Suck It Up, December and 2017 Recap

How is December over? And 2017?

Every month and every year, I’m surprised when it’s over. It seems as if I’m always WAITING for the day to end and make it to the kids’ bedtime and I sneeze and now, THE YEAR IS OVER.

I don’t see this changing any time soon. In fact, I only foresee time to speed by faster. Except that hour before bedtime. That will likely crawl on forever.

Here’s how I did this month (and because I’m lazy efficient) and for 2017:

1) Take family and personal health seriously.

What does that look like? I want to:

a) Cook at least 5 meals a week.

Yes. Still slogging along. However, we have been eating out a lot lately because we have all been sick and it’s cold and there are so many excuses and I hate going to Costco around holidays because it’s crowded full of amateurs clogging the aisles and so we’ve been eating the dregs of our fridge and pantry because I just can’t make it out to Costco without wanting to bash everyone in front of me.

Wow.

That seemed a bit much but we’ll run with it. Good news is, I’m all stocked up for the New Year (we have a party tonight) and should be ok for at least a week!

2017 Grade: A!! I rocked this one. I’m going to take it off next year because hopefully, since I’ve gone an entire year doing this, it is not a way of life and not a fad. WHOOOOOO!

b) Be active once a week.

I walked to and from preschool twice a week with Glow Worm (4) and Sasquatch (1). But we’ve been on break, so I guess it hasn’t been that much. But it’s been SO DAMN COLD and I have been shivering at times so that burns more calories, right?

2017 Grade: D. Other than a brief blip when I was in Taiwan and walking everywhere while hauling a 25lb baby on my person, I really don’t move much. I also don’t think I care. So, I’m just going to resign myself into acknowledging that I don’t find my personal fitness important and don’t care to change my mind.

c) Wash face and brush teeth twice daily.

Sigh. I’m seriously going to remove this from my goals list next year because it just makes me sad to see how badly I fail at this. Or rather, how badly I fail my teeth.

2017 Grade: D. I mean, I guess I get points for washing my face – but not that many. Next!

d) Take vitamins and supplements.

So, I finally filled my pill box (Amazon affiliate link), but I have not opened the little boxes. FAIL!!!!

OKOKOKOKOK. We will start this over and be good in 2018. Sigh. I really hate taking vitamins. But I think they do make me less cranky and perhaps I wouldn’t have been sick since Thanksgiving if there were nutrients in my body.

2017 Grade: C. I did ok this year. I was doing really solid for at least half the year and then, I stopped. I will regroup and do better for 2018.

e) Go to sleep when the kids sleep 4x a week.

I’ve been sick a lot so I have also gone to bed around 6:30pm a lot. What makes it truly sad is that I’m STILL exhausted when I wake up. I think because there is a really cute, fat baby sleeping next to me who uses me as a human pacifier.

2017 Grade: B. For the most part, I slept at a reasonable hour. I could improve, but I am pleased that in general, I took my sleep seriously.

f) No texting while driving.

YAY! I continued not sucking at this. I wasn’t perfect, but I was pretty good.

2017 Grade: B-. There were a few months were I just was terrible, but in general, I improved.

2) Take my responsibilities as a grown up seriously.

I think I did okay on this one. Although, now come to think of it, I have to do a lot of things and get claims in. DAMMIT.

2017 Grade: B. There were definitely times I procrastinated and made life difficult for myself. But overall, this year was far more adulting than 2016.

3) Write.

I was ok this month. I spent a lot of time thinking and getting knocked around by being sick. But I did write and I did pitch. And my article got published!

2017 Grade: A. I am really proud of myself this year for my writing and working and pitching and trying new things. I am REALLY proud. I will be expanding on this a lot next year and I am super excited for this next season.

Normally, I would say that there’s still time left in the rest of the year to get going on your resolutions. This time, it is not so.

HOWEVER.

The New Year is literally tomorrow. We can start over.

How did you do this month? This year? Are you happy with what you managed to get done? Disappointed? Re-inspired?

Let me know in the comments.

How to Turn Jealousy into Life Change

I have a confession to make.

Recently, I got bit by the Jealousy Bug when I heard from a friend that she got to work with a company that I have long wanted to work with. When she told me about the partnership, I immediately wondered why this company hadn’t offered me this same deal.

I mean, I send this company thousands of hits every year! What made HER so special?

Now, had this been in my twenties, I likely would have stewed over this for days – perhaps even months and years. I would have conjured up all the ways I was better than my friend, more deserving, more awesome, more whatever. And of course, that company was stupid and foolish and BLIND and TOTALLY MISTAKEN for not working with me.

But mercifully, I am no longer in my twenties.

And as such, I promptly snapped myself out of my self-pity spiral by telling myself that my friend got that partnership because she asked.

I had been too afraid to ask.

In fact, I have been too afraid to ask MANY companies I want to work with. I have been sitting on these pitches to companies for 2-3 YEARS.

So, who is to say that if I had asked, this said company wouldn’t have be happy to work with me, too?

So really, I had no one to blame for it but myself.

But instead of blame, I chose to frame the news as encouragement.

After all, if this company is willing to work with my friend, then why wouldn’t they want to work with me? This means they are open to working with bloggers! And now I can even point to her as a precedent!

She has, in reality, made my life easier.

I genuinely congratulated her and wished her great success. Then, I fell back asleep, brain churning with ways I could be bold and ask companies when I woke up.

And you know what? I did. 

I woke up, decided that I would finally suck it up and put on my big girl panties and EMAILED THESE COMPANIES.

Then, I texted my friend and told her all about how I had been feeling jealous and proceeded to thank her for her boldness and her courage and how her actions made me feel as if I could be bold and courageous.

And what happened with these companies? I got a phone call scheduled for a Saturday morning. It didn’t turn out exactly as I had hoped, but it was good practice. Then I moved on and asked another company and then another and another.

Each time, it has been less painful and scary.

I know I have written about jealousy in the past and how Cosmopolitan magazine (yes, the fashion mag) gave me advice that changed my life. You can read the previous article for more examples of my jealousies (they were LEGION).

For today, I will be using the scenario I just detailed.

So, how can you use your jealousy to make lasting life change?

1) Identify the source of your jealousy.

I know. Duh. But like all journeys, you need a destination before you can start.

Is what you’re jealous about a quality or skill the person has? A physical object they own? A situation they are in? A job they have? Style? Fashion? Abilities? Opportunities?

Example: In this situation, I was jealous of my friend’s partnership with a company I had wanted to work with.

Once I named and reframed what I coveted, it was easier to deal with as a possible goal rather than the uncomfortable and painful feelings of jealousy (and guilt).

2) Is the source of your jealousy attainable? If yes, find out how to get it.

I mean, if you’re jealous of someone because they are an NBA star and you’re a middle aged woman of short stature and zero basketball skills, then, perhaps that is not going to happen.

But I want you to think about it even deeper.

Are you jealous of the fact that they’re playing in the NBA? Or is it their basketball skills? Or their sport endorsements? Or their twitter game? Or their lifestyle?

Short of actually playing in the NBA, (and even that, you could be missing the camaraderie of playing on a team), a lot of these things are attainable.

You could improve your basketball skills. You could partner with companies. You could be a better tweeter. You could make enough money to support the lifestyle.

Example: Here, I was obviously jealous of her partnership with the company. And mercifully, it was absolutely attainable for myself (or something similar) if I just reached out to the company.

3) If it is possible to get whatever you’re jealous of, are you willing to do the work to get it?

I’m going to be real here.

Nothing you’re jealous of will happen without making changes in your life. After all, if you didn’t have to do anything to have something, you probably would already have it.

So, yes. You will have to do work. Sometimes, the work is minimal. Sometimes, the effort is enjoyable. But sometimes, it is not. Or sometimes, it is really hard.

Once you find out what it takes, you have to decide whether or not it is worth it to you to go after what you want. If yes, then do it. If not, then accept that and let the jealousy go.

Example: I was willing to reach out to the company (and other companies) to pursue possible partnerships. It was uncomfortable and nerve wracking but I did it. (Incidentally, if you want to learn how to pitch, I highly recommend Brandi Riley’s pitch bundle.)

4) Pursue what you want. Or let it go.

I know. I just talked about it as part of the previous point. But it bears repeating.

Look. Whatever you choose, you win.

If you decide to pursue what you want and then actually pursue and then obtain it, you got what you wanted! Or if you start to pursue it and decide you don’t want it after all (or realized from the get go that it wasn’t for you), that’s also great! Now you’re free to chase the things you actually want.

And what if you try but fail? Well, you can either keep trying or adjust. There is no shame in that. Either way, you either can look back and know that you have no regrets and what ifs, or you gave it a shot and with experience, you made a more informed decision.

Look. I know it’s super woowoo and cheesy, but it’s a much better way to live. Use your jealous feelings as signposts and hints for what you want in life – and then as spurs to get what you want.

Oh, and if you’re curious about who I was jealous of, I’ll tell you. I mean, if you go to Chalk Academy’s site, it’s obvious why. Betty has a totally Pinterestable site!! All her photos are gorgeous and clickable. Her posts are clear, helpful, and useful. Her crafts are fun, easy, and creative. Her kids are adorable and clever.

On top of that, her site helps your kids learn to read and speak Chinese in low key, easy ways – even if you’re not a native speaker.

I WANT TO BE HER. I WANT MY BLOG TO LOOK LIKE HER BLOG.

She’s fantastic.

How sad if I let my jealousy erode our friendship and cause division? How small and fearful my life would be. How much fuller and richer my life is with Betty in it! And how much better would my blog be if I took the elements I love about Chalk Academy and applied it to my site?

Come. Be brave with me. We have only our petty fears and jealousies to lose and a whole world to gain.

Suck It Up, November

How is November over?

No, seriously. I blinked and Thanksgiving happened and now it’s almost December. It’s been a blur.

Anyhow, the penultimate month of sucking it up. Can’t wait to write what I’m going to do for 2018.

So, what was I up to this month? Here’s how I did on my goals:

1) Take family and personal health seriously.

What does that look like? I want to:

a) Cook at least 5 meals a week.

Yes. Still doing well on this. I am particularly pleased because when we visited my brother during Thanksgiving, my kids actually ate foods they don’t normally eat and were minimally assholish about food. This made it much easier for me to relax and enjoy the time spent with my brother’s family.

I firmly believe that me cooking so much and training them to eat food even if they think it’s gross has helped. The other contributing factor is my mother continuing to take my kids out on a weekly basis to eat lunch. She has done all the hard work of civilizing my feral children and I have reaped all the rewards.

b) Be active once a week.

Did I walk this month? I must have. But our preschool was on break so I think I did not walk as often as I used to. Plus, it’s finally gotten cold and dreary. No, thanks.

c) Wash face and brush teeth twice daily.

Still pretty regularly washing my face in the morning and slathering on the sunscreen but again, failing on the night time routine. My skin has stopped being as soft and glowy.

d) Take vitamins and supplements.

Despite buying a pill box (Amazon affiliate link) on Amazon, I have not used it. So, I have totally failed this month with the pills. It’s really because I cannot stand the smell of the omega oils pills. It smells like the prenatals I used to take and it totally makes me gag.

Suck it up, Self. This is supposed to make my bones un-hollow.

e) Go to sleep when the kids sleep 4x a week.

I have not done well with this sleep thing this month. Between staying up late several weeks in a row for writing deadlines and then staying up late to read because stupidity, I failed failed failed.

But I got in a lot of important stuff!

f) No texting while driving.

FINALLY! A win! I give myself a B+. I don’t know why I was better. Possibly because I didn’t drive for a week when I visited my brother. But also, for some reason, my FOMO didn’t act up.

2) Take my responsibilities as a grown up seriously.

It took me 90 minutes to fold 4-5 loads of laundry the other day. It made me sad. But it likely would not have taken so long if I had just folded it right away in the first place.

I hired my handyman again to fix a lot of random stuff (my kids keep providing this man so much business). I also actually cleared my house so the housecleaners could deep clean parts of my house. So, I consider that winning.

I FINALLY filled out the forms to get reimbursed from our homeschooling charter school. It’s about $2500 total between the older two kids for this semester so I’ve been an idiot for procrastinating.

Also, also? I WAS NOT A DICK WHEN VISITING MY BROTHER.

We all know that I’m usually an asshole so I am very pleased that I was not. I was a decent human being.

Therapy works.

I think I may go out and buy a lottery ticket. Oh, wait. Therapy has not yet made me lose all sense of math.

Oh, and I even remembered to buy Christmas presents for my kids’ teachers ahead of time this year instead of during their last class before break. WIN!

3) Write.

I did awesome again this month. Now, it may not seem so because I didn’t actually post that much, but I did do a lot of writing. As I mentioned last month, I booked several paid gigs so I wrote those.

I also submitted speaker proposals to two conferences and got TWO speaking gigs at Type A 2018! I am moderating a panel on How to be a Dope Facebook Group Admin with Brittany Minor of Clumps of Mascara and Michelle D. Johnson Garrett of Divas with a Purpose. Then, I am also speaking on How to Unleash Your Creativity Through the Delicate Art of Not Giving a Fuck.

Now, I just have to combat Impostor Syndrome and tell myself that I deserve these things and I am qualified to be there! I will find out from the second conference this week to see if I got those.

Truthfully, though I am beyond excited to get the speaker gigs, I am MOST pleased about actually applying. I was nervous but then I decided that if I don’t ask, the answer will always be, “No.”

I want more YES in my life.

I also worked and edited my first paid piece in the online magazine, Hold the Line. I actually received the nicest REJECTION letter from their editor. Well, I suppose it technically it was not a rejection because she suggested I rework the piece until it was less sucky, but I could have taken it as a rejection and stopped, versus putting in the work to make it better.

I am grateful to Dots, who helped me IMMEASURABLY with the second draft. I am also amazed at how much a professional editor can change a word or two to make me sound intelligent! It is so cool!

I can’t wait to tell you guys when it publishes. It’s a paid magazine, but it’s so worth it. That way, they can pay their writers which is quite a rarity in the online space. Especially for a new magazine.

I am super excited to tell you folks about my next year’s goals so look out for it soon. How have you been doing for your new year resolutions? Still going strong? One more month to go! Don’t write off 2017 just yet. There is still time.

Let me know in the comments.