This morning starts the Quest for 2019, and I’m already whirling with ideas to get started. (It’s not too late to join, by the way!)
I’m sitting with the prompt – envisioning my best self looking back upon a best year for 2019, and I recall that I did this a year ago. I even have my blog post right here.
One of the things I do every December is take stock of where I’d set out to go, and look at where I ended up: what surprises came up along the way, and what goals I really accomplished. It’s an interesting opportunity to dialogue with myself from a year ago, and to dialogue with the vision I hold for a year from now.
In 2018, I learned that I need to cut every to-do list in half.
I have big goals, big dreams, and big ambitions, and with a chronic illness, I have a limited amount of time and energy to move toward them.
A year from now, when I’m sitting in a more expensive chair at the same desk (this one is wearing out, why not anticipate my comfort?), with the same grad school deadlines looming for papers I need to write from the fall session, I’m bound to look this post up all over again for the 2020 quest. (Hi, future-me! :wave: )
Like 2018, much of my energy will be divided between school and work – and the remainder is on self-care.
I will have passed my comps and earned my Master’s degree in Mythological Studies in 2019. Future-me will be staring down dissertation prep, and I don’t envy her that. I will be traveling to California monthly for 10 months of 2018, reading 10,000 pages of texts for school, and writing roughly 150 pages of papers, exams, and so on for my classes.
I’ve started writing fiction in response to my coursework, and that has been a delightful way to flex creative muscles while still making good grades. I would like to keep responding creatively to the challenges of graduate school to be able to hone my other interests in storytelling and publication. I expect to have at least 2-3 print credits to my name as a result. Hopefully, some of my work will reach the people who need to read those stories- touched by the archetypes at the right time.
The reading and coursework still fires me up to continue my revisions on my Work-in-Progress novel, and it is improving by leaps and bounds as a result. I expect that I will keep fiddling with that as it brings me joy, without really pressuring myself to finish it on a particular deadline.
In a lot of ways, SEO is a means to an end: I’m paying the bills and paying tuition. The way that I make it enjoyable is by engaging in this work with clients I like working with, and by teaching the skills to other people. Because I also want to eventually turn my degrees toward teaching, that avenue is where I find the most delight and meaning.
The work I’m engaged in is mostly surrounding training other people how to do SEO, and helping those who are self-taught to round out their skill-sets and improve their understanding of Search. I love reaching people who are interested in the field and still learning how to think like an SEO.
I’m going to learn so much about instructional design, and how to assess student’s understanding, and hone my skills as a teacher in 2019. I’m learning video, online training platforms, and curriculum design as I go.
The to do list that I cut in half from last year’s goals was in the name of self-care.
As much as I would have loved to spend more time creating and exploring, gardening or storytelling, I devoted a large part of my personal energy to healing through 2018. Growth is nothing but the process of learning from the past, and I know that I will not be adding anything else to this list this year
The biggest challenge to both the school and the work is that my body has demanding limits. It requires twice as much sleep, lots of breaks, a restricted diet. It requires a lot of trips to the doctor’s offices, the acupuncturist, etc. My heart requires a lot of lunches with dear friends and social support. My soul requires trips to see art and weirdness, to be in nature, to fill the well of my creative mind with images.
Luckily, both work and school are flexible enough for me to manage those things.
The travel for school is demanding. It taxes my system in terms of over-stimulation, exhaustion, dietary changes, sleep and time zone changes. It’s a rough week, but it’s also a soul-filling week. So far, the trade off has been worth it, and I sleep through the day I get back.
Finally, one thing I want to remember is that creating and making things – writing stories, taking photographs, doodling – these are a necessary part of self-care, too. I tend to deprioritize my creative pursuits until I’m close to starving for them. This is a habit I’d like to adjust and ensure that I’m building time into my days, not just for journaling, but also for creativity.