If you read my sewing-machine drama post, you’ll know that my sewing machine and I have been more on the outs than on the ins. This is unfortunate for many a reason, not the least of which is, of course, that I like to sew. I spent awhile troubleshooting my machine in a bid to determine the problem.
One of my friends who is a blogger writes posts about yearly and monthly goals, and I think I may just emulate her. My happiness project, though it had a great start, has fallen a little more by the wayside over the last two months. I think taking more actionable and measurable goals might help me make more progress on tackling the things that I’d like to accomplish. I can almost hear Jane Austen in my head declaring with some irony about how accomplished a woman I am.
When I was approached by an acquaintance from a former job to knit bunnies as a fund-raiser for the ACLU, I readily accepted. As a liberal Jew, I have been alarmed by the vitriol and hate speech directed against minorities and those whose religious beliefs aren’t mainstream. Supporting the ACLU seems to me a no brainer.
Yesterday, I wrote about my progress on my latest quilt project and posted a picture of the most complicated block I had ever made. I knew that distinction would only last until I made the second block. Last night, I pieced it together, and the distinction passed as I knew it would.
After I finished piecing and pressing the block, I waltzed up to my husband (who was busy doing manly things like updating the weather stripping on our front door) and announced, “You’ll need to ooh and awe like you’ve never oohed and owed before.”
Then I showed him the block, and he gave me a spectacularly sassy ooh and awe before adding more seriously, “Actually, that’s really cool.”
Yep. My husband said my quilt block was cool in earnest. I love that man.
As I worked at piecing away my second of the twelve blocks later that night, he announced that I had certainly gotten my money’s worth of crafting time out of this quilt. Maybe this means he’s less annoyed that we don’t currently have a dining room table! Either way, he’s impressed, and I’m so in love with this block.
As I wrote this weekend, I’ve been looking to adopt resolutions that I think will make my life happier. Since I’m an upholder, I should be rather adept at adopting these different resolutions to improve my happiness without too much assistance, but hopefully the formal commitment of the blog will be an added boost to following through on these resolutions.
- clean closets
- organize bookshelf
- make personal files from our dump drawer
- make knitting needle organizers
- organize pantry
- organize crafting materials
Finish Old Projects
- winter lap quilt
- knitted lace chuppah
- matching pillow shams
- pullarius novella (a Latin writing project I started last year)
- Jane Austen costume
- medieval costume
Make Health a Priority
- exercise daily
- walk daily (at least 1 mile with Alke)
- stand at desk more (twice a day instead of usually once a day)
- be chill: soothing music and aromatherapy
- treat myself to a hot bath with essential oils once a week
- Enjoy one treat a day (either alcohol or a dessert)
- take a positive action when something goes wrong rather than a negative one (e.g., going on a walk or playing Frisbee with Alke instead of eating my weight in chocolate)
- listen to my body and respect its fatigue
Be More Productive
- Start my mornings off on the right foot
- workout before coffee (no wasting 30-60 minutes on the computer!)
- read Latin for 30 minutes / drink coffee
- write for 30 minutes
- Balance crafts with relaxation when watching a show or movie
- Let myself off the hook if I’m genuinely too tired to craft on a low-energy day, but otherwise spin or knit while watching a show or movie
- monitor my internet habits in the evening and try to switch to more productive tasks instead (reading, writing, crafting, or house-related chores – blah)
- incorporate crafts for others as volunteer work into my regular crafting time
- make a reading list and start tackling the different books I’d like to read
- have friends over for board games or crafting sessions
- offer to do something nice for someone
- stay in touch (call, text, email)
- show appreciation
- encourage my husband to make time for his friends
- ask what my husband would like to do on a given evening with his limited free time – and be willing to cheerfully do that
- be giving – make gifts for people whom I’m thankful to have in my life
- “work” when my husband is working on the weekend
- read Latin or Roman history or write Latine
- be in the room with him where possible
- complete a task that he doesn’t have time to do (e.g., grocery shopping, laundry)
Thoughts on My Resolutions
Overall, I feel as if I’ve picked up on important themes in my likes and dislikes. I want to ensure that the relationships I have with my friends and family are strengthened where possible. Because my husband works so many extra hours on the weekend, I feel that I can bolster our relationship by working with him or doing tasks that would allow him to have a little more free time on the weekend. As a teacher who needs to work several hours on the weekend (and sometimes on weeknights), one of the simplest and greatest gifts I can give him is time. Additionally, I want to lead a more productive life, which ties not only into addressing my feelings of helplessness due to my fibromyalgia but also into my desire to live a more meaningful and creative life regardless of my health.
As the gardening hobby is shelved until early spring, I imagine I’ll have the opportunity to focus on my crafting and writing during the winter. I feel as if gardeners need to have other hobbies to help them survive the winter months, so I’m grateful that I have diverse interests to productively fill the winter hours that I otherwise spent in the garden during the summer. I’m always itching to start a new craft project or dreaming about different projects that I could start, but I also have a backlog of tasks that I’d really, really like to finish. Their incompleteness feels like an albatross, a reproach. Besides, finishing an old project justifies an expenditure for new future projects!
Beyond focusing on relationships and finishing crafts, I’ve already attempted to change my morning routine to be more productive. I’ve begun exercising before I’ve had coffee, thus giving up that wasted bit of time in the morning where I drink my coffee and browse the internet. Let me tell you: this resolution is not easy to keep. Despite getting up at 5 a.m. every day, I consider myself neither a morning person nor a functional human being until I’ve had some coffee. Besides, I am usually itching to see what happened in the world overnight. The first week of adopting this resolution was very, very hard, but I think that I’m slowly improving my ability to exercise and then drink coffee. Either way, I feel much more accomplished if I’ve already exercised, read some Latin, and written for 30 minutes before my workday has started at 7:30.
I’ll keep you posted as I accomplish different finitely measurable tasks and otherwise try to increase my happiness. Despite the pain and fatigue, I think the next few months are going to be quite happy indeed!
Which resolutions were you most surprised to see based on my brainstorming? Which resolutions would you be interested in adopting yourself?
Last fall, I knew that I would need to make more quilts to bundle and cozy myself up through the winter. I wanted to become a better seamstress, and I wanted to learn how to quilt my quilt myself rather than pay and have my project sent off to a shop. My mom bought me a new sewing machine that would better handle the demands of quilting, I promised to make her a throw in exchange for the sewing machine, and then I sat down to make approximately a thousand mistakes per quilt. The teacher in me reminded myself that you learn by making mistakes. The student in me sighed and rolled her eyes.