#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?

Preloved and parting

I am a self-confessed pack rat, and I’m trying to change that.  It’s not only a move to get more organized, but I’m at that juncture in my life where I find myself having to reevaluate what I want to keep and let go.

Being in the process of a major life change, I have made up my mind to change as much of what I can to start afresh, and keep only that which is essential to the real me.  So much has happened in the last 3 years (going on 4) that I find a physical need to actually change my surroundings to get rid of the old and move forward.

Some of it is a necessity being that I have changed sizes in the last couple of years, and it doesn’t pay to wear something that looks frumpy even if you have only worn it a couple of times.  It’s time to make room for the new, beginning with my closet.

I used to be the type who would keep something even if in an obviously bigger size because I told myself, it fits– why get rid of something I can wear?  But coming across the concept of a “capsule wardrobe” which wouldn’t work for me, I was reminded of how I had so many pieces I hadn’t worn or touched in some time.  They have been relegated to the darkest corner of my tiny closet, collecting dust, unworn.  While I am nowhere near paring my wardrobe down to 37 or so pieces (I have a dozen skirts at least, for one!)– I recognize a need to declutter and find a new home for those pieces that are still wearable, just not by me.

During my trips home to Manila last year, I took the bigger clothes and left them for others.  My luggage came back with outfits in my current size and style.  I send a balikbayan box home occasionally and have already sent more, but I haven’t really systematically gone through what’s left here with me.

They said the rule should be to sort between keeping and giving away.  Generally, anything you hadn’t worn in a year should go — whether they are too big or too small.  I have read that keeping something in the hopes of “shrinking” back into a size that’ll see it fitting you again isn’t being realistic, unless you are already just a teeny weeny bit away from being able to wear it again.  I have a couple of those I keep because of the brand or the original cost of the item.  They went into the “giveaway” box this time.

Obviously, there are the pieces that have just gone out of style.  The thing is, what might not be fashionable here might be wearable back home, so I folded those suits and made sure to pack them in a plastic bag with the matching trousers.  There are t-shirts that have some sentimental value or other — such as shirts from the companies I had worked for in Manila which I wear to bed during the colder months.  Even those have gone into the donation box.   In the summer, I wear cotton nightgowns from the tiangge in Greenhills which also need to be sorted.

I must say the act of actually putting any piece in the “to give away” box has been a source of relief– as if I was “shedding” or saying goodbye to an older, former version of me.

I wore this loose fitting shirt over the weekend which I bought the summer before last.  It was a size bigger than what I wear now from that particular store.  It still looked good on me but it hung very loosely over my frame, like one of those shirts that was good to hide under.  If I could get that same shirt in the smaller size now, I would get it, and if they had it in a different print even back then, I would’ve gotten it.  But it is way too big now.

So I put it with this weekend’s laundry and washed it, and as I was straightening it up after drying, I made a decision to say goodbye to it.  Instead of hanging it back in my closet, I folded it and put it in my giveaway bin.  Another preloved piece which I know can make someone else feel as good and comfy as it did me.  Taking it out of my closet signified a commitment to stay healthy and be healthier, and not giving myself the out to slide back and gain weight again.  It was also an acceptance of the me that I am now — more confident and comfortable in my own skin, hitting the age of 50.

I wish it was easier to sort through everything and make the decision to let something go.  I tend to be very emotional about what I have and own.  There is always that thought at the back of my head that I might regret the decision later, forcing me to take the safer choice to just keep it — “just in case.”  I used to tell myself, “(but) I might want to wear that sometime some place.”.. or “I might lose enough weight to fit into that again.. ”  (Which has never really happened because I planned it.. but rather because I lost weight with other things in mind.)

This time, though, I’m determined to shed as much as I can — to make room for an even better and healthier me.  Four suits packed, so many shirts and pants set aside.  Parting can be difficult but can be a literal sigh of relief.. It actually is a very tangible unburdening that can help one to focus on letting things go.  Parting this time, is nothing sorrowful — but on the contrary is literally sweet joy.

#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.