Category Archives: Relaxing

What a STUPID idea!

Over Thanksgiving weekend, one of my family members asked me what my final monthly resolution would be for 2012.  I optimistically said that I was going to try to do a little bit (or a lot) of every resolution from the year.

Gee!  Wouldn’t that be a wonderful capstone to this year-long project!  Wouldn’t it be FUN to revisit my resolutions and to combine them into one fabulously enhanced life?

Um, no.  It wouldn’t.

For those who can’t remember (I couldn’t) or who just haven’t been paying attention, here is the list:

January  – Eat Five Fruits and Veggies a Day
February – No Alcohol
March – Stretching Every Day
April- What Would Elvine Do? Take Care of Yourself
May- Stop Thinking about the Future and Just Relax
June – Get into the Woods, Implement Finishing Touches
July – Clean Underware
August – No Cheese!
September – Get Out the Funk
October – Clean the Basement
November – Um, Keep Cleaning the Basement

When I started really thinking about doing all of these at once it quickly became clear that I was setting myself up for failure.  On a massive scale.

I mean, seriously, WHO on EARTH could go a whole month with NO ALCOHOL and NO CHEESE?  And why, WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU?

And, if you were sick enough to try that resolution, WHY would you EVER do it in DECEMBER?

Yea, that idea is RIGHT OUT.

I still liked the idea of putting the resolutions together in some way – just not by doing them all at once.  So instead of that crazy scheme, I’ve just been reflecting on them, pondering how they worked (or didn’t), how they changed me (or didn’t), and what this little project has done for me.

One of the first things I did, of course, was re-read all of my posts.  One post in particular caught my attention.  Back in January I wrote a list of potential resolutions that were vying for my attention.  These rejected resolutions are fascinating now.

  • Some of them actually became resolutions later in the year (stretching every day and going without alcohol for a month).
  • Some of them happened, even though I didn’t make them an official resolution (going to the gym five days a week and going back to London).
  • Some of them have become larger goals that I do work on, though I wouldn’t call them one-month resolutions (saving six months of my salary).

I’ve had lots of insights, actually, from this re-reading and pondering.  So many, in fact, that I think I’ll add a new resolution to the rest of my month.

I’m going to post once a day – a short post – with thoughts on the year, and possibly ideas for the next one.

And you can be sure, while I’m writing, I’ll be sipping a lovely glass of wine and eating some cheese.  Snap.

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Filed under Alcohol, Cheese, Fruits and Vegetables, Health, Relaxing, Resolutions, Stretching

I can make anything complicated.

I’m happy to report moderate to great success on both of my June resolutions.

First, the nightly touches.  I thought it would be a good idea to spend 15 minutes every night picking up the house and getting ready for a clean start (literally and figuratively) in the morning.  I was right.  The morning AFTER evenings I have done this are much more smooth and enjoyable.  In addition, anecdotal evidence suggests that those entire days are more productive and happier as well.  I’m not sure I’ll ever reach 100% on this resolution – nor am I certain I want to.  Sometimes being open to spontaneity means that I will be busy until 11:00 PM and then want, immediately, to go to bed.  My life is not so complicated (no partner, no children, no commute) that I can’t manage when my house is a bit untidy or I haven’t planned my lunch for the next day. Overall, though, I like the idea and will try to remember how much mental energy is saved the next day by 15 minutes the night before.

So, lets move on from this boring resolution and get to what’s really interesting:
my ability to make an information management project out of ANYTHING.

Yes, it’s true.  I can take a resolution about getting outside into the woods and communing with nature into a database opportunity.

You heard me.

Here’s how it happened.

I went on a hike at Bald Eagle State Park.  Yay!

It was a great hike, but it was shorter than I had hoped for two reasons.  One, there was a bald eagle nest somewhere on the trail so the park had closed it to hikers.  Nothing I could do about that.  But two, I left for this hike later than expected because it took me an hour to read about hikes in the area and pick one.  Had more time been available to me, I would have found another trail to supplement my initial hike with.  Instead, I felt pressed for time and added only a short (but lovely, I admit) walk on a butterfly trail in the main area of the park.

This isn’t all that uncommon.  I set aside a day for hiking but I forget that it takes me a while to determine where to go.  I have about 100 hiking in PA books (ok, a slight exaggeration, but I have a lot).  Some are better than others for identifying where the hikes really are or how to get there.  So in addition to picking a hiking distance (usually between 5-10 miles), difficulty (usually moderate), and region (north, east, west), I have to spend time with PA maps, a Gazetteer, and sometimes notes from previous hikes. So I wake up on Saturday morning, gather my supplies, and then spend an hour researching.

I have a great idea!

What if I picked about 20-25 hikes I might do this summer and did all the research ahead of time?

Great, I can read books and put post-it notes on the pages of hikes I like!

But wait! What if instead of putting post-it-notes in books, I created an excel spreadsheet with hike information so I can easily find the hike I want?

That would be AWESOME!

But wait!  What if I defined the regions of PA once and for all (each book uses a different way to divide the state), and made a large PA map with regions and flags for each hike I could hang on my wall?

But wait!  There’s a GOOGLE Maps API that would allow me to make a map online with links and…

But wait! if I’m going to do all this work, shouldn’t my friends benefit from it?

I could make a web page for people based in Lewisburg, and link to all the other cool sites about things to do outside…not just hiking, but camping, and canoeing, and cool day-trips and….

Maybe an intervention is in order.

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Filed under Fitness, Hiking, Relaxing, Research

Please Stop Asking Me

My May Resolution: DON’T THINK TOO MUCH.  Relax.  Enjoy Life.  Give yourself at least another 17 days to unwind before you try to figure it all out.

There’s only one problem.

PEOPLE KEEP ASKING ME WHAT I’M GOING TO DO NEXT.

Please, I beg of you.  Stop asking me.  I can’t take it.  I try to answer, but then I get stressed out that I don’t know the answer.  But when you ask me, YOU MAKE ME THINK.

SO, To facilitate the elimination of this conversation from my life (for at least another 17 days), I am providing answers to those frequently asked below.

Q: What are you going to do now that you have a master’s degree?

A: My job.

Q: But you have all this extra time now?  How will you fill it?

A: My job.  Oh, and hiking a LOT MORE.

Q: Will you get a big raise?

A: NO

Q: Not anything at all?

A: No, really.  No raise.

Q: But what about that non-profit cooking class for women on food stamps you want to start?

A: Yes, that’s there in the back of my mind.  Ask me about it in June.  or maybe July.

Q: Won’t you be bored?

A: No.

Q: You could go anywhere now, couldn’t you?

A: Yes.  Please, PLEASE, PUH-LEEEEZE shut up.

Let me make it clear that I love you all for caring.  For your support and excitement about this accomplishment.  But my resolution is to relax, remember?  This is NOT HELPING.

To make this easier, here is a recommended set of ALTERNATIVE questions I encourage you to ask me as well as the answers you can expect from me.

Q: Want to go on a hike?
A: Yes, I’ll meet you in 10 minutes.

Q: Can I come for a visit?
A: I’d love that! As long as we don’t talk about what I’m going to do next!

Q: What are you having for dinner?
A: Something awesome, want to join me?

Q: Want to go out for a drink?
A: Yes!

Q: Want to walk your dog?
A: Yes!

Q: Want to help me paint/clean/shop/cook/take care of kids?
A: Sign me up!

Q: Where is the beer?
A:  In the basement.

Thank you for your cooperation.

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Filed under Alcohol, Relaxing, Resolutions, The Meaning of Life