Stress | A Very Busy New Year and How I’m (kinda) Handling It

Is it me or is January just dragging?! I keep thinking it’s near the end of the month and then I remember we’ve only just ended the first week! I have mixed feelings about this; on one hand, I have a lot that I need to get done over the next couple of months so a slow crawl through time should be beneficial but on the other hand, a much larger part of me is really wanting this month over already. There are quite a few changes already in the works (mostly at work) that should make my life easier and bring my stress level down. I need these changes to take effect.

Stress | A Very Busy New Year and How I'm (kinda) Handling It | misshapenjourney.com

 

Despite having the feeling of so much time on my hands, I find myself really overwhelmed by this year and all that I need to get done. I’m stressed, and for the first time in months it’s not because of work, well not only because of work. In fact, the only thing that’s stressing me out at work is how much of my time it takes up! Usually 50+ hours a week. I need a vacation, and that vacation would be filled with personal work. Here are a few of the things I have weighing on my mind.

My mom is moving

Since I moved to Chicago very quickly and never actually moved properly i.e. I never rented a truck or drove all my belongings from MI to IL. So, I still have a large amount of stuff at my mom’s apartment. My mom’s lease is up the end of February and she’s not planning on renewing. Which means I need to find the time to go to MI pack up my crap and move it to a storage shed. There’s no point in moving it here since I too am planning on moving later this year. Oh, look! More stress.

Aside from needing the time to do this, I also need the money to rent a truck (I have at least 4 large items that will definitely not fit in my car), and some muscle (I physically cannot move my bed out of that apartment by myself). This needs to be done before the lease is up at the end of February, which seems far enough away but also so very, very close.

I am moving

In addition to stressing about my mom, I’m also stressing about my move, and if it’s even going to happen. I’m undecided on if I want to stay in Chicago or not. I’m also not sure how much of an option I’ll have financially. I also have other considerations such as relationships. Will I need a vehicle in my chosen location? How will I manage that? How will I move large items from not one but two locations (IL and MI) into one? I have a pull out sofa at my apartment and a full-size bed at my mom’s. Obviously, I will need both if I move into anything other than another studio. I’m sure there are other things I will find to stress about between now and May as well, I’m good at that.

Goals for this year

The thing about goals is they are supposed to inspire you to succeed. But sometimes, when you have a lot going on, they just make you stress the f*ck out even more! There’s so much that I want to accomplish this year. I’m kinda freaking out that I won’t get through even half of it.

Here’s the thing about me, when I get really overwhelmed, even when it’s over nothing too extreme, I tend to get lazy. I just stop doing…anything. So now, in addition to the items listed above stressing me out, I also have a sink full of dishes, I’m overrun by dirty laundry (and a couple piles of clean for that matter), and my apartment is a general disaster. If you walked into my apartment right now, you would question if you were really in the home of a 30-ish adult woman or if you’d inadvertently stumbled into the bedroom of a teenager. I’m tripping over my own two feet at this point and all I want to do is hide under the covers.

Even writing this blog post is an effort, I keep getting distracted by doing nothing. But I shall persevere! I am writing this post. I will get my laundry and dishes done. I will go to my mom’s and move my things out! It will probably require taking a day or two off work, which I may or may not be able to afford (Oh, there you are anxiety, I thought I’d lost you for a second).

Now, I’m going to be extra honest….I lied at the beginning of this post. I lied to you, dear readers, and I’m sorry. The truth is, I really really hate my job. I know I’ve said before that I’m not happy there, but what I mean by that is, I spend almost every waking moment praying, I’m not sure about my faith these days but I pray, for a way out. This is probably a bigger factor in my stress than any of the other things I’ve listed thus far.

In a nutshell, I’m tired and I’m overworked and I’m overwhelmed by my life and underwhelmed by my options. I’m distracted from what I want to do by what I have to do. I feel like this is going to hinder my progress for this year.

I am finding my way through the fog though. I’m still managing to find space in my thoughts to think of post ideas, and I am still dreaming way bigger than my means. I’m still hoping for the break I need to be able to get ahead and when I can get a burst of energy and a clear head I work on creating it for myself. Writing helps, planning helps, and sometimes day dreaming helps. I try to focus on the good, this helps too. I try to limit my company to the people who make me feel happiest, this helps a lot. I have high hopes for this year. Despite the stress and uncertainty, I’m mostly just really freaking excited to see what happens next!

Reading Challenge 2017

In keeping with my 2017 goals, this year I am embarking on my first ever reading challenge! I know, right, so exciting. Well, actually I did participate in the Goodreads reading challenge last year, but I didn’t get on board with it until October and I only committed to three books (you know, one a month for the rest of the year) so that doesn’t really count. Anyway, I’ve been scouring Pinterest in search of just the right one, and you know what? I didn’t like any of them (boo). And then I found just the one I was looking for.

Ta-daaa!

Reading Challenge 2017 | misshapenjourney.com
Photo taken from modernmrsdarcy.com

Okay, so I know technically I’m a year behind on this. It appears this lovely blogger does a reading challenge every year, and she does have a new one up for 2017, buuut it looked complicated and scared me a little. I like this list better, and since it is my first challenge I figure I should go easy on myself. If this goes well maybe next year I’ll jump on board with the 2018 challenge.

In addition to this challenge, I have also committed on Goodreads to read 12 books this year. Since MMD’s reading challenge is for 12 books this will work out perfectly. Two commitments to the same goal? Clearly, I have to follow through. (That is how that works, right?) I haven’t decided exactly how I’m going to go about incorporating this challenge into my blog, but I do have a couple ideas, we’ll see how it goes.

Here’s to good books in 2017! And making time to read them. 

2017 Goals | A Snapshot of 2016 and A Look at the Future

2016 was a heck of a year. I know a lot of people would say the year was bizarrely harsh. If I’m being honest I’ve had better years myself. If I’m being really honest I’ve definitely had worse. I could say something really cliché, like, this has been a year of changes”, but let’s be real, every year brings changes some just more than others.

2017 Goals | A Snapshot of 2016 and a Look at the Future | misshapenjourney.com

At the start of the year, I didn’t have any delusions that it would be “my year”. I didn’t think it would be the year that I ”made it“ by any interpretation. I moved to Chicago with a specific goal in mind, and, like so many times before, that didn’t work out quite like I’d hoped. By the start of the year, I’d pretty much given up. I switched focus. I forced myself to stop thinking about the goals and dreams that brought me here and instead chose to alter how I saw my future.

Redirecting my focus has been amazing and difficult. I’ve found so many new paths and in many ways I’ve found pieces of myself that I’ve been looking for for years. Pieces of myself that I think I knew were there, that I’ve even stumbled across before, but never really took account of. I’ve learned with much more certainty what I want from life and not just the career choices I’ve chased and obsessed over for years, but even more so the person I want to be and the type of life I want to lead. Even more importantly how I want to get there.

I’ve found new creative outlets and uncovered a bajillion (yes, that’s a real word – google it) ideas and dormant passions that I’d all but forgotten I had. When I think about this new course for adventure I’m filled with excitement, peace, and a happiness I had almost given up on ever feeling. With all that said, I still find myself confronted with bouts of depression and sadness. My heart hurts. Despite the excitement for my future, this new path seems almost as unattainable as the last.

December was a hard month for me. In addition to finding myself stuck in a job I heartily dislike, I kept thinking of the life I’ve pushed aside. I spent more time in December than I had the entire year thinking about why I moved to Chicago and what if I just tried again? I feel a little torn, if I had everything lined up to be able to move forward with the life I’ve dreamed up this year, I would ironically also have everything lined up to move forward with the life I’d dreamed up 10 years ago. Ah, life, you can be so cruel.

2017 has arrived, and for some (i.e. me) it doesn’t feel any different from the year we just left. This is a new experience for me. Usually, the new year is full of excitement and plans, this year not so much. I really want to start this year off right and to lay out a kickass plan for success, but honestly, I’m a little bummed right now and I don’t really feel like it. But, I’ll give it a try.

My top five goals for 2017, in no particular order…

Grow my blog

Ideally, I am looking to make blogging my primary source of income, I cannot do this with a blog with no readers, and, to be honest, I’m not entirely sure my blog is reader worthy at this point. In 2017 I plan to change all that. I have 3 main blogging goals for this year.

  1. Actively look to engage and grow my reader base. Linky parties (if I can ever figure out what exactly they are and how they work), social media (particularly Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram, with some Goodreads and Facebook for good measure) and Bloglovin’ I think will be my primary modes of attack.
  2. Write regularly. Write regularly. Write regularly. Oh, and WRITE REGULARLY.  I seriously slack in this area. I often have multiple posts floating around in my head, but I’m really bad at getting them out into an actual, publishable post. I’ve already started taking action to change this, so hopefully, I’ll make writing regularly a habit this year.
  3. Monetize my blog. This is a big one for me, I started this blog after reading about all the opportunities that running a successful blog could create, I wanted to be a part of that. I’ve been looking for a way to live the free-spirited life I’ve always wanted and still be able to pay my bills, blogging seems life the perfect solution. I plan to find the best blog monetization methods for me and start implementing them this year.
Move

My lease is up the end of May, and I can’t wait to move! When I first moved into my apartment the idea of living in a small studio in an older building had a fun, romantic flair to it. I was excited to live here and the old building quirks were charming and amusing. That was then. Now, I feel crowded living in a single room, the old building quirks are annoying at best, not to mention the revolving door of annoying neighbors. I’m just over it.

I know I’ve said before how much I love Chicago, and I do, but I’m itching for something new. I’ve never “settled” very well, I’ve always been eager to go to new places. When I first came to Chicago I thought I would stay here forever, and there’s a chance I might, but there’s a part of me that is really wanting to go somewhere new. Of course, there are several things to consider before making any decisions, but leaving Chicago is definitely an option I’m leaving open.

Whether I stay in Chicago or not is yet to be determined, but leaving my little studio is a definite. I’m really excited to move, but also apprehensive, because moving is hard.

Pay down/off debt

This is one of the issues I’ll have to deal with before I make any solid decisions about where I’ll be moving. This is also an ongoing issue that I’ve been working on for the last several months, and something I’m hoping blogging will be able to help me with in the long run.

A couple of years ago money issues were at their peak, I landed myself in a great deal of additional (yes, additional) debt. I’ve been struggling to get my head above water for about 3 years. Moving to Chicago was supposed to help, and it has, but it’s also given me some additional struggles. In 2016 I finally stabilized financially, which is great, but I’m still not where I want to be. This year I’m looking to put the bulk of my debt behind me, and I am definitely not looking to incur anything new.

Invest more time in lost passions

I already said in 2016 that I rediscovered some things about myself that I’d lost or forgotten about. For example, I used to read, like, all the time. In addition, I read a lot of classic literature, you know the stuff they make cliff notes for, but I did it willingly and I didn’t need it explained to me. In the last several years my joy of reading has been put aside to allow me to focus on what I viewed as my top priorities. I hadn’t realized it until last year, but I miss reading.

My time away from books has had a sad impact on my brain functions. While I used to breeze through the uncommon language of 19th-century prose, I find that now I struggle with the similar but modernized language of recent books set in the 19th century. I’ve noticed other aspects of my dwindling intellect too; frankly, I used to be smarter. I’m hoping I can redeem my mind if I return to my old book friends.

In addition to reading, I have a list of other hobbies I used to enjoy that have taken a back seat to daily survival that I’m hoping to revisit. They include: playing piano, baking, sewing, writing (I used to write small stories, now I write blogs, maybe I’ll write stories too), running, exploring nature. I’m sure I’ll think of more throughout the year too.

Be a more present friend

Not everything is about me. The last few years have been rough, like really rough. While dealing with my life’s problems I’ve cut myself off from those around me, those I love. I’ve actively avoided people, I’ve left unsaid words of support and condolences while people I care about struggled, I’ve skipped over birthdays and other anniversaries. I’ve been so wrapped up in me, that I’ve deliberately separated myself from the world around me including MY people. I’ve been a bit of a shit.

I’m not one to apologize for self-care, it’s important to look after yourself and not to sacrifice yourself on the altar of “friendship” but self-care is also not an altar on which to sacrifice relationships. No matter how shitty your life may be, it’s not so bad that you can’t take the 10 seconds required to shoot out a “Happy Birthday” greeting or an “I’m sorry for [fill in the blank]”. Social media makes it so easy to stay connected to people no matter where they are. If your current circumstances require a level of self-care that you can’t do a full conversation or an in-person catch-up, the least you can do is acknowledge your friends and family with an online nudge. Let them know you are there, and you care (unless you don’t care, in which case you should probably remove them from your life instead of just avoiding them).

This year I mean to do better towards my people. Things were rough, and while they certainly are not where I want them, they are certainly not where they were. I can do better. I will do better.

So, there’s a snapshot of my main goals for the year. I have other things I want to do too, some wrap up into the items listed above, some stand on their own. Maybe when I’m feeling a little less sorry for myself and the most immediate struggles I’m dealing with have subsided I’ll expand on this list.

Writing this post has helped pull me out of my funk. I should probably force myself to think on positive things when I’m down more often.