Turning 25: A Journey to Self Betterment

This past summer I turned 25. I am not usually one to worry about age; I rarely feel particularly old or young. Anyway, since turning 25 (this fall especially) I’ve found myself in a quarter-life crisis of sorts. In one sense, it makes me feel insane, but on the other hand I’m sure it is perfectly normal.

Whatever the case is, it has spurred this interesting set of goals/ways of living I am trying to enact in my life. Not surprisingly, it comes in list form.

1. More self esteem – I think I mentioned this one in my previous post. This part, surprisingly, has been easy and fun so far. Dressing better, finding fun ways to do my hair, changing my posture, so on and so forth. Feeling awesome about yourself is great. I’m also trying to extend this past my appearance though, as I am worth more than my good looks! This kind of melds into item two..

2. NO MORE MEDIOCRITY!!! – Yep, it has to be in caps. I am no longer accepting mediocrity from myself. This is much harder than item one. I am attempting to be a better student, better employee, and better person in general. This one bleeds into some sub-items.
a. Less distractions at work – Not going so well as I spend a lot of time talking to Sarena on gmail chat. I love talking to Sarena though!! Plus she listens to me ramble about self betterment and my quarter-life crisis:)
b. Less mistakes at work – do things completely, and right the first time.
c. Less screen time – I have lately realized that I check my damn phone (facebook, twitter, email) all the freaking time. It invades pretty much everything I do and I am so over it. This one has been really hard so far. I am working on it though… I suppose it could be rephrased more accurately as, “less unproductive screen time,” because I want to start reading the news more.
d. Read more – sort of related to the above item. Less time staring at my phone/ipad/tv means there are better ways to spend my time. So far I have had to (this is kind of sad) set a timer on my phone to make myself read. I’ve done this mostly as a way to keep from checking my phone, but it has worked. Reading for pleasure is back in my life..so far only fluff, but I plan to tackle some more intelligent reading once the semester is over.

3. Take better care of myself – this one blends with the first. Shower more, sleep more, exercise more, and eat better.

4. Be more social – There are days where I feel like I live inside my own head. I think this one can speak for itself.

5. Be more adventurous – this one manifests itself in some weird ways. I have been having the strangest desires to go out drinking and dancing (I didn’t want this when all my friends were doing it, and now that they aren’t I want to. WTF.) but also a strong desire to start hiking and go for walks all the time. Basically, I want to try new things and do things that I may not have done before, because I was/am a fuddy duddy.

It all boils down to this: I want to lead a better life. I want to like myself, challenge myself, and be a more effective person. And I’m working on it!

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on goals and personal achievements

As a high schooler, I never really felt like I had life goals. I knew what was expected of me, and I planned to do those things (graduate high school, go to college, etc) rather than really set goals for myself. These things were things I wanted to do, but they never really felt like things I chose to do. 

Now that I am no longer freshly out of high school (eek!) and getting ready to graduate college (double eek!!) I have been thinking a lot about personal goals and motivations to achieve said goals. Why am I doing this? Post high school, I floundered a lot. Three years, three schools, umpteen majors and multiple failed classes. I had no goal, no end point, and no good reason to be there, other than, “why not?” There was nothing else pressing that I needed to be doing with my life. 

I’ve since taken a break from school and now have been back since the summer of 2011. I’ve been trying to decipher what changed in me – I knew what I wanted after about a semester or two back at school. I want a degree. I want to do well in school, not just *not fail*, but succeed. I am still not a model student, but I have gotten better grades in the last two years than I have since 9th or 10th grade. 

Now that I am closer to graduating than I ever have been, I’ve found myself thinking, “what next?” What is next in my life? This has had me thinking a lot about goals. Why do we set the goals that we do for ourselves? What motivates these goals? 

Here is what I know for myself (I love these kind of statements, probably because they remind me of pro and con lists 🙂 )

Currently my goals consist of the following:

  1. Graduate with a Bachelor’s degree! (well on my way for this one!!! only two classes left after this semester)
  2. Regain my self esteem (this one has been surprisingly easy so far – mostly through caring more about my appearance and controlling my posture and body language)
  3. Continue on my journey of self betterment (the first part of this is listed above, but more on that later..)
  4. Figure out what I am doing after my undergrad degree (yes, the way I phrased that makes it sound like I am planning on grad school..I need to find my marbles because I think I might have lost them!)

My motivation for my bachelor’s degree is this: I know that my quality of life will be improved by earning this degree. I will have better job opportunities, more skills, and generally having a degree will be an all around plus for my life, in many areas. It will also give me a sense of accomplishment.

My journey of self betterment has come from a realization that I am in control of my life – as I said above, for many years I floundered and did what I felt others (my parents) wanted me to do. You’d think I would realize that I am in control of myself long before 25, but only lately have I realized that happiness and contentment is completely under my control (well, I realized this a long time ago, but only recently have I felt able to harness this control). 

 

Anyways. I am starting to ramble and lose my train of thought..Someday I will plan out blog posts like this ahead of time so my thoughts are a bit more concrete. A lot of this introspection lately has been spurred by my renewing my relationship with an old friend, who introduced me to this youtube video, which is a clip from a commencement speed by David Foster Wallace.. If you have 10 minutes, watch it! 

 

How to keep your head on straight

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. Well, I think all the time. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about being a rational, reasonable, composed person. Anyone who knows me knows that I generally err on the side of caution and usually think things through before I do them. They also know that I am frequently irrational and tend to be an all or nothing kinda gal. I have a really hard time finding a middle ground between completely loving something or completely hating it.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been giving myself some personal quests. Personal quests of betterment, if you will. The first is a quest for self esteem! So far, it has gone fairly well. I’ve also been trying to be a better student (which right now is not working as I am writing this post to avoid homework!) and a more motivated person in general. This has not been quite as easy as increasing my self esteem – as you can imagine, doing homework and schoolwork is not always fun and laying on the couch instead of being productive is very easy.

Throughout all of this, however, I keep finding myself thinking about my tendencies to get a little crazy. I fall into something, and I fall hard. It is all I want to do and all I think about. I think a lot of this comes from (and results in) my shitty time management skills. I have not been knitting because of an injury, and easing myself back into knitting has proved really hard. Knitting for a 2-3 hour stretch? Easy peasy. Knitting for 5 minutes an hour every evening? Impossible to “find the time for” even though all I’ve been doing is sitting on the couch. I’ve found a similar thing happens with sewing. I get really motivated, buy fabric and patterns, and then let it all languish because I can’t find the time to sit down and work on a single project for hours. Instead of working on it bit by bit I want to binge and finish it all in a Saturday afternoon/evening.

So I’ve been trying to decide how to keep my head on straight. How do I stay rational, find a middle ground and divide my time among work, school, and hobbies? The older I get (at the ripe old age of 25!) the more I wish I had better time management skills; the more I wish I could keep my head on straight and focus on one task at a time, instead of trying to do 3 or 4 things at once, getting overwhelmed, and becoming a slug on the couch.

I’ve been trying to set myself time limits (complete with a timer on my phone) for tasks like knitting, homework (depending on what I need to get done) or cleaning. So far this has proved semi-successful as long as I can stay focused on the task at hand.

What do you do to keep your head on straight? What keeps you grounded and focused?

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Leaves in our yard that had frosted the night before and thawed during the day. Fall in Fairbanks.

Woah! 2012 Knitting Wrap Up

This year I am not in Hawaii for the New Year, however it is currently 30+ above at my house, so I am pretty happy about that. This year my knitting waned a bit, simply because this fall I took 15 credits, worked 18 hours a week, and managed to squeak out a 3.2 GPA (1 A, 1 B+ and 3 Bs). So, I am not particularly surprised I wasn’t quite as productive in years past. I am also not disappointed about it either. It has been a long time since I have consistently gotten good grades and I am extremely proud of myself!!

 

In 2012…. 

(Some links are blog, some links are Ravelry. I was lazy about blogging this year, that is for sure!)

 

1 scarf (Quiviuk Lace Scarf)

7 pairs of socks (Skew, Yoda, Petal, Monkeys, Stripey StashbustersThink Fall, Socks for my Sweetie #3)

3 baby sweaters [One was truly a tank top, but I’m including it in this category!] (Stripey Girly Mossy, Brown and Green Stripey, Baby Halter)

1 shawl (Handspun Shawl)

5 cowls (Pink and Grey, PINK!, Not Socks, Cloudy Sky, Zeus Crossing) [really the howlcat could fit into cowl or hat!]

5 hats [one is a headband] (Hippie Hat, Pink Baby Hat, Brown and Green Baby Hat, Calorimetry, TARDIS Botanic)

2 pairs of fingerless mitts (Toasty Tubes, Test Knit Mitts)

1 sweater [that I hate] (Leisl)

1 doll dress (Polka Dot Dress)

3 felted things (Ballband Bag Take 5, Duffers For Kelsey #2, Felted Mittens for Me)

1 giant ridiculous circular lace blanket (Leaves of Grass)

 

 

That makes this year’s total 30 knitted items. I guess that is only 9 less than last year, so not too bad! I am headed into the new year with three things on the needles – A cowl for my mom, a scarf for my aunt and a pair of socks for me. I also need to get started on another one soon! Ah well, I still have this entire next week off and then school doesn’t start until the 17th – although it is another semester of 15 credits and 18 hours of work a week! Hopefully it won’t be too nuts! And my last crazy semester. After that, this fall I will take about 9 credits and then 3 the spring after that, and then I will be GRADUATED! 

 

Happy New Year, everyone!

FO: Gradient Cowl

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Knitting it was kind of a frustrating process, but I love this finished product.

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it is long and loopy, and it looks fabulous with my blue winter jacket!

Stats:
Pattern: Gradient Cowl from Shibui Knits
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Angel, 6 skeins. Light Blue (1), Dark Blue (1), Teal (2), White (2)
Needles: US9
Mods: none, other than a super ugly grafting job:)

I enjoyed knitting this for a while, and it would have been better had I actually read yarn labels and realized that Debbie Bliss Angel has almost 100yds less per skein than Shibui Silk Cloud has, which the pattern calls for. The pattern uses more of the colors A & C, and so unsurprisingly, I ran out of both of those colors while knitting..But it is done now, and I am loving wearing it!

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When I look at it I feel like my colors C & D get kind of muddled (the teal and the dark blue) but I the gradient is somewhat there. This is a neat way to make them gradient, because you hold 3 strands together, intermittently changing one strange, to make the colors slowly change.

More photos from lately…

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Took a Recycled Mitten class with my mom yesterday! Felted thrift store sweater, lined with fleece. I can’t wait to experiment more with these…

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huge icicles in the afternoon sunlight – on my way to my afternoon sociology class. probably around 315PM.

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pumpkin roll – gearing myself up for fall holiday baking. I’ve been in a baking mood a lot lately, I assume from the amount of schoolwork that has been on my plate lately:) the end of the semester is starting to loom already. the filling of this is cream cheese frosting that has greek yogurt in it, so it is sweet and tangy at the same time.

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Belle, being irritated at me disturbing her for photographs.

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me and gabs, hanging out on my parents bed.

and last but not least,

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this morning i put cinnamon rolls from a tube onto my waffle iron and this was what resulted…basically cinnamon roll biscuits that were crunchy on the outside. now I want to try with homemade cinnamon rolls….

Some summer, mostly fall 2012

Fair Monkeys (did not place, but that is probably because there were like 10 other pairs of monkeys entered!)

Stripey Socks

Stripey Sweaters (Baby Size)

Test knitting – in class.

A cowl in an hour and a half (and a new technique – my first moebius.)

As far as non-knitting content goes:

Studying for tests is pretty much constant. (this photo was me studying for a test after getting done with one)

The leaves were lovely for a few days (this is outside the front door of my work)

drinking lots of tea (ice green tea every morning, please.)

testing my new sewing machine. (first time doing french seams, first time using bias tape.)

That is where I am.