Tag Archives: journey

Working On Money (or A Prosperous Heart Update)

I wrote before about how the podcast I work for was going to do the 12 week journey in “The Prosperous Heart”. We just got to the end of the 12 weeks and I figured it was time to do an update.

I’ll admit that I did not follow the 12 weeks as strictly as I did with “The Artist’s Way”. The main thing I did do was the morning pages. I struggled with the morning pages when I did “The Artist’s Way” and I really didn’t enjoy them. They became something that annoyed me at the end of that journey and I really was not enjoying having my mornings start off on such a negative note. So I decided that for me, doing the morning pages wasn’t going to benefit me the way that it should so I didn’t do them.

I know that some people will argue that I didn’t really do the 12 week journey this time if I left out doing the morning pages, but that’s ok with me. I have to do what is right for me and I would rather try to do the journey the best that I can instead of not doing it at all. I did do the weekly reading and the questions at the end of the chapters, so I feel like I did a majority of the journey.

The biggest thing about this 12 week journey is to track every single penny that you spend. Since I already do that with YNAB, I figured it would be pretty easy for me to keep doing it. And fortunately it was pretty easy for me. The only annoying this was with credit card spending. I track it in YNAB and it was a bit weird to have to track it in a second location as well (for “The Prosperous Heart”, I tracked everything in a little notebook). I didn’t like having to do everything twice, but it was a minor issue.

But while I track all my credit card spending, tracking cash was a new thing for me. I was looking forward to seeing how being extra aware of my cash spending would help me out. And for the most part, I got much better about being more cautious on what I was buying. There were a few times I forgot to track my cash spending (mainly laundry money or parking meters), but I would say I tracked all but maybe 10 times I used cash. It’s not perfect, but I’m pretty happy with being close to perfect.

I think that many people in our group weren’t as into this 12 week journey as they were with the other one. Some of us felt like the book didn’t speak to us the same way. Some people felt that the chapters were repetitive and a bit disconnected. It was not easy for us to admit that we didn’t enjoy this journey as much as the other one since we all felt so great after finishing “The Artist’s Way”. But it’s important to admit to yourself when you don’t feel like you are getting what you want out of a book/class/lecture.

We tried to encourage each other to stay on top of the weekly chapters and the lessons, but this time the group online wasn’t as active and sometimes it felt like we were each on our own journeys instead of doing it as a group. It’s not bad to do it alone, but it was different. And I don’t know if I preferred the group version or being a bit more on my own. Each journey was so different because of what was in it, so it’s not easy to compare them to each other.

Now that this is done, I’m going to keep some of the lessons and challenges going but I’m not going to keep all of them. I might continue to track cash spending, but I think just having the extra awareness I have now will be helping me so much. And for credit card spending, I already track that and I have noticed that I haven’t been charging as much stuff as I did before. So it’s nice to know that I did learn something and that I’m not spending as much as I did before. I’m not saving as much as I’d like, but it’s baby steps toward that.

Overall, I’m glad that I took this journey. Even if I didn’t do everything that was supposed to be done, I feel like I have made a change and I’ve learned new things about myself. I’m hoping that I can continue to spend less and focus less on things that cost money and look for things that are free that I like to do. I know that I need to get my credit card debt paid off and I really want to get it done soon. I just need to buckle down and work harder toward that. And hopefully the lessons I learned from “The Prosperous Heart” will help me over the next weeks and months to accomplish that.

The Artist’s Way Recap (or 12 Weeks Later)

I previously blogged about how the podcast I work for was doing a group to support each other through the 12 week process of “The Artist’s Way”. I’ve attempted to complete “The Artist’s Way” a few times in the past but I usually didn’t make it beyond week 2 or 3. But having an accountability group really helped to keep me on track and this past week I completed the full 12 week journey.

I’m pretty proud of myself for making it through the entire thing. I’m pretty stubborn when I set my mind to things, but this was something that for some reason I wasn’t able to complete before. I don’t know what was holding me back, but clearly there was some block happening that was making me quit each time I tried. And the irony on how the journey is about unblocking yourself wasn’t lost on me.

The two main elements of “The Artist’s Way” for me were the morning pages and the artist date. The artist date was a bit odd for me. There are a lot of things I do each day that make me happy. I don’t usually set aside a time each week to do something like that since I try to do things every day. But I did try to do something each week that felt a bit more special than the usual things that I would do. That could be going to the Pantages for our shows, going to a movie screening, or just sitting on the couch and watching something on Netflix that I’ve been wanting to watch. I think it will be easy enough for me to keep up the weekly artist dates because it is not that far removed from what I’ve been working on with my therapist.

The morning pages were something totally different. When I was in high school, I kept diaries. These were done every night at the end of the day and I would recap what happened that day. It was a great way for me to work out my thoughts and to decompress. Now I have this blog (although I do still keep some things private to me). I don’t keep a diary and don’t feel the need to do so.

The morning pages are supposed to be 3 pages of freeform writing each morning. I’m not a huge fan of handwriting because my writing is so sloppy, but it’s encouraged to handwrite the morning pages instead of typing them. And even though these could be stream of consciousness pages, I still wanted to write in full sentences with proper grammar. I did get frustrated when I made a mistake or spelled something wrong and had to cross it out. I like to do things perfectly and I hate seeing mistakes.

I totally struggled with my morning pages. I take a while to wake up in the morning and I didn’t want to write as soon as I was up. I tried to get my pages started within 15 minutes of waking up and I usually could do that. But more days, I was using it as a diary like I had in high school. I would recap what the past day was like and I didn’t have much else to say. Occasionally I would write about a weird dream I had the night before, but most of the time I didn’t know what to write.

There were plenty of pages filled with me writing how I didn’t know what to write or how I wasn’t loving the morning pages. It got me through the 3 pages on those days I couldn’t think of anything to write, but I know that doing that is not the goal of the morning pages. But when I don’t have any other ideas of what to write in the morning, I didn’t want to try to figure it out for a long time. I had things to get done in the morning and couldn’t spend an hour trying to get 3 pages done.

Besides the artist dates and morning pages, there was a chapter to read each week and questions and ideas at the end of each chapter. I dedicated a bit of time each Sunday to read my chapter and to work on the questions. Most of the time, I kept my answers to the questions to myself. Sometimes I would share (or they would inspire me to write something on here), but the journey is a personal one.

Now that I’m done with all 12 weeks, I’ve been reflecting back a bit on what the journey did for me. I don’t necessarily feel more creatively open in my life, but I do feel more open in general. I’ve been more relaxed in what could be a stressful and uncertain time for me. I’m a planner and not being able to plan for things next month could easily bring out some OCD tendencies in me. But I’m happy to see that I’m not experiencing that and that I’m more open to see what will happen.

I’m also in a better morning routine than I was before. I’ve been working hard at getting up at the same time every morning. It’s not easy, especially when I have a tough night or am out late. But I really want to be more consistent in my wake up time every day so it doesn’t feel as tough in the mornings. At the beginning of the 12 weeks, there were plenty of days that I overslept past my alarm. It usually was only oversleeping by 30 minutes to an hour, but that was affecting my morning. But now, I’m usually getting up within 5-10 minutes of my alarm going off and I’m not hitting the snooze button. The latest I have slept in this month was 10 minutes after my goal wake up time. That’s so much better than an hour.

While I did have some victories over my 12 week journey, it wasn’t as life altering as I expected it to be. But when I reached the end, that actually was discussed in the book. Some of the changes in my life might have been during those 12 weeks and other might not happen until a year or so later when I reflect back on things. And I have a feeling that will be exactly how things work for me. When I started my Spark Planner/Ink+Volt Planner, I didn’t notice the results the same way at the beginning as I did when I reflected back at the end of the year. I need time away from the process to see the change that I’ve been able to make.

I’m very proud of myself for completing all 12 weeks. I’m glad I stuck with it and I’m so grateful for the other people from the podcast who did this journey with me. And I now have friends who are about to start the 12 weeks and I’m excited to see what they are able to do. While I don’t plan on necessarily continuing my morning pages and artist dates regularly, it’s good to know that I have those habits to go back to if I need them. And I might try to do this again for the first 12 weeks of 2018 just so I can see how I change over this year.

No matter what I do, I finally can say that I completed the entire “The Artist’s Way” journey and that’s something that I haven’t been able to say before. It’s an accomplishment that I’m so happy with and I know that it will only do amazing things for me.

Just Wanted To Say Thank You (or You All Help Me More Than You Know)

Lately I’ve been writing about some struggles I’m been having. I’m writing about them for a couple of reasons. One is that sometimes I don’t have much to say and sharing the struggles is something that can be shared. The other is that I have tried to be as honest as I possibly can on this blog. I don’t want to hide things or only show the good parts of my life. So many people do that on social media and it really doesn’t do anyone any good. Everyone goes through rough times and it’s only fair to show the good and the bad in your life if you are sharing it publicly.

But through me sharing my struggles on here, even at the beginning of my blog, I’ve gotten so much support. It shocked me then and it still shocks me now. Even though I know that I’m loved and cared about, having support is always unexpected and very much appreciated.

I’ve gotten so much support lately from so many people. A lot of people have helped me deal with my grandpa’s death. I’m still struggling with this because I haven’t really felt too sad about it and that makes me feel like a horrible person. But my grandpa and I have had a very complicated relationship and I think that I’m just trying to work through that.

I had so much support over the years about my mom’s cancer. The support was so wonderful when I got it and while I wish that nobody else has to go through cancer, I’m glad that I’m now able to repay the favor and give other support.

But the support that I’ve gotten for my eating disorder really has been the best. I’ve dealt with a couple of haters and rude comments in the past on here, but I just delete those. I know that I will probably always have one or two random people who believe that I’m talking about my eating disorder on here as a way to get attention or to hope that my blog post goes viral (both things I’ve been accused of in the past). But I do it for me and if someone else gets something out of it, then that’s awesome.

Every bit of support that I’ve gotten has helped me so much in my journey. I really wonder where I would be today if I didn’t have the support that I get virtually or in person. I’m such a happier and more productive person now than I was before. And every single one of you who reads this has been a part of the change in my life.

So I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for being there for me in my good times and bad times (that totally sounds like wedding vows), thank you for cheering me on in person at races or at the gym, and thank you for inspiring me to be a better person.

I got tagged in this photo the other day by a friend of mine, and I think it perfectly expresses how I should feel about the journey I’ve been on so far, even with my setbacks. And you all remind me of this whenever I have a tough day.

FB Quote

Another Mom Update (or Almost All Done)

While my mom has already finished all of her prescribed treatments for breast cancer, there are still a few things that still need to be done.

First of all, my mom is still getting chemo every 3 weeks. This is not something that was part of her original treatment plan. But once my mom was diagnosed, she applied for a drug trial and got accepted. The drug trial is for this other chemo. She has 3 more treatments of it, so it feels like it’s almost done.

Since my mom tested negative for the BRCA mutation, that also eliminates a lot of things that we were prepared to have to go through. My mom is done working with the geneticist now and I only have a few things that the geneticist recommended for me to do. Mainly, I need to go get a mammogram this year, which I will do in the next month or two (I was waiting to see what potential job schedules could be like before scheduling a doctor’s appointment). But that’s pretty minimal. The reason for me to get a mammogram is to have a baseline one to compare future mammograms to, not to necessarily look for cancer (although I’m sure they will do that too).

Finally, my mom had to go through some medical tests to make sure that her body is free of cancer (or at least as far as they can tell it’s free of cancer).

First, a few weeks ago she had a CT where they checked her pelvis, chest, and abdomen. My mom told me that it might take a day or two to get the results from the test, but about an hour after the test my mom got a phone call saying that there are no signs of cancer in any area that they looked in. So that’s pretty awesome news!

And then last week my mom had a mammogram and MRI and both of those came back clean as well!

So besides the 3 remaining chemo treatments (and me getting a mammogram), the cancer journey is almost over. It’s been over a year since my mom was diagnosed and it feels like it flew by in an instant and has been going on for years at the same time.

I’m excited for my mom to be done with everything. For almost the entire time during this journey my mom has pretty much been able to do everything that she has always been able to do (she’s a rockstar that way). One of the last things to get her back to her “old” self is that she will be dyeing her hair back to blonde next week (when it grew back it came in brown). Once that’s done, even when she choses not to wear the wig, people who didn’t know what had happened will have no idea.

I’ll still blog occasional updates on things (and you all know that I’ll totally be blogging about my first mammogram), but it really feels like the journey is coming to an end. I’m so grateful that my mom has really kicked butt through all of this and that it looks like the end of this journey will really be the end.

Unreal Reality TV (or I Need To Stop Comparing Myself)

I’ve talked about my love/hate relationship with weight loss reality shows in the past. They are still a guilty pleasure of mine. I really don’t know why I still enjoy them when they make me feel so bad sometimes.

The only weight loss show on during the summer that I watch is “Extreme Weight Loss” (I think “The Biggest Loser” isn’t coming back until the fall or winter). I was watching it last night when I started to think more about why I watch these shows.

On “The Biggest Loser”, time is condensed, obviously. You are watching one week of footage in a single episode. But each week there is only one episode on. So it’s almost like it’s in real-time.

On “Extreme Weight Loss”, each episode represents an entire year (each episode follows a single person for one year). Every week, it’s a different person’s year.

I think I’m holding myself to the standards that these reality shows are creating. It’s not normal to lose weight like that. And I think that “Extreme Weight Loss” is making me judge my weight journey really badly.

Within a 2 hour episode, you go from seeing someone who is even more overweight than I am to seeing someone who is pretty much at a goal weight. That all happens in 2 hours. But in real life, that took a year. It makes things seem so quick and easy when they aren’t. Even though the contestants on these shows have pretty much no distractions while losing weight so they are able to focus on it 24/7, you still don’t really see the struggles someone has when the scale jumps up suddenly. You only see the weigh-in where the weight is down (this is not technically always true, but the majority of the time it is).

Why should I think that my journey should only take 2 hours as well? And the weight loss goals that they reach are completely unreasonable for me. On last night’s episode, the guy features was challenged to lose 118 pounds in 3 months (he was over 200 pounds overweight). If I lost 118 pounds in 3 months, I’d pretty much be done. That’s not possible (or if it is, it is definitely not healthy).

I should not look to these shows to be examples or even inspirations. They are for entertainment purposes only.

It’s hard to find inspiring people in the real world who have gone from obese to a goal weight. Most of those people either gain the weight back (like I have several times), or they aren’t out and about sharing their story. And some of the ones I have seen are people who had weight loss surgery or have used some other method that I don’t want to do.

So I need to turn myself into my own inspiration. I need to start thinking that losing 2 pounds in a week is awesome instead of horrible (since all the people on reality shows seem to lose double digits every week). I need to start think that it’s ok if my journey takes a year, or two years, or even a decade. As long as I keep going. And I need to start thinking of all those reality shows as mindless entertainment instead of examples.

It’s not easy to change how you think, but I’m really going to try.

Another SoulCycle Day (or Maybe I Really Have Found My Workout Addiction)

I seriously had an amazing time when I went to SoulCycle for the first time last week. As soon as I left that class, I wanted to go back for more.

I’ve almost never felt this way about working out before. Maybe at Richard Simmons’ class, but even there I had some hesitation at times because the room was so crowded (and I have a tendency to get a bit claustrophobic).

I’ve been stalking the SoulCycle website for a couple of days now. I’ve also googled a couple of reviews on the place. And surprisingly, many reviews were negative. They complained about the price, crowds, bad customer service, and not feeling like they are getting a good workout.

I have to completely disagree with those reviews. I might not be the best judge of what is a good workout or not, but my friend who goes with me has run marathons and thinks it is, so I trust her.

With all my obsession with SoulCycle, I took the plunge and purchased a 5 class package (I have 45 days to use it). I also signed up for another class yesterday since I had the day off.

This class was very different from the first one, but just as enjoyable. First of all, the other class was full. Not an empty bike in sight. The second class only had 7 students when you include me. We all rode in the first row facing the instructor. I would never want to sit there if there are people behind me, but as long as there isn’t, I’m ok with it.

Also, we had a different instructor this time. His name is Sal, and I think he was a great teacher. Super motivating, always mentioning proper form (very good info for a newbie like me), and he emphasized making sure that you are doing what you can do but still pushing yourself.

I wasn’t able to do many of the standing moves again. When I do, I feel the bones in my right hip grinding and my left hip catching a little (which is a sign that the cartilage has begun to tear and I might need surgery sooner than I’d like). I can stand up for maybe 30-60 seconds at a time, but then I have to ride back in the seat.

After class, I went up to Sal to say thank you and ask him his advice on what I should do so I can do all the moves in class. He reminded me that getting to that point is my journey, and even if it takes me longer than most people to get there, the important thing is to work towards that.

That was exactly what I needed to hear. Even though I know that I should be comparing myself to myself and not to other people, it’s hard to do that when there are only 6 other students in the room.

I left that class wonderfully sweaty again, but I’m seeing that as a badge of honor.


It proves that I made it through class and I’m getting stronger (and hopefully lighter) every day.