16 in 2016: The Final Report

I had long ago resolved not to make excuses for not being able to deliver.  I used to be so hard on myself that I refused to swear or make promises I knew I would have a hard time keeping.  So I tried, and I learned along the way.  Just days to the weekend and the end of 2016, here’s the final tally before I put up 17 in 2017.

I did find it useful to have this list of goals to guide me through the year, and while I did not accomplish much from the list, there were a lot of other things that I managed to chalk up as a point towards doing something.  I wouldn’t consider the list a total failure.  On the contrary, it was a good list to go by, and to aim for, and I’m pretty happy with that.

1. Read six books. How many books did I actually manage to read?  One.  And even if I’m kind of embarrassed to admit it, I’m actually still not quite finished reading it yet.  (Oops.)  I owe five more on this, but I will stick with 6… who knows?   Reading Never Let Me GoAt least the good news is that I’m still reading and that I managed to chalk up at least one book.  I have a half dozen others lined up, so all hope is not lost.  And yes, this makes it back on the next list, and I’m sticking with 6 again.  I am always optimistic that I will find the time to get to my book pile and actually get my reading list going.

It’s not even about getting more books because I do have the books!  It’s more about finding the time and the energy to constantly move from page to page and chapter to chapter, and hopefully eventually, from book to book.

2. Plan my trip to Boston. While I had started the year thinking I’d do my first trip alone to Boston, a bigger trip actually took its place with my first ever solo vacation to meet up with BFF Donna and her family in Fiji, so I guess you can say I just went a notch higher with this one.
Another day in paradise... @warwickfiji @warwickhotels #warwickhotels #warwickfiji #DinnaDonnaAt50 #GothamChickInFiji #FijiAdventures #filipinosInFiji #pinaynewyorker #PinayNewYorkerInFIJI #BarangayJimenoPlusOne #FIJImeno #FijiPinoy

Traveling is something that I wish I could do more.  But when you think about the cost and the effort in terms of setting aside time out of my vacation bank, it’s not an easy plan to execute.  Plus, there’s the problem of my little one.  (Well, not so little one anymore, but still..)  School calendars can be quite the challenge, even when I’m not taking him with me.  It means timing vacations so they don’t coincide with any major projects or tests.

On the drawing board is a similar plan towards the latter part of 2017, somewhere in the same direction, not necessarily heading home.  I’m thinking I will plan a day trip or two as well.

3. Learn something new via an actual class every quarter of 2016.  Two classes in two quarters.  Not bad.

So there was the beginner sewing class, followed by the intermediate sewing class, both at Mood University over at Mood Fabrics.  There is a third Advanced sewing class which I decided to forego because I wanted to create another coat, and maybe yet another, so I’m putting the next class on hold until maybe summer 2017.
Mood U NYC sewing class

There is a lot beyond sewing that I want to get on with, so I’m hoping to make a more realistic goal of doing another two classes for the year, including perhaps a language class.  Maybe.

4.  Watch at least 1 concert. This was a little harder to pull off.  First, I completely forgot about it.  Secondly, I was torn between trying to organize something I can do with a friend (or two) or maybe, as one list suggested, do this on my own.  That should be an interesting option if I do go alone.  We’ll see.

5.  Go to the gym at least once a week — and maybe even earn a locker!  (Go 10x the previous month and you get YOUR OWN LOCKER the following month.) Epic fail.  And I won’t waste space or effort writing about this… (crawling away..)

6. Lose another 10 lbs at least by April 2016.  (Lost over 20 in 2014 and maintained my weight in 2015.)  I did lose it but after gaining 10 and lost it again and gained it again and shed it.

Rather than bore you with the details of my perpetual dieting efforts, let me just say that I’m ending the year in not so bad a place — just where I started, at a good weight, but unable to lose further.

This time last year, I had gained at least 5 lbs from all the holiday bingeing.  (Not sure about the spelling.. but you know what I mean.)  I think I’ve managed to get a better grip on it because despite the parties and the cocktails and the occasional weight gain, I’ve managed to cut the gain before it went out of hand and work towards going back to my usual.

I’m there and hoping to push that further down, and who knows.  I might yet achieve this coming April what I had set out to do the previous one.

7. On positivity: Get the ball rolling on the Thank You Postcard Project. The greatest difficulty I had with this task is I have been unable to concretely define what it is that I want to do with it.  I had started the postcards, even carved out a site, but this was before I got heavily involved with Instagram, and I’m thinking now that I would want to keep that supported there instead.  Do I do a fundraiser?  Send out random postcards?  Set up trades?  I am hoping to finish figuring this one out the first quarter of the coming year and finally get it going.

8.  Find a rehearsal studio and actually spend an hour just touching the piano keys again. – I guess I just wasn’t too focused or keen on this, but it is still a thought in the corner of my mind.  I had even bought piano pieces.  Still a good goal to shoot for.. so let’s see.

9.  Work more earnestly on my craft blog.  – Considering the long haiatus that the blog had suffered from the last couple of years, I think I’ve done better in 2016, but hope to do better this coming year.  I am actually drafting a post as I’m writing this, and I’m actively crafting for personal use even if not for the shop.  The traffic on the site is still pretty sad, but I’m hoping to have that pick up with more relatable craft posts (do those even exist?) and better social media marketing.  (Effort is key.)

Unlike this site which is all about me, myself and I — the other site has a focus I need to better develop, and a media calendar will actually help.  I will also try to spotlight the many creative things I find myself doing throughout the year that are just ordinary but might be useful for others.  (i.e., recycling?  repurposing.)

10. Work on creating one piece every week, whether for sale in the shop, a gift for friends or to wear myself.  – I’d like to think that creating again has helped, but I’ve tended to go and sit for extended periods of time with longer lulls in between, and create maybe 3 to 5 pieces.  I’m also looking at the weekly goal as a tad too much pressure, so I’m trying to figure out a more reasonable calendar to go by.

11. Leave one pre-loved book out in the open once a month for someone else to enjoy/read.  – I have resolved to choose my 12 books for 2016, then leave them out in the open all together in January.  I might even incorporate a game of sorts into this by announcing on Instagram and Twitter, where the book will be.   It’s all about getting those books out there, instead of letting them accumulate dust in my shelf.  It’s even harder now that the shelf has been taken over by a geeky 12-year-old’s collection of action figures and graphic novels aka comic books.  I’m being edged out!

And here’s one for  you — you’d think I’m destashing so I wouldn’t be one to grab a book left out for others to take somewhere in the office — because I can’t even read the books I already have, but this was by a famous author so why leave it there?  (I know… maybe one or two of the three should go with the 12 that will hopefully find a home.)

12. Write one long hand letter or card every month. –  Again, the chance to make up for this one means 12 letters going out with my new year’s greeting card.  Need to list the 12, then write the 12 letters.

13.  Start a new Art Journal.  – While I had hoped to finish my art journal first, I think I have to earnestly work on beginning the next one soon.  I have learned from the previous book and have to go on a quest to find the right book that’s sewn together instead of glued together like the more modern hardbound books everywhere.  I wouldn’t mind something a bit bigger as well.  And of course, I need to bind the first book properly as it’s now busting out from the seams.

14. Destash: Give 5 items away from my current stash (clothes, books, art supplies, postcards) every month beginning March.  I had hoped to do better with this but have been so bad beyond one major destash when I went home to Manila (a lot of postcards and other ephemera found other homes..).  I refuse to count the preloved clothes and accessories that I had brought or sent to my family as well, because that’s something I do every year.

I think I have to start by identifying an initial list and making sure all that is given away.

15.  Write poetry again. – This was a big success personally, even if I ended up writing only one poem.  It was so deeply touching that I have chosen to keep it private for now.  But at least I can fearlessly proclaim that yes, I did it.

16.  Celebrate my birthday by doing 50 feel-good deeds.  So this is the reason I’m tagging myself a “golden girl”, because I truly am.  I am still in celebration mode and have actually had some measure of success with this particular part of list.  I am not sure that I can make an actual list of 50, but the deeds I have done in the name of that banner have been ongoing and will hopefully be something I will be happy with when 51 comes knocking in April.

It’s not really anything out of the ordinary, but I’ve made a point of trying to go the extra mile, and being conscious of doing something extra generous as I go about my day.  I’m going to tweak this a bit for 2017 and keep at it.

So there’s my 16 in 2016, and like I said at the beginning of the post, I’m pretty happy with where I landed.  It wasn’t so much that I was able to tick off a lot off of the list, but having the list and trying to work with it has taught me a lot of things about what I wanted to do and how far I’ve come.

More than resolutions, they were plain and simple goals that I set out to accomplish.  Watch out for the next one for 2017.  Happy new year!

 

 

 

#16in2016: An update

16in2016 (2)So at the start of the year, I had written a list which, if I’m not mistaken, I haven’t really revisited yet.   It was something I wanted to be able to focus on, so much so that I created a page for it on my navigation bar.  It seems I haven’t really gone back — hence, this check in.   (That is, unless my search button is failing me miserably by not turning up the posts I’m looking for.)  With half the year done, I think it’s about time I revisited what I had written down there and just do a quick check of where I’m actually at.

First of all, I’m not going to make excuses.  I already saw at least one that is long overdue and still dormant (read: nowhere near done), but that is the point of going back to the list for a quick check.

Secondly, I’m just doing a random update once again just to check on my own progress and remind myself I had set these goals at the start of the year.  While there are posts that

1.  Read six books.  I am still struggling to read the first of the six but hope to get going once done.  Why the struggle?  Time?  My eyes?  (Of course, there is no excuse when you are not reading a hard copy, but the one I’m struggling with is one.)  I have not quite given up on this and will hopefully chalk up at least one by the end of September.  I have one classic to read with my little guy for the summer reading assignment, and that should count for one.  Maybe.

2. Plan my trip to Boston.  I have already coordinated with my friend that this will be a day trip.  Lunch in Boston?  That would be nice.  Targeted for the fall.

3. Learn something new via an actual class every quarter of 2016.  “Every quarter” was a bit ambitious, but I have attended one beginner sewing class and am about to enroll in the next class for the fall.  It’s a continuing learning experience working the sewing machine, and there’s the jewelry class on stringing that I am hoping to enroll in as well. (Too many classes!!)

4.  Watch at least 1 concert.  I have long given up on the Billy Joel concert I had hoped to catch… and this is not really one of those “Musts”… nice to have or do but not necessarily a dealbreaker.

5.  Go to the gym at least once a week — and maybe even earn a locker!  (Go 10x the previous month and you get YOUR OWN LOCKER the following month.) … next!

6. Lose another 10 lbs at least by April this year.  (Lost over 20 in 2014 and maintained my weight in 2015.)   It’s now August and I have gained and lost and gained and lost, but haven’t quite hit anything below the weight I had plateaued at. (Sp?)  I am just glad that I am able to get back into shape although I haven’t been as earnest about it as I had hoped to be.  I will say it again, I am a work in progress.

7. On positivity: Get the ball rolling on the Thank You Postcard Project – I just revisited the Instagram account I had set up for this and am seriously rethinking the project.  While one component of the undertaking which is my Paper Flower Garden has grown exponentially in the last couple of months, the very core which was a postcard project has been frozen in limbo.  I haven’t quite given up on doing it as I had originally intended to execute the project, but I am thinking I will need to rethink the whole thing to make it work this time.

8.  Find a rehearsal studio and actually spend an hour just touching the piano keys again.  This has been a year’s effort which has been thwarted by other undertakings that occupied my weekends.  I’m thinking that with the new sewing class on Saturdays, I might actually get to squeeze something in finally.   Perhaps restudy my old Fur Elise piece which I brought home with me or finally get to learn the “To Make You Feel My Love” piece I bought online.  Trying!

9.  Work more earnestly on my craft blog.  I have been trying to write more but have not been as earnest as I should be.  There is a lot riding on the craft blog with my plan to repopulate the shop and to do other projects related to it, so I have been trying to be more prolific on that side of the web.  Trying is still the operative word but at least it’s not as dead as it used to be.

10. Work on creating one piece every week, whether for sale in the shop, a gift for friends or to wear myself.  Travel and other projects have sort of slowed me down but I am getting ready to get crafting again.  I don’t think I’ve been that off the track with the one piece every week goal, but the fact is that I’ve been busy creating personal pieces rather than for the shop which is both good and bad.  At least I’m starting to create again, but with the holidays creeping up on us, it’s about time I started working on the shop more earnestly.  Also, a recent order (yay!) sort of work me up from a deep slumber reminding me I do have a shop I need to attend to!

11. Leave one pre-loved book out in the open once a month for someone else to enjoy/read. I had hoped to choose the books and leave them out, and I will definitely do this by the fall.  I have been trying to get rid of the things I don’t need anymore, and this is definitely something that I want to do to get my books off to others who might appreciate them more.

12. Write one long hand letter or card every month.  This is the easiest so far!  Done, done and done!

13.  Start a new Art Journal.  I just found my art journal stashed away in my hiding place and just about ready to fall apart at the spine.  I still have a few pages left and am so determined to finish the current background pages, but I will definitely finish this before starting the new one.  First, I want to find the right book which will not fall apart like this one did — it will mean searching for an older, sturdier book in the coming weeks.

14. Destash: Give 5 items away from my current stash (clothes, books, art supplies, postcards) every month beginning March.  The recent trip home saw me bringing a lot of things to give away and I have made major progress in this front.  There is still much to destash, and I am constantly sorting the ones to be given away.

15.  Write poetry again.   I have only done it once but I did put pen to paper and managed to write what was, on the outset what seemed to be a sad and heartrending poem — but which, in the end, actually rides on a high note that says I will be a better person after all is said and done.  While I would normally share my writings, this one remains too private and personal for me to share at this time — but I am so happy that I have opened my heart again to write anew.  It has been such a drought all these years — with nary a poem written until I found my voice again.  To have actually started writing again is already a giant step — to have finished the poem is actually quite an accomplishment in itself.  More to write soon!

16.  Celebrate my birthday by doing 50 feel-good deeds.  I haven’t been keeping track but I will do an update on this as well.  It’s an ongoing project, and it’s been moving on quite nicely, although I haven’t really been keeping tabs.  Oops. .. Some of it I have lost track of, but I will try and see where I’ve gotten with what I’ve done so far.

Not bad, don’t you think?

#ThingsToDoIn2016: This year’s list

16in2016 (2)I started something in 2015 which saw me going back and forth to a list I had written at the end of the year before.  It was a list of goals of things I wanted to accomplish — from the mundane and ordinary to first time things I wanted to do.  I did periodic updates and tried to be guided by that list, and while I didn’t quite get to successfully accomplish all of them, having the tasks served as a reminder of my focus for the year.  So here is this year’s list, partly taken from the previous year’s.

1.  Read six books. – Take two.  Right now I’m in the middle of reading the second book of what I had hoped would be six last year.  I have the month to finish that and hopefully get this done in 2016.  (#6BooksIn2016)

2. Plan my trip to Boston. – Boston has officially given me an invitation to visit and I am planning to do that, but hopefully when the temperatures ease up a bit.  While it has been a temperate winter, you never know how much snow is in the horizon and they get a ton of it on that side of the coast!

3. Learn something new via an actual class every quarter of 2016.  I’ve been hit with a slew of “I want to learn..” moments, and among these are (1) sewing, (2) proper pearl stringing, (3) proper knitting.  I have all these projects churning in my head and if I find the time, I know I can get to it.

4.  Watch at least 1 concert.  I will try to make this a less ambitious task by actually not specifying which one.  Maybe I will get to do it in 2016.

5.  Go to the gym at least once a week — and maybe even earn a locker!  (Go 10x the previous month and you get YOUR OWN LOCKER the following month.) – After losing half the weight I gained over the holidays in the first week of 2016, I am inspired to think this is something I can definitely do better at this year.

6. Lose another 10 lbs at least by April this year.  (Lost over 20 in 2014 and maintained my weight in 2015.) – I have a few more to get to my pre-2015 holiday weight.  I think 10 before April should be reasonable, unless I go berserk again when I eat.

7. On positivity: Get the ball rolling on the Thank You Postcard Project – I must confess that the concept is there but I am a having a difficult time zeroing in on the mechanics.  So first quarter, figure that one out.  Q2 produce the postcards.  Q3 and Q4, roll out.

8.  Find a rehearsal studio and actually spend an hour just touching the piano keys again.  Hopefully in the spring.

9.  Work more earnestly on my craft blog.  It pains me to see that my last post in that corner was in October yet.  I had promised to post regularly and unlike here where I post spontanously, I tailorfit my writing to take on a certain slant over there.  52 posts in 2016.. that’s the goal.

10. Work on creating one piece every week, whether for sale in the shop, a gift for friends or to wear myself.– That means 52 pieces for the year.. easily doable!

11. Leave one pre-loved book out in the open once a month for someone else to enjoy/read. –  I am going to get this going by choosing the 12 books to give away.  I think one reason it was forgotten was that I never got down to doing that and I didn’t make a conscious effort to get it rolling.  Now that I am actually trying to declutter, I think I’ll make this a weekend project and start it off this month.

12. Write one long hand letter or card every month.  As someone who loves to receive handwritten notes or letters or cards, I actually enjoy writing them as well.  Besides trying to keep the post office relevant

13.  Start a new Art Journal.  The Art Journal I’m working on has been a work in progress since September 2012.  I think it’s about time I closed it but there are still some layouts left to be done.  I haven’t written or drawn there as much as I had hoped in the last couple of months, but I’m trying to catch up.

14. Destash: Give 5 items away from my current stash (clothes, books, art supplies, postcards) every month beginning March.  I am so ready to part with things and I had sent two balikbayan boxes home with old clothes and things I no longer have any use for.  I think for 2016, I will create little packages to send to friends who I know will enjoy them more, or to leave behind for strangers to find.

15.  Write poetry again.  I have not written any poetry since I arrived here in New York, 15 years ago.  So that’s a lot of catching up to do.

16.  Celebrate my birthday by doing 50 feel-good deeds.  I saw an ad yesterday morning which had this blurb: “Simply waking up is amazing.”  Isn’t that so true?  We really need to appreciate life more by giving back.  I’ll keep it at that for now.  But I truly believe that one good way of showing how grateful we are is by sharing what we have.  I don’t have much, but I think I have enough to keep me in good shape, and I have just enough to still be able to share.

Wish me luck on this year’s list — but somehow, I’m doubly confident that I will get more accomplished.  It can only get better.