As we embark upon the 2nd half of the year (omg, I can’t believe I just wrote that when I can still taste the pizza rolls and jalapeno poppers hub and I ate New Years Eve!), I’m already seeing bloggers recapping, reviewing, reminiscing over their January – June wins and losses, failures and successes, trials and triumphs. But for me, the month of June had been the most productive, satisfying and successful.
Although I’ve been faithful in keeping to my goal to document this year in both my Filofax Pocket Malden planner and bullet journal, this past month had especially been one full of positives, happy moments, blessings and wins. Here’s what made June 2016 a memorable one:
My birthday: Most ladies I know would blanche at the thought of revealing their age. On 6/2/16, I turned 54 and don’t give a hoot about admitting it because I’ve always been told I look younger (credit putting the kibosh on tanning in my early 30s). The most recent and hilarious example was during my trip back from visiting my parents. I stopped at my sister’s in SC for a day and a half visit where her son, his wife and two kids had stopped off en-route to Orlando. My youngest great-nephew (8 years old) looked at me and asked, “Auntie Elena – how old are you?” GASP! The only thing worse than revealing one’s age is being put on the spot and asked by an innocent child. But I didn’t care and told him I was 54. The kid looked sufficiently perplexed and told me, “You don’t look that old. You look about 38.” I immediately told him he was my favorite nephew!
The Importance of Family. As I mentioned above, I had made my bi-annual visit to my parents who live in FL before heading up to see my sister on the way back home. My dad turned 89 on 6/20 and after scheduling most of my annual visits the last week of October (for my mom’s birthday), it was such a joy to celebrate his birthday (and father’s day which was the 19th) with him. To say how blessed I am to have them both still alive and well with no life-threatening illnesses or diseases is an understatement. To know so many people who have lost either one or both parents at much younger ages really hits home as to just how precious it is to still them with me, though 1,200 miles away. I talk to them both at least once a day and make it a point to visit 1-2 times a year since they no longer travel up north.
House Beautiful: After purchasing my in-laws home back in 2004 and not having the funds to make all the updates to it that we wanted, we finally got around to painting the outside this month. Prior to moving in, we painted the inside, replaced the carpet and did mold remediation in the basement which were all MUST do’s. Want-to-do’s….well….that had to be done a little at a time. Big ticket items such as replacing all the single-paned windows, interior trim and doors, kitchen countertops and floors still have to wait, but we wanted to make the outside as appealing as possible for an upcoming refi appraisal. Home Depot had a Memorial Day sale on paint – $10 rebate on 1-gallon of paint. We needed 30 gallons. $300 off paint – sure! And my boss’ GC loaned us his paint sprayer to where we would’ve had to rent it at $60/day. Again, more blessings that happened when the need was there.
A Husband Who Pushes On. Paint on sale? Check. Free paint sprayer? Check. Ladders and buckets? Check. Okay, just pour the paint in bucket, attach to sprayer, climb the ladder and spray away. Seems that easy on paper. But when you have degenerative arthritis in your hip, femur and tailbone it can make even the simplest task daunting. My hub deals with chronic pain on a daily basis. Walking from point A to point B can sometimes be painful, so imagine having to climb and un-climb a ladder several times just to do half a house? But he takes his meds and buffers it with additional OTC for an added pain-relieving boost, grits his teeth and presses on to get our home painted. I couldn’t possibly love him any more.
Health Re-Assessment: Other than a 90-day anti-inflammatory Rx I was taking for the tendonitis in my elbow, I’m completely medication and symptom-free. This is a big deal to me because my mom, dad and sister all fell prey to the hereditary culprit – diabetes – in their early 50’s. My brother (who’s 6 years older than me) had been diagnosed with elevated sugar several years ago, but he immediately went on a health kick, lost 50 lbs and is now doing annual marathons and triathalons! With all the meds hub is on as well as his physical limitations, it’s important that I maintain the best health possible. Something clicked June 1st – the day before my birthday – which made me realized all the wasted prior years where I could’ve started earlier. I’m not in bad shape, just not in the best I want to be. I could stand to lose 10-15 lbs and tone up. And it’ll only get harder as I get older. I’ve never been a goal-setter, but end of May I decided to write down a few for June on a Post-It Note (intro photo) and put it on the page adjacent to the first one in my Moleskine Bullet Journal I switched to from the traveler’s notebook I had been using since April (just couldn’t adapt to the TN-style, but more below on that)
For the first 15 days of June, I kept to my goals of no coffee (with the exception of two small iced), awake and up by 6 to workout before work, and keeping from certain foods to see if they were contributing to recent headaches. June 16th I left on my trip and went back to coffee (which didn’t have much of an impact since I only drank a cup a day anyway). My parents have a gym in their complex and also power-walked 3-4 miles every morning before the temp shot up to the 90’s. Having the time to workout sometimes twice a day really stepped up my progress and am happy to say that as of the publishing of this blog post, I lost a total of 7 lbs in June. My goal for July is another 5-7 lb loss. Slow and steady.
If It Ain’t Broke…. Do I need to fill in the rest? As I mentioned above, I began a new bullet journal in a white Moleskine grid hardcover after switching from a Linshi Tasks traveler’s-style notebook (below)I had been using since April.
I tried. I really did try. The TN was beautiful and the inserts were well-made. I just found that sliding the elastic on and off to open and close annoyed me (yes, I’m petty and have no patience!) even after ditching the bling. It also didn’t lay flat no matter how much I worked the inserts and bent them back and didn’t make for a sturdy surface when I had to balance on something other than a desk. Since using the bullet journal system along with my planner, I’ve always used bound notebooks so that’s what I went back to. They open flat, lay flat and don’t try to close on me while writing. Not so much a ‘memorable’ moment, but an example of how you have to listen to your needs and forget what everyone else is doing and using rather than try to conform to something you’re not comfortable with or struggle to ‘make’ it work.
Discovering My Green Thumb. Earlier in the year (aka winter) I began researching vegetable gardening and self-sustainment. By March/April I began my seeds indoors and – after several failures and re-tries – was able to transplant all the successful seedlings outside after the last frost date. Since I couldn’t plant in the ground due to work being done, I opted for a container garden, which I really prefer better because it allowed me the flexibility to move them around as necessary. I’ve got 4 potato buckets, 10 tomato plants, numerous radishes and four cucumber plants. Not much, but I wanted my first experience to be with vegetables we use a lot of. Next year I can gage an earlier starting time as well as be prepared with more buckets for a higher yield. But opening up my back door and seeing 6 of the tomato plants lining my steps I had started from seed back on 4/29/16 just blows my mind as they are all over 12″ tall!
Time-Out. More and more I have been shying away from online time at home. I’m in front of a computer all day and can do whatever needs done during my work breaks and down time. But once I’m home, even when hub isn’t home and I have some quality alone time, I find myself craving to do something more meaningful whether for the house or myself. Workout, water/talk to my plants , declutter an area, trying a new recipe, updating my garden journal, catch up on Odd Mom Out (omg, one of the funniest new sitcom I’ve come across in a LONG time!) on On Demand, do some self-care, call my family, etc. Or just stop and savor the moment at hand. It’s come to where I don’t even like being in our home office anymore. My desk faces a wall which is depressing. Even on bill payment night, I take everything into the living room and set up on the coffee table with the big picture window overlooking the front yard. Or sitting at the dining room table overlooking the backyard while doing a scripture study or sorting office paperwork for filing. It’s not about what I ‘have’ to do, but making the task/experience as enjoyable as possible
Focus & Productivity. Keeping to the same planning system has resulted in better focus and a more productive turn-around of daily tasks. Although change is a fun thing and keeps us from being bored, the thought of having or ‘needing’ to change my planner would only result in stress. Keeping it consistent means I know where everything is and in what section. There’s no guess-work. I don’t have to worry about the month of April being stored away in A5 planner pages, May being in a bound pocket notebook or June being in a personal sized planner. My entire year’s worth of appointments, events and dated tasks/due dates are all logged in my Filofax Pocket Malden planner/wallet (you can read a more in-depth article on how I use it here) while the details of everything in there get logged on a daily page in my bullet journal. While those notebooks will rotate as their used, the integrity and setup of my Filofax remains the same. Without feeling the pressure to change planners or switch up inserts, etc., I can focus on what’s really important – ‘using’ it and getting things done.
Those are the most important aspects of June ‘wins’ for me that stand out. What have been your goals and what are you doing to reach them?
Till next time,