Non-midyear Goals Check

Well… I definitely wasn’t in the mood to do a goals check at midyear. We had just found out about my dad’s cancer, my grandmother was in the hospital again, and I was scrambling to catch up on work and prepare for exams so I could at least take one or two of the three or four I’d originally planned. However! The end of August will mark 2/3 of the year, and that’s coming up in a week or so… so really there is no actual specific date attached to this goals check, but I feel inspired to do it, so here goes!

  1. Finish the rest of the credits I need for my masters’ degree by June 20th if I want to defend my thesis in July of this year. –> Nope. Per usual, that was wayyy too ambitious in the context of also having a full time job. I definitely did not defend my thesis (or even submit a proposal for it) but July. And I’m not even going to be able to defend in November (the second option). The third option is March 2022 and I’m really hoping for that. On the bright side… I’ve only got two exams left and am definitely hoping to get them wrapped up in the next couple of months.
  2. On that note… come up with a brilliant thesis idea… research it… and write it. In the next four months or so. Seems not really doable but I’m going to make it happen. That’s the spirit, right? –> Hahaha NOPE. Points for optimism, though. self. I have, however, come up with an idea and pitched it to a potential supervising professor and have made some (minimal) progress towards writing a proposal.
  3. Still related to the above: select and approach a thesis advisor/approver person. –> Yes! I talked to two and actually both were takers for two different proposed projects, but one of the projects is much more feasible than the other. Let’s file this under “wasn’t nearly as bad as expected”.
  4. Do another round of applications to translation agencies at some point in the next three-four months to get some fresh new clients. –> Mm, not really. However, I’m also swamped with work because one of the agencies I had just started working for in January turned out to be a goldmine this summer: they are sending a steady flow of vaccine adverse event reports my way. Feeling very lucky to be involved in that project, both because it’s interesting and because it has been a firehose of potential work. I’m taking on as much as I reasonably can in a ‘make hay while the sun shines’ kind of way, since presumably these will dry up at some point.
  5. Investigate medical writing. i.e. what training would that require, and is there any way to leverage 10-ish years of clinical translation experience? –> Not yet. Still interested, but also still overwhelmed by work and other things. We shall see.
  6. Finalize our kitchen choices! –> YES! And said kitchen is installed and we freaking love it!
  7. Finalize our bathroom choices. –> YES! And we also love this! The shower leaks, though. Hopefully the boyfriend will figure that out while I’m in America. I’m leaving that fully on his mental load and trying to banish it completely from mine. Semi-related: there was originally some mild drama related to this, wherein we (gently) disagreed on what type of countertop to choose for the vanity. (Earthshattering stuff, right?) Lesson learned: leave the disagreements until after the boyfriend has had ample time to mull things over. He eventually came to me of his own accord and stated that his idea was not good after all. Bam. No disagreeing needed.
  8. Acquire at least the bare minimum of bedroom furniture necessary, i.e. a bed. Maybe wardrobes or a dresser? –> YES! At least partially. We have a bed and a dresser and have repurposed some little cube shelves as nightstands. No wardrobe in the works yet. Has been financially relegated to after some other items (in the next point, actually).
  9. Similarly, acquire a couch (a priority for me) and a living room shelving unit (a priority for the boyfriend). –> Almost! The couch has been ordered, after an excessive amount of stress about the color. Living room shelving unit has been partially designed, we have some ideas about the color… and we will order it when we finish paying off the kitchen (aiming for two more months on that) and the couch.
  10. Organize the move in a non-frenetic way. –> Um, sort of. We moved, anyway. It was semi-frenetic because it turns out this is a (previously unknown to me) point of major anxiety for the boyfriend. I wanted to carefully cull our belongings and sort them into logical boxes before moving. He felt a sense of extreme urgency to get things into the new house at maximum speed in any order. I gave up on my strategy quite early on, resulting in a crap-ton of boxes that are only partially labelled, but… whatever. Sometimes you just have to indulge the other person’s anxiety. He indulges mine plenty!
  11. Keep a running list of ergonomic observations about our current place that can be implemented in our new place. Okay. Hear me out, because I think this is a particularly brilliant idea that I had just yesterday while doing the laundry. (Uh, brilliant in a really small, inconsequential kind of way, clearly.) So. Do you ever have moments where you wish something was structured slightly differently in your living space? Example: yesterday I was separating out clothes from towels and kitchen linens and stuff to do laundry, and thought how delightful it would be if we had two separate hampers. Not essential (it is obviously total doable to just separate these things out from the same hamper), but just nice. Like, if the option were there in terms of space and everything, I’d definitely say yes. So, now we’re moving into a house (apartment, rather) that is currently being built. We even got to move the inner walls around and everything during the planning stages. So, in theory, we also have a lot of remaining opportunity to set up all those little structural details (like where stuff is in the kitchen, how many and what size hampers we choose to have and where we put them) in the most ergonomically favorable way possible. But… in order to do that, I would need to take careful stock of little annoyances or delights in our current apartment. This seems like one of those things where a modicum of effort will go a long way, but you really do need to put that effort in. I shall report back! –> Pretty much yes! I left the whole explanation on this one so it would make sense. Anyway, happy to report that we do indeed have two laundry hampers and I have little hooks for my workout clothes, as long-desired. Other little ergonomic/efficient improvements will doubtless follow as we think of them. (The partner apparently gets great satisfaction about fulfilling my handyman-type requests. This is extremely useful.) Hooray!
  12. Changing course a little… can I put “get pregnant” on here? Is that jinxing it? Too presumptuous? It feels that way. I shall rephrase: continue attempting to get pregnant. Fingers crossed! –> No dice so far. 😦 Bought one of those clearblue ovulation things and in the first month of using it, it worked as indicated. (I was in America without the partner, though, so no chance of actually being pregnant this month.)
  13. On that note… when six-ish months are up (I’m right at the border between ‘wait a year if you’re under 35’ and ‘wait six months if you’re 35 or over’ guideline), make an appointment with a gynecologist to start getting advice about testing/next steps. 😦 And also just to have an Italian gynecologist, I guess? –> YES! I did this, despite hating to make phone calls in Italian *and* see doctors in Italy. (Def will have to get used to that, I guess.) She said everything looked good; just keep trying and get back to her in six months. Those might be up soonish. Sigh.
  14. Pandemic permitting: take the boyfriend/life partner to the US for the first time, to meet the family and, you know, see America, etc. 2020 has sort of jumbled our meeting the family/planning to get married/work on getting pregnant sequence completely out of whack, but… I’ve made my peace with potentially not having a lovely family wedding before being pregnant, etc., and will just be grateful if we all get through this thing alive and healthy. –> NOPE. European “tourists” still can’t enter the US. Sigh. Maybe next year. Or maybe this fall? I feel that’s too optimistic though.
  15. In the “social” domain: spend an intentional 30 minutes answering messages from friends/family, rather than just answering things when they come up (if not urgent, obviously!) and/or procrastinating messages that seem like they’ll be long/effortful to write. –> Not really, if I’m honest. I still really want to work on this, though. It was a great idea!
  16. Self-improvement: I’d like to incorporate some non-fiction reading, or even some reading of great classics. –> Well. I did this for the very first time this year yesterday. Better late than never? I enjoyed it, though, so hopefully I will manage to continue incorporating it.
  17. Self-improvement: writing. I’d like to bring writing back into my life on a near-daily basis, whether it be here in this blog, in a journal (I got a lovely new journal for the new year, after I finished out my old one recounting memories of 2020 to myself!), or working on other, more formal writing projects. –> Eh, I’ve done this every once in a while. Still hoping I can bring it up to a couple of times a week.
  18. Exercise: Surely I could come up with a system where I either do the walk or the video in the morning, right? The trick is that this is partially weather-dependent and partially schedule-dependent (and, I can only imagine, will likely drastically change one day if/when I go back to working outside the home on a regular basis) but… I’m a moderately intelligent person; surely I can figure it out, right? Worth a try, anyway! –> Meh. I’ve excersized occasionally this year, but my success in prioritizing this has been unsatisfactory overall, I feel.
  19. Family life: teaching the Italian partner English. Maybe we could have a planning moment over the weekend sometime and plan 2-3 lesson times one week at a time? I think that might be the way to go. Will report back. –> That probably still is indeed ‘the way to go’ but definitely hasn’t happened yet. Sigh.
  20. Self-improvement: try a couple of new recipes each month, and repeat new recipes that we enjoy at reasonable intervals so that they become things I feel that I can reliably make without having to read the instructions in detail. –> Wellll I did a couple, I guess. Most notably, I made bread and it was actually freaking delicious!! Still want to work on this, though, and probably would feel more motivated/satisfied if I kept a record of them.
  21. Volunteering/activism: so, I already do spend a solid amount of time volunteering with the local ambulance service. I’m really pleased with the level of commitment I’m able to maintain there (aiming for a lofty goal of 500 hours this year – I’ve hit it in 4 of my 7 years as a volunteer but only got to 425 hours last year despite the pandemic). That said, the past four years has shown me (and perhaps us all) that we need to take an active part in our democracy if we want to safeguard it from extremism and a variety of other things that I very much don’t believe in. So, in sum, I’d like to find a way to dedicate at least moderate-sized chunks of time to this somehow. Not sure exactly how, so far – write letters to senators? Is that too fourth grade? I really don’t know, but I’m hoping to figure something out! –> Meh. Definitely not going to hit 500 hours with the ambulance service. And haven’t done anything democracy-wise so far. Sighhhhh. There’s still time? Maybe? Come on, Self! Get it together.
  22. Bonus round! I’d like to be more intentional about reading instead of scrolling. Like, when I sit down to give myself a mental break, actively note the time, and be like, okay self, now you have 15 minutes to read. Enjoy it. Instead of floundering around scrolling through random stuff. Or alternatively, give myself those 15 mintues to scroll mindlessly, but know that I’ve consciously chosen to do that because that’s the level of non-brain-use that I want to engage in in that moment. Basically, I want to wean myself off of “okay, I’m going to read now, but first let me scroll through social media for a bit to settle down”. Because that honestly makes no sense. (Since when do I need to ‘settle down’ into reading?! I love reading! It’s practically my favorite thing to do! Yeesh.) –> Well, I have been much more successful at choosing reading instead of scrolling since summer “officially” started for me personally. So I think this is partially chaos-based. Like, when life is a bit more manageable overall, I scroll less. An idea I had yesterday: what if I somehow blocked my social media apps until bedtime. I know people say no devices at bedtime, but actually, reading kind of falls apart for me because I doze off in the middle and then it’s not very satisfying reading. Scrolling similarly makes me doze off. So maybe I could decide to just use it for that purpose? Worth a try?

** Pandemic permitting: reschedule one of those trips we had planned for 2020. I feel super selfish even dreaming about this, but they had special meaning because, if things do go as we hope in terms of a future pregnancy in the not-too-distant future, the window for trips just as a couple will be rapidly closing. This year, they’d have even more special meaning because we both have milestone birthdays this year. –> Ha. I wish. That doesn’t look like it will be happening. Pandemic is definitely not permitting. Sigh.

** Pandemic permitting: take my mom on a trip to Greece or Egypt. We’ve been planning both in a daydreaming sort of way for several years, but have been thwarted by knee replacements, caring for her elderly mother, and, most lately, the pandemic. My mother also has a milestone birthday this year, and we first went to Greece for her last milestone birthday, so… it would just all be very satisfyingly fitting. (And amazing. Obviously.) –> Similarly not happening. At best, if my mom and I manage to be both in Europe (me at my house in Italy and her with her mother in France) and my work schedule can combine with a moment of relative non-chaos with my grandmother (looking increasingly unlikely, to be honest), I might be able to take her to the beach for a couple of days. But… that honestly looks like a distant pipe dream right now. Really wish I could take her back to Greece someday, though. We’ve both been dreaming about it since the last time we went, and she so deserves it after this past year. The past few years, even. Poor Mom.

Total YES: 6 – Total NO: 7 – Total sort of/partially: 9. Well, there we go. Could be better, but could also be worse, and I have to admit, it’s a bit satisfying to see a couple of strong yes answers on there! Onward!

Wishing you all a good Sunday. Apparently a hurricane might hit Long Island and so we in New Jersey are looking at some stormy times too? Interesting. My goals for today are to get some work done and make an apple pie to cheer my parents up. Oh and go on a Sunday morning bagel run. Off I go! Bagels await!

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