At the beginning of September, I wrote about a socialization plan I devised for my time in Connecticut and a little over a month ago I evaluated my progress at the halfway mark. Our initial stint in Connecticut has now ended and it’s time for my final grades – drumroll, please!
1) Spend three days a week writing at the library to get me out of the house
Midterm Grade: F
Final Grade: F
Rationale: In the 63 days that my husband and I lived in Connecticut, not once did I spend time at the library writing. So, not just a fail, an epic fail (I’m giving myself a ZERO).
Reflection: I accept this failure because I learned something valuable – I prefer writing at home. As much as I like the idea of writing at a library or a coffee shop, going to these places require several additional steps in the process, like showering/getting dressed and then walking (driving) somewhere. For a procrastinator like myself, these steps fuel my fire of distraction and before I know it, I’ve wasted a ton of time with nothing to show for it. Thus, getting out of my house from here on out will need to come through other means.
2) Volunteer at the library (that is, if they’ll have me for just two months)
Midterm Grade: F
Final Grade: C
Rationale: I ended up spending my service time elsewhere (see point #3), but my husband and I gave a financial donation to the library before we left.
Reflection: Even though I didn’t write anything at the library, my husband and I spent a lot of time utilizing their wonderful (and free!) resources. We both read some great books, watched some great (in my husband’s opinion; meh in my opinion) movies, and used their printers for personal use. Since we both believe that 10% of our income should go to charity, it seemed like the Norfolk Library deserved a good chunk of what we earned while living there. Money is not the same thing as service, so that’s why I went with a “C.”
3) Seek other short-term volunteer opportunities as they present themselves
Midterm Grade: A-
Final Grade: A
Rationale: In addition to continuing as a social media team member for the Young Adult Review Network, I managed to find some short-term volunteer opportunities as well, including contributing some of my writing to the Norfolk Church of Christ Congregational’s Christmas pageant, donating food to the church’s food pantry, and entertaining children at the Colebrook Community Center’s Halloween party.
Reflection: These small service opportunities are a great way to get out of the house, meet people, and feel like I’m actively contributing to society. I just need to keep my eyes open for them.
4) Attend a weekly writers’ group
Midterm Grade: A+
Final Grade: A+
Rationale: I attended a creative writers’ group every Wednesday and I attended a children’s writers’ group every time they had a meeting (which ended up being three times).
Reflection: I cannot recommend writing groups enough! In addition to being a wonderful opportunity to socialize with writers and get out of the house (which is important to me; see point 1), my stories have improved based on the feedback from the groups. There’s also a lot of utility in seeing and hearing people’s response to your work as you read it out loud. I found both groups using Google searches, but I’ve also used meetup.com. It is my sincerest hope that wherever my husband and I end up wandering to, we will always have a writing group to attend (yes, sometimes he comes with me).
5) Work at short-term, limited employment jobs where I can see my contributions to society
Midterm Grade: B
Final Grade: B
Rationale: It’s official – I love making sandwiches! I think it’s because people truly appreciate a well-made sandwich and appreciation is something I did not experience on a regular basis as a teacher of statistics or research methods. I spent hours editing and evaluating students’ work and most of the time I felt like my efforts were wasted. That is hardly ever the case with working a café!
On the downside, though, I’m still having difficulty managing my time. I started working on one of my novels again (YAY!) but then my exercise fell by the way side (BOO!). Then, there’s Halloween, which certainly did not help my sweet tooth, especially because the library had a huge candy supply, and finally we discovered Dee’s One Smart Cookie Allergen-free Bakery, which may be allergen free, but not sugar, calorie, or fat free.
Reflection: Blargle! I don’t like being dissatisfied with how I treat my body. This is the one body I get for life, so I need to do better at prioritizing it while I’m working. I have a plan for that, though, which I’m going to share next week when I lay out my goals for the remaining two months of the year (and if you have any suggestions/recommendations for my November/December goals, feel free to let me know).
6) Find a spiritual community that encourages self-reflection and growth.
Midterm Grade: C+
Final Grade: C-
Rationale: Although I actively worked on my spirituality and connection to God daily, I didn’t commit fully to any one community.
Reflection: This might have to be something I accept as my husband and I continue wandering around. When you’re only going to be in one place for a set, limited time, it can be hard to motivate yourself to make commitments of this sort. I enjoy connecting with others, especially those who center their lives on love, compassion, generosity, and service. It may be that I modify this goal to reflect a more global community than local one.
Overall Grade: C
Reflection: WOOHOO – I passed! If it wasn’t for that ZERO, I might even have been above average. Oh, well. Gives me something to work towards until the end of the year.