Hey There August,
Nice to see you. So I’m officially in Q4 of my Golden Year* . With three months to go until I turn the Big 3-0, I’ve got a lot on mind lately.
As I go through the next three months I’m trying to be intentional about my time, and I’m trying to reflect on the past three decades, how they’ve brought me here, and where I’d like to go in my thirties. I’m not scared, but I want to be thoughtfully present as the big stages and moments like this in my life happen. It’s not just about birthdays and celebrating (although, who I am kidding, of course that’s fun). For me, it’s more about marking the passage of time in a meaningful way. Someday I will want look back and remember who I was at the edge of a new decade.
Who am I now that is different from who I was 10 years ago? I’m a wife and a partner. I’m an Aunt (twice over with a third little niece or nephew on the way). I’m a professional. I’m a blogger (yay!). I’m a biker (kinda) and a rock climber (sometimes). I’m a San Franciscan (the idea was not yet a dream 10 years ago).
The last time I changed decades I barely noticed. I was a sophmore in college, and twenty wasn’t twenty-one, so who cared? Oh how I have changed. But I want to keep thinking about who I am now and who I want to be and making plans to take new steps in the directions of those plans.
Ok. Back to August. Remember how I said I was going to write more around here? I wasn’t kidding. I hope you’re still with me. 🙂 Yesterday after reading my Golden July in Review, a good friend sent me this post from writer Drew Hoolhorst: Why You Should Write and also reminded me of this amazing Dear Sugar post: Write Like a MotherF*cker by Cheryl Strayed. If you’re struggling to remember why you should be courageous and write your stinkin heart out, read those and remember that you should write just because. I’m going to try to remember that too.
Ok. Now really back to August:
Be (theme): Re-Designing> As I’ve mentioned, the blog is going through a total redesign over the next month or so, and I can’t wait. It’s making me think a lot about what I want NML to look like, how I want things organized, and what I want to write about. I’m excited for all the change to come. We’re also redecorating our apartment, so that falls into this category too. Out with the old and in with the new!
Listen (playlists): Exercise tunes> Are you thinking, Mere, isn’t this just a disguise for listening to Pop music two months in a row? maybeeeee. But I do want to get back into an exercise routine this month, and this will help. Do you have any music (even without words) that you love to listen to while you work out? Oh, and bangs, I’m thinking about getting bangs again. Redesigning my face counts, right?
Craft (DIY): 29 Photos Project>This is also on my 30 before 30 list. I want to print at least one photo of myself from each of my 29 years and do something cool with it. I have no idea what I was thinking when I added this goal. no idea. I mean do I really want a collage of 29 versions of my face or something? help. Hopefully something that doesn’t resemble a weird shrine to myself. Any suggestions? Again. What was I thinking?! #makeitwork
Travel: Chicago> I am headed to a conference in Chicago in a few weeks! I’ve never been to Chicago, and (as Viet keeps pinching my cheeks and reminding me) this will also be my very first solo work trip. I’m hoping I have some time to explore a bit and see the sights.
Aurora (my life list): 30 Before 30>My 30 before 30 list feels like a mini Aurora. It also makes me realize that Aurora needs some serious updating, but I’m hoping my trip to Camp Mighty in October will help me with that. This month I’m tackling some major items on the list:
> the 29 photos (as mentioned above)
> cut out alcohol for 30 days
so let’s talk about this one a bit. As I mentioned a few days ago, I started this early because I knew there were times during the month (most notably Viet’s cousin’s birthday in Vegas) where I was going to want to drink and I wanted to log 30 days (even if they weren’t consecutive). So I haven’t been drinking this week, and it’s been no big deal at all. But as I started to think about August, I was sad that I had decided not to drink because there are occassions (several double dates, a winery outing, the vegas bday party, heck. even going to a cubs game in Chicago) that made me regret this goal. So I started thinking more about why I put this goal on my list in the first place.
First of all, I’m not pregnant. I should’ve thought that people might think I was when I decided not to drink for 30 days.
As I thought more about why I wanted to stop drinking, I realized that it’s not about cutting alcohol out of my life entirely. We like to drink socially. We enjoy wine and cocktails with friends. That will always be a part of our lives. But (completely candidly) what I don’t like about my drinking habits now is the drinking at home (even if it’s with dinner). I don’t want to come home every day from work and unwind with a glass of wine. I don’t want to automatically pour myself a glass of wine as I cook or even when we eat. I realized that more often than not, that’s what happens. So, after thinking about this a lot, I think I’m going to edit this rule a bit. Instead of not drinking for 30 days, I’m going to cut out all drinking at home on weekdays (and most home weekend drinking unless we’re having folks over). This way, I won’t drink at all in the evenings unless I’m out having dinner with friends or at a party, but I also won’t unnecessarily refrain from grabbing a beer at the Cubs game. The more I thought about it, the more I thought, if I’m going to do this, let’s do it in a meaningful way that actually addresses the habits I don’t like and not just a cold turkey to be cold turkey approach.
> redesign. reimagine. re-envision. and refocus Not Merely Living. Woo! The redesign project starts August 12th!
> rid my life of anything that isn’t beautiful or useful. Literally. go through all my stuff. This could result in an epic yard sale or goodwill run.
Hopefully we’ll make even more progress on this goal this month. I want our place nice and lean come labor day.
> make the time to invest in your writing. Prioritize it. Unplug. Go to the quiet. Write just to write. . . and then to share.
I’m already starting to do this, and it’s already making me so much happier. I’ve also got some big ideas about more ways to incorporate writing into my routine. The main thing that I want to do to help my writing (but also just my quality of life in general) is to only do one thing at once. That may sound simple and obvious, but I’m such a master multi-tasker that I’ll be cooking, trying to write, watching tv, and talking to Viet. Then I wonder why the food is dry, the writing is blah, and I can’t remember what happened in the episode or when Viet’s getting his head shaved. Does this happen to anyone else!?! So it’s time to slow down and focus all my attention on one thing at a time.
Capture (Photography): #celebratethenormal> Even though I was only able to contribute once last month. This month I’m hoping to be a more active contributor in Pars Caeli’s weekly photo prompt to capture and record the normal every day awesome. I hope you’ll join me!
What are your goals for August? How are you planning to squeeze out the last drops of summer?
* Ever since I turned 29 on the 29th of October last year, I’ve been celebrating my “golden year” by honing in on some key fun things I want to do/see/be each month before I turn 30. My priorities each month feel more targeted than just monthly goals, but they also add a bit of random/fun into my monthly routine. In the past I’ve always had so many swirling ideas of things I wanted to do or try, but I never had a system to help me prioritize them and tackle them. Each month I’ve designed a different visual frame (like the one above) for my golden priorities. Go here to read about previous golden months.