Hello, friends! On this final day of April, I’m looking back at the focus items I’d set for myself back at the end of March.
After my train ride back to Wisconsin at the start of the month, I came down with a bad cold which kept me in bed through the 8th. But even with losing a week, I’ve been able to get done what I wanted to, thanks to full, free days at my parents’ home during this month of downtime between ACE and RMYC.
- (+) Read one sustainability book. — I read “Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things,” which I highly recommend. I’m currently about halfway through Diane Ackerman’s “The Human Age: The World Shaped by Us” which is fascinating and beautifully written.
- (+) Watch two more Climate Lab videos (#5 and #6). — Since I’ll be unplugged for my six months in Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, I went ahead and finished watching all of the Climate Lab videos this month. If you haven’t seen any yet, again I highly recommend checking them out. They’re very digestible, short-yet-impactful videos of 5-7 minutes.
- (+) Watch “The Clean Bin Project” — This one hadn’t been on last month’s list, but when I found out my mom had Amazon Prime, I watched this documentary on Prime Video. If you don’t have Prime, you can rent the movie for just $1.99! Next on my list is “Just Eat It.: A Food Waste Story,” made by the same couple.
- (+/-) Yoga every day (from the 4th onward) and track in bullet journal. — Because I got sick, I didn’t start doing “things” until April 8. Yoga was definitely a priority for me this month, though. I stopped tracking these last few days, but you can see below how I did.
- (+/-) One minute plank (x3: straight, left, right) each day. — I would start my days with my pushups and then do plank right after, mostly because I didn’t want to do them, so this way I’d get them out of the way early on. I would play a 3-minute song—usually Hilary Duff’s “Belong” or Stromae’s “Bâtard”—and change sides each minute. I’ve tried to do things like this over and over in the past, but it felt notably different this time. I would feel resistance, but then do it right away anyway. This carried over into my daily writing too, which I’ll share below.
Art Journal Regularly
- (-) Create a day-marker page for 20+ days of the month. — With my physical morning routine and 30 minutes of writing in the #1 spot each day, my day marker journal lost precedence. I just grabbed my notebook and counted, though, and I still made 13 pages during the month—which isn’t 20, but it’s also not nothing. It’s 13 pages of memories!
Create One Bigger “Thing” Quarterly
- (+) Publish IBS story — I did it! I published “My Decade Living with IBS-D” and I’m proud of what my consistent, small efforts amounted to. I also put out a short little piece on Medium to share my story with new circles. (Do you know anyone with IBS who might like to read my ebook?)
- (+) Weekday 30-min. writing sessions for my next quarterly “thing” — As I mentioned above, this weekday-daily 30-minutes of writing was just as important as my daily yoga/pushups/planks. The first week I kept my phone in airplane mode until I had finished my writing, which would always be the tail-end of my morning, around 10:30 or sometimes even noon.
I would wake up, usually read in bed with my morning bagel and tea for anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, then I’d get my pushups and plank out of the way in under 5 minutes. Next came yoga (usually 30 minutes), followed by writing at the computer with a 30-minute timer going. And once the timer went off, I could take my phone off airplane mode and check Instagram. Rewards!
The first week I held to all my constraints and never “cheated.” It felt great! The second week I started checking my phone before I’d finished my morning routine, but I was still doing both each day: pushups/plank/yoga and writing.
So, all in all this went really well! I like the technique I’m using, which I first experimented with last July: the daily writing “sit.” It’s where you measure the amount of time sitting in your chair writing anything, rather than tracking the number of words written or using a task-oriented goal like to finish writing one blog post.
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, my second quarterly “thing” is about 98% finished! I wrote about moments this past year in which I used my personal compass. It was so fun to write! Like, the most fun writing has felt in…. as long as I can remember. So, that was a neat experience. I just have to rewrite/edit the conclusion, then come up with a title and cover. It’ll share it here in a day or two!
Bits and Pieces
- Weekly pushups. As you saw above, I was diligent about following that program for most of the month. It helped that the schedule forced you to take a day of rest between every pushup day—that was easy! I don’t know if I’ll continue with these… I feel myself gaining more strength with yoga, and it overall feels better on my body, so I can see that being my focus in Colorado. We’ll see!
- Deck Swap. Last night I finished making my cards! In the end I went with simpler and manageable so that I’d be sure to finish without stressing myself out. Take a look here! Today I packaged them up, so now I just need to get to the post office and I can check this honker off my list. Update: Mailed them!
- Ukulele. This has been fun! For my birthday I got a button put on my ukulele so I could then buy myself a strap. I’m so glad I decided to do that! The last couple of days I’ve been saving song chords as PDFs, which I’ll then transfer to my kindle. The only thing is that my ukulele is too big to take on my flight (I mean, it’s small, but I’m flying Frontier…) so I still have to look into how much it would cost to ship my ukulele to Colorado.
- Five portraits. I’ve painted three portraits this month, but plan to do one or two more yet this week before my flight to Colorado.
Now, I don’t know when I’ll be able to write my next Resolutions Checkpoint, and that’s because I’m not bringing my computer along to my summer and fall conservation gig with Rocky Mountain Youth Corps. So, I’ll be quite unplugged!
I also won’t have much alone time. I’ll be working and living with my crew for the full duration of each term—no “off” days to myself like I had in ACE. So, that will certainly take some getting used to, but I’m up for the challenge.
That said, here’s what I’d like to keep in focus during my conservation life these next six months:
Yoga. I could feel that the yoga (for spinal fusion) I was doing all month (thanks to videos by Julie Wilkins at Alignment Paths) was great for my body. So in preparation for RMYC, I found a way to convert the videos (which I’d purchased) to mp3, so that I can use them without wifi, on-the-go while camping. They’re all loaded up on my phone, ready to go!
Paint. I’m bringing along my watercolors and want to paint more frequently than my monthly Moment Sketchers sketch, continuing to advance on my 100 Portraits project as well. But again, with hardly any free time, I’m not sure how this will play out. I’ll have to adjust to the new rhythm and schedule, and then see how to squeeze it in.
Draw. In anticipation for less painting time, I want to make drawing easily available to me. A quick 5-minute sketch of something in front of me at lunch or dinner is doable. So I’m planning to make a small sketch book with the remaining pages of my day-marker journal. Something I can take along and carry in my day-pack.
Write. Since I’m not bringing along my computer, I’m bringing notebooks and pens. I want to write! Thoughts, memories, ideas, poetry, song lyrics—I don’t care, I just want to fill a notebook up with words. The last written entry in my spiral journal is from March 1. So, yeah—I want to return to the pen and words.
Ukulele. Looking at everything else above, it looks like I have more than enough to fill my small nuggets of alone time on this next adventure. But if I don’t bring my ukulele along, I’m guaranteeing that I won’t play. I want to play, and music is a fun stress reliever—especially if you can sing with friends, so I’ll check at the post office when I mail my Deck Swap cards to see how much shipping would be. Update: I brought along my ukulele to the post office and they estimated $11 since it doesn’t weight much! So I think I’ll likely be shipping my ukulele to Colorado. Yippee!
As always, I’d love to hear from you! What was April like in your world? Where would you like your attention to be during May?