A year ago today I took the Facebook quiz, “What song best sums you up?”
I got “Good Vibrations.” I didn’t copy the whole description at the time, but it started with:
“You’re a very ambitious person in life. You have the most robust capabilities….”
Okay, but kind of boring.
This year I took it and got “You’re Beautiful.”
“You are well known and everyone depends on you to kick off the party. An adventure would be awfully bland without you. Let’s be honest, no one can last a second being sad or depressed around you. You bring out the best of everyone and can turn any situation into fun. Please never change!”
I’m not sure how or when this change occurred, but I think I like it!
Photos by Dan Smith.
My Personal Hell.
“Janeson, why can’t you just let things be and accept them?”
“Why do you have to keep on and on?”
“Why can’t you just let things go like I do?”
While taking the INFJ: BelowtheRadar-AbovetheSystem email course, I ran across the answer. I could tell it was the answer because it lit up in big red letters in my brain:
“I have no problem letting go as long as I understand why.”
The Follow-up Question.
I already know that the well-meaning people who ask me this question and are only trying to help me will have a follow-up question:
I tend to develop goals based not on achievements, but on how I want to improve my day-to-day life. These are excruciatingly boring to everyone…including me. Thank goodness the Universe intervenes periodically and leads me to more interesting places!
That being said, if you need a cure for insomnia, here are my goals – and some ideas for how I can achieve each – for 2016:
1. Make better use of my allotted 24 hours a day.
- Go to bed earlier so I can get up and get moving earlier and more easily.
- Spend more time doing actual work and less time planning, organizing, and doing busywork.
- Spend more time reading and writing and less time watching videos and meandering around the Interwebs.
- When estimating how long it will take to complete a task, include “and then some other stuff happened” time.
- Schedule time for recurring tasks: errands, appointments, bookkeeping, chores.
- Use automated reminders, rather than incoming notifications, to remind me to check my email, social media accounts, etc.
2. Reduce my OCD behaviors.
- Make the cake first; then go back and add the “icing.”
- For any given task, decide what “done” looks like and stop when I get there.
- Set a time limit for activities so I don’t keep adding “just one more thing.”
- Find the balance between excellent, good, and good enough.
3. Manage my ADD better.
- Uni-task rather than multi-task.
- Finish one task before I start on another.
- Decide on a task to perform. Set a timer and stay focused on that task until the timer goes off or I’ve finished it.
- Stay aware of my goal and actions. When I become aware that I’ve veered off into doing something other than what I’ve planned, drop it immediately and return to what I’m supposed to be doing.
- Start getting ready for my appointments early enough that I don’t have to rush.
4. Improve my emotional management skills.
- Identify the types of events that derail me.
- Develop and practice recovery strategies, e.g. journaling, walking, kayaking, taking a short nap or a break.
- Replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations.
- Accept that some days just aren’t going to go as planned.
5. Take good care of myself.
- Go out into the world at least once a day, if only to walk around the block.
- Use my new kitchen gear and take time to make actual meals. (Frequency TBD.)
- Use my timer app to remind me to take “stand up and move around” breaks.
- Drink water when I take breaks.
- Get enough sleep. (See above.)
6. Plan more activities to look forward to.
- Find more friends with whom I can plan outings, e.g. hiking, movies, walking.
- Take a reward break when I complete a task instead of immediately starting on the next task.
7. Identify and manage my clients’ and prospective clients’ expectations so I can meet them more effectively.
- Take the time to determine prospective clients’ expectations and work styles before submitting a proposal.
- Take the time to determine if I can meet a client’s deadline before I agree to it.
- When possible, do the things that are most important and obvious to the client before doing the background work.
- Don’t take on new “emergency clients” when I already have a full schedule.
8. Manage my business processes more effectively.
- Use my time recording app to record time spent on each client’s project as it occurs.
- Simplify my invoicing process.
- Auto-file newsletters and other emails for which a response isn’t time-critical.
- Work on my new business website for half an hour each day first thing in the morning.
- Keep a list of ideas for website blog posts for use when the new site has been completed.
- Keep an updated client contact list.
- Communicate changes and opportunities to long-term clients with whom I don’t have an active project. (Frequency and method TBD.)
9. Make myself accountable for following through on my goals.
- Review my goals daily.
- Check in with GAG (my Goal Accountability Group) on a regular basis. (Frequency TBD.)
And most importantly…
10. When given a choice between finding humor in a situation and maintaining social acceptabilty, always opt for humor. Unless someone’s dead or something.
Every year the WordPress JetPack plugin issues an animated report on my blog’s traffic for the previous 12 months.
I think it’s sort of cool, so I wanted to share it with my favorite people – those who find my blog posts interesting enough to take the time to read them.
If you want to read the best ones all at once, click here to download the ebook:
Here are some highlights from my 2015 report:
How did you get here?
The five top sites referring visitors to @janeson59 were:
It’s nice to get referrals from other websites, as well as from social media.
The day I got the most traffic.
The busiest day of the year was March 2nd with 113 views.
The most popular post that day was a guest blog post: Being Happy: It’s a Choice by Dan Smith.
It’s a great post. Be sure to check out his blog at fromtheeditr.blogspot.com.
The popularity of past posts.
Four of my five most popular posts in 2015 were posts I wrote in previous years. Dan’s was the second most popular. The most popular topics were:
You know you’re old when….
INFJs like these two posts. Thanks to INFJ: BelowtheRadar-AbovetheSystem for inspiring them – and for all the help I’ve received from its Facebook group.
Just for fun – reports from previous years:
A goal for 2016
Next year I’ll try to write something that’ll rank in the top five posts for next year’s report
On the other hand…
I did have some pretty good stories to tell this year. With some encouragement, I made them into an ebook:
May you have a wonderful 2016,
filled with good stories & happy memories!
Okay, I think I’ve got them all now. My 2015 goals, part three of three.
17. Live alone. Really alone.
The one thing that would have been a deal-breaker for me when I found my new home was that the landlord didn’t allow pets. Except for a few visits with her dad, Stripey has been with me since I moved into my apartment in December of 2011. I haven’t lived without a cat (except for four months in 1998 between Yoyo and Cammie) since 1982.
Maybe I could have convinced the landlord to change his mind, but Stripey doesn’t adjust well to change; her dad lives much closer to her vet than I do; and, most importantly, Stripey has always been as attached to him as she is to me.
So Stripey lives with her dad now, and she seems to like it. I get liberal visitation rights, and she gets to ride to the vet in style.
18. Get a long-delayed pelvic exam that will lead to much speculation, some discomfort, a few bad jokes, major surgery, and six weeks of “vacation.”
If you’ve read about the alien grapefruit and the ovarian sea scallop, you’ve gotten most of the story. What began with my cousin suggesting that I might want to get a run-of-the-mill PAP smear and giving me the name of a good GYN ended up with my having an entire set of internal organs removed.
I’m sure there’s a lesson in there somewhere, but I don’t know what it is. I usually avoid going to the doctor like the plague, but I have to admit that I’m grateful that the mutant ovary was removed before it got to be the size of a watermelon.
19. Accept the love extended by others.
I’ve never been good at accepting kindness offered by others. Apparently the Universe decided I need to learn that lesson, but good. When I went into the hospital for surgery, Buffy set up a private Facebook group where my friends could get updates and send messages.
I was amazed that 50 people joined the group. Some are people I know In Real Life. Others are local, national, and even international friends who I have never met but have gotten to know through Twitter or Facebook.
Their caring and support touched my heart. Here are some of the lovely (and hysterical) messages I received.
Click an image to open a larger version in a new window.
I’m absolutely positive that all this positive energy helps explain why I’m recovering so fast. Laughter may be the best medicine, but love heals, and I am grateful for all the love that was extended to me and Buffy during my unexpected “surgical adventure.”
19. Accept support offered by others.
I tend to be an independent sort who does things for herself that would better be done with the assistance of someone else. However, when I was sent home from the hospital with narcotic painkillers, told I couldn’t lift anything heavier than 10 pounds, admonished not to leave the house alone, and told not to drive a car, I had no choice but to for ask help. And it came, in spades.
My cousin took me to the hospital – at 6am – and brought my overnight bag to me when I was (finally) assigned a room. Buffy and long-time friend Susan sat in the waiting room while I spent two hours in surgery and three in the recovery room. My brother and his girlfriend came to visit me when I got to my room.
My friend and Dan’s favorite daughter Jenniffer sent a box of chocolates and a stuffed Christmas cat. My friend Nina (and her cat Honeybell) sent flowers and a stuffed teddy bear.
Buffy left work early to bring me home in my car, because one of his was too high and the other too low for me to get in and out of comfortably.
My dear friend Anne stayed the first night with me, bringing all manner of treats and making it more a slumber party than a nursing session.
Buffy and Dan have picked up prescriptions, run errands, brought presents, and visited. Dan has shared his homemade food with me, taken me for walks (since I can’t go alone), and even vacuumed.
I’ve learned to ask for help when I need it. I like to help people when I can. Why did it take me to long to figure out that other people like to help, too?
I have one goal left.
It doesn’t have a number yet because I haven’t completed it:
Make a real list of goals for 2016.
Check back to see if I get my list made before the end of 2016. I can promise you, though, that it wouldn’t include nearly as many interesting goals as those I reached in 2015!
Gee, I’m finding that writing goals after I’ve done them is much easier than I thought it would be. Who knew I would accomplish so much in a year when I didn’t go to do any of it?
9. Defy conventional interior decorating guidelines.
I got a very nice kayak rack. Contrary to popular option, it made a fine living room accent – particularly with the kayak on it.
10. Do at least one thing no one would expect me to do.
Got this one nailed: I went skinny dipping for the first time. And no, photos are not available on request. You’ll just have to take my hiking buddy’s word for it.
fromtheeditr: Summer Celebration: Hikin’ and Skinny Dippin’.
11. Get a really cool series of photos of a storm moving in.
I caught this one on an evening walk on June 23, 2015, in Dorchester Court with my Beloved Friend.
12. Have fun with kids.
I don’t often have the opportunity to spend time with children, but when Dan’s grandchildren came to Roanoke from Spain for a visit, I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with them.
Maddie and I had a lot of adventures together. I still miss her. I had no idea I could get so attached to a child I’m not related to.
13. Try something new that someone else suggests.
Being a contrary sort, I’m rarely try things other people suggest to me. But when I sold Anne Grove the spare kayak that Beloved Friend and I had and she invited me to her lake house, I let her “talk me into” trying stand-up paddleboarding. What a surprise when I (a) didn’t fall off immediately, and (b) wanted to go back for more. Thanks, Anne!
14. Meet someone In Real Life that I had only “met” on Facebook.
On October 16th, I drove down to Charlotte, North Carolina, to meet Jenniffer Smith – Dan Smith’s favorite daughter. We’d become friends on Facebook and had talked on the phone, but had never met in person. We enjoyed each other as much in person as we had online. A big thumbs-up to both of us for making it happen.
I really enjoyed living at Park Towne until one day at the end of September. It was near the deadline when I had to give notice that I wasn’t going to renew my lease if I wanted to leave, and all of a sudden the things I thought I had adjusted to started to bother me: the noise, the lack of parking places, the ground-level windows with multiple views of car bumpers.
I submitted my notice with no idea where I was going to go.
16. Find a quieter, larger, more cheerful place to live.
I used my gratitude affirmation with the God loophole to help me find the place I was meant to be:
“I am so grateful that I find the perfect place to live at the perfect time and for the perfect price. This, or something better, for the Highest Good of All.”
I looked on Craig’s List, and the very first place I looked at yelled, “Pick me! Pick me!” I called the owner/landlord, and he agreed to meet me there the next morning. I saw it, I loved it, and I paid the security deposit that day. I moved in as soon as I could.
I find something new to love about it every day.
I didn’t set S.M.A.R.T. goals at the beginning of 2015, so I can’t evaluate the progress I made on them. I can, however, look at what I accomplished in 2015 and, with the gift of 20/20 hindsight, declare myself successful for achieving them.
Thanks to my buddy, Editr, Photographr, and Hikr Dan Smith, for sharing (and documenting) so many of them with me.
1. Become friends with my Beloved Spouse.
After a great deal of soul searching, I realized that even though my Beloved Spouse and I were L.A.M.P.S., I could be a better friend to him if we weren’t married. Our divorce was finalized in March. He’s still my best friend.
2. Climb a big freakin’ rock.
One very cool day in April, Hikr Dan suggested we attempt a trail neither of us had been on before. It was rated a “moderately difficult” hike. By the end of it, Dan and I had dissenting opinions. But it was fun!
fromtheeditr: Spy Rock: A Little Saturday Adventure.
3. Go somewhere I’ve never been before.
Courtesy of Heidi Ketler, Dan Smith and I were given a tour of a hidden treasure in Roanoke County: Happy Hollows Garden Park. (Click here for directions.) I’d never heard of it but was delighted to find a wooded lovely park with the azaleas in full bloom.
fromtheeditr: Photos: The Glory of the Azalea.
4. Eat something I’ve never eaten before.
Morel mushrooms courtesy of Heidi Ketler, prepared (deliciously) by Dan Smith. You can say you don’t like mushrooms, but only until you’ve tried a morel.
Fromtheeditr: Photo of the Day: Eat. Your. Heart. Out.
5. Do something fun that I haven’t done in a long time.
Let’s go kayaking, and while we’re there, I’ll climb a tree!
6. Do something incredibly stupid and reaffirm my need to be humble.
Lose $8,000 to an Internet scam, report it to the FBI and the Secret Service, and be told “tough shit.” Yes, even the supposedly technically savvy can fall for scams. Period of greatest stupidity: April – June, 2015.
7. Lose my glasses.
While wandering around Festival in the Park – probably when I was taking pictures near the face painting booth – I laid my glasses case down. I was wearing my sunglasses; the case had my “regular” glasses in it – the ones I need to be able to see anything. I’m sure they’re still there somewhere. (If you find a pair of half-rimmed no-line bifocals in a Coach case in the Festival lost-and-found, please let me know!)
But “Yay, me!” I had kept my old pair where I could find them, so I wasn’t entirely non-functional until the replacement pair arrived.
And kudos to Pearle Vision for letting me order the replacement pair over the phone and for getting them ready for me to pick up in four days – a record time for me to get a new pair of glasses.
8. Find a way to keep track of things, like, uh, my glasses.
I use my “Find my iPhone” app at least once a week to locate my iPhone, iPad Air, or iPad Mini. Every since I discovered, “Find My iPhone,” I’d been wanting an app to help me keep track of other things I tend to misplace. After I lost my glasses, I was desperate for one.
Then lo! and behold! I discovered the Tile.
I now have a Tile in my eyeglasses case, on my keyring, and in my wallet, with a spare if I think of anything else I keep losing.
First, let me admit that I was wrong. The thing growing in me was not an alien grapefruit cleverly disguised as a uterine fibroid.
If was, in fact, an ovarian fibroma, cleverly disguised as a sea scallop.
Note the similarities below:
And if it was alien, all evidence of alternative life forms was flashed away by the Men in Black before the ovary got to the pathologist, who reported:
- Weight 510 grams *
- No alien cells or extraterrestrial differentiation is seen on microscopic examination **
* That’s 1.12436 pounds to the rest of us.
** No kidding. I have a really cool pathologist.
My “real” diagnosis.
And I didn’t “just” have a hysterectomy. I had an S/P TAH-BSO: a total abdominal hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy.
That may sound exciting, but it just means that the surgeon removed the ovaries and fallopian tubes on both sides.
And I have this really cool bandage.
It’s “wash and wear” – the stitches are in layers and will dissolve on their own. They’re covered by breathable mesh tape, which will also come off on its own. I can shower without covering it, and I don’t have to change it. And I was the very first person the residents who assisted my surgeon tried this on after having just learned it.
Pictures on request 😉
I have more people to thank for their kind thoughts, gifts, calls, visits, healing vibes, and cool graphics than I can shake a stick. I’ll do that more verbosely very soon – I promise!
Love and thanks to all!
There are people who have one-year goals, five-year goals, 10-year goals, and life goals. I’m not one of them.
Last year I identified some intentions for 2015. I intended to:
- live more joyfully,
- work more effectively,
- use my time more wisely,
- speak and act more kindly,
- listen more attentively,
- think more positively,
- exercise more regularly,
- eat more nutritiously, and
- sleep more restfully.
Did I achieve them? Maybe. It’s hard to tell. I’m not even sure I “intended” to do all of them all the time.
Goals v. Intentions
I used to have “S.M.A.R.T.” goals:
- Graduate from high school.
- Graduate from college.
- Get married.
- Get a job.
Those were the things I was “supposed” to do, and I did them all.
And then some other stuff happened.
I discovered that the college and major I started with didn’t suit me at all. I quit one day and changed both.
I met a guy and got married, took a job that could have been a career, and found that neither was a good idea. I got a divorce and went back to school.
I got my degree, got a job, and got married again.
I discovered that the career I had chosen was toxic to me, so I went back to school, got another degree, and started another career. I got tired of that, so I started a business in a field that didn’t exist when I was in high school.
My parents got sick, and I committed to caring for them. They died, and I was left with an exhausted shell of myself.
After being with my husband for 29 years, I realized that I couldn’t live with him and moved to my own place. Three years later, I realized that if I wanted to be friends with him, we couldn’t stay married. We divorced.
And so on.
What’s wrong with this picture?
I seem to lack what is necessary to set long‑term goals. Simple things, like:
A consistent self.
It’s not just that my moods are as changeable and erratic as the weather; I change. I started out being told who to be and what to do. Year by year I’ve shed those “shoulds” and become more my real self. How can I make plans for the person I’m going to be next year?
The ability to choose.
Everytime I “evolve,” the world looks different, and I see more choices than I used to see. I’m loathe to limit myself when I keep seeing new possibilities.
The ability to focus.
To say that I am easily distracted is a major understatement. If today I start with the goal of cleaning the bathroom floor and two minutes later find myself hanging a bookcase on the wall, how can I believe that I will stay focused on doing the work to achieve a long-term goal?
Being a perfectionist, I’m afraid to set goals because they might not be the “right” ones. I’ve so often aimed at the wrong target, that being grateful that I didn’t get what I asked for is as much a part of my life as being grateful for what I have.
For next year.
I have a friend who sets goals for himself at the beginning of each year and evaluates how well he did on each at the end. I keep tinkering with that idea.
For now I think I’ll do what any self-respecting evolving ADD, OCD, perfectionist recovering from a repressive childhood would do: Look at what I’ve done over the past year, decide those were my goals, and declare them all accomplished.
I’ll feel very successful. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll set some S.M.A.R.T. goals for next year. 😉
My beloved friend and I went to see Joan Jett & the Blackhearts perform at Elmwood Park way back in August. I took these two videos and never got around to posting them here.
Everybody knows Joan Jett for “I Love Rock’n’Roll” – one of my favorites.
The real treat for me was when they played a cover of “Crimson & Clover” immediately afterward – before I had time to put my camera away. I love the original by Tommy James & the Shondells, but I think Joan Jett and her band did a great job with it.
And it was fun. I needed to be reminded about fun today. Happy Monday!