It may sound like an oxymoron to have goals in the summer, but this year I have clear objectives and many projects I’d like to accomplish by September. Inspired by a free download on Cathy Zielske’s blog, I percolated many ideas over the last couple of weeks. How best can I use the 82 days between Closing Ceremonies and the First Day of School? What do I need to do in order to use this “break” most effectively? Especially when my home is going to be empty of my children for all of July and most of August.
Write. I am a writer. There. It is now down in black and white. Every morning and evening I need to write at least 1,000 words. Now that I have a loose idea of what my book is going to be about (thanks so much to Christine Mason Miller) it’s time to get started and keep going until it is done.
Course prep is required. I will be taking a week-long intensive course in November. And there is an exam at the end. I need to spend some time checking out the materials ahead of time. A few weekend field trips in the name of research will be involved, too. The sooner the better!
Office organization. It’s time to make my office work for me. This includes *gasp* a book purge.
Website + Blog improvement. It’s time to tear it down and build it up again. I’d like to decide how it is I want to show up in the world and have the site reflect who I am, now.
Get clear and get real. From that standpoint I will purge my email list and only receive information from people and organizations that are going to make me better going forward.
Get out of the house. I would like to try some new-to-me restaurants here in Oakville as well as in Toronto. I would like to walk along the lake with Tucker. I would like to spend some time on the deck at the Oakville Club. I want to take a few photo walks in the area, some quick day trips to places I’ve never seen. I really enjoy being quiet in busy places and think I need more of that in my life.
Spend less. I have enough stuff. Truly. There is no need for more books until I read all of and get rid of the books I have. I have to stop purchasing out of habit and start purchasing with mindful intent. That goes for Tarot cards, clothing, camera equipment, office supplies and anything that is not considered necessary. It’s not an affordability issue, it’s a responsibility issue.
About exercise. My hip is killing me and I have wicked blisters on my feet (from wearing new shoes to the Peter Gabriel & Sting concert last week) but I will not let that deter me! We have a new rowing machine, so between it, the mini-trampoline and skipping rope, BOSU ball and resistance bands, the medicine balls and dumbbells, the TreadClimber and twice daily walks with Tucker, I hope to be in a consistent daily routine by the time fall rolls around. My goal: flexibility and strength. I’ve given up on any change in my weight. I simply no longer care.
Sleep more. Like most women my age, I find I do not often feel well rested even when I get a full 8-hours of sleep. I want to get an earlier start to my days and enjoy the daily bird symphony from my place out on my back deck. In order to do that I have to dial everything back, put into practice a simple evening routine and have lights out by 10PM.
NO MORE online courses. I am a course junkie. I am probably the most ‘educated in random shit’ person out there. I have signed up for Susannah Conway’s 78 Mirrors Tarot course that starts on 11 July and runs for 6-weeks. There are two more online courses I’ve been waiting for and will consider: Writing True Stories which starts in September (But, do I need it? How many times do I need to learn the same material in a different way?) and The Magic of Myth starting in October (is different from anything I’ve done before and the idea of taking it still completely resonates in me). I need to focus on other things and not use courses to distract me from my goals.
Gallery wall in family room. I recently had custom shelves (3″ x 120″) made to hold a multitude of photos. There is more space than I had anticipated so I need to head to IKEA for more frames and then to Persnickety Prints to have additional photos printed. I’ll switch out some pictures and add in a few more of extended family. Fun to have my family room look like a family room! Once done, I will have to find a place and hang the four canvases of my kids that were on the wall originally.
Storage locker closure. I have had a storage locker here in town for the last four years. It holds within it all manner of things I no longer need. It is time to drive over to survey the contents and take what I miss (photos and albums) and call for a junk company to come and pick up the rest. Then there will be one less bill to pay each month and one less project on my endless list!
Birthday book for my Aunt. She turned 90 last July and I was hot on the idea of taking photos and making a book for her. Then before the end of summer my cousin, her nephew, who featured prominently in photos, suddenly passed away. Then recently my cousin, her son, split with his wife. Again, more photos. I didn’t know what to do. Then I realized the photos are a simple capture of time and cannot be altered or avoided. I will work diligently to get this completed and sent to her. After all, now she is 91 and not getting any younger!
Recipe book for my kids. Now that Claire is in her own apartment for 4th year, Cole has a space with a kitchen, and Chloé is in her last year of high school it’s time to collect all of their favourite meals and put something together for them. We have so many old and new favourites. Lucky Caden will be eating plenty of home cooking as I put the book together! I’ll take the time this summer to decide on what meals will be included and format the project so we can hit the kitchen in early fall.
Picture books. All of my favourite photos put into one place. A big 12×12 coffee table book. I’m thinking each volume with be about 250 – 300 pages. Personal family photos in one volume, nature photos in another and then random or activity photos. This will require some scanning and some searching through external hard drives. I’m looking forward to getting this pulled together and anticipate the bonus of the projects helping me clear out my abundance of files – 70,610 .jpgs, as of today. Who knows, maybe I’ll sell some?
I started my summer holiday at the Conscious Booksmith retreat in Ojai, California and it was brilliant in so many ways. I will end my summer break at the Into the Mystic retreat in the Blueridge Mountains of Virginia. In between, I am home with Tucker and will have to adjust to having no kids to wake up, chauffeur around or cook meals for each morning and evening. And no laundry. Oh, and clean rooms. Hmm, I could get used to this.
I enjoyed this exercise as it provided me time for a thoughtful review of how I want to spend my time without the stress or constraints of constant responsibility for others.