I was in a bit of a funk for the month of December. I had a list of topics to write about for the month. I even had seasonal topics, mainly holiday-specific things that pop into my head sometimes. I had every intention of writing quite a bit and of getting my life together throughout the month. Instead……. I barely existed.
Usually, the holidays give me energy. This year, they just drained me. My job drained me. My relationship with the Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend drained me. Friendships drained me. Even some of my co-workers drained me. It just seemed like the entire month was one giant ball of ick, without all the festiveness and that controlled chaos I love.
You see, I like being busy. I love my holiday 6am shift. It’s draining, and exhausting. I leave feeling sore, and walk a whole bunch while lifting things. We looked at how many skids of product we got for our deliveries, and how many people we had working the delivery shift. Between pulling the warehouse, putting away the delivery load, and stocking shelves, we each lifted an average of just over 12,000lbs each day. With the exception of hurting my back yesterday, I’ve been loving this shift. I’m awake at 4am to have my coffee and take a quick shower. I’m out the door by 5:30am for a freezing cold walk to work. I leave by 2:30pm and then have the entire afternoon and evening to do stuff. My plan was to clean, cook, bake, and craft my afternoons away and then have a nice dinner with AAB before going to bed early.
None of that has been happening though. I was going to declutter the bedroom, deep clean the floors, do a little reorganizing, and completely clean and reorganize the kitchen. There are some new knitting needles on my desk from a coworker with a list of instructional sites so I can learn how to knit. My mending is piled up in the corner with my sewing kit. And I pulled out my box of notebooks to finally go through. And none of this got done. Most days, I came home and did just what needed to be done. I scrubbed the bathroom, swept and mopped, maybe ran the vacuum through the bedroom quickly. But none of the projects I had lined up for myself got done. Hell, they didn’t even get started!
Instead, I sat around watching YouTube a lot. That’s when I knew I’m in a funk and need to do something about it soon. I’ve watched a few hundred Vine compilations, but am like nine weeks behind on listening to my favourite podcast. I rewatched a bunch of Bar Rescue but stopped watching things that were new to me and I was enjoying like Mindhunter and Bob’s Burgers. I haven’t touched the new coffee maker or straightening iron I got for Christmas. I haven’t even wanted to eat the Christmas treats I baked, opting instead to eat halushki (plain potato and flour dumpling balls boiled in water and served with a little salt and/or sauerkraut) every day for lunch. I have been the walking definition of the term “in a funk”.
As opposed to the happy jolly front I’ve had on at work, I’ve been miserable. Instead of loving the stress and busyness of this time of year, I’ve hated almost every minute of it. I was happier getting yelled at by customers while working a cash register for 8 hours than I was at home with all of my decorations and projects. I didn’t watch most of my favourite Christmas specials or movies. I didn’t play my It’s A Wonderful Life drinking game this year. I didn’t get any mulled wine or send out Christmas cards. I busted my ass to finish the few crafts and writings I needed for gifts, and that was it. For the most part, I plopped myself down in my desk chair and watched reruns I’ve seen dozens of times before. Not even festive reruns, just the same old crap I watch all year.
I know I need to make some changes. AAB and I have been talking about the things in our lives right now that we’re not satisfied with, and the things we have a chance to change in the new year. He has a great opportunity to learn a trade at work, and I have the chance to finally get some medical benefits so I can afford to see a dentist (damn wisdom teeth coming in!) and get my eyes checked (damn glasses!). We have a bit of money saved up and are looking into buying a home in our area. Homes are pretty cheap in our part of the city, and our city is one of the cheapest ones to live in Canada right now. Once we buy a home, we’re looking into adopting a rescue kitten for the surprisingly mature Bowser Kitten to teach how to be a cat. And then we want to look at used cars.
We have all of this coming up in the new year, I know I need a severe kick in the arse to get myself in gear. We have a lot of big goals we want to accomplish together that will need quite a bit of working on. I also know that I need to personally make some changes in my life in order to stop these constant funks.
Today is New Years Day. Traditionally, it’s the day that all New Year Resolutions begin. Today not only the first day of 2018 and the first day of January, it’s also Monday, the first day of a new week. On top of that, tonight is a full moon. Not just any full moon though: tonight is the Wolf Supermoon. If any time were a time for a fresh start, today would be that time.
Unfortunately, as you’re reading this, I’m sitting at my parents place eating shrimp and kielbasa and drinking wine. It’s their annual New Years Day party, and I’m not starting any resolutions during the party. We’ve been having this party every year since before I was even born. It’s a day to gather with family and friends, eat too much, drink a little too much, and catch up with everyone. It’s like Christmas and the Super Bowl combined!
Also, I don’t make resolutions. I’ve found that whenever I consciously make a “resolution”, I fail before the end of January. Something about that whole “I’m going to change my life for the better, and make some major changes, and they’re all happening right now” mentality I’ve always seen with anyone I’ve known making a resolution puts too much pressure on me to keep it. It doesn’t feel like a gradual improvement or a lifestyle change. It becomes this all-or-nothing major change to a person’s life, where one wrong move can derail the entire thing in seconds.
Now, when I break things up and set goals instead, it makes everything seem a lot more capable. Instead of the usual “I’m going to get my shit together this year” resolution I’ve been pressured into making every year since the early 2000’s, I’ve decided to set some concrete yet flexible goals for myself this year. The point of them is to be something to work towards, without them strict that one tiny slip-up would cause everything to come crumbling down around me. So, I’m setting myself a whole bunch of goals this year.
1) Start living that roommate-less life
I go to work every single day and deal with random-ass strangers. Then I come home and live with random-ass strangers. When there aren’t enough random-ass strangers renting rooms in our house, then I have to show vacant rooms to random-ass strangers when I just want to relax, put my feet up and read. I am getting pretty damn sick of all these random-ass strangers in my random-ass house!
So this year, we want to change our living situation. Ideally, we would want to buy the house we are in right now. We wouldn’t kick anyone out right away, but I would get some new leases drawn up putting a time limit on how long they can live here (6 months to a year, probably). Then we just wouldn’t replace people as they left. Then I could start deep cleaning the house without wondering “is this even mine? Does random-ass-roommate use this? Did another previous random-ass-roommate leave this behind?”. We could make some small improvements, slap some fresh paint on the walls, move in the furniture I have stores at my parents’ place (which includes a real bed, instead of dinky twin bed we’re sharing now), and the ever curious Bowser Kitten could explore the basement finally.
If that isn’t possible, our next plan is to buy another house in the area. I’ve been combing websites, talking to coworkers and friends, and even once talked to a mortgage broker for advice. In the new year, we’re going to look into pre-approval for a mortgage through our banks and through some private lenders. Knowing what we qualify for and what we can afford, I can narrow our search down and we can hopefully find a place.
If the housing market jumps again like it did early last year (homes were going for almost 30% more than their asking price!), then we’re prepared to look into apartments in the area. I already have a list of building management companies to stay away from, which buildings don’t allow fur-children, and which buildings in the area have horrible reviews from current and previous tenants.If it comes down to renting an apartment for a few years, we’re willing to do that if it means not living with roommates anymore.
2) Figure out that whole career-path part of life
Now, this isn’t as drastic as it sounds. I’ve been applying for jobs for years, with no results. I’ve been turned down so many times, it reminds me of trying to find a date for my high school prom (FYI, I went alone and freakin’ loved it). I have applied for everything from government positions to university secretaries to random-ass office positions. Nothing has panned out.
Then, this really weird thing happened: when I got day shifts, I started to really love my job. I have some fantastic coworkers that I love working with, and my wages aren’t that bad. Even with our slow period coming up in the new year, I’m not too bad off for hours. Mind you, it’s all closing shifts and weekends again, and I will most likely have to do a few 14+ day stretches again, but at least I put my foot down and declared to everyone that I’m not doing the 30-day stretches this year.
What I need to figure out is: do I want to dedicate myself to my current job and hope for the best, or is there another job out there I want that I should be going for? I don’t want to be applying for any job with a desk and a chair just to get out of my current position. I also don’t want to just accept my current job and declare myself a lifer if there’s something else out there that I want. I need to look through job ads with a better eye and try to figure out if this is a job I could not only see myself doing but one I could see myself leaving my current job for. I don’t want to be working two or three jobs at the same time right now, so I have some choices to really look into in the coming months.
3) Stop being such a lazy piece of crap and exercise more
Yesterday while I was trying to take a case down from on top of another case on the top shelf in the warehouse, the case I was handling opened and a bottle started to fall out. In a panic and not wanting to get a full bottle of sangria smashed into my face at 7am, I jerked the box towards me and twisted myself in an awkward way to keep the bottle in the box. My back has been in pain ever since. I filled out an accident report, and the district manager even came in to check on me, so my ass is covered if I seriously hurt myself.
But now I’m being extra careful of my back at work. There’s a lot of stuff I can’t lift or carry right now, and I have to be extra cautious when lifting pretty much anything. I’m doing more squats to lift and move things, and am engaging my core muscles to support my back. And all of this is damn near killing me. I am so out of shape, just trying not to murder my back is going to murder the rest of me.
I am ridiculously out of shape. I walk everywhere and have been using that as an excuse not to exercise. I mean, why work out when I’ll be on my feet at work all day anyway? While I have always been ridiculously strong for someone who doesn’t work out, my muscle-tone is almost non-existent. I stopped wearing sleeveless tops in public a few years ago because I was so embarrassed by my arm flab. And I can feel now just how out of shape my core is.
I’m not pledging a certain number of workouts a week or a month. I’m not setting a step goal, or a calories-burned goal, and anything else as rigid as that. Instead, I am setting a goal to move more and get in some basic exercises each week in order to help myself feel better. I know I need to get some planks in there, and I need to find leg and butt exercises that won’t aggravate my bad knee. I also want to work on my arms. But I’m leaving the details loose. Maybe I’ll do YouTube exercise videos. Maybe I’ll find some apps for my phone that help me work out. Maybe I’ll do a plank challenge, or just stretch a lot more often when I wake up or before I go to bed. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing, as long as I’m doing something to help my body.
4) Drink. Less. Alcohol.
This is a pretty important one for me. As I’ve said before, my job involves selling alcohol. I see a lot of addicts every day, and the fact that I’m helping them fuel their addiction really bothers me. At the same time, I come home from work pretty much every night and pour a glass of wine. Many nights I’ll have two or three glasses.
I know this isn’t a healthy behaviour, and it’s something I need to address. Pretty much everyone I know outside of work tells me to just jump into a Sober January and start doing long stretches without alcohol. I know this isn’t going to work for me, not where I work now. So, I’m making plans for cutting back. Add some club soda to my wine to make a spritzer. Cut back on the actual number of glasses I drink each night. Replace wine with juice or soda. Track the nights that I don’t drink on my calendar.
I know to a lot of people, this seems pretty weird. But I live with an alcoholic, deal with alcoholics daily, and have no intention of committing to total sobriety. I want to re-teach myself to deal with stress without drinking. I want to prove to myself that I do not have a problem with alcohol, I’ve just recently let the habit of “take off the uniform, pour a glass of wine, bitch about work with AAB” get a little out of hand. I don’t crave the alcohol, I just grab it as a force of habit. In this new year, I intend to change those habits.
5) Stop putting off grown-up things, like doctors appointments
I’m already one step ahead on this one! I have appointments one day the second week of January to have all of my moles checked (I have a lot on my back and arms that I can’t regularly check myself) and to see my gynecologist. I’m also working on getting benefits so I can make appointments to get my eyes checked, see a dentist, and maybe even get my back and knee looked at in the new year.
I have put these things off for so long, it’s scary. My family has a history of heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. I should’ve been keeping an eye on these things all along, but put them off out of fear. The last time I ordered contact lenses, I guessed on my prescription because it’s been so long since my last eye exam that my prescription has changed. Now my contacts and my glasses are different prescriptions and it bothers my eyes changing from one to the other. And my wisdom teeth started coming in two years ago, which was more than two years since my last dentist appointment.
6) Sort through all the crap in my life.
I have so much stuff in this house right now, it’s ridiculous. I keep telling myself I’m saving things for when I don’t have roommates, but they just get combined in with everything the roommates borrow and destroy.
Well this year for Christmas, my brother gave us a nice set of dishes. They’re white with a black and red pattern of a black cat and some yarn. It’s a full set in a box, and there’s no way in hell I’m letting any roommates touch them. So, I’m setting aside a large Tupperware bin for anything I’m not going to use now but will be once we are roommate-free. So far my plates and my new Harley Quinn dish towels are going in there. As for the rest of the stuff I’ve been saving up…… we’ll see.
I’m going to slowly go through everything, bit by bit, and pare down what I have here. Whatever makes the cut and can stay, I’m organizing. I got an early start on my last day off and already have a small bag of things to donate to the local women’s shelter. I intend on growing that donation quite a bit and bringing something there every month or so. I have some gently used clothes, my current coffee pot (which is being replaced by the lovely new one Santa brought me), perfume, and even some blankets and sheets. I’m going through everything, bit by bit.
I’m not stopping at what can be donated though. I’m getting rid of the piles of crap I have around here. I have a box of old notebooks that are all partially used. I’m going through all of them, saving what notes I want, and then deciding which notebooks I’ll actually keep to write in again and which ones are going in the recycling. Same goes for all my bins and piles: I’m not keeping what I don’t want or need anymore.
7) Embrace and work with my creativity.
The one time all year I was happiest and most content was the entire month of November. I was working crazy hours, had two days off the entire month where I didn’t even get to relax, and I barely had any time to get anything done. But I was writing every single day. I put forth the effort every single day to sit down at my computer and type something out. No, not everything I wrote was great. Hell, a lot of what I wrote wasn’t even good. But I was sitting down and writing something every single day. I know I can’t realistically write out a blog post every single day, but I can do it most days. I’ve always put so much pressure on myself to write these great posts, and then never gotten around to writing them because I never thought what I wrote was any good. Just putting my writing out there, not caring if it wasn’t all my best work, made me feel more alive. I wanted to create more, and I did. I know that I need to get back into that again.
Also, my Work BFF and I are pretty much walking Vine compilations. If we aren’t quoting Vines to each other or quoting Instagram videos from our favourite Viners (RyDoon, that would be you mostly), then we are able to be funny for a whole 6 seconds at a time before dissolving into hysterical laughter together in the warehouse. Well, word on the street (and by street, I mean the internet because the information superhighway is the only road I use since I never leave the damn house) is that V2 is coming. Yes, a brand new Vine is supposed to come in the new year! And guess who has decided to make videos: me and the WBFF! We just want to make some funny clips, share our bizarre sense of humor with other people, and see if anyone else out there can burst out into random laughter as much as she does. This is just something fun that we can do together while we’re goofing off, or in the parking lot after work when we’ve gone goofy from lack of sleep.
There is so much more that I want to do this year. I have stacks of books I want to get through. I want to learn to knit and take free online courses and learn French again. I’m not going to start making lists of 2018 goals like “read 45 books” or “take 12 Coursera classes”, because I know I never follow through with them. But with all the other goals I have lined up for the year, I know I can fit in a bit of everything I want to get done right now if I just see it as something I want to do instead of something to check of my to-do list for the year. I love to-do lists, but they can only last so long before I lose track of them. A week, maybe two for short-term goals, and without my old “day planner + monthly calendar + four-month calendar + daily/weekly/monthly to-do lists” organizational scheme I had back in school my long-term goals go maybe a month. I need to fix that. I need to get my life in that organized chaos state again, before the boredom and the blah kills me.
I’m not going to force it all at once. I’m going to let things happen, work on things a bit at a time. Things need to flow properly, and I need to go with that.
So Happy New Year, Sunshine! I hope that 2018 brings plenty of love and cheer your way, in whatever way you need it!