Lvl 1o: Life & Goals

What is Level 10 Life?

I first came across the premise of Level 10 Life from a Pinterest pin, which led me to this blog post.  The idea is that you want to be living your best (happiest, most satisfying) life, and the first step is an honest assessment of where you are right now.

There’s some contention about what to call the areas of your life that you’re assessing.  For instance, you’ll likely see “relationship” or “marriage” as an area to look at, and that’s fine if you’re in a relationship/marriage, but if you’re like me and single, what do you do?

I made up my own categories.  I tried to make sure that the final list of areas of my life encompassed as much and as many areas of my life as possible, without having a bajillion categories:

  • Physical Health
  • Mental Health
  • Emotional Health
  • Spiritual Path
  • Friends
  • Family
  • Work / Money
  • Crafting Skills

So. You’ve got your list.  Now what?

Now you take a really honest look at yourself, and how you feel about each area.  How satisfied are you, on a scale from 1 to 10, with that part of your life?  Do you have any really low or really high times to compare right now to?  How much room for improvement does each area have?

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My assessment (on Jan 7th) was as follows:

  • Physical Health = Lvl 4
  • Mental Health = Lvl 6
  • Emotional Health = Lvl 3
  • Spiritual Path = Lvl 2
  • Friends = Lvl 3
  • Family = Lvl 2
  • Work / Money = Lvl 1
  • Crafting Skills = Lvl 2

As you can see, I wasn’t feeling very good about my life.  I was unemployed, my relationship with my father (or as I occasionally call him, “the Fatherlord” — Avatar reference) has been pretty dismal for years, I hadn’t practiced my spirituality for quite awhile, and my craft projects were not progressing.  My physical and mental health were only assessed so high because I have recent lower points to compare with.

So… if the goal is for each area of your life to be maxed out at Level 10, how do you get there??

Level 10 Goals

You set goals.  Achieve the crap out of them.  Celebrate.  Repeat.

… Seriously.

I feel a bit hypocritical saying this, because so far I haven’t been very good at this.  But it’s working.  A month and a half later and there has been progress in at least two areas.

I chose 2-3 goals for each area, because much more than that would be overwhelming and nothing would get done.  The key is to try to keep them realistic and manageable.

  • Physical Health:
    • Complete weekly checklist (exercise goal: 5x each week, with various activities that count as exercise) ((Shoveling snow totally counts as exercise.))
    • More vegetables! (Need to sign up for the farmshare this summer)
    • Stretching and/or physical therapy exercises
  • Mental Health:
    • Sudoku at night (stop browsing Pinterest; Sudoku doesn’t use data)
    • The Great Courses lectures (something educational)
  • Emotional Health:
    • Regular (daily) time outside
    • Journaling prompts
    • Move out & get an apartment
  • Spiritual Path:
    • Observe Sabbats & Esbats (solar & lunar cycles)
    • Practice divination regularly (Self, you’re not gonna get better at it if you don’t practice. Love, Me)
    • Work on & improve Book of Shadows
  • Friends:
    • Attend potlucks & game nights
    • Monthly letters to far-away people
  • Family:
    • Tell my brother & my bestie how much I appreciate them
    • Have tea with my aunts and/or cousins
    • Contact my mom & stepdad weekly (They live in western PA; I live in western MA.)
  • Work / Money:
    • Apply for 3 jobs per week until working 40 hrs/week.
    • Restart Etsy store
  • Crafting Skills:
    • Crochet a hat
    • Make a corset
    • Re-cover a parasol

There has already been progress.  I think I’m going to do an assessment quarterly (4x per year), so the next will be around my birthday in early April.  Stay tuned!

I got a job!!!

As the title of this post suggests,

I got a job yesterday!!!

It’s a full-time office job located 15 minutes from where I’m living.  $14.50/hour, 40 hrs/week, paid every week.  They offer health insurance and a 401k.  (I’ve never been offered benefits before!)  They’re really flexible about needing time off for appointments and I can make up the time lost.  After a year of working there, I’d get a week of paid vacation.  (Which alternate universe did I jump into??)

I owe the friend that recommended me to them, big time.  And a Lannister always pays their debts.

I can do things now.

I am most excited about getting this job because it means I can do things, like:

  • buy groceries
  • apply to refinance my private loan to a lower interest rate
  • get my car fixed
  • bike to work once the weather warms up
  • attend dance weekends & events
  • progress on my costuming without excessive worrying about cost
  • save for an apartment & move out! (Hoping this one happens this coming fall)
  • sign up for the farm share again this summer (will literally be working down the road from the farm)
  • send my winter coat to the dry cleaner’s (it’s wool, or I’d wash it myself)
  • buy myself new sneakers in the spring
  • bring Holly to the vet, should she need to go
  • go to the chiropractor without excessive worrying about cost
  • bring my dance boots to the cobbler for repairs

If things progress smoothly, my starting date is Feb. 27th.

I’m grateful for…

January 2017

  • Holly (my sweet kitty, who’s been with me since I was 10 yrs old)
  • understanding friends
  • Bubba (the best Best Friend a girl could ask for)
  • clean drinking water
  • Zack (my younger brother, who is pretty cool)
  • MassHealth (yay health insurance!)
  • good night vision
  • YMCA discount membership (YMCA Greenfield MA)
  • my long winter coat (calf-length)
  • I don’t have food allergies

February 2017

  •  my new winter boots (a much-needed gift from my brother)

BuJo-Planner Lists

Adventure Ideas

Books I’ve Read

  1. Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs – A Beginner’s Guide
  2. Mercedes Lackey’s “Owl-” trilogy (Darian’s tale)

New Restaurants

  1. Fresh Side (Amherst MA) – The pad thai T-roll and spicy chicken T-roll were the best, but the pho was pretty good, too.

Entertainments (Movies, Concerts, Shows, etc.)

  • The Secret Life of Pets – 1/12/17 – Cute, a little funny. Likely, once was enough.
  • Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox – 2/3/17 – Calvin Theater, Northampton MA – Not as satisfied with this show as I was with the last time I saw them.  Music was still awesome, but the show felt rushed (entire show was 2 hours, for $44 per ticket); I missed the emcee acting like it was an old radio show, and Scott Bradlee himself doesn’t tour anymore (what??).  As I said, the music was still great, but I felt the whole “PMJ Experience” was lacking.

Completed Projects

  1. Remade blue scrap yarn circle afghans; Actually know how to crochet a flat circle now!
  2. Finished mending for Saera H.
  3. Replaced a bag zipper for Katie O.
  4. Finished crochet Slytherin sweater

 

Planner + Bullet Journal = …?

Late last year (October?) I’d purchased a 2016 planner with the intent of mapping out my weekly exercise options; dancing, lap swimming times, group exercise classes, that sort of thing.  This didn’t really work, but I was reminded of how much I like this particular planner, so I got one for 2017.

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An example of planner pages I haven’t written on yet

I’m not entirely sure how this happened, but I was browsing Pinterest one day (late December?) and came across something that eventually led me to the idea of the Bullet Journal.  I gotta say, I’m not a fan of a lot of BuJo styles; like, there is no need to memorialize every single To Do list I ever make.  (I’m a huge list-maker.)  However, there are some things about them that really appeal to me:

So I’d bought a planner (about $18 after shipping) and then found a new idea.  The problem with just starting a bullet journal is that I haven’t been employed since I was laid off at the end of November 2016, so I have literally zero dollars with which to buy frivolous things.  But!  The planner I’d bought has many non-planner pages; pages of things like articles, advertisements… Heck, even the inside covers!  So I went to BigLots and bought a pad of lined paper (approx. planner-sized) and a 4-pack of colored pens for less than $5.  After reading the articles in the planner, I decided which ones I liked, and started covering the ones I didn’t like with a new writing surface.

16427584_1412621752102273_4413891413388450334_nBuJo-Planner Lists: (These things will likely get their own posts that will be updated when the list is.)

I’m still trying to keep to the health planner I’d intended, but I’ve changed the format.  Instead of writing down everything I could do, I write a list down the side of the planner of different types of exercise I could be doing (Swimming / Dancing / Dancing / Elliptical / __________*) and cross them off when I do them. (*Could be Long Walk, Elliptical, Shoveling Snow, etc.)  This way gives me a bit more flexibility in planning out when I do the things..

Work Changes

I started the year still tutoring at GCC.  Just before my birthday in early April I started a retail job at Wilson’s department store in Greenfield.

Now, when I was hired, I was promised 28 hours each week and a regular weekly schedule.  In the five months that I worked there, the “regular schedule” never materialized and my hours varied from 13 to 25.  In addition to not getting the hours I was promised, I had to drop all but one of my regular tutoring hours.  I never saw an employee handbook; in fact, I’m skeptical one even exists.  We were forbidden from sitting down except at breaks, forbidden from drinking water except at breaks, and forbidden from leaving our department registers unattended (i.e. we had to call the office to get coverage if we needed the restroom).  If you worked over 6 hours, you’d get an hour (unpaid) lunch, but if you worked less than 6 hours you got ONE 10-minute break; Many of my shifts were 5.5 hours long.

Now, Wilson’s register system is ancient.  They don’t use barcodes.  Everything in the store has a 4-digit class code, so when someone brings their purchases to the register, the cashier has to manually enter the 4-digit code.  Then they have to manually enter in the price from the tag.  Then, if the item is on sale, they have to do a manual override to change the price, because the computer system doesn’t know any of this.  And gods forbid you get an item from a different department; you have to call the other department using the phone system and ask the other cashier what the sale price is.  Before I left they’d “updated” the register system to use the new chip readers for credit cards, and it took longer per transaction than before the update, as the computer had to think a lot harder and we had to wait for two receipts to print that we didn’t need and were just stapled to the main receipt and put in the drawer for tallying at the end of the day.  Because the system couldn’t do that, either.

I am very glad that I heard about the job fair at Yankee Candle.  I was able to be directly hired for the same job in the Fundraising department I was doing last fall while temping.  I was able to quit Wilson’s, as Yankee is a grownup job:

  • 40 hours a week (8:30 – 5, Mon-Fri)
  • 15-min breaks every 2 hours
  • a 30 min (unpaid) lunch
  • I can drink water at my desk, and go to the restroom when I need to.

I also love being able to wear jeans and sneakers to work, and can listen to my iPod.  I am not so fond of my commute (current office location is a 45 min drive) nor of the time I therefore have to wake up (6:10 am), but it’s still a step up, so I can’t complain too bad.  I maintain that tutoring was the best job I’ve had yet.

Though the two months (started Aug 1) of averaging 5-6 hours of sleep during the week have led to some interesting consequences, to be discussed later…

Thoughts on Food, Food Insecurity, and Thanksgiving

A couple of weeks ago, I sent in the paperwork to renew my food stamps.  I knew that I was likely to have them cut due to increased income, but they were almost stopped entirely.  The lady I spoke to on the phone said that I was lucky to get my $16 / month, because it means that my case hasn’t closed, so when my income decreases I can ask them to update my file.  But going from $170-ish to $16 was a pretty big shock.

I know that there are people out in the world who have it a LOT worse than I do.  I know that there are resources I could tap into if things got desperate, which I’m not using now.  That doesn’t stop me from being concerned about my next meal.  Worried that I’ll have multiple meals of beans and rice.  Concerned about my health and overall nutrition if my resources for good food decrease.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been worried about food.  It’s got me wondering about the long-term psychological effects of food insecurity on young adults;  Who hasn’t heard of the “poor college student” and how we / they will attend any function or meeting if there’s going to be free food?  Am I imagining the flipped switch in my head that tells me food is more scarce, making it harder for me to lose weight and improve my health?  Thinking about food makes me feel different than it did before that phone call.

This all is especially relevant, considering that today is a feast-day.  Thanksgiving is generally celebrated by stuffing ourselves stupid on delicious food and then napping off the food coma that follows.  I’m taking a dish of roasted veggies over a friend’s house, which is great because it’s kinda potluck-ish; it’s not so great because I don’t know if I’ll be able to bring any leftovers home.  Leftovers are important.

I got a whole frozen turkey from work last week; it’s staying in the freezer, likely until January when my stash of food is running low and I desperately need protein.  And then it will feed me for at least a week, more if you count soup from the carcass.

This brings my train of thought to my pantry.  When I have my own place, I am going to build a food stash that will carry me through Ragnarok.  I am going to can fruits and veggies, and freeze things, and have a pyramid of store-bought canned food.  Eventually I want to work up to homesteading, wherein I grow and make as much of my food as possible, and only buy things like meat and staples (flour, sugar, etc.).  I really want to have chickens for fresh eggs.  (Have you SEEN the price of eggs at the grocery store lately?!?)

Food is one of those hospitality things, like offering a guest something to drink.  I want to be in a place where I don’t have to worry about food or a roof over my head, where I’m comfortable enough with what I have to share it.