Tuesday, December 27, 2016

2k16 -- On and Out!

With the end of the year upon us, I wanted to reflect on things and look forward as I did last year.

I came into 2016 hoping that things would start settling more after Baby Tuesday (who isn't much of a baby anymore) joined our family.


At the end of 2015, I was still very, very tired.  Thankfully, sleep came, and as he learned things, became more mobile, and found distraction in many more things, I could breathe a little bit more.  Of course, there are always (many) challenges, but I feel a little more in control now than I did a year ago.

Work has gone pretty well.  I got a lot busier due to re-orgs, which was an adjustment.  Still no promotion (fact: I've never had a formal promotion), but I'm still fine with this because I'm otherwise compensated well and seemingly regarded fine.  I've started reading, cooking, and relaxing more, which has given me a little more sense of balance even though I often feel so crazed and frantic trying to get everything done.

On the health front, 2016 stood out because I had my first ear infection.  Man, those things are terrible!  Being on antibiotics also apparently contributes to secondary infections.  I think I spent an entire month on antibiotics, which of course throws you out of whack.  I also mentioned having knee and wrist pain in this post.  Luckily, those are mostly under control now.  Later in the year, I developed lower back pain, which has really limited how much I run and lift.  I tried the chiropractor, stretching, and massage, which has helped keep it to a minimum.  I was told that most back pain (particularly the kind that I have that is most likely a repetitive use issue) resolves itself in a couple of months, thankfully.  This year has just been a stark reminder of my age and that I need to take care of myself.

Finally, we had some routine changes with "The Ukrainian" being laid off and then later starting a new job.  That was a new frontier for us (as I am usually the one with the questionable job situation), but now that we are on the other side of it for now, we are doing fine on all fronts.

As for my goals for the year, I had some successes and dropped the ball on some.  I'm pretty sure this is the norm for people, so I'll take it.

1. Give more compliments

This slipped in and out of my consciousness, and since I spent a lot of time working remotely, this was kind of difficult on a day-to-day basis when I would only see my family on some days.  I think overall, there was a slight improvement.

2. Complete a round of Focus T-25

I slowly completed Insanity Max 30 (not in sequence, but still!) and started this same process for T-25, though I did not get through yet.  Instead, I've been doing a mix of running, elliptical, strength training, and video workouts, just as I have been for a while.  Somewhere in 2016, I decided to run at least a mile (on average) a day -- 366 -- which I exceeded late in the Summer and then got more lax about counting.  It was supposed to be spread out over the year so that I'd be running at least ~30 miles a month, but since I hurt my back that sub-goal fell to the wayside.

3. Clean up closet/wardrobe

I did clean this, though I feel like its effects are fleeting.  I clean/purge but apparently not enough.

4. Donate blood

I came very close to this at the end of the year when they had a blood drive very close to my house.  However, I was just getting over a cold that would never end and decided to wait.

5. Read 1+ book a month

As of today, I'm at 11 books completed if you don't count the 6 that I used to study for my PHR exam (which I passed, one of this year's highlights for sure).  I did start the New York Times' Essential Guide to Knowledge, which will likely take forever.  I have and know I could read a lot more, but I'm not going to stress over it since reading is supposed to be recreational!

6. Weight

This is the one goal I didn't think I'd be able to cross off my list, but apparently, I reached my pre-pregnancy weight right around the time my son turned two.  I'm not particularly sure how, since I haven't been working out particularly much nor eating exceptionally healthfully.  If I had to guess, I think re-incorporating strength training, relying on more protein for snacks (I ate a lot of protein bars this year), and being busy has helped me.  Now, the holidays have not been kind to me and sending me in the wrong direction, but I know that once the year kicks off and everyone's on their best behavior, I'll be back at it.  Hopefully!!

7. Focus on relationship with husband

Now that the chaos of babyhood has passed, we have been able to spend more time with each other and even went on a first overnighter alone since we became parents.  I think I've come a long way in understanding him, being more patient, and checking in on how we're each doing (this includes expressing what I need as well).  I think I've done really well at showing my appreciation for the many things he does.  Sleep, I tell you, makes everything better.

Looking forward to the upcoming year, my main focus is going to be positivity.  I know this sounds banal, but I feel that I am habitually negative.  I don't want to send my negative energy everywhere, especially because life is pretty good right now.  First, I need to acknowledge that I'm a very anxious person and must overcome years of habits that would translate anxiety to negativity.  I need to slow down and notice details, read other people better, and not act on assumptions.  This is a pretty lofty goal and one that is hard to measure, but I can try to break it down into a few components:
  • "Road/line rage": Nobody cares if I am upset that they didn't wait their turn or follow traffic laws or even if they've put me into danger, so I need to let it go and look after myself; a few minutes' delay is fine and there's no need for me to steam over it.  Recently, someone cut in front of us in the members' line at the zoo after waiting in a long line.  She claims she had to set up for her son's (who was present) birthday party, which was starting in half an hour.  Since she didn't so much as ask or warn us before butting in, we called her out, and she basically said that we don't understand her need to cut because she spent $600 on this party.  This bothered me for a long time for some reason, and whether entitlement or principles or the fact that kids were present, I should have just let it go.

  • Work: Service first, even when I am overwhelmed.  Not that I am ever overtly negative at work, but I'd like to be the person who is pleasant to be around even when the going gets tough.

  • Home life: Try to be patient with husband and son and not panic if things don't go quite right.  Nobody else gets worked up, so I shouldn't, either.  Modeling positivity will also be important as my son is growing up.

  • Compliments: this was on the 2016 list, and I will continue to work on this

Second, I need to mind my health, which is the root of everything.  I just spent a paragraph talking about my health anomalies in 2016.  I've been actively avoiding my annual blood sugar test, but I'm going to go do it... soon... and deal with the results (hopefully better than last year).  While I can whine that it's unfair that I had a kid and threw my system out of whack, it's probably best that I stay on top of things like this anyway.  Components:

  • Don't skip vitamins: Yes, I got to this point, and this is such an easy fix that will probably help me feel better.

  • Protein: I let this slip during the holidays, but in working on my blood sugar levels, this is going to be a constant goal to hit about 30% a day.  I need to start roughly tracking again.

  • Try a new workout: I want to get back in the running saddle a bit, but I also want to try something new this year.  A barre/TRX/yoga studio is opening near me soon, so I would like to incorporate this stuff into my regular regime.  (If the studio ends up not meeting my expectations, I still at least want to try something new on my own.)

  • Don't exceed weight threshold: As of this writing, I am more or less where I'd like to be weight-wise (not shape-wise, hah!), so my goal is not to gain net weight this upcoming year.  Yes, I know this is supposed to get tougher as one gets older.
That pretty much sums up my goals.  Since there are only two of them (with sub-components that I feel are do-able), this should hopefully help me focus on them.  We'll see!

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