The 10 Day Writing Challenge – The Round up

I am proud to say that I finished the 10 Day Writing Challenge without missing a post during the period (please see links below for all the posts), and I’m actually thinking of doing something longer next time.

Yes, I wrote spontaneously — sometimes very briefly — but I wrote what came to mind or what was happening to me at that moment.  I usually found myself scampering to write before midnight, sometimes finishing the post just a few minutes after.  Surprisingly, the pressure wasn’t all that bad.  The topics weren’t difficult to find.  So I wrote on and you can see that the topics were varied, although most of them were about what I was thinking of at the moment.

There were posts where I wish I had more energy or time to write — they were like the many draft posts that never found themselves published because I just wasn’t happy with the content because I wanted to write about it more.  There were times when I got into the groove of writing, but then I lost myself somewhere and in the process, decided to hit the pause button. Not this time.

Lessons learned:

I can actually write everyday.  I just need to find the focus and deliberately set aside time to complete a post, no matter how short or how long a piece it is.

I can still write more than one post in the course of a day, but I am more productive if I focus on one until I hit “Publish”.

I should start writing early during the day instead of looking at the clock only to realize my deadline is looming overhead.  I know these aren’t my best 10 pieces, but the point was to write 10 — period.  I wanted to see if I can actually go 10 straight days writing a post here, and I did.  Some of my better pieces I did in one sitting, but without the pressure of midnight tolling.  So I still need the leeway to write and go and edit my work.   One thing I’ve learned is that that is best earlier during the day.

10 day challenge done! So what’s next? Maybe I’ll go thirty..

Out of Focus

One Day Soon

Sewing Decisions

Fridays be like

Slow Saturday

Getting back up on your feet again 

Autumn Monday

Taking it easy

When you fail again

Self love

Self love

I always harp on the fact that we must take care of ourselves, too– something we forget when we are so busy taking care of others. Most people find the ideal to be putting others before yourself, when the truth of the matter is, you need to be whole to take care of the people you hold dear. So many lessons I’ve learned through the years come to mind. And these bits of wisdom need some reinforcement even in my own world. Sometimes we need reminding, too. (I do.).

You need to find your balance to help others keep theirs. There is always some chaos in our lives– be it at home, at work, or in the world we live in, in general. I am thankfully past my personal crisis which saw me take my journey to singlehood, but being a single parent to a teen has its challenges. I work in a fast paced and very demanding environment supporting a chief something in our company and there is the everyday stress of getting things done and making things happen.

I find my balance through meditation (which, unfortunately, I have neglected for quite a bit.). I have a subscription to Headspace which I recommend to friends. It’s really not the app — it’s the meditation that I recommend. You can find your own — it just so happens that this one works for me when I get to it. It’s literally a voice in my head.

When I cannot meditate, I try to find some quiet time just to recalibrate. I look at a picture or remember something that brings me to my happy place. Those happy thoughts can do wonders when we are besieged or otherwise in turmoil. Otherwise, our imbalance spills to others. You are human. There is only so much that you can bottle up. Dealing with your own chaos will help you find the calm you will need to bring that calm to others.

Stay beautiful– literally. Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder. So if “beautiful” to you is no make up– that’s fine. But hold that idea of beauty close and live it. Do what makes you feel beautiful. Hair coloring? Red lipstick? Instagram make up? Wearing your favorite color. Do it for you and not because you want to be pretty in someone’s eyes. Accept your flaws and love yourself in spite of it! Even “simple” can be beautiful — just do what makes you feel like you look like your best “you”.

Be more forgiving of yourself. We are always our harshest critics. We criticize ourselves and mete punishment out as if there was no undoing our mistakes — when the truth of the matter is that we are simply being human. To accept that we make mistakes like everyone else is an act of kindness we owe ourselves. Kindness should begin within for us to be able to give it. Like one of my older mentors kept saying, you cannot give that which you don’t have. You cannot give genuine kindness if you cannot be kind to yourself, and that begins with self forgiveness.

Accept who you are– both the good and the bad. One thing I notice is that most people have a difficult time accepting compliments. It is actually easier to accept criticism because to some, swallowing it all is a form of self-flagellation.

When I was in grade school, we were taught by the nuns that the gracious way to accept a compliment was to say “Thank you,” instead of pulling an excuse out of thin air to deny the compliment. We were taught that that was “fishing” for more compliments because you needed to be convinced you were as good or as pretty as you were being told. Which was actually true.

Now that we’re older, I’ve had to do the same with fellow adults who had a hard time accepting simple compliments — and now they accept those words as truth without being bashful about it.

If someone says something nice to you, just say thank you. That is accepting the good that is in you– and there is a lot of that deep inside if you only let yourself acknowledge it.

Acknowledging we are actually good and beautiful is our way of loving ourselves. When we become comfortable enough in our own skin, we find something to anchor us to the ground when things get rough. Only in loving ourselves can we truly love another.

#10daywritingchallenge Day10

When you fail again

It’s been a couple of months since the 2018 Bar Exam results came out in May, and I’m sure the world has moved forward for those hopefuls, whether they passed or failed. Through the years before I passed to several years after, I always knew of someone who was waiting on those results. There was a sense of joy for those who hurdled the exam, and a sense of sadness for those who did not. Having known the struggle and having had a particularly challenging bar review and bar exam myself, I can only imagine the heartache and disappointment of not seeing your name on the list of successful board passers. I was one of the lucky ones who made it on my first try.

I still feel envious of those who can and could afford to take a sabbatical from work and devote themselves to reviewing and getting ready for the four weeks of exams 24/7, or even those who can take it slow even just the six months prior. I was only able to do that the four weeks that the exam was on.

It was a long and arduous journey and I clung to blind faith. I prayed and prayed and prayed. I studied and listened to the pre bar week lecture reviews and hung on to every word for dear life. During the exams itself, I had many friends who assisted me and made sure I got home and was fed. They brought me lunch for the breaks in between. And they prayed with me.

I am not a stranger to friends who suffered failure taking the bar exams. It isn’t an easy task to hurdle. And each time I know someone close to me has failed, I feel the pain up close.

I am hopeful. Yet I respect their choice to plod on or not. That is a choice for them to make. I can only stand by their side and support them in the decision they choose. My friend says he’s good.. he has achieved a lot in his career and to that, I agreed. He is already a success, bar exam fail notwithstanding.

#10DayWritingChallenge Day8

Taking it easy

Taking a breakWhat do you do to unwind? Or not even full blown relax — but just to slow down and catch your breath.. Sometimes we take it forgranted that we need to take care of ourselves, too. Or that we need to hit the pause button once in a while.

Stop whatever you’re doing and just sit still. I know it can take a lot to not panic about work piling up, emails coming one after the other or of thinking of deadlines– but I try not to get to that point when I fall apart. So when I fill like the pressure is mounting, I push back from my desk, put my hands on my lap, close my eyes and take a deep breath.

Scribble your thoughts on a piece of paper. I don’t know about you but that, to me, is like speaking out what’s bottled up inside me. Sometimes I write one sentence, sometimes two.. sometimes just a word.

Have a drink at the end of the day. Whether it’s out with a friend or two or by yourself at home, a glass of wine or your favorite cocktail or even a cup of tea can actually help to calm the tension out of your system.

I like quiet conversations and just being able laugh.. to tell my stories without fear of being judged. To vent and complain without editing myself. The conversations may be nonsensical and might not make sense to anyone– and then the laughter comes and I know everything will be fine. I get up and leave to begin my journey home– with a lighter burden and a quieter heart.

And yes there are times when I can’t have that drink or those conversations that make me feel lighter, and at that point, I just say I’ll get to that drink.. sometime soon.

#10DayWritingChallenge Day7

Autumn Monday

Monday musings in paper and inkIf you have been following my 10 Day Writing Challenge, you will see that I’ve been on a roll. This is Day 6 and I haven’t missed a post and have been writing as I had hoped to, and it looks like the personal deadline worked!

I am already planning a longer iteration after I finish with this one. (Uh-oh)

How can I miss out on my Monday Musings? It has always been a go to writing tool for me when the inspiration to write was running low. I would pick 3-5 random topics to write a short blurb on — no theme, no rhyme, no reason. And sometimes the topics became full posts at a later time.

Autumn, I feel you. It seemed like summer was having a hard time deciding on whether or not to stay or go– we were having some rather temperate weather when it should’ve gotten much colder already. Well today, I think autumn officially gave summer the boot as we woke up to lower 60s weather topping out at 69. I think I walked out the door underdressed in a thick long cardigan sweater over my dress , but I can always pin it closed later. The good news is, I brought the proper scarf.

Crochet break. I have been crocheting like there’s no tomorrow, although working on three pieces simultaneously has left me without a finished piece— yet. I tried to work with my current yarn stash for the first two, and I am venturing on working with a multicolor ombré yarn for the third. I ran out of yarn for the first two and I’m picking up new skiens to work with, and I’m running short on the third and have decided to wait for the next skiens. I am actually relieved to have been forced to take a break because my hands were beginning to feel the strain. I am very excited with this project and will write more about it in the craft blog. Soon.

To write or not to write about my Keto experience. I have been on the fence about this, but it has been on my mind. As someone who has tried several diets which have worked and some of which did not make a dent, I’m hoping my personal experience with it will help someone thinking of doing the keto diet or someone who might have a parallel experience with mine. So yes, I lost the weight, and yes, I gained some of it back. And finally, yes, I’m off of Keto. (To be continued..)

Getting ready for the holidays. I’m actually seriously thinking of sending Christmas cards again– something I haven’t done in ages. Every year, I try.. and every year, I have failed. I think for starters, I need to update my address book. Then I have to decide (1) if I will make my Christmas card or (2) if I will buy a boxed set or (3) order a printed one for the boy and I. Decisions, decisions. Let’s put it this way, if I don’t get this all decided and done by the end of October, I think I will skip this year again.

And we are searching for another Christmas tree. I bought one last year but it was practically the same as the one I was hoping to replace. I will write about that later but I need one of those hopelessly artificial looking plastic ones because I can’t do the real thing. Allergies, asthma.. so Christmas tree hunting we will go.

Celebrating you. I’m one person who’s very big on birthdays. Most people my age would rather not celebrate and just chalk up another year to just another one of those things that come to pass. But I like setting up parties, getting the cake, doing decor, wrapping presents and picking the birthday card and writing a dedication in it. There were a couple of birthdays the last couple of days that were special.. I tried my best. I always wish I could do more..

I’m trying to remain positive about the week ahead. I have a lot to do, that, I know. Here’s to a productive one for us all.

#10DayWritingChallenge Day6

Getting back up on your feet again

There are times when I start a blog post with a title. I don’t have one yet for this one but hope to have one before I hit “publish”.

You know how sometimes a jolt comes from out of the blue and just unsettles you on an otherwise uneventful day? I used to be unaffected — or not so much as unfazed as quick to stand back up. These days, bouncing back isn’t always as quick like it used to be for me. I find myself questioning things beyond what happened.. sometimes even doubting myself. When mistakes happen, I used to just apologize — now it sticks. I ask why.. how did that happen.. should I try to explain my way out of it? Or just cop to it?

Is it just me getting older? Or am I just not as good as I used to be.. or maybe, the odds are just stacked against me.

I’ve always been prompted by a belief in a higher being. That, to me, is God. Others call it the Universe. I just know I am but a speck in this universe and there are bigger things that are beyond me. I’ve learned to go with the flow. If I forget something at home, I go back. To me, that is a sign that I should not forge on. There is a reason beyond my forgetfulness or carelessness and I should pay heed.

Sometimes, the disappointment creeps up on me and I ask if perhaps it’s time to change course. I pause and listen. I don’t always pay heed, but I listen.

Every morning, I pray. Not just for myself but for my family, my friends who have passed, and that I be good person. That I choose kindness. That I choose what’s right. I don’t always succeed. I’m not always the nicest or most helpful person around. That’s why I pray for it.

I’d like to believe I am a strong person. That doesn’t mean I am unmoved. It just means I keep going, no matter how slow it may be getting back up on my feet again.

I try to look towards the future and remain hopeful. A dear friend always tells me that hope dies last. So I cling to hope even when I feel at my lowest. And that helps me to regain my footing– even if it takes just a little while longer than it used to.

#10dayWritingChallenge Day6

Slow Saturday

I have been taking it easy today. Wonder of wonders, I actually woke up at past 9am which was a real treat. I fixed myself some pancakes for breakfast and then picked up my crochet hook and yarn and continued my current obsession: crocheting triangle scarves. I have three scarves in different stages of production. I am in no hurry. Two of the three are using my existing stash of yarn, so I have to pause in between to look for additional spools to use. I only stopped (briefly) to cook lunch and do some cleaning. And I put the hook and the yarn down for my post today. (The clock is ticking.)

Saturdays are my “me” day. While most people will make plans for the weekend and do something exciting, I’m more inclined to just plan to stay indoors and chill and get some chores done.

I washed my make up brushes, hand washed some scarves, and before I sleep,, I’m preparing to do a cursory sorting of clothes I can give away to make my closet “breathe” a little. I was watching one of the series in one of my streaming subscriptions and was kind of surprised by the minimalist wardrobe of the lead character. Of course, she was kind of obsessive compulsive and had every little thing in neat order and almost numbered, and she stuck to a very basic corporate style for her work attire. Totally not me. But, it makes me want to continue culling my wardrobe.

And there are the take out containers that I almost always end up washing and reusing. They do tend to accumulate and every so often, I just throw them away. I figure I will find a disposable container if and when I need it– there’s always this nagging feeling something reusable will eventually become useful and then it doesn’t. So I’ve started throwing them in a garbage bag to be put in the plastic bin.

Tomorrow is laundry day.. or maybe not. New York City public schools are off until Tuesday because of the Jewish New Year, so I am seriously contemplating working from home on Tuesday and maybe getting that done then. In which case, I chill tomorrow.

I like to be able to enjoy a leisurely day even when it means cleaning the house — I do it at my own pace and in my own time. I get to accomplish something and yet not feel pressured to go out unless I have to, and I feel myself re-energized even after all the chores.

Maybe I’m just getting older. Short of taking time to nap, I’m often taking the time to just stop for a break and breathe. That’s my slow Saturday. I hope you had a good one, too.

#10daywritingchallenge Day 5

This post is Day 5 of the #10DayWritingChallenge. Below are related links to this blogging list.

10 Day Writing Challenge

Out of Focus

One Day Soon

Sewing Decisions

Fridays be like

Getting back up on your feet again

Autumn Monday

Taking it easy

When you fail again

Self love

Paying closer attention