a good rhythm. (Though still so tired.)

The world of politics can be incredibly exhausting for me. I think that’s true of most people. But I can get incredibly hopeless. I’m impatient and I feel a large gap between me and the people who have the actual power to DO things. This administration in particular doesn’t see me. And if they do, I believe their outlook is one of disgust or aggressive indifference, if there is such a thing. The positive thing is that it has spurred me, and many others, to put our beliefs into actions. I’m not actually any different than I was before this whole election crap. I believe all the same things I did before, but I feel less like a impostor when fighting for the things I believe and showing up. I also have to balance the health of my family, the health of my mind, my stress and anxiety levels, with being an active voice in this big big world. Sometimes I need to go swimming with my kids or see a movie with my friends instead of marching on the streets. That sounds so dumb to say because I have a lot of guilt about that. And I am always feeling pulled in all of these directions. But, if I do not sometimes take a break from the relentless news cycle, the bad news cycle, then what am I even fighting for?

I’m in need of some community today. Tell me how things are, tell me where you’re at. Tell me where you’re succeeding and where you need a hand.

5 thoughts on “A Month In”

  1. 2017 Goals….

    This year I wanted to try something different. Typically in past years I made a lot of broad goals I wanted to accomplish but I rarely, if ever, completed a third of them, and it felt too intangible. So this year, maybe a week or so before Jan. 1st 2017, I brainstormed 12 fitness goals, 12 personal goals, and 12 professional goals. Then each month I will pick of each to focus on for that particular month.

    For example: January goals were: Professional — Send 2 applications out a week, Personal — Stop biting my nails, Fitness — work out 1x on my own (I already have 3 training sessions a week, so this would make a total of 4 work out days a week).

    I didn’t do too hot. My nails are a hot mess. I only worked out an extra day maybe 2 out of the 4 weeks, and I’ve maybe sent out only 4 job applications?

    While I feel a bit discouraged by this, I realized, I actually found myself thinking about them a lot. Just having 3 specific goals to think about — they always seemed to be lingering in my head and I might have caught myself biting my nails and stopped, or pushed myself to at least look at jobs online. So while execution was a bit poor, I think I there’s possibility for success.

    2016 was a really hard year for me. Most of it seemed to happen AT me. So I really want 2017 to be about taking Control BACK. As best as I can given whatever the circumstance might be.

    As for politics. That’s a daily struggle between wanting to be informed, but holy fuck is it depressing and enraging all at once. I actually fully uninstalled Facebook off my phone and removed the bookmark off my laptop. I’ve found this to be really helpful and I have only been checking Facebook now a couple times a day. That’s been a wonderful mental break. As a social worker, and I guess just personal beliefs, I place high value on being able to understand someone’s experience and practice empathy, which has been greatly challenged during the race and now into the new term… I have to keep trying though. We can’t reach people if we listen with closed ears and speak with a pre-formed message on our lips ready to spew out. And if we can’t reach people, change will stagnate.

    One thing that keeps me happy is this project my friend and co-worker, Agnes, is doing. She is an awesome advocate and is using her gift of photography to try to do her part. It’s called the Solidarity 365 Project and she is posting a portrait and small bio of a Muslim with the goal to “to open lines of communication, break down walls, build bridges, and work on ending stereotypes related to Islam and the Muslim religion and culture. Let’s end Islamophobia together.” As a native of Dearborn, and someone who has lived in this community with the highest population of Arab American outside of the Middles East — many of whom are like family to me, I’m so proud of what she is doing. The stories are uplifting and inspiring and the portraits are beautiful. I encourage you (all) to check it out (and follow!) https://www.facebook.com/thesolidarity365project/?hc_ref=SEARCH

    Have a great weekend! Keep chugging. Remember: Progress over Perfection!

  2. I think I mentioned this last year, but I have made it a practice to set an intention for the new year instead of a list of resolutions. A single word or phrase that I will keep coming back to and let it drive my actions.

    Like Lindsey said, I felt like 2016 happened AT me, too. I was caught up in a major whirlwind at work that took over a lot of my thinking and doing hours. At the end of the year, I felt a sense of panic that I had just gone through the motions but not absorbed anything and not really made any personal progress.

    So, my intention for 2017 is “mindfulness.” I like that it is a broad idea, because it covers every area of my life. I heard a meditation recently that said mindfulness is about curiosity. It’s about considering at each moment, “What am I feeling? Where is my energy best used right now? How can I be most present in this moment?” So far, I feel pretty good about it. It has come in the form of making better food choices, carving out time for exercise, leaving my desk for lunch (WHAT A DIFFERENCE THIS MAKES!), and being more intentional with my relationships.

    Where I’m failing is the political fervor. I really just want to quit Facebook, but feel so tied to it now more than ever. It is unhealthy to be so bombarded with the negative news, but I feel this obligation to stay aware of the play-by-play. I think a lot of people are feeling that way right now, and I wonder what can be done to strike a balance?!

    1. “It is unhealthy to be so bombarded with the negative news, but I feel this obligation to stay aware of the play-by-play. I think a lot of people are feeling that way right now, and I wonder what can be done to strike a balance?!”

      I felt exactly that!

      A thing we started with PF blogger friends is a small Slack chat of women who want to be supported and supportive of each other, and we have this forum of just built in support. Some have anxiety and just can’t stay abreast of the day to day, all day, so we share our actions in there like “I called about Bannon today, here’s the number if you want to” and they can easily pop in and do the same. It’s a mix of very active to less active but it makes it easier to keep up on what’s happening in a less intimidating way.

  3. 2016 came at us fast and 2017 is coming at us even faster so I’m glad that my goals were intentionally very small and concrete. Like: keep saving 25%, write a letter to a grandperson every month, do healthy things. And now: do as much political activism as I can.

    We MUST remember to take care of our home life as much as we do activism, though, for recharging, for the ability to do this over the long haul, so that we have a home life to come back to if we save our world from facism.

    I divide my weeks into three spheres to find balance. One, attend to normal life (work, family, food, travel). Two, political things – paying attention, sharing information, taking actions. Three, attend to just pure fun things. The first two, I try to do equal amounts of, because #2 is necessarily very distracting and threatens to overwhelm me. The last one always gets the least amount of time but it MUST exist, every day, even if it’s just adding cute animal gifs to my TL.

    One of the ways I keep myself from burning out is controlling how I stay plugged in. I’m online all the time BUT I get my updates from the most politically active friends on Twitter in small bursts, and discussing with a small group of women who are also PF bloggers who have banded together to give a bit of support to each other online.

    We’re going to have to do some travel this year, and some serious money stuff, and I have to be fully present for that.

    Oh also, like you, I could never step out my front door M-F if I weren’t running out with the dog or kid, so I make hitting a minimum step count a goal, just to have some way to push myself. I wrote a bit about all of this here, plus the neat Achievemint app I’ve downloaded: http://agaishanlife.com/2017/01/slow-progress/

    Sending love.

  4. Honestly, I’m not doing well. I am struggling to find the balance. I feel like if I take a break from reading the news, I’ll become apathetic and I definitely don’t want that. But then again, I feel entirely consumed by all of this. Plus all the other shit I have going on in my life- it sometimes feels like hell. Then I think of Muslims, or refugees, etc. and I get fired up all over again.

    My 2017 goal was to read more. By that I meant actual books. I did well in January. But since Inauguration Day, my reading has all be about this shit and by the time I’m done, I have no physical or mental energy to read an actual book.

    I’m not good at balance, but I’m working on it. It’s good to know we all struggle.

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